WMG / Axis Powers Hetalia Hetaliaverse

When a Nation-tan is about to disappear, it becomes human.

First some canon base: Himaruya said in one of his notes that Germany had other siblings (namely Saxony, Bavaria, Holstein, and so on) and that they simply passed the baton to Germany and then either retired, lived on their territories without visiting anyone anymore, or slowly faded away. Thinking about it, it kinda makes sense: when a nation stops existing, either by conquering or political change they lose whatever magical trait they have that makes them age differently. Then they become normal humans and start aging from there. If, for example, England disappeared as a nation at, say, 23 years old (nation-tan age, not actual age of course), he'd then continue aging year by year (next year, he'd be 24) and be now exposed to die by wounds, sickness, old age and everything else that can kill normal people.
  • That would also explain why Prussia is still around despite technically not existing anymore, he may have actually aged, but being as awesome as he is, it doesn't show.
    • This has been kind of my headcanon for a while now. My own reasoning being that in the Chibitalia strips, Rome is shown as an old man after running off with Italy when the empire fell.
  • This seems to have been confirmed. In the Micronation event it was said that Nikko Nikko was now a normal Japanese citizen and would grow old like other people; however it did say that it would be harder for bigger countries to "revert back to normal people" (which sort of implies that they were originally human too).
    • Jossed, in that it was revealed in the 2013 Halloween Event that Nikko Nikko was originally a human who turned himself into a nation somehow, and he turned back into a human later (it's implied that it was because he stopped aging and his health depended on the economy). Japan was shocked at how a human became a nation, so the nations weren't originally humans.

Barjona Bombers and Advance! Kitakou Broadcasting Club are set in the same universe as Gakuen Hetalia.

All of the main characters in Himaruya's ealier series also represents certain administrative units (Japan's cities and prefectures) but does it in a less direct way than Hetalia. Therefore, it is possible that this is an extention of the High School A.U., with the focus being Japan's various prefectures. In the main Hetalia universe, the characters shown in those series lack their human names and are direct personifications of the places that they represent. (Yamato is Nara and Miyako is Owari, etc.) The versions of Noto and Yamato appearing in the deleted Christmas strips are the main Hetalia universe versions of them, meaning they are actually Prefecture-tans intruding on a party for Nation-tans. They went unrecognized because Japan was not present at the time.
  • Jossed, in the Hetalia Bloodbath 2010 Himaruya introduced a different Osaka, though Himaruya even Lampshaded the similarities between him and a character in one of those universes.

The nations are a separate race.
  • This explains why they seem to age so oddly, and are seen among other people as well. A new one is "born" every time a new nation is, or will soon be, created.

The nation-tans are born from the land itself.
  • It's not logical (as far as you can consider APH logical) that the nation-tans would have parents in flesh and blood or themselves give birth as this puts up some serious questions:
    • What about Nations that would have more than 2 parents? (Example: America being a conglomeration of several colonies)
    • The so very plausible Mpreg, anyone?
      • Or if the nations could pull off a momentary sex change (male -> female and back), why is it never mentioned?
    • Where are the mothers?
      • The very few girls/women in Hetalia would have to pregnant non-stop if they'd have to be the mothers for all the countries unless we have a few bridges suddenly dropped on us
      • If the mothers are humans, why are they never mentioned? I mean, giving birth to nation should be somehow honoured?
    • What about countries whose exact "birthday" isn't known? Not every country has a grandious day of foundation recorded by several documents, many just get somewhere along the line a mention that they have been existing.
    • We never see babies, only little kids/chibis that are already walking and talking
  • By looking at the nation-tans as incarnations born by the very land they represent as soon as people start to think of it as a separate political-social entity (just imagine them waking up one day laying on the ground somewhere in the middle of their countries, no one else around them and with no recollection of how they came to be or rather "awaken" for the first time like children aorund the ages of 5 do) you get those questions out of the way
    • As to why they refer to each other with family relationships: similar land will bear similar people
      • Example: Switzerland and Liechtenstein looking similar as they both were born by the alps, so to speak, and the two Italies look like twins since they represent each one half of the Italian peninsula
    • Older nations can, by influencing through culture and occupation, those that live there and thus be "the creators = the father/mother", sometimes even adopting their "creations" as children or grandchildren
      • Example: Greece refers to Ancient Greece as his mother since she occupied the land before him, making her his predecessor and founder of his culture
      • Another example: when America/Alfred was discovered, the nation-tans around him (France, England and ?) tried to find out whom he looked like the most to know by whom he was influenced the most and thus who was his "creator"
    • When a nation-tan dies, he/she just gets slowly absorbed back by the land, which would explain the slow fading of the old cultures instead of a sudden death
    • The nation-tans cannot be killed by physical means (ever tried to kill earth with a sword?) as there would no wars if they could and they will not age at all or at least not at the same pace as humans as they are rather a combination of land and an idea

Nations can only die if...
1) their capital is destroyed, or 2), they collapse
  • So, does that make America and Canada immortal, since they have multiple capitals? (I'm talking about the state/province capitals as well.)
    • No. In case you didn't notice, every country has states/provinces/etc., which would make this entire WMG obsolete.
  • What do you mean by 'destroyed?' As in conquered or just in general, e.g, fires.
    • In that case shouldn't America and Denmark be dead as their capitals were burned to the ground by the British? Washington in 1814 and Copenhagen in 1807.
  • I'd think it would be a combination of things, not just something as simple as having their capital destroyed. It's happened plenty of times before and clearly those nations are still about. There would need to be a lot of internal struggles and conflicts to weaken the nation, similar to how all the different kingdoms in the HRE fighting amongst one another made HRE incredibly sick, combined with maybe stresses of war, but then they would need to be finished off by one of their own - in other words killed by another nation.

Nation-tans exist.
They are just like ordinary citizens; even throughout their immortality and their participation in historical events, nobody singles them out. The only people who know them are other Nation-tans and the leaders of the nations. It's a well-kept secret.
  • It also seems that they have varying jobs for different times. Such as Russia having to dig a canal, or America saying something about upgrading his factory parts.
  • Other Nation-tans, the leaders of the nations (or rather the government officials of the nations) and Himaruya.
  • If that's the case, then England must be writing songs for a certain British Power Metal band
    • Sweden's the historical consultant and sometimes backup singer for a certain Swedish Power Metal Band, and the reason why he mumbles is that if he talked in his normal voice, you might recognize his voice in some of said band's songs.
  • And they're all in hiding when not working. Why? Because all of the Fangirls would attack them if they weren't.

The nation-tans are gods/demi-gods.
They're immortal (or something like it), they're present at ANY historical event that requires their participation, no matter how difficult it would be to transport themselves there, and some of their miscellaneous traits can be neatly accounted for (Russia's ability to be nigh-perpetually hammered and still have a functioning liver, for example). Taking a page from American Gods - pun not intended - they can only die once their nation has stopped exerting major influence over the rest of the world. This explains why Grandpa Rome could age and die after the empire collapsed. The same thing could (conceivably, mind you) happen to Prussia, and probably happened to Mother Egypt and Mother Greece as well. (General Winter, who may be the embodiment of all the ancient Eurasian/Slavic nomads, still exists because of Siberia and its people.)
  • I figure something similar, since they seem to just appear once certain conditions are met as in the strip where Finland and Sweden find America (the person). They seem to be intrinsically linked to the condition of their nation and people, getting sick when the economy goes bad, acquiring psychiatric problems when their people suffer (like Russia cracking on Bloody Sunday and going completely insane during the Bolshevik Revolution) and suffer injuries proportional to the scale of battles (China's scar from the Sino-Japanese war). World leaders could conceivably treat them as a 'national barometer', watching their health and interactions for clues on what to do. So it would still fall on the presidents and prime ministers and monarchs to interpret the daily goings on of nigh-immortal spirit people. Stalin was just really, really sadistic. Poor Ivan.
  • And the next child of the Big Three to reach sixteen will be...Latvia! Or perhaps he's too old, but I'd hate to see Olympus' fate in the hands of Sealand...
    • xD Latvia's fifteen. We're safe. Well, safeish. Is omniphobic Latvia really better than genki kid Sealand?
    • Alternatively, they're Principalities.
    • Or they're AnthropomorphicPersonifications powered by the power of belief. That's why they use so many national stereotypes—who they are is determined by what we humans believe they're like. When no one's around to believe in them, they die, consigned only to the realm of history.

