“The Hard Part Isn’t War- It’s What Comes After” -Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms – 10/10 Sugar Cubes

You’ve got to forget about this civilian. Whenever you drop bombs, you’re going to hit civilians. ~Barry Goldwater

Genre: Historical/ Drama

Review Status: Complete (1 Volume/ 1 Volume)

Licensed: Licensed in the US

Art: Somewhat cartoonish, but in a way that helps- it emphasizes the rural feeling of the story, and also eases the images of the bombing’s aftermath.

Summary: Part 1: Set in 1955, a family from Hiroshima struggles to come to terms with their survival of the atomic bombing of their city. The protagonist is Minami Hirano, about 20 years of age. Part 2: Set some decades later, the niece of Minami Hirano is bewildered by her father’s mysterious disappearances. She and a friend follow him to discover what he is doing. Parts of this story are told in flashback. (From ANN.com)

Review: This manga has two stories- one from the view of someone directly affected by the bombing of Hiroshima, and one from the view of someone who’s still living with the aftermath, even though it’s 30 years after the bombing. Describing this manga is hard- the first is a heart- and- gut wrenching account of something that wasn’t uncommon- a woman who is affected by her memories of the bombing and radiation sickening years after the fact. And her family member who is featured in the second half still has family that questions about what happened and how it affect their health and family to that day.

You are taken into the memories of that day- something that is terrifying. While you are never shown outright gore, it doesn’t seem to matter. The sheer number of bodies, represented as they are by rough sketches, don’t do the descriptions of the aftermath any justice. Even though they’re brief in both images and descriptions, it’s more than enough to convey how horrific those days were. What makes it ring even more true is that those descriptions and characters were drawn from those of survivors of the bombings that the mangaka has interviewed.

This manga has a strong anti-war message, but it’s never overbearing or insistent- it merely shown the effects of what happens afterwards.

Overall, this is an amazing manga. Go out and buy it, read it, and share it.

Recommended: Yes. Share it with your neighbors, share it with your friends. Ten and over, but you should be prepared to sit down with those of a younger set and explain the aftereffects of radiation poisoning and the like.

Other series you might like: Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (live-action movie)
Someday’s Dreamers (anime and manga),
Hotel (manga)
Solanin (manga)


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