The childhood of Keiji Nakazawa dies on a sunny monday morning. The biggest mass destruction weapon of human history is thrown at the Japanese town Hiroshima. 20 years after the incident Nakazawa begins to work up the gruesome events of his childhood and begins to draw manga.
Hadashi no Gen was first published in English as Gen of Hiroshima in comicbook format by EduComics, in cooperation with the pacifist organization Project Gen, a group of voluntary translators that sought to bring the manga to a larger audience. Volunteers around the world likewise picked up this project, partially translating this title into French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Indonesian, Tagalog and Esparanto, and by 1994, completely into Russian.
In English, originally only two comic book issues were released between January 1980 and April 1981, before the publication was cancelled. Since then, a number of publishers have partially published this series as Barefoot Gen, including New Society Publishers, who published the first four volumes from September 3, 1986 to December 1, 1993; Penguin Books, who published the first two volumes from August 1, 1989 to August 1, 1990, under the Penguin Originals imprint, with a new edition published July 27, 1995; and Last Gasp, who started publication from September, 1986, initially only publishing the first four volumes, but after the revival of Project Gen, finally published all ten volumes unabridged (with subtitles) from September 1, 2004 to February 1, 2010.
I am very proud to say this is the first of manga mangas I will read. It captivated me from the very beginning, and to tell the truth I was at the mere age of nine when I read it. I was shocked to say the least that there was no reviews for this breath-taking manga, so I'll try my best to do its justice.
Like I said I first read this when I was nine, my Mum gave it to me when her regious group's libary was being re-done, they cleared out the books they didn't want anymore and gave them to the people who
wanted them. The book was old and battered to say the least, the pages read from left to right instead of right to left like most mangas you find in your local book store nowadays. So at the time I just thought that it was just a normal comic book. It wasn't until years later when I got into anime and manga I realised that it was a manga.
The story does not just follow what it was like for the innocent people who were hit by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, but of the lifes of Hiroshima living in a country at war and full of hate. The plots follows a anti-military family and the prejudices and hatred their neighbours hold hold for them, though, a couple, are nice to the family.
The art is not the best to look at. The lines are harst and none of the characters are visually 'actactive'. However, Kenji Nakazawa is a good artist, he is not one of those shoujou mangakas whos art maybe pretty but you find it hard to read. Nakazawa-sensei's art work is simple and easy to read, and no two characters are the same.
The characters are unique, all character designs are completely different and same goes for their personalities.
I loved reading this, I honestly did. I'm forever reading this, and it is most deffinately going to be with me for the rest of my life.
A brilliantly visual novel, a must have for any person interested in history, Hiroshima, atomic bombs, and just loves their manga. I highly recommend reading it, I promise you won't regret it.