14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This powerful anime tells the semi-autobiographical story of one boy's experience of the Hiroshima bomb. It's strong stuff - the images of the bomb itself are disturbing and unflinching, as are the after-effects. It's worth watching, especially in conjunction with the equally powerful (yet stylistically different) "Grave of the Fireflies", which also deals with the suffering of children in the wartime bombings. A must for any adult.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2009
Barefoot Gen: 9/10
A line from Apocalypse Now kept creeping into my head whilst I watched this - "The horror, the horror..."
Barefoot Gen more than lived up to my expectations. I'd read before watching that it's very similar to Grave of the Fireflies, it being story about children trying to survive during World War 2, and they are indeed worthy of being spoken of in the same breath. There aren't many films, live-action or animated, that have the sort of impact these films do on viewers.
Barefoot Gen is a story told from the viewpoint of a child, the story being about the Hiroshima bombing. Instead of rushing into the bombing, time was spent showing the viewer Gen's (Gen is the main character) family and how they struggled to survive with little to no food. Gen spent a lot time with his younger brother during the early section, trying to find food for their pregnant mother and, basically, acting like kids do. This early pre-bombing section was good because it allowed viewers to become emotionally attached to the family and made them want the familty to survive.
And then, suddenly, the atomic bomb hits and, in graphic detail, you see people falling apart and getting burnt alive. Eye sockets fall out, skin melts...it wasn't easy to watch. Gen then rushed back to home to find his father, brother and sister all stuck under their house, which had collapsed due to the blast. After Gen and his mother couldn't lift what their family was stuck under, Gen had to pull his mother away from their family in order to save themselves due to the fire spreading, but Gen first made a teary-eyed promise with his father - his father made him make a non-verbal promise that he'd protect his mother and the child growing inside her.
It continued like that until the end. It was realistic to the point of being painful to watch. Animation or not, it was hard not to see what was happening as real. Barefoot Gen was based on the real life story of the author, so it'd be wrong to view as "just a silly cartoon" because of the lack of real actors, but it's rare for animation to have that sort of impact on me.
There were a few things I wasn't impressed with, such as the semi-annoying voice actor of Gen, how easily Gen's brother was allowed to be replaced by someone who looked like him and how well Gen and his mother handled losing their loved ones, but the good outweighed the bad. It was a wonderful film, and I highly recommend it to anyone with interest in the more realistic side of anime.
Barefoot Gen 2: 7.5/10
Barefoot Gen 2 continues the story 3 years after the end of the first film. Japan has started to return to normal but there are still problems like starvation and people being homeless. The bombing resulted in a lot of kids having their entire families killed and that obviously meant there were a lot of kids living on the street, unable to even get education because people need to pay to go to school in Japan. The story in this film focuses on a group of kids Gen befriends and shows how, even after the bombings had stopped, Japan was still far from repaired.
In all honesty, there didn't need to be a sequel made. The first film covered everything important and only the left the aftermath, which was never going to be as powerful as what came before, to be shown. The film had potential but a lot of the potentially interesting aspects, such as how people with burns from the atomic bomb were treated like monsters, were never looked into too deeply. Although I didn't feel the film was bad, I felt it wasn't made with the same amount of effort as the first and, quite simply, the story was weaker due to it not having to cover anything as horrific as what was shown in the first film.
A decent sequel, and a very nice DVD extra (both Barefoot films are on the same disc), but not worthy of a high rating.
As for the R2 release, it's excellent. Both films are on the same disc but the video quality doesn't suffer due to the films only lasting around 90 minutes each. And to make up for the lack of DVD extras (assuming you don't count Barefoot Gen 2 itself as an extra!), a very nice booklet is included that contains an interview with the author of the manga. Buy it - you won't regret it.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2006
I had no idea really what to expect in this film, the cover looks quite cute and colourful, but the description is quite different to that..
The first story follows Gen and his family in the story during the time the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, where he lives.
It starts out just how the cover looks, bright and chirpy, it all goes very different after not too long, and to be honest I'm surprised that this is only rated a 12. To me this is alot more difficult to stomach than Akira which is a 15.. I'm sure it's because of the reality of the film though.
I think the film is very well done, people's speech and actions sometimes seem a little unsuited to the situation, and in some ways it seems that Gen is finding it a bit easier than the situation is.. but it's really nit picking.
The film is really good, atmospheric and does a great job of conveying emotion- I really believe better than a live action could be. I really like that the film feels totally unbiased.
I think that its good that both films are here because although the 1st is very good in it's own right, it completes it to have the 2nd.
The 2nd is set 3 years after the bomb was dropped and has a different tone to the first, maybe more emotional, but in a different way anyway.
By itself the 2nd is a bit incomplete, but it is the more "entertaining" of the 2 because of the severity of the first.
The film shows lots of things like the attitude after the bomb of people towards the burned and injured people.
I agree with what others have said, I think this should be shown in school history lessons or something!
It's good because although I've never seen the Japanese DVD, it doesn't look like this has been hacked up like some anime's are. The subtitles seem fine to me, I've seen criticisms of them, but only little grammatical things.
The film's subtitles aren't intrusive anyway, it doesn't rely on them too heavily.
One thing that is weired is that the opening song isn't subtitled though.
The DVD is lacking in extra's, but the booklet has an interview with the artist which is nice.
It's Japanese voices only too, but I think that maybe the Region 1 version may have English voice option.. I'd pick the original voices anyway.
A special edition re release would be nice with more bonuses, but the films themselves are more than worth getting if you like war films, anime, or are interested.
I'm not sure how it compares to the manga, I'm sure that some people would always pick the manga over the anime, but having not read them I highly recommend this as it is so well done and thoroughly absorbing. But I am interested in the mangas now too!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2005
Beautiful yet heartbreaking, this film is not for the faint hearted. This film tells the story through the eyes of an innocent civilian Gen who has nothing to do with the politics of the time, he is simply a human being. Some scenes are very hard to watch, but it only outlines a fraction of the true horror. I believe everyone should watch this film, though not young children
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2011
I saw years ago this anime and i was astonished.
Now bought it with the second chapter and i found it great, even if the sequel is not as good as the first. But in the end great price and very fast expedition!
on 21 September 2014
A really powerful film, shows the horrors of war, and the atrocities that were committed at Hiroshima through the eyes of one very lucky and brave child (Gen)
Certain scenes are completely juxtaposed with cute anime characters backdropped against horrifying destruction and decimation. A very 'heavy' film, but a definite must watch.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2008
I Think the best way to sum up this series is never judge a book by its cover.
From the outset the box looks very colourful very fun, Originally I thought this was just this was Kenji Nakazawa's story after the bomb had dropped but it gives you an insight to what his life was like before and after the A-Bomb Was Dropped on Hiroshima Back in 1945.
The Film its self is based on the true story of his life and he says in the leaflet that is inside the box 70% of what happened is true, It is in its self a history lesson which transports you from the modern times back to the chaos of when the bomb hit and gives you a insight of what it was actually like to live back in that time and all the hardships of coping with radiation poising and starvation due to lack of food.
This is one anime Movie you must See.