8.1/10
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28 user 24 critic

Hadashi no Gen (1983)

A powerful statement against war, Barefoot Gen is a disturbing story about the effect of the atomic bomb on a boy's life and the lives of the Japanese people.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Issei Miyazaki ...
Gen (voice)
Catherine Battistone ...
Gen (1995) (voice)
Yoshie Shimamura ...
Kimie (voice)
Iona Morris ...
Kimie (1995) (voice)
Masaki Kôda ...
Shinji / Ryuta (voice)
...
Shinji (1995) (voice) (as Brianne Siddal)
...
Ryuta (1995) (voice)
Takao Inoue ...
Daikichi (voice)
Kirk Thornton ...
Daikichi (1995) (voice) (as Kurk Thornton)
Seiko Nakano ...
Eiko (voice)
Wendee Lee ...
Eiko (1995) (voice)
Takeshi Aono ...
Eizo (voice)
...
Eizo / Bully / Doctor / Easerly / Milk / Soup / Yama (1995) (voice) (as Amike McConnohie)
Katsuji Mori ...
Seiji (voice)
Dan Woren ...
Seijo / Banzai / Bullied / Enola (1995) (voice)
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Storyline

Gen and his family are living in Hiroshima as Japan nears the end of World War II. Gen's father has come to believe that the war is unwinnable, thus earning the wrath of the town officials and, in turn, discrimination from the rest of their neighbors. Shunned by the local merchants and tradesmen, food becomes scarce for Gen and his family. All these concerns soon pale, however, as the American military begins its final assault on Japan with the unleashing of its terrible new weapon. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Bombing Of Hiroshima As Seen Through The Eyes Of A Boy.


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Details

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Release Date:

13 June 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barefoot Gen  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was part of a 1980s cycle of films about atomic bombs and nuclear warfare which had started in 1979 with The China Syndrome (1979). The films included Silkwood (1983), Testament (1983), Threads (1984), WarGames (1983), The Day After (1983), The Atomic Cafe (1982), The Manhattan Project (1986), Whoops Apocalypse (1982), Special Bulletin (1983), Ground Zero (1987), Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen (1983)), Rules of Engagement (1989), When the Wind Blows (1986), Letters from a Dead Man (Pisma myortvogo cheloveka (1986)), Memoirs of a Survivor (1981) and The Chain Reaction (1980). See more »

Goofs

When the boys are about to abandon Seiji, his hands are bare and his feet only partly bandaged. By the end of the scene, seconds later, his extremities are fully covered. See more »

Quotes

Gen: Shinji, what did you say to make Mother cry like that?
Shinji: Gee, all I did was ask if I could suck on the fish bones when she was done with them.
Gen: You're kidding, you asked her that?
Shinji: Yeah, that was it.
Gen: [hits Shinji on the head] Idiot!
See more »

Connections

Followed by Hadashi no Gen 2 (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent but too realistic for many viewers
28 April 1999 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

The story is excellent, the animation effective, but the lack of in-between frames is intrusive in spots. For the full story, read the graphic novels. They provide an even more effective tale.

As with Nosaka's "Grave of the Fireflies," Gen deals with a Japanese youth in the waning days of WW II. The first 30 minutes shows him to be typical for his stage of life, swinging between a self-centered boy and an adult. He is suddenly thrust into the position of head of the family after the Hiroshima bomb kills his father, brother, and sister, and destroys the city. The remainder of the movie deals with his transformation into an adult, with adult sensibilities and adult responsibilities.

Gen is clearly a Japanese story - the author, Nakazawa, lived through the event as a child. But the story could have taken place in Dresden or London just as easily. Although the atomic bomb is the event the movie revolves around, the story is really about the people - the children - and the effect the event has on their lives.

It's too bad that so much of the books had to be sacrificed to the time limits of a film. The novels delve much more deeply into the cruel society that Japan was in the 1940s. For example, much more was made of the neighbor's Korean background in the book; in the movie, you wouldn't realize the ethnicity if you didn't think about the name.

As a conventional film, Gen would probably be too honest to find real appeal in the U.S. Worse, the animation format will probably dissuade those who would otherwise see and appreciate it. Like most Japanese anime, this is not a "cartoon." It is a serious film in an unconventional - for the U.S. - medium.

The DVD transfer is excellent and belongs in your collection. This is a movie that continues to educate and enlighten with each viewing.


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