The series takes place in two different worlds/dimensions/what have you.
The characters are shown interacting with citizens and the bosses of their nation, but also in some other random dimension where they don't have to walk hundreds of thousands of miles to, say, interrupt England's embroidery fun. The fact that their houses represent their nation's land, but each nation is also shown in actual places, taking part in historical events, also supports this. In essence, their collective houses are akin to the Mount Olympus of Greek mythology, and our world either works in tandem with this other dimension or is directly affected by the activity there (or vice-versa). This provides a reasonably sane reason for the character's both representing their entire country and acting as a normal human would during an event (Cleaning Out The Storage, for example).

Axis Powers Hetalia isn't about the personifications of some countries, but how these countries really are.
They love to joke about their populations as part of their own personality traits, and Japan is one hell of a Yandere, for causing earthquakes and stuff. The characters that appear are few and more important, since it's a retelling of older times, but it's suggested that everybody else will appear, sooner or later. Oh, and USA wants to screw badly with Iraq, but he's against gay sex. Afghanistan is a girl (Afghanis-tan), and she is still crying for what USA did to her. France is still one hell of a nymphomaniac, and Argentina is so uppity that the only explanation is that he's a Tsundere with an Embarrassing First Name.
  • But, then how does Afghanis-tan feel about America's kindhearted-yet-physically identical brother who's helping her rebuild?
    • She doesn't notice him, like everyone else.

The Nation-tans all have Babel Fish stuffed in their ears.
  • They seem to be capable of understanding and speaking all languages, and who's to say that Tony doesn't have an unlimited supply...
    • So long as Japan doesn't try to salt and eat them all.
    • Or alternatively...

The dubs represent how that particular nation hears everyone else.
The original Japanese dub is how Japan hears everyone, English is America, etc.

One or more characters is a Time Lord.
More on the Time Lord WMG page.

The reason you hardly ever see the Tans for provinces, states, etc. is because...
They do exist, but they usually travel around with the personification of their country ala Party in My Pocket. It's very rare that they separate to do anything.

The World of Hetalia Is About the Same Size as Pluto.
  • Same as our world- just smaller. I thought of this because....well, the characters or countries personified, they are the world: literally. I figured the very "Earth" they stand on should be different in scale.
    • The Tans are their populations, their homes are the land masses. But, by the nature of symbolism, what is symbolizing doesn't have to be the same size as what it symbolizes.

Every Hetalia Nation-Tan Can Speak Fluent Latin. Everyone.
  • Fans have speculated that the characters speak a universal language that was translated into Japanese: "Hidekazian", or just understandable gibberish. (Or possibly the Babel Fish theory, see above). I has concluded: Latin. It is the language used with scientific terminology, all around the world. I think it may even justify with Korea, Japan, China, all the rest of the Asean Sensasean, even though their languages don't root from any European- Germanic or Latin- languages. Or maybe...just maybe...they listened to their hearts...and understood.

Marukaite Chikyuu is some sort of magical song that Nation-tans suddenly sing out of nowhere when they turn into a more developed country.
In episode 48 the anime, when Austria and Hungary hear Chibitalia (well... practically full grown Italy by then) singing this song, they become concerned about it for no apparent reason and go over to check on him, only to find that he has grown up. His voice even changes. Maybe when moving on to the next stage of... nationhood?... randomly singing this song is one of the symptoms. Singing "Marukaite Chikyuu" intentionally without anything really happening seems like it's exclusive to the ending credits only, and so far that one incident seems to be the only time any of the Nation-tans sing it in the actual storyline. (correct me if I'm wrong though...)
  • How would you explain Prussia's version, then? It seems he waited until modern day, namely after he heard Germany's version, before trying his hand at it. By that point, he'd been around near 800 years, had grown to maturity, and had become a few different nations. Considering it's an anime that stands behind the practice of Only Six Faces, doesn't it stand to reason there would only be one song as well?
    • You have a point with Prussia. And you're talking about the different versions of "Marukaite Chikyuu", right? I like to think of it as the fact that when a song is translated into another language the words change around to fit the language better. They may sound like they're all speaking Japanese to the viewer but they're probably like Pokemon: they speak differently but still understand each other.
      • Perhaps I'm tired, I'm not understanding. What exactly does Translation Convention have to do with the theory presented? I was saying that, if it's sung by all of them when they 'become a nation', why would Prussia seem intrigued by it in modern day (after he'd become many different nations), and only try it after the character who refers to him as an elder brother did it as an adult (long after Germany, as well, had become a nation)? If we take Prussia's official MKC as canon, there would need to be some serious explanation for this theory to work.
    • Well, Prussia has been alot of things. Right now, he's east Germany. He has one because everyone else did, and he wanted one. Notice how he doesn't quite know some of the words and how it doesn't follow the pattern the others do? It's because he's not ready to sing it yet. Like you said, he's been a few different nations. And he'll be a few more. In the beginning of his song, he's listening to everyone else's. It seems to me he was thinking "Where the hell am I? I'm more awesome than they are! Where's my song?" and decided to make one. Maybe he has a bunch that have been lost because things changed since then or he learns more and more of the words as it gets closer to modern times.
  • I disagree. I think that Marukaite Chikyuu is just a nation-tan's way of saying "This is who I am, and this is what I stand for." I think it's important that Veneziano sang it when his voice was changing, because that's when he was mature enough to know himself well enough to sing his own version of Marukaite Chikyuu.

Hetalia is a Model United Nations conference that went severely Off the Rails.
The delegates got bored, and things got silly.
  • Explain Sealand, then.
    • That little brother who sneaks in and tries to join in with his older brother while not-so-subtly demanding they leave already?
  • One of the Italies was probably some minor nation like San Marino, before deciding that representing San Marino was totally uncool and declared himself half of Italy. While it'd make more sense for Feliciano to do it, since San Marino is surrounded by North Italy, it'd probably be more in character for Lovino to make the claim.
  • Likewise, Gilbert did one of two things: either the same as above, represented some minor nation that is uncool and declared himself Prussia, or (and this is considering the Prussia=East Germany theory is correct) the Model UN takes place pre-unification, Gilbert represents the GDR (while Ludwig represents the FRG), and he just fails history forever.
  • And yes, it is quite possible that they both just represent the country they're from, since usually there's more than one representative at the UN (and the Model), but hell, if we've got to think of an explanation for certain countries, why not make it fun?

