Posted on July 11, 2012 AT 11:34am
Hetalia World Series, aka Hetalia Axis Powers, is a fun little anime series that deals with serious political ideas. It pokes fun at the countries of the world and their grab for power but in a humorous and original way. The countries are human rather than actual places. They are given personalities that reflect stereotypes for their particular culture and society. The best way to describe it is like a dorm at an all-boys school and the one thing they all have in common…no one really likes Italy.
It’s a comedy to be sure but hidden in the background is a serious look at politics and political wrangling through the ages. Centered mainly around World War II, it’s all about who is allied with whom and how those allegiances changed. Included in the series are anime “shorts” called “chibitalia”. The chibitalia provides a look at the history of the Hetalia men, though revolving mostly around Italy. In this season Prussia plans to invade Austria’s place, Greece and Japan are starting to get extra friendly, and France has to teach Italy the facts of life, such as they are. Sure, they have added more countries into the mix and while it is fun to watch, it does feel a bit like more of the same. I’d recommend getting the Complete Series set so you don’t feel like you are walking into the middle of a story.
Unfortunately, it tries too hard in places. The humor starts to feel contrived and loses some of it’s value. Some of the jokes just get old. How many times can you really find Italy talking about pasta funny? It would have held on to some of its charm if some new material, humor wise, had been added. Fans of the series will not be disappointed since they are already in love with the characters. If you’re new to the series, start with season 1, Hetalia Axis Powers, so you can develop a love that will hold you through all of the seasons. I don’t dislike the season, it was just underwhelming.
The main story is done in the typical Japanese animation style with pretty decent voice acting. The chibitalia is done in the cutesy, big-eyed Japanese style with the same decent voice acting. Nothing overly remarkable but nothing horrendous either. The background music was well composed and placed. Again, nothing remarkable that would make me run down the street shouting, “this is the best anime ever”, because it is so typical. Nothing really stands out other then the fact the countries are people and it gives a unique perspective on the history of the world.
The DVD version is rated 17+ and has a runtime of 145 minutes. It provides the original Japanese language version as well as the English dubbed. Special Features include:
- Commentary for Episodes 26, 32, 36, 41, & 45
- The Hidden History Hidden Within Hetalia
- “Marukaite Chikyuu”
- America’s Cleaning Storage
- Hetalia in Taiwan Parts 1-2,
- Fan Event in Roppongi
- Special Talk Between Bob Shirihata and Hiroki Yasumoto
- Draw a Circle That’s the Comment Corner
- Interview After the Hetalia Movie Premiere Welcome
- U.S. Cast Interview
- U.S. Trailer
Summary: All in all, it’s a good anime if you aren’t bothered by the political undertones and aren’t easily offended by stereotypes. You have to have a dry sense of humor and a tongue-in-cheek attitude when watching this series.
- THE GOOD: Funny with decent voice acting
- THE BAD: Just doesn’t stand out, too typical
- THE UGLY: Could be offensive to sensitive viewers
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