An animation documentary describing the tragic consequences of the A-bomb explosion in Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945. The flash of the A-bomb, 100 times brighter than the sun, is called "PICA", and the enormous shock wave which came right after the flash is called "DON". At the time this film was completed, it was the very first attempt in the world to deal with such a sensitive subject of Hiroshima using animation media. Because of this short film, the City of Hiroshima decided to establish the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in 1984, appreciating animation art as an effective medium.
There are very few anime that make an impression in less than 10 minutes. This feeble attempt at showing the events of Hiroshima's devastation at the end of World War Two, however, managed to do just that.
The story is simple, and clear. There is happiness, and life. Then confusion. Then death.
Made in the 1970's, the art is even simpler than the story, but manages to capture the everyday world of Hiroshima in 1945 well enough in only 9 minutes. In fact, there is a ghostly beauty to the children playing, the soldiers going to work, and young girls going to school. The whole city is bathed in a sort of cream and pink light. But when "pikadon" (the early japanese word for the bomb meaning "flash" and "boom") finally falls three fourths of the way into the anime, the art takes a rather drastic direction. The colors change from pink and cream to black and red, as the short film portrays the burning, melting people of Hiroshima. Believe me, although simple in art, the images are enough to disturb. This short film pictures civilians with no skin, skeletons clothed in ash, and flesh dangling off arms like rags. But perhaps the most disturbing aspect is knowing every bit of it is true.
The sound was beautiful, a soft piano piece playing in the background most of the time. When the piano wasn't playing it was silent, with the growl of the explosion.
The characters, as many as there were, were barely explored, but somehow, the viewer felt an instant connection to the little boy with the paper plane. Watching him experience the bomb was unforgettable. The knowledge that his existence was wiped away in only a fraction of a second was a heavy weight.
The film, on a whole, was entirely haunting. Though made for children, it disturbed me. It was absolutely something I will never forget. read more
Three-quarters of Pica-don is peaceful Japanese people going about their peaceful Japanese duties. The other quarter is Japanese people melting and fusing into skinless, lifeless, monstrous creatures.
Pica-don attempts to describe the indescribable shock and horror the atomic bomb brought to Japan. It is a worthy attempt, with a style that begins as smoothly and cleanly as a propaganda film then melts into surrealism. It's not the best of the Hiroshima anime memoirs out today - with seven minutes and no dialogue, it's difficult to portray any real emotion - but it's the first. And because it manages to be so hard to watch, it's a definite must-see.read more