|A graphic, realistic look at the after effects of war.||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
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The presentation to Barefoot Gen is a bit subpar with visuals that are clearly outdated and look to be on par with a late-70s TV anime series, though it still gets the job done in showing off the macabre setting of Hiroshima after the bombing.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.