Barefoot Gen Review
I wanted to find an anime about the Hiroshima bomb and how it affected thousands of people. It is an anime that is both heartfelt and heart-breaking that will make you weep for hours. I had high expectations for the movie upfront and it exceeded my highest expectations. After watching the movie, I gained a good understanding of the lives the people affected by the Hiroshima bomb.
Summary- Barefoot Gen 1
Boom! Everything flashes in the blink of an eye. Nothing is left. Everything lies in ruins. Only the rubble of Hiroshima is left. On Monday, August 6th, 1945, the US bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan. The atomic bomb killed 70,000 people and devastated the lives of many others because of the resulting radiation. This story took place when Gen, based on real Nakazawa Keiji, lives his everyday life during the final days of World War 2. He lived in Hiroshima with his younger brother Shinjir, sister Eiko, father Daikichir, and pregnant mother Kimie.
The first part of the plot focuses on the hardships that Gen’s family goes through due to food shortages throughout Japan. The plot shifts to Gen walking home from school. He notices something overhead – a passing B-29 aircraft. Gen wonders why the air raid sirens are not going off and that’s when the atomic bomb is dropped.
Summary Barefoot Gen 2
While Barefoot Gen 2 is technically not a WW2 movie, it takes place three years after the bomb drops. Gen still lives with his mother and adopted brother Ryuta. It portrays Gen and his mother and his brother trying to survive the bomb’s devastating after-affects in Japan’s struggling economy. The first movie focused on talking about the immediate effects of the bomb in Hiroshima. The second movie focuses on the long term problems that the survivors face.
Even though the animation is a bit more cartoony than most anime because it was produced in the late 70′s, it does the job tremendously. A little too graphically, if you ask me! The graphic style puts a chill down your back even after the movie is over. When the bomb is dropped, you will see gruesome special effects such as people’s skin peeling away and people suffering with bare bones showing. The special effects make the animation more believable and life-like.
Barefoot Gen 2
Because this production was done three years after Barefoot Gen 1, there is a huge difference. Except for the opening sequence, it’s far less graphic which allows us to focus more on the everyday life of the characters.
The opening and the ending music portrays a perfect dramatic scene with a creepy overtone. The music allows you to tell what is happening on the screen without even looking at it. You an really feel an event happening. This music is, however, a little over dramatic in spots as if the producers tried too hard.
It is Gen’s close relationship with his brother and mother that drives the story. The love and affection they have for each other is unbelievably real. In barefoot Gen 2, you see the connection Gen has with his brother Shingi and with his adopted brother Ryuta as well as with the orphans that he meets. You’ll find yourself rooting for them as they help and care for each other throughout the anime.
Overall, I strongly suggest that you watch these two movies. They portray the history of Hiroshima and the atomic bomb wonderfully.