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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Barefoot Gen: Breaking Down Borders

Barefoot Gen, Volume Nine: Breaking Down Borders - Project Gen, Keiji Nakazawa

Breaking Down Borders is another volume in the Barefoot Gen series that meanders a bit too far from the original story. Still more characters are introduced and still new story lines are created. I get it, years after the bomb, the format is much more episodic, focusing on how all these various lives and stories have been shaped by the bomb. The heart of the story gets lost in the mix, however. While earlier volumes were heartbreaking, these are more adventure based. Also, for sake of the story, these later volumes forget some of the details established in earlier volumes. For example, in an earlier volume, Ryuta is taken under the tutelage of Gen's former teacher, Mr. Ohta, but that's all forgotten when it's convenient that Ryuta be without education. There are many similar occurrences and that's just sloppy storytelling. These later volumes could've been left out of the series, or condensed, but one cannot read this far into a series and simply abandon it because it grows lackluster.