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YMMV / Barefoot Gen

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  • Harsher in Hindsight: The foreword in Volume 10 says, "Japan alone has over fifty nuclear reactors in operation. A missile striking one of those reactors could in effect function as a nuclear weapon, even without a nuclear warhead. Herein lies the true, albeit hidden, nature of 'peaceful' nuclear power. Whether triggered by an earthquake, accident or attack, it contains the seeds of horrific destruction." On March 11, 2011 a massive earthquake did critical damage to one of Japan's nuclear power plants and caused the largest nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
    • While the editor's words are technically true—the effects of a Fukushima-style disaster is functionally like a "dirty nuke," or radiological weapon—the implication that destroying or damaging a nuclear reactor would cause it to "function as a nuclear weapon" (like the type that was used on Hiroshima) is, sadly, Artistic License – Nuclear Physics. note 
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Gen's teacher after the bombing has longish black hair, a beak-like nose, and seems very strict towards the students, a bit too resembling Prof. Snape from Harry Potter.
  • Narm:
    • The animated adaptation overall manages to convey hauntingly the horrors of war and atomic warfare... then Gen starts talking about the surrounding debris and devastation rather casually. Also, his mother's giraffe neck.
    • In the scene where Gen and his mother are trying to free his father and siblings from the burning debris of their house, there's a part where Gen begins frantically switching between his left and right foot due to him being barefoot and the ground being hot due to the fire. This makes it look like he desperately needs to go to the bathroom.
    • While many people no doubt found the scene frightening, the part where survivors are portrayed as zombies wandering around aimlessly is a bit too over the top as they're drawn with far too little detail and just look very cheap.
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  • Rooting for the Empire: Averted! Neither the Japanese nor the Americans look very good. Any insults directed towards the "Yankees" are probably done intentionally — it is written in the perspective of the Japanese — and it's not like the characters don't show any contempt towards their own country as well.
  • Signature Scene: The entire three-and-a-half minutes of the terrifying bomb scene, but particularly the part where the first victim, a small girl with a red balloon, is carbonized in the initial blast of the atomic bomb.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Nakazawa seems to care very little for subtlety. The entire setting being about an aftermath of atomic bombings made it a much-needed lesson for the audience to learn.
  • Values Dissonance: Several. Gen's father hits him and his brothers often as a means of discipline, and while it may be somewhat cringe worthy for modern audience, it's made clear that he loves his family and the practice was more acceptable then than now. To some, it may also be how hard Gen's father hits them. (This was fairly typical for western families as well.)
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  • Values Resonance: The manga's scathing criticism about the Imperial Japan's atrocities that befell not only the Japanese people, but the neighboring countries, is still relevant decades later, especially given the Japanese right-wing's constant denial of World War II crimes after the turn of the millennium.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: If you're aware of its graphical violence, it may come as a surprise that this was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, a magazine whose main audience are teenagers.

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