There are -tans for every major political unit
We see this in the existence of Sealand-tan, among others. The nation-tans are the leaders of clans of state/province/prefecture -tans. Thus if we were able to take a more detailed look at say America-tan's family, we would find California-tan, New York-tan, Texas-tan, Virginia-tan, Florida-tan, Utah-tan, etc. A lot of the nation-tan's meetings are really discussions on how what their clan's member-tans want to do (like Ontario-tan wants to send oil to Texas-tan and Louisiana-tan for refining), but since the nation-tans are so damn bizarre Hilarity Ensues.
  • This would make sense, since some fans like to postulate that "nations" are the embodiment of the people's idea of a nation rather than the embodiment of arbitrary lines in the sand. Hence, there could be a Quebec-tan living in Canada's basement, or certain countries without a national identity (such as certain third-world countries) may be portrayed differently than other nations. Of course, America's glasses representing Texas may throw this right out the window...
    • Quebec has already been personified, and his very birth and development seems to be something that bothers Canada enough to keep him awake at night.
      • Actually no, that was just a nightmare Canada had.
    • Fun Historical Fact: After America peacefully annexed the Republic of Texas, it proceeded to get into a war with Mexico over the rightful ownership of Texas. (Specifically the land between the Rio Grande and the Natchez Rivers.) As a part of peace treaty after the war, America annexed much of the modern day American West. Manifest destiny, the belief that it was America's destiny to manifest itself across the width of North America, or from Sea to Shining Sea, was fulfilled. With that goal out of the way, America started looking to the world at large rather then just what was there on it's doorstep. Therefore, America's geopolitical vision was corrected from shortsighted to average, and without Texas this would not have happened (at least, not in this way or as quickly). That's how I interpret the whole "The Glasses Represent Texas", at any rate.
      • I is in love with the above Troper's mind. Now, I'd love to hear your interpretation of Canada's glasses, since I still haven't figured out their purpose, yet.
      • Canada has the opposite problem. Since Canada retained it's identity as a subject of the British Empire, he was more focused on helping his brothers then himself. After being made an independent country in the Commonwealth as a reward for helping England in WWII (who declared Canada "a fully grown nation" after seeing him, Australia and New Zealand fight like men possessed against the Axis), Canada got glasses as a part of becoming a sovereign nation so that he would start looking after his own affairs. Of course, now instead of being just a part of the Empire, he's overshadowed by America and can quite clearly see that, leading to his particular neurosis. (I wrote the above entry on Texas and this is my best shot at explaining Canada. My regiment (8th CA, TXSG) traces it's lineage back to the battle of San Jacinto, and my company's CO is a history teacher in his civilian life, so military history is a big thing for us. Really opens your eyes after you get over all the Hollywood History that ends up being fed to you...)
      • That. Is. Awesome. I was going to just say that Canada's glasses just represented the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (given to him by Ukraine), but I like your theory way more.
      • Huh. So America is near-sighted and Canada is far-sighted. Head canon acquired.
      • As Texas once existed as its own independent nation and thus would have a Nation-tan, Texas probably GAVE America those glasses.
      • Maybe he lives in the glasses (absorbed into America), and could theoretically transform back and forth? Perhaps that's how all the territories exist with Nation-tans?
      • "Alright Florida, I have a date tonight."
    • Chibi Prussia was supposedly the embodiment of the Teutonic Knights.

A Nation is not only powered by the beliefs of his own culture
Rather, if we follow the "each nation is a representation of his people's beliefs" theory, then it's not only a people's own beliefs that shape the Nation. The concept of the nation is also influenced in part by how others view the country: that's why the nations are represented by stereotypes! It's because of how others view them that they take on their shape as-seen by other nations! It's also how the relationships between the nations are personified; they're influenced by how the other nation's people see them just as much as they are influenced by their own nation. That's why a country like Canada, with so many citizens who are patriotic and angry over their nation's representation, is still seen as "invisible" to others - it's how the rest of the world sees Canada! Just like how America is represented as having elements of Type-2 Eagle Land; whilst many Americans probably wouldn't see themselves that way, others would.
In short, each Nation is represented by the beliefs of the world society at the time. Influenced largely by their own nations' beliefs, culture, and viewpoints... but also influenced externally by the stereotypes believed and imprinted on the nation by other cultures and their people. England may not see himself as anything other than prude, but France is more than willing to point out what other people think of England's sexual achievements. It gives the lyrics to Germany's Image Song "Einsamkeit (Loneliness)" a tragic angle when you realize how he looks at other nation's stereotypes of him and he comments how the reasons behind his cultural quirks are different from what others guess ("I may appear stern, but only because I'm straining to laugh")... The concept of a "nation" isn't just based on how the people see themselves - it never has been. It has always been influenced, at least in part, by how that nation presents itself to the world, and how they respond to it, whether even the nation is recognized. Humans are affected by how other view us, we in our own ways are influenced by these expectations, so why should nations be any different?
  • The Imaginationland entry on the Fridge Brilliance: Western Animation page was the influence for this WMG, especially in how they describe the "fictional" Jesus as not being the same as the real portrayal of the person he was IRL - other culture's views of him would be different and seen as fictional compared to Western Christians. Why can't it be the same for Nations?

The Hetaliaverse was a 'dry run' for our world
So maybe an unfathomably long time ago, God thought it would be cool to make a world in ways x, y, and z. However, He wasn't sure if He'd end up with a fantastic work of art or a big fat mess, so He decided to crudely model the future history in advance, using a much, much smaller scale than the final product. Hence, the nation-tans came to be and unwittingly forecast an exponentially bigger future. One might even theorize that after the 'tan's deaths or disappearances, they were reincarnated as their real life counterparts.

Who is controlling whom?
We've seen both sides of the coin. We've seen nations bowing to the will of their bosses, and we've also seen them acting independently of their bosses (such as the Italian Wars, the War of Austrian Succession, etc...) So who's really pulling the strings? Discuss.
  • I always thought of it as the nation-tans being personifications of the countries, so while the leaders technically outrank them anywhere but a democratic republic, the nation-tans are still more powerful. For example, Germany was just going along with "[his] boss" in WWII, with some reservations but not enough to actually outright refuse, in the same way enough of the population of the country went along with things that we still refer to Germany's actions in the war as "Germany's actions in the war". However, one of the Eastern Europe-tans (Russia? I was only able to read part of that arc, and don't remember much of it) joined in on a historically successful revolution against the leader, because in hindsight the leader would be and had been deposed. Think of it as a manager-client relationship. The manager runs everything, but the client can fire (or if firing doesn't work, punch out) the manager, since the manager's only power is being able to shill the client's talents, and it's easier for the "client" to get a new leader than for the "manager" to take over a new country.
    • That makes a lot of sense and seems to fit with canon. Head canon acquired.
    • It fits with a theory that I had: basically, since the nations represent the people, the degree of control a boss has over a nation is proportional to the control he/she has over the population. Thus, a democratic country has the Boss serving as a manager who the nation advises as needed, whilst a despotic state has the leader control everyone, nation and people alike. This extends to intelligence work: anything that's not officially acknowledged by the government, or is hidden from the people, is unknown to the nation. Thus, from America's perspective, Area 51 rally doesn't exist, since his boss won't tell him, and so he's confused by that dichotomy, since his people are pretty aware of it anyway, sort of like when his boss told him that "it was a weather balloon, not a UFO."

This series was not originally supposed to be so homoerotic.
America was originally supposed to be female, per the real life use of feminine pronouns in reference to America. However, Executive Meddling put the kibosh on that plan because they didn't want Japan to get beaten by a girl. As this rendered relationships with America incredibly Ho Yay laced, they decided to go the whole nine yards with additional characters and make the whole series like that.
  • America was male and Ho Yay-rific long before executives thought that they might like to meddle in the series.
  • It's true that there were quite a few countries that were originally going to be female but were changed to male in production. Whether it's Executive Meddling or not, I don't know. However, I highly doubt any of the Allies and Axis were going to female at first, at all. Some people in Real Life think of their country as a beautiful woman, like a ship, but I don't think it has an influence on Himaruya's decision. If it did, Russia would be a MILF.
  • You do realize that this is a webcomic and as such it had no Executive Meddling until the anime came around, right?
  • Many, many nations are referred to as female. If this theory were correct, who wouldn't be a girl?

All nation-tan's are pansexual
Even Sweden, especially since it's stated that he only likes Finland. They're personifications of countries. They must be ready to make treaties, get married, and be nice with other countries, no matter their gender.
  • But an alliance doesn't have to be romantic/sexual in nature, unless it's played for laughs. I mean, when Japan, Germany, and Italy signed the Tripartite Pact under the kotatsu, they weren't exactly having a threesome...unless...

