Anime Greats: Hetalia

When I wrote the last post in this series, I somehow forgot about this series when I made the list in my head. Anyways, welcome to another installment of Anime Greats, where I try to explain the few anime that sit in a weird place in my life; while they’re popular, I’ve met very few fellow fans of the series or none at all. That being said, I’ll do my public duty and give it a bit of exposure.

Hetalia began as a manga in 2006 by the creator Hidekaz Himaruya as a manga, which became a series of anime shorts starting in 2009. Since then, it’s spawned 6 seasons and a wide variety of media including musicals, a movie, drama CDs and a video game. The series personifies the countries of the world, down to micro nations like Sealand (I feel even more sorry for him now… even WordPress thinks the name is an error) and the Principality of Wy, which it then proceeds to take jabs at the stereotypes which each country is known for by making personality traits of them.

The art style fits the bill of the show, showing a mixture of soft details with the regular chibi/cat/mochi (I’m not kidding about that last one) scenes. Due to the short episodes, the plot of the episode can run a bit fast, and leave the viewer behind if they’re not careful.

One of the striking points about Hetalia is how well Funimation has made the English translation its own being with the dub. Some of the jokes which are focused on the Japanese culture are redone, and it works beautifully, in my opinion. Of course, the subtitled version keeps it intact, and the more obscure references are explained beautifully (just make sure to keep the pause button handy). At other times.. the jokes seem to be there for the sake of being nonsense, and that’s fine, given the context.

For those of you who really like to get into a series, Hetalia has its own unofficial holiday which lands on United Nations day, aptly named “Hetalia Day”. Fans everywhere have been gathering to enjoy the series together this way since 2009! The English release of Hetalia will be in the States on November the 8th, while the subs are already out.

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