Barefoot Gen 2
|Barefoot Gen 2|
|Hepburn||Hadashi no Gen 2|
|Directed by||Toshio Hirata|
|Produced by||Keiji Nakazawa|
|Written by||Keiji Nakazawa|
|Music by||Kentarō Haneda|
|Edited by||Harutoshi Ogata|
Barefoot Gen 2 (はだしのゲン2 Hadashi no Gen 2) is a 1986 Japanese animated action drama film following the 1983 Barefoot Gen animated film, loosely based on the Japanese manga series by Keiji Nakazawa. Unlike the first movie, it was not dubbed into English by Streamline Pictures.
Barefoot Gen 2 takes place in 1948 in the beginning of Cold War, approximately three years after the end of the original movie, as Gen, his mother, and his adopted brother Ryuta try to survive as Hiroshima, like the rest of Japan, struggles to rebuild following the catastrophic devastation of the Second World War.
While the first movie focused on the immediate effect of the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the second film focuses on the long-term problems that faced the survivors, including the devastated economy and infrastructure, food shortages, unemployment, lack of housing, and the lingering effects of the atomic bomb's radioactive fallout.
Three years after the war, most of Hiroshima is still in ruins. Gen and Ryuta's school is housed in a building half-wrecked by bomb damage, where a teacher is seen explaining the principles of Japan's new constitution. Still under American military occupation (which Gen clearly resents), Japan's economy is beginning to recover, but many of its people still cannot afford even basic necessities of life. Gen and his family struggle to survive, and while his mother gets a job at a brick-building factory, it is barely enough to support their basic needs. There are also several gangs of orphaned children squatting in the ruins instead of going to school.
At first, contact with them is adversarial, but Gen soon realizes that they have nowhere else to go and are as desperate as he is, and thus he strikes up a friendship with them. During a lighter moment in the film, Gen and the children stumble upon an old military firing range where ammunition was dumped at the end of the war. The gang leader, Masa, realizes they can sell the old bullets for scrap metal, and the entire group starts filling wheelbarrows with spent shell casings, singing as they work.
The other major plotline in the movie follows the long-term effects of the use of the atomic bomb: Even years later, many people are suffering lingering medical effects from the radiation. One of the orphans, Katsuko, is a girl who had half of her face badly burned in the bombing, and is ostracized by the rest of the group for her condition, though Gen accepts her, encouraging her to not let the bomb's affect destroy her life. Gen's own mother is gradually dying of cancer throughout the movie, due to exposure to radiation from the atomic blast (compounded by years of malnutrition). They both know that she is dying, though Gen struggles to comprehend how he will survive without her.
- Issei Miyazaki as Gen Nakaoka
- Yoshie Shimamura as Kimie Nakaoka, Gen's mother
- Masaki Kōda as Ryuta Nakaoka, Gen's younger adopted brother and Shinji Nakaoka, Gen's younger brother
- Seiko Nakano as Eiko Naoaoka, Gen's elder sister
- Takao Inoue as Daikichi Nakaoka, Gen's father
- Katsuji Mori as Seiji
- Junji Nishimura as Boku-san
- Kei Nakamura as Masa
- Taeko Nakanishi as Hana
- Takami Aoyama as Katsuko
- Kōichi Kitamura as Suekichi