The Nation-tans don't really have human names
They just recently chose human names to use as a cover-up. Sure in the past we've seen humans refer to the nation-tans by their nation name, but then the nations were relatively safe from humans. There weren't things such as bombs around that could blast a country apart, so in those times it didn't matter if anyone knew that was a nation walking around or not. However, ever since the W Ws, and the invention of nuclear weapons, nations now have to be very wary. Especially with terrorism. Imagine how much trouble would occur if terrorists realized that they could attack one nation-tan and destroy that nation as a result? At least if a nation-tan is alive there's always a chance for the country and culture to survive no matter what damage occurs to the landmass. Think about it, we haven't seen any human call a nation-tan by their nation name in the modern strips. The only one was the old book store owner that Germany sees, but considering his age the book store owner could very well be a veteran, thus knew Germany back when they were fighting in war together. On the other hand, we've seen America being called "Alfred" in a commercial; if his people were still calling him America then why did he need to use an alias? Surely they would know who their nation was if he appeared on TV, so why would he even need to use the fake name? It's because his people don't know that he's the embodiment of their nation, much like other people don't know who their own nation-tans are. Only the government and military personal know who the nation-tans are, because the government needs to keep an eye on the nation-tans to be able to know if there's any problems in their lands, and the military have to protect the nation-tan so the must know who to protect. Everyone outside of that just sees them as regular people though, thus they need fake human names to blend in.
  • This has sort of been this troper's head-canon for a while, although said head canon has the human names being used for convenience as well as protection (after all, there's going to be times when they have to deal with humans and they can't be bothered explaining the whole nation thing). Also, points to France for hiding in plain sight.
    • This troper loves France for hiding in plain sight but hates his human name...why be "Francis" if he could've been "François"?
      • Maybe he is François, but simply anglicized his name for some people. We all know America would be too stupid to pronounce "François" properly.
      • "Francis" is a legit French version of the name. It's from Latin, not English.

The nation-tans cannot be killed.
At least, not directly. The only way one could be killed would be by completely destroying their country. They do seem to get on relatively well, considering that most of the major characters have, at various times, been at war with the others. If they'd actually been trying to kill each other, you'd think there'd be a lot more tension than there is. Italy and France are still having phone conversations during WW2! It would also explain why they're all still alive when they seem to fight on the front lines. When they shoot at each other, they're just trying to injure the other, but they know they can't actually kill them.
Admittedly, it's stated in a character profile that Germania 'delivered the fatal blow' to Roman Empire, but that could be interpreted as delivering the blow to the Roman Empire itself, not the actual person (I'm not strong on this area of History, so if that can be verified or shown wrong...). Alternatively, since Rome was shown to have aged after taking Italy and running off, the blow may have come after he started to age - something which rather suggests that he'd lost his position as a nation-tan by this point.
I also know England 'died' once, but since America was able to bring him back just by insulting him, he can't have really been that dead.
Really, I can't see that the nation-tans are able to be killed physically, considering how many battlefields they must have been on over the centuries. China was stabbed in the back, and he survived. Seriously, look at that scar. There is no way he should have survived that.
  • Or alternatively, they can get "killed" only to come back to consciousness after a short while. They could only really die if (in addition to above), their people are sufficiently broken or some cataclysmic event simply wipes out the country.
    • This KHR crossover presented a great theory as to why the Nations can't die: According to the author, a nation only well and truly 'dies' if there is not a single living person that recognizes him/herself as a citizen of that country. That also reasons out as to why 'dead' nations (Read: Prussia) are still around and kicking: A nation 'dies' when their identity has been erased from their citizens' minds. As for 'dead nations' like the Ancients Egypt and Greece: as their empires fell, their people identified more and more to their modern equivalents, and thus their life and position in the Hetalia world was shifted to their sons. As for Grandpa Rome, since a great majority of his landmarks and cultures are still widely invoked by the Italy Brothers, he exists, but only just, as does Prussia. No one truly identifies with Germania anymore, that's why you only see him with Grandpa Rome. In a nutshell, the citizens act like the Nation-tans' Horcruxes, once they're all dead, then the nation-tans can finally die.
    • The only problem with this theory is that Rome said he got permission from God to come down to see Italy (or he snuck away from God, I can't remember; anyway, God was mentioned in such a context). So he was pretty much dead and in Heaven, or wherever country spirits go when they die.
      • He got "permission". The last panel was God tied up.
  • Another similar theory states that humans can't kill Nations, but other Nations can. It still takes a hell of a lot to kill a whole Nation even as a Nation.

The early history of Great Britain...
...went as follows:
In Celtic times there was one nation-tan for the entire island. He was then forced up north by Rome, and became Scotland. Around this time a second nation-tan appeared, who represented Roman Britain. After Rome left and the Saxons invaded, he retreated into a relatively small part of the island and became Wales. And around this time England appeared. The Viking invasions then caused England to become the subject of a joint custody agreement.
As for the Norman invasion... Normandy could have had a personification. He took custody of England and for a while essentially took on the role of the England nation-tan (because actual England was still a child). He probably passed away quite peacefully sometime later, and England (by this point an adult or at least a teenager) quietly took his rightful role back.
  • It depends as to whether or not Normandy got a personification. Considering how different the Franco-Viking Normans were from mainstream French culture during the early years, I'd say there probably was. However, he likely acted as a big brother figure to England, much like England would later do for America, rather than taking over directly. As for Scotland, I doubt he had the whole island - the southern Celts were Britons (sometimes called P-Celts) while the Gaels (Q-Celts) were in Scotland and Ireland. There was, perhaps, a Proto-Celtic personification (similar to Germania?) who fathered all the Celtic nations, with a Gaelic child or children who became Ireland and Scotland (North Ireland and Man are up in the air), and a Brythonic child who became Southern Britain (modern England and Wales), later Roman Britannia. Then, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (who were all very similar) came along, bringing with them either child England (Angleland), or a collection of tribal-tans that became the Heptarchy, with either England emerging from them, or either Mercia and/or Wessex rising to the position.
    • This troper's head canon is that kiddie England appeared in the 7th century when Edwin of Northumbria was declared overking of most of what is now England and that it was in fact Deira, aka south Northumbria (who in my head is something like two parts Denmark to one part Prussia in the personality department) who found him. This was followed by centuries of ickle Iggy getting passed around from one kingdom to another as power shifted, finally ending up in Wessex's care until the Norman conquest.
    • Northern Ireland probably didn't show up until a lot later. According to the other wiki the first Celts on the Isle of Man were probably Brythonic, but then it seems to have been sort of made more Gaelic by "the Irish invasion". Manx is closer to the Gaelic languages than it is to Welsh... so I guess that one depends on when you think the nation-tan would have appeared (if you think the Isle of Man has a nation-tan).
    • In that case, it sounds like Man was a portion of England or Wales that was taken by Scotland and Ireland at some point (just like Corsica / Italy's Nipple), and was simply never reintegrated back into anyone. Officially, it's got its own parliament as is not considered a part of any constituent UK country - or a part of the UK proper, it's something like a Crown Dependency. I now have an image of Scotland, North Ireland, and England occasionally arguing over a nipple or something that's been placed on a fireplace mantel in their house (It's mine! No wai!). As for North Ireland, it depends on when he appeared. Is he the incarnation of pre-Irish-unification Ulster? Or did he appear in the '20s?
      • Er... I think I prefer the thought of Man being a person. I know England and Scotland fought over the island a lot, so maybe he'd be a little brother caught in a tug-of-war? (Historically, I'm not sure if he'd be older than England... but I like him as a little brother.) My headcanon on Northern Ireland is that they appeared some time before Ireland declared independence (the political views of the two parts were divided already) and is now an emotionally messed up teenager.
      • He could also easily be a person. But, in that case, he'd have to be an incredibly small one. Maybe Sealand- or Chibitalia-sized, since the island has less people than most modern cities. As for North Ireland, Himaruya apparently said that England was the youngest of his brothers. However, we can't rule out that North Ireland has had more than one incarnation, and thus his current form could appear younger.
      • Unless the Irelands aren't England's siblings (we don't know exactly how family relationships work in Hetalia) and the third brother was Man. And I thought their heights were based on the average heights of people living there, not the size of the country (or Crown Dependency, as the case may be)?
      • It seems that North Ireland, at the very least, is England's brother. There's no confirmation for the South of the Island, however. So maybe... although most Fanon does make them siblings. If not siblings, then, at the very least, related indirectly through North Ireland, possibly as some sort of custody battle. As for heights, it's mostly speculation. Sizes of Nation-tans seems to be a strange mixture of population heights (as you said), the size of their land-masses/population density, and they're relative ages. For example, Chibitalia was so small because he was a brand new "nation", that had not yet matured or gained independence, just like America and Holy Roman Empire. Either that, or, the colonial Americans and medieval Italians and Germans were seriously short people. XD

Not everything gets a Tan
When Finland first told France and England about a child sighted near his settlement, he didn't consider this could be a Tan. Despite all being there, having formed colonies, all three seem ecstatic that a new personification had possibly been born. Especially considering how much France and England colonized, this is an unusual reaction to something that in other theories would have been common.
The people of New Sweden (the probable establishment that birthed America) considered themselves members of their home countries, and not citizens of a new nation. It could be that a Tan's creation is linked to future development and identity, rather than just a identity claimed by its founding people.
  • This does make a lot of sense. It could be that America appeared precisely because all these nations were settling colonies in the same area. If it had just been one or two countries, it would have been a continuation of that country in a new land. However, the many different founding nations resulted in the American melting pot, thus creating a new nation that is descended from - but inherently distinct from - the European countries.

