Reviews: Axis Powers Hetalia

Something that brings back memories...

I remember a year or two ago, I heard about this quaint little series. While I'm not really interested in webcomics (I'm into Ménage à 3… and that's it), I did check out the anime on Netflix… and at the time, it was something I instantly regretted. I hated this show like you wouldn't believe, and it started to make me act venomous, to the point where I got banned off a website… multiple times, for quarreling with Hetalia fans.

Now, I regret my behavior, and recently, I even gave Hetalia a second chance. On my first shot, I watched five episodes (by the way, the episodes are 5 minutes long, which even now I consider a negative), and on my second try, I went up to 25. My views on Hetalia (the anime, not the webcomic) have gone up, but there are still some minor things that bother me.

As mentioned, the episodes themselves are 5 minutes long, which to me is a sign of laziness on Studio DEEN's part. You couldn't have made the episodes longer? Another flaw is that most of the characters all look too similar, as if they all have the same character model, but with different clothes, hair, and such. I've actually unfavorably compared this to The Transformers, which has more diverse characters design wise (granted, some characters are just palette swaps of others, but at least they have the excuse of being based off of toys). I also wasn't too impressed when they decided to drag a character's backstory (specifically America) out to five episodes (I think), when they could've just dedicated one episode to backstory. Lastly, the overabundance of male characters over females (to quote Ghost, "THERE'S NOTHING BUT MALES OVER HERE!") makes this series seem like one big dish for Yaoi fangirls to eat out of... and I'm not exactly a Yaoi fan.

That being said, even with its flaws, Hetalia does have its charm, despite the unorthodox humor. It's no Excel Saga (unfortunately, Hetalia lacks the blessings of the comedy god that is Nabe Shin), and it isn't for everyone (especially not people who are knowledgable in WWII, thanks to the abundant inaccuracies) but it's not a horrible show like I thought it was at first, and I might watch the rest of it when I have the time. My recommendation? Just give it a shot and see if you like it first.


Hetalia is a funny little anime (based off a Japanese webcomic) with a dash of vulgarity in it. The episodes are short which doesn't really make it hard for you to finish the series quickly if you can find them, but be prepared for the huge let down that may or may not be season five. The series is about the nations who fought in World War II as personified beings, but after the first half of the first season, they seem to forget that. The rest of the show is usually just other random instances in history played with stereotyped personified versions of the countries involved. WARNING: If you're easily offended by the stereotyping of countries, you SHOULDN'T watch!

The anime series comes across as what started with a story, turned into what was more like a random comedy webcast. Fortunately, this works in their favor, as it ends up (in my opinion) being funnier that way. The series up until "season five" (or the Beautiful World) is just hilarious and stylishly random. (Not "WAFFLES!"-random, but a lot of jokes and things that don't make sense out of context. Such as Russia skydiving out of a plane.)

The dub is also something that either people like or people hate. The accents annoy a lot of people, but others appreciate it for variety and a touch of humor (if you can take that sort of thing).

Season five is where things really change. The art style becomes 'shinier' as well as busier (granted, it's truer to the style of the webcomic, however in an anime by the fifth season...). The characters seem like they were toned down to be slightly less offensive in stereotypes, and the humor isn't as apparent. Some of the episodes are fanservice (April Fools) and some of them are sad (Joan of Arc), and /some/ end up completely unrelated to history whatsoever (the Horror movie arc). Despite all the opportunity, there doesn't seem to be an actual story to a lot of them. (Despite being five minute episodes. I mean, like with Joan of Arc, they dedicate the whole of the five minutes to the story and end up with nothing. Before, they had like three or four segments in that time period and it had more story.) People either like it or they hate it, as I've noticed.

The series is grand - both anime and manga, and both dub and sub. If one doesn't work out for you, try the other - you might find you like it like some people only like milk warm.