Synopses & Reviews
"Young Gen Nakaoka has survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and his story picks up as the city tries to reconstruct itself after being destroyed. Gen goes back to school, but he's more interested in rediscovering old friends who went missing soon after the bombing. They deal with the effects of those events by starting a life of crime, one of the few ways to make any money. Gen's mother and older brother deal with food and money shortages elsewhere in the city, as well as the after-effects of radiation. All of this is seen through the innocent eyes of young Gen. He's actually unrelentingly positive for someone who has seen what he's seen. While there's innocence to the book, it is combined with real political sophistication. Gen blames his own country for getting them into WWII and doesn't fall for the patriotism he sees around him. Later, he uncovers misdeeds by the Americans and their research on bodies affected by radiation. Nakazawa was a real-life Hiroshima survivor, and his experiences give this manga classic, originally published in the '70s, a powerful kick, although it reveals its age with Tezuka-inspired designs." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The story of Gen's life after the dropping of the atomic bomb continues.
Volume 5 follows Gen's struggles in postwar Japan, with massive food shortages and horrendous health problems. Gen is forced to choose between making money to support his family or staying in school to be a part of society. His choice is complicated when his old friends reappear as part of a street gang.
There is no help for his mother, save for the costly medicine procured on the black market. Gen becomes entangled with black market gangs and faces an internal struggle of honor, ethics, and duty to resolve his problems.
Nakazawa was a real-life Hiroshima survivor, and his experiences give this manga classic, originally published in the '70s, a powerful kick, although it reveals its age with Tezuka-inspired designs.--"Publishers Weekly." Young adult.