If Hetalia is a parallel to Scandinavia and the World, then Nyotalia/Hetalia Genderbends are all canon.
The Nyotalias represent the Sisters. They just haven't appeared because marketing the series as a mostly borderline-boy's love series has been working too well.

The Hartford Convention, Hetalia Style
The Hartford Convention, in which the New England states met to debate making a separate peace with Great Britain and thereby declaring their independence, will take the form of a previously unseen New England character threatening America with cutting off his Nantucket ahoge. Before New England can act though, America and Great Britain make peace, much to the chagrin of New England.
  • He will undoubtedly show up again sometime in the late 1860s, trying to convince Acadia / The Maritimes to join him instead of attempting that silly "Confederation" thing that Mattie had been going on about. Again, it never really gets off the ground for him... I sense a Joke Character Butt-Monkey in this one!
  • It could also, of course, work just as well in the same way but with tans for each of the New England states instead of an overall regional tan.

The Nation-tans have been mistaken for gods and/or heroic figures later personified as gods in the past.
After all, if you were living in the ancient world and there was an immortal being running around on your land and accompanying your tribe or small principality into battle, you would likely think of it as a god, too. Especially since the Nation-tans represent their culture as a whole oh so well. Since religious and political leaders were often one and the same in those eras (and even in some recent ones), this served to reinforce the view among the people. Some of them could be rather obvious: The Olympian Pantheon were likely the Nation-tans of the many different city-states of Ancient Greece. The City of Athens, for example, was likely personified as Athena, who put a lot of emphasis on her people being wise and philosophical. It's possible that Momma Greece started out life as one of these (perhaps Athens, considering its the capitol, or Ancient Macedonia, being the Prussia of that relationship) before unifying à la Germany. Alternatively, she was their daughter, just as modern Greece is her son. Bonus points if the city-states lied in or met to do business in a house or similar structure on Mount Olympus.

Ancient Rome's story follows the idea of a historic character later deified (in this case, Quirinus). Quirinus, of course, is the divine persona of the Roman people. His original identity was Romulus. It really isn't too hard to figure out the story from that: Romulus and Remus were twin "city-state tans" who were born on or near the seven hills. As time passed and the small would-be nations grew, there came a reckoning, and Remus came out the loser. Rome, left as the sole -tan, was devastated by his actions and felt incredibly lonely. So, he agreed with his early bosses (the early Senate, perhaps?) when they said Rome needs women, and so he went off to abduct Sabine-tan, the personification of the Sabine people. Married to her, and with the abduction of the Sabine women taking place, they eventually became one people and Rome was left lonely again. He changed his human-name "identity" to Quirinus after "Romulus" mysteriously disappeared (he chose to go into hiding full-time as a nation-tan, rather than continue to be King) and Quirinus/Romulus was deified by his people. He, of course, chose to go out conquering to fill the void left behind by Remus and Sabine, which would fit perfectly with the theory some fans have that Rome indirectly killed Ancient Greece and Egypt after falling in love with them. He never got over killing his brother, and when he became old and knew that his time was near, willingly let Germania - the nation he thought of as his best friend - put him out of his misery. It may also explain why he favoured North Italy so much. After all, if Rome vaguely resembles South Italy, then perhaps North Italy took after Remus?

Of course, the Germanic gods were likely the personifications of the various Germanic and Norse tribes that existed in pre-Christian Europe (there were a LOT). As time passed and the tribes conquered, and in turn were conquered, the Germanic pantheon grew. Perhaps Odin/Woden and Thor were nation-tans at one time? A similar theory could be used for the Celtic gods. Maybe they were all ancestors of the modern British Isles siblings? Native American and other cultures may have held to the idea that the spirits of their tribes were in fact the spirits of nature and the land?

Eventually, of course, the nations decided to go into hiding, perhaps as a sort of Statute of Secrecy that was agreed upon by the nations. Maybe they didn't like playing god anymore, or they were forced into hiding after the rise of Monotheism in many places (Christianity in the West, Islam in Africa and the Middle East). India with its various states likely explains the Hindu pantheon, and China of course has his dragon and likely chose to hide anyway, just because he was old and didn't feel like bothering with all the power struggles any more. By the modern day, gods and goddesses disappeared into myth and nations chose to keep the concept of themselves alive by telling some artists and writers about the concept of a national personification, leading to the phenomena of Marianne, Britannia, Columbia, Germania, Italia, and Mother Russia.
  • It's also likely that after the arrival of Christianity and Islam, their respective clerics and preachers may have initially seen the Nations as pagan gods and would have likely tried to hunt them down. As they learned more about them, however, things got more complicated especially once the Vatican's personification shows up before the Papacy. It's possible that eventually, they eventually tried to either handwave them off as "forgotten saints" or simply hold up the masquerade.
  • According to The Other Wiki, Near Eastern mythology amongst more complex city-states held that the Gods were rulers of a cosmic order that represented their cities on a higher plane, and that Wars between the cities were analogous to wars/fights between the Gods that represented them. So... Babylon invaded Sumer's vital regions?

Alternatively, to the above theories, America and other nations simply adopt new customs instead of dying.
It's been established that, if anything, America looks like a cross between nations, such as Finland and/or Netherlands. More likely than not, America represented local tribes at first, before effectively converting to the American colonists. We already know from the Chibitalia stories that France and other European countries existed alongside Rome (normally, that would be an anachronism), and that the British Isles nations are England's brothers (and possibly sister). For that to work, the nation-tans would have had to exist in a previous incarnation (such as Gallia, Britannia, etc.) before becoming the modern nations they are now. That could possibly be because, when a new culture establishes itself in a country, the nation-tan simply adopts the new customs and language instead of outright dying. Therefore, the European countries likely became Frenchified/Anglophied/Germanophied/etc. It could be that a nation, like Rome, only outright dies when his entire government, society, structure, language, and everything else is effectively dead. Rome's "duties" were taken over by his grandsons, so, they took whatever survived Rome's fall and he subsequently died.

In the same way, it could very well be that America at first represented the tribes, and found himself transformed to represent the colonists, the new dominant force in that region. On top of that, regions of both Canada and the United States have many native people who have effectively assimilated into the majority culture, further lending credence to this theory. A previous nation-tan didn't just die and him replace it because the process of white people taking over the "New World" was somewhat gradual (the United States only declared the end of the "Frontier" in the last century, and Canada still has one with a large Native majority in those regions).

Provinces, states, whatever. They all have Tans.
This, from the Christmas event, shows that China's provinces are alive and vocal. If they're around for him, the cast of potential characters is far more massive than originally assumed.
  • Considering the above link and the fact that micronation-tans have been appearing, this is almost pretty much canon. It's also possible, following the theory that they represent cultures, that the smaller tans basically represent different cultural regions within a larger nation, since it's hard to imagine a single large country representing an entire union of diverse peoples. Thus, there could be tans for the Caucasus in Russia, the American South, French Canada and/or Western Canada, the many tribes still extant in Africa, and generally just minority populations that exist in larger countries.

