Childhood Days

The time of the story.

Shinji (left), his brother and mother, see his father off.

His father warns him that Tokyo will be bombed before long. Apparently he's the only one being sent to the country for safety to stay with relatives. His mother will take him there, though.

His fathers's buckle that was given to Shinji.

They are definitely in the rural part of Japan. The Sea of Japan is to the east and not very far away.

It is undeniably rural in area. The boy running at the bottom had seen Shinji and told a couple other kids, labeling Shinji as "The Tokyo Kid."

Some boys are playing in a shrine. There's a Torii (the gate to the right), and a shrine lantern (to the left.) They watch Shinji and his mother as they pass.

There's a family shrine in the house.

They are welcomed by the relatives.

The uncle who has trouble dealing with city people.

Shinji's got his books set up nicely and the buckle, but they are joined by a member of the local wildlife.

Shinji's school.

The inside fits the normal appearance of Japanese schools, although it's obviously a little run-down. Kids lean out the windows to watch Shinji.

There's a good example of how the classes start here, with the bowing.

Shinji is not the first to take refuge in the country.

His mother returns to Tokyo.

Shinji is introduced to the class captain. The kid, (Ohara) is impressed by the number of books that Shinji has (and he has more at home.)

Shinji reads aloud and then the class captain reads aloud (indicating that there's probably going to be some kind of rivalry between the two. Shinji was class captain in the city). Shortly after one student (outside the class) hits two others in an example of ijime, or bulleying.

Shinji is introduced to Minako who is also in the fifth grade, but she's in an all-girl's class as Shinji is in an all-boy's class.

The other students in the class make fun of him shortly after.

Minako tells Shinji the kids at the school are nasty.

Someone has written "Minako loves Shinji" on the telephone poles.

This will create further problems as only Shinji knows the answer. There is a Japanese saying that "The nail that sticks up is hammered down."

Two boys being punished for something. The students are sent to the hall (or in this case outside) to hold two buckets of water.

Some of the boys confront Shinji.

The other boy acts nice to him at Shinji's home but is nasty to him at school.

The big kids seems to befriend Shinji.

They are taking a bath.

Now the big kid is confronted by the others for trying to make friends with Shinji.

The big kid tells Shinji he can't talk to him anymore. The bully has Shinji tell him stories and he ends up telling them to other kids. (Somehow the Count of Monte Cristo, the story he's telling, ends up with samurai in it.)

Winter comes and he's still telling stories.

One of the kids has found out that teacher and student refugees from Tokyo will be coming before long. He interrupts Shinji who is telling yet another story.

The refugees arrive and there's quite a few of them.

The group wants to test Shinji's loyalty by having him do something to the new kids from Tokyo. When he refuses the leader slaps him.

Shinji goes to town to pick up a parcel of his books from Tokyo. The bully rides a bike to get to him (reason unknown at this time of the movie.)

Some kids confront him and ask him if he knows Ohara (the bully). When he says he does they tell him to follow them.

The bully arrives in time and saves Shinji from the attack.

The two boys get a photo taken of them.

In Tokyo, Shinji's mother and brother go for an air raid shelter when the sirens sound.

The boys are receiving martial arts training. Note the drawings of Churchill and FDR.

They're shown newsreel footage just as people in the U.S. were watching newsreel footage.

The boy with the glasses at the right is the kid who was vice-captain and out sick. Ohara (the bully) wants Shinji to keep his position as vice-captain. Shinji tries to quit the position but Ohara won't let him.

Minkao visits.

Shinji walks Minako home. Notice the lighthouse in the background, and the paper lantern that Minako is holding.

Shinji refuses to tell any more stories, no longer wanting to be a flatterer to the class bully.

Shinji visit Sudo who is now the class vice-captain after Shinji went against Ohara and quit the position.

Sudo talks to him about Ohara.

Apparently there's an entire group with Sudo that opposes Ohara.

Futoshi wants Shinji to tell him a story but notes the danger involved.

Futoshi's sister was going to have sex with the guy when Futoshi spoke up.

Futoshi's sister's boyfriend got drafted. She tried to get him to stay and her father beat her up for that.

Apparently an attempt will be made to attack Ohara the next day.

The showdown.

In a well co-ordinated move they push the desks to surround Ohara, trapping him. Futoshi gets on top of the desks and attacks (Ohara had beaten up him on a regular basis.)

They then take Ohara outside and have kids hit him. Shinji hits him twice.

Now Ohara is on the outside.

Ohara quits as class captain and nominates Shinji, but Shinji says Sudo should be the captain, but the teacher says Sudo is not fully recovered from his illness and Shinji will be the new captain.

Ohara gets to school and he's in pretty bad shape. The teacher doesn't believe his excuse that he fell. The teacher tells them that their bodies are dedicated to the country and they shouldn't hurt them in silly fights.

Shinji wants to talk to Ohara but he won't talk to Shinji.

Sudo and some of the others beat up Futoshi since he had said he was the boss in the class.

Shinji tries to get Sudo to lay off of Ohara.

The town near where Shinji had been sent is bombed.

The B-29's fly overhead.

Shinji gets the news about Japan's defeat.

Futoshi's sister's boyfriend survived and is returning.

Shinji's mother arrives just as a male adult is being beaten up for saying he's glad the war is over.

Kenji leaves the belt buckle he likes so much for Ohara.

Even mothers can be wrong.

Shinji and his mother are returning to Tokyo.

The train pulls out of the station.

Ohara runs to catch the train and Kenji sees him.

It's hard coming to an opinion about this movie. It's interesting, definitely. It seems to be more about bullying than anything else and it seems, to me, that most of the characters do not really mature during the film, leaving you with a sense of "that's not much really accomplished" by watching the movie.

It's one of those that not much of anything really positive or good happens during the movie, which makes it sort of a downer as was Grave of the Fireflies. Watch it if you don't have anything else you'd want to watch more at the time.

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