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Watch These 5 WW2 Based Anime To Understand The Horrors And Catastrophes Of One Of The Greatest Tragedies Of Human History

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In case you guys were unaware, today is Nagasaki Day and August 6 was Hiroshima day. I think it goes without saying that World War 2 was one of the biggest tragedies that we as a society have ever faced. The war wiped out complete societies and ruined the lives of generations to come. After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki itself, many generations after the initial victims were born with deformities and in some cases, those effects still remain. I am of the belief that watching and reading stories that tell stories of war victims is important for us to understand the kind of adverse effects something this destructive can cause. So in honour of those fatefully catastrophic days, here is a list of anime based on World War 2 which you must watch:

1. Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓 – Hotaru no Haka)

This is the only Ghibli film I cannot bring myself to rewatch. I promise it will be one of the most beautiful yet devastating movies that you will ever watch. Studio Ghibli created the animation for this Isao Takahata-written and -directed anime. In 1988, Grave of the Fireflies was released. The story is based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s 1967 semi-autobiographical short story of the same name. In Grave of the Fireflies, two siblings in Kobe, Japan, struggle valiantly to survive the last months of World War II. The movie won praise from several renowned reviewers and journalists, including Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times and many others. Isao Takahata, the author, was honoured for his work at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and with the Blue Ribbon Award. It is considered to be one of the best World War II anime of all time.

Also Read: Here Are 12 Anime With LGBTQ+ Themes You Should Be Watching This Pride Month

2. In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅にKono Sekai no Katasumi ni)

The plot centres on Suzu, a young Japanese woman of innocence and talent who lives in Hiroshima and Kure in Japan during World War II. Suzu was employed by a modest family business when a mysterious young guy unexpectedly proposed to her when she was 18 years old. Suzu travelled to Kure after being married, where she joined Shsaku’s family. However, the war against the US was gathering ominous clouds that threatened the common Japanese people. The story covers the devastation brought by war and the individual need to survive through a tragedy so big. It will show you the helplessness that humanity deals with along with the motivation to push through times like this.

3. The Cockpit (ザ・コクピット – Za Kokupitto)

Three episodes of the 1993 anime The Cockpit were adapted from the battle manga stories by Leiji Matsumoto. The three episodes of the anime were created by totally distinct studios. Because of this, even though each episode is set during World War 2, they are all individually drawn and designed. Slipstream, the first episode, features a Luftwaffe pilot who is escorting a German aircraft. The second episode, Sonic Boom Squadron, is just as good as the first. It has excellent carrier-based aircraft combat and follows a suicide pilot who is assigned to fly an aircraft. Episode 3, Knight of the Iron Dragon follows two soldiers as they attempt to reach an air base. You may find this episode least like the others because it doesn’t feature much in the way of aircraft. A personal and depressing message about the futility of war and the sacrifices many Japanese soldiers made for a hopeless cause is conveyed in the last instalment of The Cockpit.

Also Read: First Indian Origin Woman And Britain’s World War 2 Spy, Noor Inayat Khan Gets Commemorated With A Memorial Plaque In London

4. The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ – Kaze Tachinu)

Another brilliant Ghibli movie, The Wind Rises is based on the classic 1937 book The Wind Has Risen by Tatsuo Hori and the serialised manga of the same name that Miyazaki wrote and illustrated for Model Graphix. It follows Jirô Horikoshi’s life, a prominent aircraft engineer who created the “Zero” fighter, a weapon utilised by the Japanese navy in World War II. The life of Jiro’s wife, Naoko, a fictional figure from Hori’s original novel, is also followed in the movie and manga. The novel follows Taishô and Shôwa Japan from the economic troubles of the 1920s through the advent of militarism in the 1930s, and it details the young couple’s tragic fate in the prewar Japanese maelstrom. 

 5. Barefoot Gen (はだしのゲン –  Hadashi no Gen)

Okay people, this one is graphic. So please watch with discretion, you have been warned! A loose adaptation of the Japanese manga series of the same name by Keiji Nakazawa, Barefoot Gen is a 1983 animated war drama film. The movie, which was directed by Mori Masaki and starred Issei Miyazaki, Masaki Kda, and Tatsuya Jo, tells the story of World War II in Japan through the eyes of a young kid. It centres on the events that led up to the bombing of Hiroshima and the main character’s personal encounter with the bomb. The first episode of the series is set in and around Hiroshima, Japan, where the family of six-year-old Gen resides. Gen and the other survivors are left to handle the fallout after the atomic bomb destroys Hiroshima. The narrative is partially based on Nakazawa’s personal experiences as a survivor of Hiroshima.

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