The Turnout of Eurovision 2010 and the entrants for 2011...
...is because of the Hetalia-verse. Austria, although he loves music, hasn't competed since 2007. But Italy hasn't competed since 1997. Germany wins in 2010. In short, Italy is way happy that Germany won, and annoys the heck out of Austria to urge him to join again so they can both join Germany for 2011.

The nation-tans age physically partially based on how their country grows
As said above, the nation-tans age psychically partially based on how their country grows economically, politically, land and population wise. How else would America catch up so quickly with England (according to the wikia, they are physically a year or apart)? Like humans, though, they can't age backwards. How old their land is, how long civilization has lived there and so on also contribute to their age.
  • Isn't this one already canon? That development and health is linked directly to progress (or lack thereof) of their citizens... Or was that just fanon?

The gender-bends exist in canon.
For every nation there is a male and a female personification, and, in theory, a ruler gets to choose which of them will represent them at world meetings and such. However, the fact that bosses can choose was forgotten a long time ago, and they very rarely change things now. This is why there are more boys than girls; naturally, leaders of the past would be more likely to choose the males to represent them. Some, for whatever reasons, did choose the girl, but not very many. In Hungary's case, they probably thought they had two boys, and picked the more boyish of the two.
  • Partially confirmed: They exist in canon but in another dimension (unless Estonia was just dreaming the whole time).

    • So this is an excuse to refer to Hong Meiling from Touhou as China too?

Family kinships are different amongst the nations compared to the ones humans have.
No one is really blood related since it is impossible for different nations to be fully blood related. Even with Romano and Italy they were confirmed to have different lineages with Romano having Arabic blood while Italy's is Germanic, at most I would say they are more like half siblings. Other siblings like Belgium and Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus etc are related due to a common root in their heritage rather than a genetic bond. It could also explain why Russia and Belarus have different last names.
  • I could believe this for the most part, but there are a couple of exceptions. England and Sealand are one, because the 'citizens' of Sealand are just British citizens. Possibly, I'd say Norway and Iceland too, since Iceland was uninhabited until the Norwegians settled there. Especially since there's a strip explicitly about them being siblings.

I hope to be Jossed. The prefectures that have been featured on Himaruya's blog are going to be characters for a new series he's working on and thus he will be ending APH pretty soon.
  • Or they're just extended parts of the Hetalia universe... or they're for a different series that will be worked on alongside Hetalia because he can start a new series without ending this one. I... can't see where this idea would have come from. And I hope it to be false.
    • I'm about 80% sure he's not quitting Hetalia for a long, long time. Volume Four just came out, and Volume Five has a vague release date.

The strip will end covering the end of World War II.
The strip is loose in covering whatever time period it feels like, but it began by covering the formation of the Axis and Allied Powers, with a brief introduction to the Holy Roman Empire, and World War I. It's only fitting the finale would cover the victory of the Allies, with Germany, Italy, and Japan standing there, dumbfounded.
  • Dumbfounded, not so much, they knew it was coming. By the end, the Axis' citizens were actually relieved that the war was over because it'd been going so horribly. Italy won't be there, they switched sides and were brutalized by the Germans for that. Prussia, based on evidence pointing to him becoming East Germany, is going to be dragged off by Russia. I can see it ending at that point in history, but it's not going to be simple.
    • And then it will continue with a spin off series featuring Russia as the main character and it will be set during the Cold War. It will be called...Yandssia (can't think of a clever name but something to do with being yandere). The Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact will be a interesting take of their cooperation with each other while NATO will be the big scary organization trying to tear Russia's family apart. Communism has never looked so cute.
    • While the series may reach a "conclusion", it's hard to tell whether or not the series itself would end. Himaruya has a lot of potential ground to cover, as well as fan dissatisfaction of it just ending while so many stories could be made. After WWII is concluded, Himaruya could just continue to release strips as a sort of "After-Story", or contract out other people to do the same.
  • That's a nice idea but Himaruya hasn't added anything substantial to the WWII storyline in what, years? He's been doing other periods.

Hetalia takes place in Ireland.
It has to take place somewhere, right? That would explain why we don't have an Ireland nation-tan.
  • But we don't have a lot of nation-tans. And why would it being set in a country mean they didn't get a -tan?
    • ...I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around how a nation-tan can live in the country they represent.
      • They're there as well as the landmass, not instead of. Where else would they live?
      • Ireland.
      • And why not Mexico?

The Gen-Ben and 2P Nations are different personalities/bodies
See here for Nyotalia and Nyo-2Ps and here for 2Ps (Some fans say 2P are their dark sides, some just say different colors) nation-tans. The Nyo, 2P and Nyo-2P nations are different personalities in each 'original' nation-tan's head. There are four per nation-tan (Original, Nyo, 2P, and Nyo-2P) and each has their own body and personality. They can change the body of the nation-tan to their own whenever they feel like it, but the 'original' can overpower them if s/he really, really needs to. Whenever someone talks about or references a personality, the nation-tan automatically changes to that personality.

The 2P versions are the Nation's Heartless
This goes along with the 'dark side' theory that is briefly mentioned above. After all, from what we've seen of the 2P versions, they certainly seem much more sinister than their original versions ([[YMMV Your Mileage May Vary]] on this). Anyway, if I remember correctly, it was mentioned that, if a person had enough darkness in their heart, their Heartless could take the form similar to their original body (similar to Nobodies, with the exception that the rank of Nobody depends on the strength of a person's heart). That said, saying as these guys are nations, and they've gone through a LOT of junk in their lives, it's safe to assume that, if they were to lose their hearts, then the resulting Heartless would be very powerful. I'm not saying that the Nation-tans are evil; I'm just saying that they've been through a lot and nobody's record is spotless. In a similar vein, the nations would also have very strong Nobodies, saying as, for every heartless, there is a corresponding Nobody. But, with all said, I can safely come to the conclusion that, if the Nations ever did turn into Heartless, we'd need a LOT of powerful keyblades...and an equal amount of people who know Curaga...

The nations' homes are all in a separate dimension/universe/colony/whathaveyou.
They may have houses in the human world, but their primary homes are in another universe/colony/whatever that's strictly for nations, and they are in the same positions as the land masses would be. For example, Canada, Mexico, and America would all have homes near one another. The Atlantic Ocean might be a river or a lake separating the Western half of the nation's world from the Eastern, and England has a house on the water. Then you have Germany's house, and then France's, and so on and so forth. They have the ability to go into the human world whenever they please, but they really only stay there when they're on business. As for nations that share homes with someone else (like Germany and Prussia), there is a specific part of the house reserved for them. So, in Germany and Prussia's case, Prussia's wing would probably be in the Eastern part of the house.

Expounding on the above theory...
Every Nation-tan has a Big Fancy House that is as big as the country's territorial landmass (i.e. Russia has the biggest house) and each house has a room that corresponds with a smaller city/province/whatever within that country (like say, Germany's home office corresponds to Berlin). Every room has a special door that leads to the room's counterpart in the real world (taking the earlier example, Germany's office has a door that opens into his equivalent of the White House. In America's house, it's a multi-level high-rise that can support at least 50 condo-style rooms, one for each of his states. It also explains the variable speeds at which the Nations have been seen travelling (a few minutes walk one minute, boarding a boat the next). If say, America need to travel to New York or Tenessee, he's just go through the corresponding State's 'portal door', and he'd be in the corresponding state in the real world. However, if you have to travel across continents, then they use normal human travelling after getting as far as you can on foot. (America -> UK would mean going through Florida's door, getting out into the human world, then taking a boat to the UK).
  • This troper likes the idea. Headcanon acepted.

