Read The Book- SPOILERS
After reading the English language version of "Barefoot Gen- Volume 1", 2 days ago, I went on line to look up the availability of other volumes. I came to discover that there was an anime and live action film based on the book. I was able to immediately locate and rent the anime DVD. I was very disappointed. While the film is very compelling in it's own right, the fact that it doesn't follow the book really pissed me off. What were they thinking? Sometimes movies don't follow books to the letter, but this is ridiculous. First of all, the brutality, shunning and shear misery the family endures due to the father's anti-war views, is almost non-existent in the film, as are several key characters: Mr. Pak the Korean, the oldest son,(who enlists in the Navy, to take some of the heat off his family), the neighborhood snitch and family. One thing the book does really well, is giving insight into the group-think mentality of the Japanese culture, and how as a result, the dropping of the A-bomb was perceived as inevitable by the U.S.. The "fight to the last man" and mass civilian suicide scenarios that played themselves out throughout the Pacific, along with the "Yankee devil" propaganda, are clearly shown in the book, but glaringly missing from the film. I'm wondering if the people responsible for the film tried to gloss things over and by doing so, avoided showing culpability on the part of the Japanese as a whole.
There are supposed to be 10 volumes to the Barefoot Gen story, and I'm going to try to locate and read them. I highly recommend reading at least the first one. It offers so much more than the film, and ends shortly after the A-bomb goes off.