Hibakusha – Comic Book Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Written by: Thilde Barboni
Illustrations: Olivier Cinna
Coloring: Olivier Cinna
Publisher: Dupuis

Hibakusha – Comic Book Review

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Good: Story, Atmosphere
Bad: Not that much information is given
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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Even though the word Hibakusha may sound thrilling and mysterious to us Westerners, it has a rather grim meaning for those living in Japan. Literally translated the word means ‘explosion-affected people’, in this scenario if refers to those who were affected by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The aftermath of these events was horrifying, as there were simply so many people that lost their entire family, were severely injured, were mutilated for life and even those born later were born with deformities and other handicaps that were a direct result of said gruesome attacks. We now dive into a rather unique love story set in the era of the bombings.

Hibakusha Banner

We head back to the year 1945, close to the end of the second World War, and we follow Ludwig, a man who has a wife and a young son, but seemingly feels more alone than ever. While it’s clear he has a loving family, Ludwig is malcontent, and now, thanks to his disability, namely a busted leg, he is able to score a desk-job for the German ‘empire’. He’ll be relocated to Japan, without his family, to translate Japanese texts into German. Even though the war is an omnipotent element all across the globe, Ludwig is suddenly enamored by a random encounter with a Japanese young woman. The woman works as a masseuse (no, not that kind of masseuse) and helps Ludwig relax in his troubled times. Before long, they get closer and closer.

Thilde Barboni, who took care of the story, does so without many words and lets the emotions speak for themselves. It’s clear that Ludwig is malcontent with his current life, and being back in Japan does him good, especially when he encounters the mysterious lady who helps him relax. Overall the flow is hard to explain, as sometimes things feel like they’re going rapid, while other times the story takes its time to unfold accordingly. Even though not that much information is given about the war itself, it feels very much alive in this album.

The illustrations by Olivier Cinna are rather clean, have a reasonable amount of details and often vary between very warm colors and cold colors. Often when Ludwig is enveloped in his work or other items that have to do with the war, the colors turn rather grim and cold, but when he is exploring his newly found love life, things get heated up, and the album does a great job depicting this.


Hibakusha was a very interesting love story, which revolved around a man who already had love in his life, but felt extremely lonely anyway. As expected, this story has a rather sad undertone, but even romanticists will find a certain uplifting story in this bittersweet tale of love, loss and war. If you’re into a one shot story that’s about a lost passion, this one will certainly shine in your comic book collection.

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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Hibakusha - Comic Book Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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