L.M. Reid is an Irish writer who has published many articles in magazines and online.
Best Japanese Series Comics for adults in English
Barefoot Gen Volumes 1 to 10: This is one of the best Manga Book Series available online. These Manga Books are the story of a young Japanese boy Gen and his family living in Hiroshima. The first volume starts a few months before the Atomic bomb was dropped on the people during World War Two.
The word Manga means comic book in Japanese. But in other parts of the world the word manga means comics written in Japan or by Japanese authors. The Manga comic can be over two hundred pages long and has a series of ongoing stories that continue each week. These stories can be over twenty pages long. The most popular Manga in Japan sells over three million copies a week.
The Barefoot Gen series started out in a serialized weekly format in 1972 and did not end until 1974. It is available now in book form in ten volumes. The first book is Barefoot Gen and we join Gen at six years old. The last book in the series sees Gen as a young man and about to embark on a career as a cartoonist.
The author of this Manga book, Barefoot Gen is Keiji Nakazawa. He survived the Hiroshima Bomb when he was six years old. This story is based on his childhood memories of that time in history in Japan during World War Two. I first read the comic Barefoot Gen on Amazon when the first six pages were free to read online. I enjoyed it so had to buy it.
Barefoot Gen Volume 1
This comic is a really great read. I was surprised that adults read comics but I can understand now. Barefoot Gen Volume 1 is set in Japan in April 1945 during World War Two. This is four months before the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6th August 1945.
We join the family in Hiroshima in these few months before the atomic bomb is dropped. We see how six year old Gen and his family live and survive their daily lives during the war in Japan.
Before The Bomb
They all have to cope and live through their struggles for food and dignity. The young children get on with their daily lives of lack of food, fear and air raids without much complaint. To most of them this is all they remember. But they have also learnt the art of survival willing to fight over any unexpected scraps of food. Gen’s mother is pregnant and she and her unborn baby are suffering the effects of malnutrition. Gen’s father tries to cope with the lack of food and medical help for his wife.
The Nakaoka Family
We see the older son starting the compulsory Navy training and another child sent to the country. This leaves Gen and two children in the city with his parents. There are lots of wonderful moments with the children as they try in their own way to help their parents. There are other themes running through the book such as Gen’s father not agreeing with the war. This in turn makes his neighbors treat him and his family badly.
Six year old Gen is aware of this feeling towards his father and the family but does not understand why. This is the beauty of this and all the Manga comic books. They can be read and enjoyed by all ages.
This Manga book ends when the bomb is dropped on 6th August. I will not go any further and spoil the book for you. It is 284 pages long written in cartoon form in black and white.
Barefoot Gen Volume 2: The Day After
This is the second book in the series. This second book is set as the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima. We see the effects it has on the people in the city and in particular Gen and the rest of the Nakaoka family.
Gen loses some of his family that day but even though he is only six years old he continues to be of support to the rest of his family and survives this horror.
Barefoot Gen Volume 3: Life After the Bomb
The third book in the series sees Gen and his remaining family leave the devastated city of Hiroshima and journey to the country side in search of a relative to stay with. They encounter many horrors on the way.
This is a very moving story of how six year old Gen manages to help his family survive this journey. They end up in a refuge town of Ega and are reunited with some members of the family. After many hardships they return to Hiroshima.
Barefoot Gen Volume 4: Out of the Ashes
The fourth book in the series sees Gen and the surviving children of the city return to school. It shows how seven year old Gen and his family carry on with their lives after the bomb and the end of the war. We read how the occupation of the city by the Allies and other historical events also impact on Gen.
To get all the information you want just click on the Amazon link to each book. This will bring you to their page. You will be able to read 5 pages from that particular book by clicking on the photo to your left. There are excellent reviews from other readers who have already bought the Manga Comic Book you are looking at.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Shey Saints from Philippines on September 12, 2019:
Hi, nice article! Can I find barefoot gen for free in any manga apps?