Barefoot Gen (1983 film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Hepburn||Hadashi no Gen|
|Directed by||Mori Masaki|
|Screenplay by||Keiji Nakazawa|
|Based on||Barefoot Gen|
by Keiji Nakazawa
|Music by||Kentarō Haneda|
|Edited by||Harutoshi Ogata|
|Distributed by||Herald Enterprises|
Barefoot Gen (はだしのゲン Hadashi no Gen) is a 1983 anime war drama film loosely based on the Japanese manga series of the same name by Keiji Nakazawa. Directed by Mori Masaki and starring Issei Miyazaki, Masaki Kōda and Tatsuya Jo, it depicts World War II in Japan from a child's point of view revolving around the events surrounding the bombing of Hiroshima and the main character's first hand experience of the bomb.
Gen Nakaoka and his family live in Hiroshima during the final days of World War II. The family struggles through food shortages and constant air raid warnings. Gen's mother, Kimie, is pregnant and suffering from malnutrition. His sister, Eiko, helps their mother. Gen and his brother Shinji help their father, Daikichi, in the family's wheat field and try to find food for Kimie. Daikichi and Kimie realize the war is not going well, though they wonder why Hiroshima has been spared from the air raids which devastated other Japanese cities.
On the morning of August 6th, 1945, Gen and a friend arrive at school just as a lone B-29 aircraft flies overhead. The Enola Gay releases a bomb which devastates the city. Gen's friend is killed in the blast while he is buried under rubble by the resulting shockwave. Gen finds Kimie in the ruined city and they try to rescue their family, who are buried alive under their collapsed house. However, they are unsuccessful and are forced to leave them when the house catches fire. Kimie gives birth to a baby girl, Tomoko.
Gen spends the next few days searching for food for his family. He discovers that soldiers are distributing rice, but arrives to find them collecting corpses before burning them in mass graves. He later finds a ration storehouse containing rice, most of which has already been seared by the blast. He finds a few bags of intact rice and takes them to his mother to eat along with some fresh vegetables.
On August 16th, Gen and Kimie dig up the remains of their family members from their former home. They learn that Japan has surrendered to the Allies, ending the war. They later take refuge in a makeshift shack where they try to live on what little rice they have. A small boy, Ryuta, tries to steal their rice, but is caught by Gen. Gen is shocked to see that Ryuta resembles Shinji, and after they learn he was orphaned by the bomb, he and Kimie take him in.
The next day, Gen and Ryuta look for food as Tomoko is suffering from malnutrition. A man gives them a job tending to his brother, another bomb survivor, for 10 yen a day. They accept the job despite the man's ill-temper. Eventually, the boys grow tired of the mistreatment, slap the man several times and quit. The man begs them to come back, explaining to them that he is grateful that the boys treated him like more than a rotting corpse. Gen tells Ryuta to tell his mother where they are, and he spends the night with the man, which inspires him to paint once again. The man's brother pays them 100 yen and the boys head out to find milk for Tomoko. When they return home, they find that Tomoko has already died.
A few weeks later, Gen and Ryuta see wheat beginning to grow despite having heard that grass wouldn't grow. With renewed optimism, Gen, his mother, and Ryuta set a paper boat lantern down the river. They then watch and pray as the boat gently sails into the sunset.
|Character||Japanese voice actor
||English voice actor|
(Streamline Pictures, 1995)
|Gen Nakaoka||Issei Miyazaki||Catherine Battistone|
|Daikichi Nakaoka||Takao Inoue||Kirk Thornton|
|Kimie Nakaoka||Yoshie Shimamura||Iona Morris|
|Eiko Nakaoka||Seiko Nakano||Wendee Lee|
|Shinji Nakaoka||Masaki Kōda||Brianne Siddall|
|Ryuta Kondo||Masaki Kōda||Barbara Goodson|
|Hidezo||Takeshi Aono||Michael McConnohie|
|Boku Pak||Junji Nishimura||Ardwight Chamberlain|
|Seiji Yoshida||Katsuji Mori||Dan Woren|
|Hana||Taeko Nakanishi||Joyce Kurtz|