In Paint it White, the alien's order of attack depends entirely on a nation's level of neutrality.
Mainly based off their stance in World War II, but general levels of neutrality contribute too.
Switzerland and Liechtenstein were protected permanently, as is shown in the movie. Iceland also appears to have done OK. And if I recall correctly, when England and France were in the room looking at the globe, and England turned it to look at his land, it showed the United Kingdom had been overtaken, but not Ireland, which frankly seems illogical, considering they're right next to each other.
Which countries were overtaken? The former Axis and Allies, Finland, the only Nordic not to take a neutral stance during the war, and Poland, who didn't really get much of a choice, but nonetheless could not be called neutral.
Some countries - like Canada - may have avoided being attacked earlier because they were under another country's rule at the time.
There's probably serious issues with this theory, but if permanent neutrality causes complete protection, surely it makes sense that a neutrality that hasn't lasted as long and isn't asstrong would also have some effect? So the aliens had to attack the countries which tend to take sides first, then they would be powerful enough to attack the more neutral ones (but not Switzerland).
  • Oh, right. Just rewatched the movie, and it says they chose Earth because of all the fighting making it an easy target, so in retrospect this may have been kind of obvious.

The beauty of the nations is an adaptive characteristic.
It's intended to keep their leaders from hurting them, similar to how cuteness in the offspring of many species keeps their parents from abandoning them. If it's true that a nation cannot disobey a direct order from their boss unless the wider population is in revolt against the government, then this could lead to power abuse even on a very personal level (think of someone like Caligula ordering Rome to disembowel himself over and over again for sadistic amusement). The reason the nations all look like supermodels is because leaders are less willing to brutalize beautiful, cute, charming looking people. In addition, it might inspire regular citizens to fight harder for the country during wars (there are no ugly people on propaganda posters). This might be at work even on a generational level since nations live so long; it would explain why Rome looks so much rougher than his descendants/successors (that or standards of beauty changed).
  • Interesting. This troper just put their good looks down to the fact that most people think that their homelands are beautiful, so they are, if that makes sense.
  • This could be an explanation as to why America always manages to keep an ideal shape despite the amount of hamburgers he eats (I know he works it off and the 'weight' is muscle, but he spends a lot of time lounging around on his ass as well). The modern Western perception of beauty means his body won't allow itself to become fatter.

The nations were originally normal humans.
I've been toying with this idea for a while, but I never had any canon evidence to support it. However, in the recent micronation event, we met Nikko Nikko, who has apparently "RETURNED to being a normal Japanese citizen". Himaruya also noted at the end that it "might be difficult for the usual nations to REVERT back to normal people". The implications are clear: the nation-tans were once human.
What exactly this entails is hard to say. Perhaps it just means that when they first appeared, they aged normally, but quickly slowed down their age process. However, an idea I find more intriguing is that they were born to regular humans, and were just chosen to represent their country.
There are obviously a few issues here. Firstly, familial relations between countries. Perhaps when they become nations, their appearance changes slightly to resemble their new 'family'. Also, micronations. I can't say exactly where Sealand would have come from; maybe his parents were just some poor, random couple in Britain.
Yes, this guess does have some pretty heartbreaking implications. But I think it has a basis.
  • This troper has read fanfics based on the idea that it was a sort of reincarnation deal. Someone very important to their nation's people dies and later wakes up de-aged and knowing that they're now the country itself (in the fics in question, England is usually ''that'' Arthur, one fanfic had Poland being some famous king who united the people who became the Poles, and another had Australia being Ned Kelly). Of course, that still leave the question of where the blinking hell Sealand came from.
    • Could you give me a link to that fanfic?
      • Which one?
      • The one with Australia, preferably

The nation-tans genuinely don't know how bad war actually is for normal humans.
The worst they usually get from wars is a painful and embarrassing but non-lethal beating, so they assume it's the same for humans. This explains how the nation-tans appear to be perfectly sweet and nice people (with the exception of Russia) and remain on speaking terms with each other while the nations they represent get involved in horrible war crimes. From their point of view, it's like losing a playground game; stings a bit, but no real damage. Horrific indeed, plus Tear Jerker if they ever found out.

War is a contact sport for nations
Most countries have contact sports; they're a way for people to express our innate violent tendencies which we suppress because it's 'unacceptable' in modern society. But if you're hard enough to take a rocket to the head and still walk away to plan your next move then a rugby tackle is probably going to deal you minimal damage, if any, so you're going to get together with your immortal frenemies for a bit of rough-housing you'd better be sure to make it 'sting'.

Alternately, they're all secretly raving psychopaths and enjoy killing humans.
Human lives don't really matter when you're centuries old, and most people don't know the nation-tans exist so nobody can stop them.

The ahoges aren't actually hair, but antennae.
The nations appear to have sensation in them, and hair is dead tissue. Since they're not actually human, they're not obliged to follow human anatomy. Brings to mind the Vermillion Lies song "Long Red Hair", almost ...

The nation-tans are the souls of their respective countries
The troper will admit that this theory was inspired by a certain Humanoid Abomination but it makes sense. You know the term 'national psyche'? Well, that's what they are; the collective attitudes, values, emotions, motivations, abilities, beliefs and quirks of every person who considers themselves part of any given nation given human form, with some other, more metaphysical stuff mixed in.

  • This. They are the "idea" of a nation, not the actual territory (that changes with time), not their government (even more fickle), nor their subdivisions (states, provinces, counties, etc.). They are almost the "spirit" of a people, a la Hegel.

Spain is responsible for the Italies' uselessness.
From this kink-meme request: "So you all probably noticed how potentially badass Chibitalia and Chibimano were. But when they grew older, they became more and more useless and cowardly. In the series, they stated that tomatoes can make you useless. Spain grows tomatoes. But you don't see him eating them. He does, however, feed them to the Italies. The reason is this- he's afraid that the Italies, being descended from Rome, would rise up and control Europe. They do have the potential power and strength after all. In order to stop that from happening, Spain feeds them tomatoes so that they would grow more useless and useless. BONUS: The times when Spain would fall into trouble? It's usually because he ate a tomato at that time, because there was nothing else to eat."

A nation-tan can not exist unless a 'national bond' of sorts is strong enough among its people.
Allow me to explain. In order for a nation-state to genuinely exist internally, it's people must recognize a common bond between themselves. It can be something as simple as language, traditions, or something like agriculture. Or it can be something like religion, political beliefs, or a common enemy. In order for a nation-tan to come about, this bond has to be strong enough among the people to create an anthropomorphic form, and thus a nation might be born. However, in order for the nation-tan to survive, others must recognize it as a potential form of state, or it will disappear the moment the bond between its citizens become non-existent, or simply changes.

That little girl that England saw at Japan's house was an Ame-wagashi.
She totally fits the bill. A young child, around five to six years of age, with a bob-cut and mischievous nature. Plus, it's a Japanese yo-kai, so it would make sense that England could see it because technically a yokai is a type of supernatural creature. Actually, this troper has read a fanfic where this theory was expanded- she's the Ame-wagashi from xxxHOLiC.

Nations take over the body of one of their citizens as their own when they have a mortal wound
As in, their 'consciousness' or whatever jumps out of their current body, invades another body, then alters that body to look like their former body. Hey, it's a WMG. It doesn't have to make sense.
  • Oh god I read that story... that's a bit of Fridge Horror right there.

Developed nations always appear at their top form of health....
...meaning that they will remain in their teens or twenties from the time that the nation firmly establishes itself until it begins to fall apart. Reaching any age above that peak is a sign of imminent death... Rome appears middle aged before collapsing, Holy Roman Empire ages rapidly into an old man before disappearing, and so on. This also explains the abnormal attractiveness many nations posses, there bodies are healthier looking because they are healthier- they may have to hold up for centuries rather than an average eighty or so years.

All the nations are giant woobies.
Some of them have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years. Far, far longer than the lifespan of a normal human. They're all suffering from the emotional angst of being potentially immortal. All the crazy quirks they have are mechanisms they've developed to keep themselves from getting too attached to people who will eventually die. Feliciano suppresses his own childhood and painful memories, Ludwig rarely seems to relax so he doesn't end up getting too close to people, America goofs off.... I only came to this realization when talking to a friend I do roleplays and we realized Ludwig and Romano would likely outlive their non-nation children if enough time passed in the roleplay.

