In contrast to the musical fairy tales and comedy-adventures of American animated films, Kon's films blurred the boundaries between fantasy and reality in unsettling ways. His boldly original visions and technical sophistication made him one of the most admired directors in contemporary animation.
Perhaps his most famous movie is Tokyo Godfathers, in which three homeless people find a baby.
It's based on John Ford's Three Godfathers, which could be called Three Real Men and a Baby.
I remember seeing Tokyo Godfathers at Charles' home on one of our movie nights. "Unsettling," yes; but also wonderful and impossible to forget.
Charles' last appearance on Off-Ramp was a couple weeks ago, to review a DVD on how to draw dinosaurs. His latest book is about the art of Toy Story 3.
(Image: John Rabe)