Welcome to Anime.com
Spice and Wolf
Fullmetal Alchemist
Gurren Lagann
Haruhi Suzumiya
Black Butler
Lucky Star
Death Note
AzuManga Daioh
Cowboy Bebop
Sgt. Frog
This is an archive page, please visit our new site pin.anime.com
Custom Search
Barefoot Gen
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of HiroshimaBarefoot Gen, Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima
Manga Review

So, the crummy economy has you down, and life seems a little depressing and hopeless. Well, cheer up it could be worse, after all you could have had an atomic bomb dropped on you.

Not to make light of the terrible tragedy that was WWII and Hiroshima, we're simply trying to point out that things could be worse, and, you need to understand that even in tough times, we can all pull together to try and make the world a better place.

Barefoot Gen is a manga that is, perhaps, even MORE RELEVANT now than when it was first written and drawn. It is, dare I say, PROFOUND in how it takes a horrific situation and finds the humanity in it.

The manga, much more in-depth than the film, cover the horrors that were rampant even before the bomb; malnutrition, economic hardship, lack of medicine, and the physical and psychological damage caused by ongoing exhaustion and despair.

The art is sharply drawn and expressive, and the narrative has such a natural rhythm, it's easy to get pulled into the family's life, making the cataclysm readers know awaits them all the more real, intimate and difficult to take. Despite its harrowing nature, this work is invaluable for the lessons it offers in history, humanity and compassion.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, May 2009

Barefoot Gen
Barefoot Gen
Anime DVD Review

Ending on a more hopeful note than the spectacularly depressing Grave of the Fireflies, Barefoot Gen is still a gruesome, horrifyingly realistic look at the bombing of Hiroshima as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Although originally produced in 1983, and looking crude and cartoonish by today's standards, the film is still a powerful statement against war, and an incredible tale about the effect of the atomic bomb on a boy's life and the lives of the Japanese people.

Gen Nakaoka is on his way to school when the bomb detonates. He makes his way back to his home through hellish scenes of ruined buildings, corpses, and hideously mutilated survivors. Although his family is still alive, Gen and his pregnant mother are unable to free his father, sister, and brother from the burning rubble of their house and must leave them to perish in the flames. His mother goes into labor during their flight and his new sister is born amid the devastation. Holding the infant, Gen tells her to remember the horrors, so that they never occur again.

Panel from Barefoot Gen mangaAnd Gen is a tough kid, able to withstand immense hardship without losing his focus on keeping his family alive. In the end he comes across as a true hero, and in the face of adversity, Gen manages to maintain his cheerful spirit and never loses hope that things will get better for him, and for the entire nation of Japan.

Keiji Nakazawa attracted widespread attention in 1973, when he published the first installment of his semiautobiographical manga, Barefoot Gen. Nakazawa was 6 years old in August 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Most of his family was killed in the blast, and the artist survived through sheer luck. Nakazawa's continuing story now fills seven volumes (nearly 2,000 pages). In addition to two animated features (also written by Nakazawa), three live-action films and an opera have been based on Nakazawa's alter ego.

There aren't too many animated films you could label as "culturally and historically important", but this is one of them. Grab this newly re-mastered DVD set as fast as you can and remember the horrors, so that they never occur again.

Review by Brian Cirulnick, July 2006

Below: Panels from the Barefoot Gen manga.

Panel from Barefoot Gen manga

Panel from Barefoot Gen manga

Panel from Barefoot Gen manga

Panel from Barefoot Gen manga

Barefoot Gen Website Links:

Barefoot Gen Entry at Anime News Network

ProSite Review of Barefoot Gen

Barefoot Gen entry at Wikipedia

Below: Scene from Barefoot Gen showing the bombing of HIroshima (warning: this is a very graphic scene).

Below: Trailers for the live action Barefoot Gen film.

Below: A panel from the Barefoot Gen manga.

Panel from Barefoot Gen manga

Below: Cover of the Penguin edition of Barefoot Gen.

Cover of the Penguin edition of Barefoot Gen.

Homepage | Anime.com Sitemap | The Anime.com Anime Wallpaper Guide

© 2009 Anime.com, Inc. | Website Editor: Brian Cirulnick | Website Design by Very Memorable Design