This is a love story set in the wrong time and the wrong place. Ludwig is German and she is Japanese. They pledge themselves to each other forever in Hiroshima, in 1945. Ever since then, hibakusha has been the name given to survivors of the American nuclear attacks on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, forevermore witnesses to horror.
But beyond History, its vagaries, its tragedies and heartbreaks, this book asks questions about what comes next… What is left of a man’s life, his commitments, his shortcomings, his mistakes? What remains of his emotions, his friendships, his loves? Taking brilliant inspiration from the short story by the author Thilde Barboni, Olivier Cinna’s sensual linework and delicate palette make Hibakusha into a visual ode to everlasting love.
This short story written by Thilde Barboni and illustrated by Cinna is a profound novel with equal amounts of sensuality and realism. It is a graphic manifesto to remind us all of the history, to remind us all of the time when humanity got lost and to remind us of the time when innocent lives were compromised over war and politics, a time of barbarism.
Ludwig, a German by birth and a Japanese translator/interpreter by profession, is a troubled man with a family. He never found love in his wife and had no affection or whatsoever for his son. He goes to Hiroshima during the war time period on orders of the government. He meets his old friend on the way and as he reaches Hiroshima, he proceeds to do his job, no questions asked. He meets the love of his life , a familiar face he might have known somewhere from a figment of his imagination or a dream..
The author has tried to portray the contradictory nature of man. Ludwig, who never cared, who never wanted to risk his life at any point of time in his life, who took his disability as a positive since it exempted him from enlisting in the military, decides to walk on the path of morality and chooses to disown his neutrality. He stands up to fight for what’s right. Did love change him afterall? Did love inject that compassion in him? That’s something that wandered in my mind as I read his development.
A terrible father and a troubled husband is also portrayed as a forgiving friend and a passionate lover. But on top of it all, he is portrayed as a soldier who fought without arms.
The book is a representation of survival, that not only encompasses the human survivors but also the memories that still linger on. This book is a Hibakusha in itself and I loved it very much.
The art/illustration is so colorful and only adds to the beauty of the story and is so aesthetically pleasing.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Europe Comics