I don't see why it needs to be in WWII
If you a) know a lot about WWII's atrocities or b)have been affected by WWII in an emotional way, you'll likely not like this series. Having lost relatives in WWII, I hate it with a passion.
However, if you enjoy anime (I don't) and homoeroticism (instead of character development, imho) then you will likely enjoy this series. It's fairly standard in most ways, focusing on the "wacky" adventures of the Axis and Allies. Almost all of the characters are bishonen males, and I greatly feel that the series would have not earned my ire if it didn't have the WWII as people premise. The characterization of several characters is at odds with what the country was actually like during WWII. The most glaring example would be the USA as a foolhardy country ready to dive head-first into war to be a hero. During WWII, the USA originally envisioned itself as a supplier of the Allies with an isolationist streak. The USA was also extremely racist. Canada was also not just "America but more British", but a major presence throughout the war, alongside the other British colonies. I also find the portrayals of various battles extremely distasteful, especially Nanking being a stab in the back. I also find the community/fandom of this series incredibly low quality. I've heard that it used to be filled with history buff weeaboos, but now it's primarily slash-writing fangirls. Not to mention the fangirls. There is NO EXCUSE for dressing like the characters and posing at monuments to WWII heroes. That kind of behaviour is inexcusable, in ANY circumstances.
tl;dr Hetalia's translated name would be Axis Powers Sh Italy
and I hate it (the series, I love the name). Also, the art is pretty sucky.
I get the humour. It just isn't very good.
24th Sep 10
Yeah, all the slashers came in when they made the anime. I miss all the history buffs... *le sigh* I wish we could go back to the webcomic days, in which the art didn't suck. Especially recently, Hidekaaz's art has really improved.
(Also, Nanking wasn't the stab in the back. Where did you get that idea? The stab in the back was the first Sino-Japanese War, I think, which is a much more appropriate metaphor, IMHO. Unless they changed that in the anime too. Although maybe you're just misinformed.)
And, although I'm not speaking about the anime as I haven't watched most of it, I know that at least Poland had a ton of character development.
24th Sep 10
I think the backstab was the anime then. I remember that a major event between Japan and China was a backstab
24th Sep 10
Oh, and "Not to mention the fangirls" should be "Not to mention the Cosplayers"
24th Sep 10
Yeah, I think the backstab was the first Sino-Japanese war. I remember that strip. It was rather sad... Although I had heard that they had cut it out of the anime, because the government or something along those lines would get mad. I guess they didn't?
25th Sep 10
From what I've read Japan isn't very happy when talking about WWII. That wouldn't surprise me. I've modified the review for the new info
25th Sep 10
Everyone has sore spots. WWII people don't get special treatment.
26th Sep 10
With respect to this review, this feels more like supporting evidence for the first one. Especially considering the "your mileage may vary." And yes, this review's admittedly a tad misinformed.
26th Sep 10
Perhaps a more accurate review would be "If you think that The Producers was a tasteless crime against humanity, then Hetalia isn't for you."
30th Sep 10
1st Oct 10
The entire point is that all the characters are sterotypes. If you want politically correct, watch the news, not a comedy show based on being not politically correct. It's the entire basis of the show. Also, if there was no world war going on, there would be no conflict. Unless you want more slash as emotional conflict. WWII was included because it's rather recent, but still old enough to not be a fresh wound, and because it included pretty much the entire world, meaning more characters would be included. Why are you even attempting to make a review if you don't like anime? I actually wonder if you've seen more than a handful of episodes. As it stands, I seriously doubt you have.
3rd Oct 10
5th Oct 10
21st Oct 10
That's because it's a satire of countries.
22nd Oct 10
The thing is it's not about WAR, okay? It's about the characters themselves and how they interact with one another. Sure, there's war, but the main focus is on the characters. And the characters are based on stereotypes and how people see countries. Right now? People think Americans are kind of dumb. So America is dumb. People view Italy as a relaxed place filled with music and pasta. So that's how Italy is portrayed. People think Canada is America only more French/British, so that's what Canada is.
22nd Oct 10
I was fine with your review until you had a problem with the USA not being racist enough for your tastes. I don't think other countries at the time were exactly shining examples of political correctness, thanks.
