Hadashi no Gen

Title:Hadashi no Gen
Barefoot Gen
Keywords: , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
R1 License - Geneon (Defunct)
It's the summer of 1945. 3 years have elapsed since the war between Japan and USA began. Gen is a young boy living a struggling yet satisfying life in the city of Hiroshima, that has been strangely spared by the bombing taken in almost every other Japanese City. Food is scarce, and Gen's family is suffering from severe malnutrition, which endangeres his pregnant mother. There isn't much spare time as Gen and his little brother Shinji help their father and mother at work and try to make sure their family survives the tought times. Little do they know, what the Americans have in store for the city of Hiroshima and as of the 6th of August 1945, their lives are about to change dramatically.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

Animated by Madhouse
Premiered theatrically in Japan on July 21, 1983.
Also see film sequel, Hadashi no Gen 2.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 6 6 6 6 7 Ggultra2764 [series:121#1552]
Barefoot Gen paints a realistic and graphic look at the damage to Hiroshima during and after the dropping of an American atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. The movie doesn't hold back any punches in depicting the horrific reality of the situation as homes are destroyed; hundreds of thousands of people are either dead, homeless or suffering serious health problems from the radiation of the bomb; military personnel are around to pick up corpses and tend to those who can be saved; and water and food supplies are contaminated thanks to radiation exposure. Seeing villagers being fried to a crisp from the atomic bomb and the countless burnt corpses in the aftermath made for some of the most disturbing material I've seen in an anime and this is saying something when I've seen titles like Elfen Lied and Shigurui whose intent with their graphic content is only to shock and awe their audience instead of trying to elicit an emotional response.

The movie is prominently focused on how these events effect Gen and his mother, who wind up being the only survivors of the bombing. A good amount of the first half of Barefoot Gen is focused on Gen's family life showing how they are barely getting by financially and dealing with receiving limited food rations from the Japanese military, a believable element to Japan in the final days of World War II which got elaborated on in Grave of the Fireflies. To a certain extent, Gen and his family's struggles before and after the atomic bomb dropping were believable for the time period, though the mood is usually inconsistent at points with Gen getting in comical antics that take away from the serious mood of the movie and the over-dramatization of some parts of the story such as Gen's final chat with his dying father and siblings.

The presentation to Barefoot Gen is a bit subpar with visuals that are clearly outdated and look to be on par with a late-70s TV anime series, though it still gets the job done in showing off the macabre setting of Hiroshima after the bombing. The music also doesn't do too well in flowing with the dramatic mood of the movie and none of the musical tracks stick out too well.

Overall, Barefoot Gen made for a decent watch in seeing a believable depiction of how Japanese civilians were affected by the dropping of American atomic bombs in the final days of World War II despite its subpar presentation and some rough elements to its storytelling. It's nowhere on the caliber of Grave of the Fireflies' powerful storytelling, but it is still worth a look if you are looking for an anime believably based on major Japanese historical events.

Last updated Monday, April 30 2012. Created Monday, April 30 2012.
Watch Tsuki [series:121#8]
Another traumatic epic. Personally, I would recommend "Grave of the Fireflies" over this. I don't think young children should really watch either, moreso this film since it shows the actual explosion and eyes melting off. A good film to watch if you nee to learn more about the history revolving this eventful bombing.

Last updated Monday, September 06 1999. Created Monday, September 06 1999.

Other Sites
IMDB http://us.imdb.com/Title?Hadashi+no+Gen+(1983)
Official Website (japanese) at madhouse.co.jp http://www.madhouse.co.jp/works/1986-1983/works_movie_hadashi.html

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