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Barefoot Gen: The Movies 1 and 2

Issei Miyazaki , Catherine Battistone , Mori Masaki    Unrated   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 213.62
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5.0 out of 5 stars Instructif Aug. 2 2010
Format:DVD
Vraiment une représentation un peu cruelle des répercutions de la bombe atomique sur Hiroshima mais nécessaire pour notre génération
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and moving April 28 2004
By Launchpad - Published on Amazon.com
I'm a fan of anime, but this film transcends genres. My history teacher used the opening sequence - from Gen getting ready for and going to school to just after his family dies in the rubble - to illustrate Japanese anti-war sentiment. My classmates often laugh at me for my hobby and passion for anime. The room was silent when this excerpt ended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The bombing of Hiroshima, as seen throgh the eyes of a boy." Feb. 8 2009
By Aion - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and Hopeful at the Same Time Sept. 16 2011
By Atli Hafsteinsson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Barefoot Gen may be a rather low-budget anime, but it makes up for that with punch, and then some. This is a horrifying account on the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, seen through the eyes of a young boy (being the author who penned the manga on which the movie is based).

True horrors unfold on the screen. When the bomb explodes, the devastation unfolds before our very eyes; people and animals melt, some not even to death. Young Gen was lucky to be shielded by a tree, thus saving him from the explosion and the radiation. Most of his family weren't so lucky.

What's most unsettling about the film is that we know more than the characters. We know what's going to happen to the city very soon, but they are all unaware. To them, war-time Japan has become routine, and Gen and his little brother Shinji act as boys do, their main concern being food and helping their heavily pregnant mother. War is taking its toll on everybody in terms of food and income, and this is what the characters deal with, even Gen's sister and father (who openly thinks the war is a big folly) but they always have each other to fall on.

Then, about one third of the way into the movie, Enola Gay arrives and blows the movie's universe to pieces. Gen and his mother go through things no one should have to go through. Barefoot Gen is a difficult movie that will shake you; a horrible reflection on the fact that the number one casualties of war are civilians, people just trying to live their lives. The second viewing is even tougher than the first, because by then, you know and care for the characters and worry about what will happen to them. None of them deserved what happened.

But Barefoot Gen isn't just interested in showing you what happened. It tries its best to raise your spirits. At the end of the day, life goes on, unfair though it can be, and you can overcome even the most colossal situations with a little spirit. That's wonderful.

The sequel is also here, which is not as shocking but more about the aftermath of the bombing, what growing up in post-bombing Hiroshima is like, a city populated by many children now without families, the streets thus being their only home. It's a good movie to close the story's arc. Overall, one of the most powerful war movies out there.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal, but brilliant retelling of the Hiroshima Bombing Jan. 18 2001
By Rocky - Published on Amazon.com
Barefoot Gen is one of the finest ant-war films ever made. It tells its heartfelt story from the perspective of a young child who is caught amid the destruction of Hiroshima in 1945. The boy's heartfelt story is genuinely poignant and it meshes well, strangely enough, with some of the most relentlessly harrowing scenes of wartime devastation ever put forward to any medium. An excellent film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SURVIVOR'S TALE, SO THAT WE ALL MAY SURVIVE May 24 2013
By Mendo san - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
An autobiographical account by a Japanese hibakusha, FOR Japanese - the kind of thing which we Americans need to hear and to see if we are to avoid repeating the hideous convulsions of the 20th century. Not for the squeamish. Also recommended: "Grave of the Fireflies."
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