3rd Nov 10
15th Nov 10
Not all of it takes place in WWII, as several people have pointed out; dissing the fandom is also a little low. (Like any other fandom, it has its hordes of yaoi fangirls- but it also has its more mature, sensible fans.)
Other than that, this review raises a few valid points.
Yes, it does make light of several battles. There are the occasional serious moments- some (such as Bloody Sunday) verging on depressing- but it is a comedy series. Its aim is to present basic world history through a series of short, funny little gags. History is more than just wars.
I would like to point out that Hetalia tries very hard to keep each character sympathetic. The moment you begin to portray war as the horrible atrocity it is, someone is going to have to be the bad guy. And, since the characters are all nations, that would mean a nation would have to be the bad guy. There's no way that could end well- lots of people would get very, very angry. The way Hetalia avoids being too offensive is, simply, by taking Refuge in Audacity. Stereotypes and caricatures. That way, no-one has to be the bad guy.
If you want war shown in its proper light, go through the fandom. Like everything else, it follows Sturgeon's Law, but there are a surprising number of truly touching fics out there.
(And the non-isolationist USA has been something that has bugged me for a while, too.)
No character development? The series lacks a concrete timeline, so how can you judge that? The only possible way to show character development is by showing different sides of the characters at different points in time. And, imho, it does a pretty good job of that. Characters that have gotten enough 'screen time' have gotten the character development to go with it.
I'm not going to touch on the issue with the cosplayers. Not gonna go there, thank you very much- that's an argument to take to the cosplayers, not to include in a review of the series.
As a history buff myself, I honestly enjoy this series. Actually, I honestly enjoy its fandom- the good side of it, that is. Where else can you find heartwrenching, romantic, dark, and historically accurate fics about, say, the Seven Year's War?
Oh, and one last thing: If you don't like anime, why on earth did you watch this series?!
19th Jan 11
But reviewer has one good point: any fan artist of Hetalia usually draws the characters better than the mangaka! :D
20th Jan 11
To the people complaining about the non-isolationist America, I always assumed that the meetings with the Allies were assumed to be after America had joined the war. If you notice, in episodes set before WWII America tends to have no friends other than Tony. Besides, the countries are based on modern stereotypes of nations, and modern stereotypes of Americans are of gung-ho, overly bombastic individuals who think they can solve everything.
30th Jan 11
31st Jan 11
And again, how do you satirise a War or Nation? I'm very confused about that.
31st Jan 11
Just noticed this, Comment #5462. They are somewhat offensive. I am less offended by them as they didn't portray WWII as a happy-go-lucky bunch of adventures. As I said before in my review, I woudn't actually care at all if WWII and other wars weren't used as the setting. It would become a silly little anime about silly people doing silly things and I wouldn't be bothered.
31st Jan 11
1st Feb 11
(edited by: maninahat)
1st Feb 11
(edited by: ChrisWWII)
2nd Feb 11
You guys seem to be quite busy with your flame war and I generally try to leave people who don't like my fandoms to their opinions, but if I may...?
I agree that 'satire' is a misnomer, and 'comedic analogy' is far more appropriate. Hetalia shows a broad interpretation of the historical behaviour of a nation translated into a human analogue. It rarely, if ever, actually makes any points about these things, or the wars involved.
It seems to me that the premise made you expect something different than what the comic actually became, which is a perfectly understandable perspective. The premise of anthropomorphised countries could have produced a very sensitive, historically-accurate, and PC series. However, it's just better to accept that Hetalia does not aim to be and never will be any of those things. The creator was just the type of person who likes silly comedy that's not meant to be taken very seriously, so that's what Hetalia became. Not perhaps the typical treatment of history, but that's not in itself a sin.
As other people have previously pointed out, I would like to mention that as a whole, the series tends to sidestep the issue of war entirely. I like to think of it as a Battle Discretion Shot
—not so much an implication that war was no big deal, but rather a decision not to show and address it.