Every Nation has some kind of super power.
And they just don't notice. Maybe it comes with being nation.
  • America and possibly Hungary have super strength, obviously.
  • Britain, Norway, and Romania have magic.
  • France has... endurance.
  • The Italies have super speed.
  • Canada has invisibility.
  • Prussia and Germany have a lot of Spiral Power.
  • Spain has power over plants, but he can only make tomatoes.
  • Russia has that dark energy.
  • Another possibility for Germany could be super sonic sound. With all the screaming he does, it makes sense.
Feel free to add more.
  • Based on his reputation as the 'Phoenix state' I would say Poland has the ability to regenerate
    • Time Lord!Poland. It needed to be said.
    • The mental picture I have now is hilarious
  • Australia can talk to animals
  • China has super strength as well
    • That or he can eat anything. "Right China, you can eat it!" Anyone?
  • Iceland can control ice and fire
  • Japan can blend in with his surroundings. Ninja, anyone?
  • South Korea can control people's emotions(via his Korean dramas)
  • Sealand, of course, is Made of Iron
  • Switzerland and possibly Liechtenstein are able to create barriers/forcefields to protect their neutrality
  • Taiwan has flower powers
  • Ukraine has earth powers
  • Belarus has hypnotism
  • Finland has weather control. He doesn't really need reindeer to make his sleigh fly; he just thinks they're cute. He controls the wind to make his sleigh fly and presents fall to their receivers. He's also fond of creating snow.
  • Austria has superhuman hearing

Nations don't have bellybuttons.
Bellybuttons are scars from where the umbilical cord attached to the fetus during its time in the womb. Since the Nations are found, not born, they wouldn't have that scar.
  • Found does not mean something couldn't have been born.
    • Jossed, Seychelles has a very sexy one that was shown in the 2013 Halloween Event.

Nations are incapable of growing mustaches.
Seriously, they're walking stereotypes but not a single one has a mustache! Stereotypes are made of mustaches!

Nations have a very Mind Screwy system of genetics.
Be warned: you may break your brain reading this one. Or not. Essentially, how it works is that nation-tans have an often dormant gene passed down like any normal one. If people start defining themselves with a cultural and/or political identity, it becomes active among those people. To make sure there are only one or two nations for every identity, this troper presents that either the gene has to be strong enough in a particular person, as in the person with that gene has to have the strongest form of it in the entire cultural/political identity or said gene has a collective consciousness that allows it to choose someone based on whoever it thinks at the time would be best for the job, granted it does make mistakes and/or fail to predict Values Dissonance, of course, and I will not say names. Probably the first option, and besides, the second part relies on A Wizard Did It.
  • I don't really understand what you mean, could you explain it another way?
    • Alright, I'll give you the short version. There's a gene for nationhood that only activates when and where people establish a national and/or political identity. Either whoever has the strongest form of the gene becomes a nation-tan, or the gene chooses someone. Probably the former.

If a civil war occurs...
  • If that country, for example, is wracked by civil war due primarily to ideas without a specific location, this nation will have a literal split personality like Spain.
  • If that country is divided in a civil war by geography and ethnic and regional differences, chances are that there will be another nation. The Italy brothers are examples, North Italy becoming the Italian Social Republic and the South remaining the Kingdom of Italy. Ditto for the Korea siblings, but the dynamics for China and Taiwan as well as Germany and Prussia are different.

Nations were born human, and orphaned.
Allow me to explain. Let's just say, there is a Tan for Earth.
  • Let's just say, Mother Earth is working as a traveling midwife. She gets alerted that a widow is in labor with her first child. The child was perfectly healthy when he/she was born, but the mother dies in labor. The child has no family to go to; it would either be abandoned, enslaved, or killed should anybody find it. Mother Earth takes pity on him/her and takes them in, where he/she grows from a newborn to a toddler. Mother Earth then transforms him/her into a nation and passes him/her on to another nation to raise. (Think, leaving it in the woods for big brother/big sister/parent/etc. to find). Hey, this is WMG. It doesn't have to make sense.
    • I like this theory a lot.

more than nations have tans.
  • any group that is sufficiently well bonded, self-sustaining, and most importantly has a strong enough self-identity can become a tan. Be it a country, (USA) a state (Virgina) a city (New York), non-governmental groups (red cross) or a web site (Tv tropes) any group that people strongly enough identify with can develop a tan. Countries are the easiest followed by states and some times city if there have a strong enough internal identity. Non-governmental groups and websites lack the same cohesive's as proper nations but I think we can list a few groups that are strongly knitted enough to have a tan. US marines, Kurdistan, Sealand (canon) Native America, etc.

  • Trope-tan as a nation-tan? Works for me!
  • Seems to be confirmed.

Going along with the theory that they were once humans, here are some theories on how the nations died in human life
  • America was killed in a failed More Hero Than Thou, and watched someone try to sacrifice themselves for him before being killed himself. It would explain his hero complex, and in saying that others would be his backup, it implies that he means to take the full front of the battle, which is a sort of Heroic Sacrifice-ish.
  • Italy was abandoned in a traumatic manner, and left to die, explaining his constant fear of being left alone/attacked. His fear of fighting might actually be because of dying in a traumatizing and painful way, and he doesn't want it to happen again; that or he might have been neglected beforehand. That or he starved to death, which would explain his constant want of pasta, and is more likely. He likes Germany because Germany takes care of him, unlike the one who abandoned him.
  • France was raped to death, but his brain blocked it out, explaining his obsession with sex; he is obsessed with it because his subconscious remembers it and wants to bring it upon others as well. Also, explains why he is Too Kinky to Torture.
  • Romano was beaten to death by someone he trusted, possibly a parent/guardian who favored an older/younger sibling, possibly by his father, since he has no problem when it comes to women. As a result, he thinks that everyone favors everyone over him, and resents them for it. His Tsundere personality towards Spain is what resulted from his failed attempts to keep Spain at a distance, which has failed in the way that he has gotten attached to him. Take that as you will.
  • England (and other nations that can use magic) suffered from psychosis/something similar when human. In the case of England, if he was born before the formation of the Kingdom of England, he most likely would have been treated terribly, so one day he snapped and killed/injured some people then committed suicide due to guilt. The more caustic side to his personality was originally a way to distance himself from others out of fear that never really went away even after he became a world power.

Regular Show takes place within the hetaliaverse
Seriously though, personified nations wouldn't be the weirdest aspect about the world Regular Show takes place in.

Why so few nations who raise another nation call themselves the "parent..."
In particular, England being America's 'brother' or Ancient Rome being 'Grandpa Rome.' If they used the term 'father' instead, it's possible that the child nation would expect a relationship similar to a human parent and child. Considering that the older -tans have their own country to run, they wouldn't be around nearly as much as a single human parent would be. So, they choose a family relation that is fairly close but doesn't have to have the same role as a parent. It's like meeting family while on holiday but still getting gifts from them while they're away.

Nation-tans are the manifestation of culture and only live as long as the culture does
When a nation no longer holds cultural similarities to its predecessor they just fade away, that's what happened to the Roman empire, still remembered fondly by his Italia because they spent time together during the Renaissance when Italia learned to paint. this also explains why Prussia is still around despite there being no Purissan land anymore he is the manifestation of a culture that still exists, America has elements of Eagleland type 2 because in greed corruption and jingoism exist but he also tries to be a good person.
  • If we take France's words into account the analogy using a ship (the one he explains to the soldier) would point out that to "properly move forward" a country needs the mast/government to work properly to advance while the wind/people is what propels the nation through the sea of time. Without the people or the government, the nation can't go anywhere and though without the "mast" it can still move it just won't go as fast and as far. And of course, one should remember that the nation needs what in Hetalia is called a "house" which is the actual geographical territory of the country.

Nation-tans are Jedi
The ones who bother to fight have skills that would rival a Jedi. Germany and Japan seem to supernaturally sense when the allies are near. Rome's body was never found; he simply "disappeared" and he pops up every now and then to look on Italy. (His song in Paint It, White could be analogous to "Use the Force, Luke.")