Children of the apocalypse: The atom bomb trauma as a theme in Japanese Anime
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The question of depiction of the explosion of the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a part of a wider problem area of tragedies of such proportions that go beyond what is humanely possible to express. And yet the tragedy of the victims demands to be addressed and described. This is exactly what, many years after the end of the war, the Japanese anime artists are attempting to do. Within the genre of anime one can identify two main approaches to the nuclear attack. One of them, as portrayed in the graphic novel and later a film 'Barefoot Gen', is the report of a survivor - hibakusha - recalling his or her own experience and memories. The second approach to the trauma is to refer purely to the description of the tragedy. This approach is for example taken by authors born after 1945, who came to know of the tragedy solely through literature, documents and film. Their visions, contained in films such as 'Akira', 'Neon Genesis Evangelion', or the 'Wolf brigade', realistically demonstrate the moment of the explosions. By removing the historical background, the artists concentrate on the social and psychological impact of the tragedy, which to this day is present in the collective consciousness of the Japanese people.
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