As for character development, you can't expect the same treatment for these characters that you'd get from normal ones. Yes, we could
have America mature to be sensitive, wise, and considerate, but then he wouldn't really fit the behaviour of the country anymore, would he? The characters are no more than symbols, ultimately derived from their real-life counterparts' policies.
I apologise profusely on behalf of the fandom as a whole for some of the caustic remarks you've received here. The people who actually participate in fandom (rather than just stewing in their own corner of The Pit Of Voles
or hunt down dissenters to flame mercilessly) have, in my experience, been a really nice and tolerant bunch. We do have our fair share of crazies, but not all of us are completely insane.
4th Feb 11
8th Feb 11
11th Feb 11
12th Feb 11
(edited by: ChrisWWII)
12th Feb 11
15th Mar 11
15th Mar 11
Would just like to mention, harking back to the OP's review, that as a Canadian having gone through a 'History of Canada' course last year, I can honestly say that Canadian forces in WWI and WWII were generally seen as "America but more British," even by Canadians themselves. Seeing as we only established ourselves as a Confederation with four provinces in 1867 with the /British/ North America Act as our pseudo-Constitution, in 1914, we were still fairly British in our way of doing things, even if we technically weren't a British colony anymore, though in practice we still were. Most people identified the United States as the isolationist nation, but gave Canada only a brief glance to determine it was 'like America, but still British.'
In 1931, we got the Statute of Westminster from Britain, which basically granted us and all other countries under the Commonwealth our independence. Come 1939, Britain declares war on Germany in early September, and exactly a week later, Canada declares war on Germany. My teacher - a proud Canadian - described it as 'Canada wanted to show that Britain wasn't forcing it into war anymore, wanted to show that it was independent...but in the end, Canada still followed Britain a week later.' It's heavily hinted that Canada was still following the Brits at that time, because we really didn't know how to be independent. Unlike the Americans, who'd always had a certain amount of freedom even under British rule, the Canadians had always been controlled - first by the French, then by the British. We were following the Brits because we really didn't know what else to do now that they'd given us independence - there again, 'America but more British.'
Technically, we were only really independent by our own rules in 1982, when Prime Minister Trudeau repatriated our constitution. That's what really made us /Canada/, not 'America but more British.' So, by that logic, in both WWI and WWII, though Canada was an active participant in the Allied Forces, it was regarded by everyone as 'America but more British,' and even then, sometimes not that much. My Italian grandmother, whose house was Nazi-occupied in WWII, credits the Americans for freeing her from that. However, we learned in school that it was the Canadian armed forces who rescued Italians in my grandmother's area - she just never identified a difference, also lending to the stereotype in Hetalia that Canada is often mistaken for America.
Sorry for that random lesson in Canadian history, I just wanted to bring up as a proud Canadian that, even though we're incredibly proud of all we did in WWI and WWII, we understand that, at the time, many countries didn't really care to differentiate us and the USA. So I understand where Himaruya is coming from, and it's actually a historically accurate representation of Canada at the time.
22nd Mar 11
Italy, Germany, England.. None of them are really bad guys or good guys. Germany isn't Hitler, he's a personification of the German people working under Hitler's rule. He doesn't appear overly pleased to follow the orders of his Boss, for example when he's ordered to annex Austria.
There are a lot of times in the show where the personified nations don't seem to want to follow the orders of their respective bosses.
I don't particularly think it's cool to try to paint over history, and sterilize it, but I don't think that's what they're doing. I don't see why they have a 'duty' to portray the ugliness of the holocaust or the rape of Nanking. They're not pretending to be a comprehensive source of history. What they're trying to do is be entertaining, and in my opinion, they do a fine job.
Bottom line (tl;dr): It's not a history book, it has no duty to be anything but entertaining.
29th Mar 11
21st Jun 11
5th Jul 11
(edited by: KachinoOkimane)
16th Aug 11
27th Aug 11
(edited by: SantosLHalper)
I have to agree with 217. Having issues with how your country is portrayed is one thing, but insisting that America was this horrible, racist country while Canada was this oh so wonderful paragon of virtue is just as inaccurate as the America Wins The War trope. Canada has its ugly history, too. Every country does.
12th Feb 12
2nd May 12
(edited by: Kaizoku20)
27th Nov 12
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