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Barefoot Gen

Issei Miyazaki , Catherine Battistone , Mori Masaki    DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 159.11
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Product Description

Product Description

Drawn from writer Keiji Nakazawa's true life experiences in the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Barefoot Gen tells the story of one family's struggle to survive against overwhelming odds. Six-year-old Gen has lived practically his entire life in the shadow of war. Yet he is not prepared for the horrors which follow the bombing of Hiroshima. Contains scenes of extreme violence; reccomended for mature audiences.


Keiji Nakazawa attracted widespread attention in 1973, when he published the first installment of his semiautobiographical manga (comics), 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 Gen.

Nakazawa's alter ego, 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 rubble of their house and must leave them to burn to death. 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.

Barefoot Gen is completely unlike the musical fairy tales and slapstick comedies Americans associate with animation, but its powerful antiwar message has won admiration around the world. Barefoot Gen II follows the character through the early days of the postwar era. --Charles Solomon

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars How could one bomb do all this damage Feb. 7 2002
By A Customer
It was a sunny day over Hiroshima. A plane flew overhead a parachutte opened it fell to the ground then all hell broke lose. I usualy don't like anime it is always to weird. Barefoot Gen was different. Barefoot Gen is very violent and definutly not for kids. If it was American it would R at the very least. It takes place in Hiroshima 1945. Before the bomb blew off it was a regular family story. I was supprised how well I could relate to the charactors as real people. Way more than most American films. Then the bomb hits. The bomb explotion is the most disturbing scenes in all of movies ever. It shows people being insinerated in slow motion. After it shows mangled survivors walking around like zombies. You can only imagine the horror to have been there. Though Gen tries to save his family he is forced to go back and watch them burn. This disturbing film sends a strong message of the pointlessness of war. It is not pro Japanese or pro American it tells it how it is. Gen has a lot of bad stuff happen to him. He loses his hair and though he tries to save his baby sister he fails. Barefoot Gen tells in great detail what it was like to be there.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gotta get 'Gen' Feb. 27 2001
Few animated films can be comfortablly labeled "important". Mamoru Shinzaki's "Barefoot Gen" is, without a doubt, one of these films. Based on Keiji Nakazawa's poignant graphic novel, the film tells the story of a family and how their lives are affected by the atomic bomb dropped on Hisroshima in 1945. Shinzaki perfectly adapts Nakazawa's somewhat akward style of drawing and adds dimension to these already strong characterizations. The animation is a bit on the stiff side. The style of animation looks a bit like what we stereotypically think of when picturing anime. While there are moments of great beauty and grace (mostly in the film's backgrounds), the animation is closer to Speed Racer than Princess Mononoke. The film elegantly re-tells Gen's tragic story of survival, streamlining the narative for the big screen. Missing from the film are several charming vignettes as well as two of Gen's brothers. Focusing mainly on Gen and his actions and responses, the film loses some of the comic's political vigor but retains a strong voice against war. Never is the film anti-American. It matter of factly cries out against the pointlessness of war. It is mainly through the horrors witnessed in uncompromising graphic detail (even more so in the comic) that this message is most vivid. And yet Barefoot Gen is ultimately a story of survival. Gen is a hero and his actions speak of the amazing potential of the human spirit when faced with the unspeakable. The only thing you will be longing for after the film's somber closing is more. Like "Grave of the Fireflies", "Barefoot Gen" is more than worthy of a spot in any collector's library.
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By A Customer
I was first introduced to Barefoot Gen in the mid-eighties as a series of horrificly graphic manga books about a child caught in the Hieroshima atomic detonation. Every since the first reading I have been riveted to anything GEN. Not only is it a story of Japan's (and mankind's) brutality and cruelty but also an affirmation of all the hope and will power existant in the human form. The unparalled devastation of this historic event relived vicariously through the eyes of Gen and his dying family has been well translated to film, but edited naturally to fill a feature length production. All of humanity should witness the historic culmination, the apex of destruction pinnacled at the penultimate event of world war two, how it tortured and obliterated the lives of all who were subject to it's occurance, and perhaps we might all be aware of it's might in order to avoid a recurrance of such an event. The animation and direction appeared clunky, but the story couldn't be denied it's power to emote this viewer.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Barefoot Gen on DVD - A Very Tough One to Watch Feb. 17 2000
If you found Grave of the Fireflies difficult to watch, Barefoot Gen will be even more difficult. Although it shares similar WWII themes, Gen lacks the sensitivity that you see in Grave. The imagery in Gen is simply horrific -- the most disturbing that I have ever seen in an animation. But since it is about the Hiroshima bombing, I guess it would be considered accurate and is therefore effectively disturbing. It should be noted that the quality of the animation is not even close to Grave of the Fireflies. So I would not recommend this to those searching for something in league with Grave. It is definitely not for young children. Although older children *might* watch this under adult supervision in some sort of educational environment. In terms of content, this film is more in league with Saving Private Ryan or Shindler's List.
DVD anime fans should be aware that the subtitles in the film are very difficult to read. They are *bright purple* with blue outlines, but there is transparent space in between the purple and the blue. This makes it especially hard to read on brighter backgrounds. There is no option to turn the subtitles off unless you watch it in English. Therefore I would only recommend this DVD to those looking for an English dubbed version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A VERY MOVING CARTOON Nov. 20 2000
I rented this movie one day just as a curiosity piece. It looked different from the rest of the boxes in the Anime section. No robots or half naked women or vampires or anything futuristic. It turned out to be a touching story of a boy & his family's struggle in Japan during the closing days of WWII. The animated bombing of Hiroshima is one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever watched-one can only imagine the horror of being there in person. But its the aftermath of the bombing that sends chills down my spine. This film is not Pro-Japanese or Pro-American. It tells it like it was. This is the kind of film parents should show children, teachers should show students. It transcends all ethnicity and makes the viewer think. I wish that it wasn't anime because a film like this needs more exposure than to be put into a category with few outside interests. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't, then make it a point to.
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