Posted by psgels on 10 February 2009 with categories: Hetalia: Axis Powers



Short Synopsis: Okay, so this time Italy really allies itself with Germany.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
Ah, now things make sense: episode 1 was supposed to be the congress of Vienna (hence why France didn’t appear in that episode), episode 2 then fast-forwarded to the first World War, in which Italy was supposed to fight Germany but simply goofed off, and now we’ve come to the real meat of the story: the Second World War. This episode seems to be the prelude of it, where Germany is angry because France beat it in the first one. The end of the previous episode was just a preview for this one. I’m glad that at least something of this show makes sense. ^^;

The best thing in this episode was definitely the really weird song composed by Italy, which probably meant to highlight some of the cultural differences between the countries (German girls are bigger? They’re scary as tourists? lol). The karaoke may have been a bit too much, though. I never understood why fansubbers feel like they want to stuff the entire screen full of random text, saying the same in English, Romanji and Kanji. It clutters the screen and is hard to follow. And sure, for real songs I can understand… but such a silly song as that one?!

I’m interested whether this series is going to portray the Jews. It’s been a very touchy subject, and I can’t remember any anime about the world war that even bothered to mention it. But then again, Japan did a lot of nasty stuff in the second world war, but if my memory doesn’t deceive me they didn’t have a lot to do with the Holocaust. One ironic thing here is that Homosexuals were also among the ones who were systematically wiped out, and the Germany in this series has just “allied” himself with a guy whose preferences are… questionable to say the least. ^^;

(EDIT: oh wait, I now see that the song was already karaoked in Japanese already before the fansubbers touched it… what?)

25 Responses

  1. Arana says:

    In episode 1 France is the guy who disagrees with America and England. I believe the meeting is supposed to set in present day as a prologue. In the manga, the Congress of Vienna is referred to elsewhere and anyway, a Congress of Vienna without Austria could never happen.

    Also, it’s highly unlikely that there will be a Jew character, as the author of the manga hasn’t created a Jew stereotype and Jews aren’t even a geographic area. Besides, it’s not like our moe!Germany could deal with Jews in a WWII way even if there was one in the show.

  2. Kim says:

    The only thing the series could possibly do is an Israeli character in a later historical point (who has not shown up in the manga yet).

    As for a Jew in WWII that would be pretty tasteless in a silly series such as Hetalia don’t you think? The author has very smartly avoided things like the Holocaust and Rape of Nanking and instead focuses on other random aspects of WWII.

  3. Kurisu says:

    Kim, comments like yours show exactly why these kind of shows which turn world wars into comedies are really questionable. There are a million and one thing to make a comedy of but because some people have a misguided sense of political correctness, people with a equally misguided sense of political incorrectness bother to exploit this theme.

    So you actually think it’s okay to use random victims of the world war and the holocaust but a Jew is off limits? Doesn’t this indicate that anti-semitism is just as alive as it was back then? Anti-semitism has never been a problem that was specifically German or linked to Nazis. Jews have been murdered for hundreds of years for being Jews. Either you consider Jews as equal or you don’t. Treating them carefully creating an artificial cultural barrier is just as bad in the long run as consider them as lesser because both attitudes can be exploited alike.

    Mel Brooks made comedies about the WWII era making fun of Nazis and Jews alike decades ago. If Mel Brooks can do that, why can’t others? Because they aren’t Jews unlike Mel Brooks? It’s exactly this false sense of polictical correctness and incorrectness (aka lack of education and knowledge), that allows Israel to get away with manslaughter and unspeakable attrocities. Of course, the Japanese should rather STFU until they start learning and apologize for their own WWII crimes because this makes any such political incorrectness even more loathworthy. I don’t blame the people though even if they find it cool to dress like SS troopers, it’s their ignorant education system and ever corrupt government.

    A comedy about WWII without excluding the holocaust is simply shizophrenic and as bad as propanda, if not borderline holocaust denial. If you have the “guts” to exploit a touchy topic for your commercial and entertainment interests, you just owe it to history that you don’t create a distorted piece of propaganda. Oh you think everyone perfectly understand that this is just comedy. Yeah right.

    Like it or not, a dumb comedy as this isn’t any better than propaganda. Instead of spending a few minutes reading up on some verifiable facts, they just reiterate well-known and sometimes almost forgotten stereotype, whereas some of the viewers may actually assume they are learning at least a few historic bits which is clearly not the case.

    Japanese may not have any part in the Jewish Holocaust but they committed virtually the same crimes (including cruel experiments on humans) just in a smaller scale. Obviously, the Chinese were a more fitting scapegoat for the Japanese because there were hardly any Jews or Christians in Japan. Nobody with a sane mind denies that the Holocaust happens and it’s even illegal to claim anything like that in most of Europe. Japan on the other hand still officially denies a lot of their crimes. In a way, it’s more cruel compared to Jews because many Chinese victims were never accepted as such. Maybe it’s also because Chinese aren’t a minority like Jews, so they kind of appear less worthy, at least that’s how these victims must feel.

    Once you grow a bit older, you may hopefully realize that there are good reasons for avoiding unnecessary tasteless things. While it may seem as (self-)suppressing freedom at first sight, it can actually avoid causing severe misunderstandings and spreading hate in the long run. Doing whatever you can just because you feel like it, means anarchy which all romantic aside means one against another and no freedom at all instead of absolut freedom.

    And “tastelessness”, actually a more polite term for utter stupidity and ignorance, has nothing to do with political incorrectness.

  4. Arnaud says:

    Hi, I usually read this blog with great pleasure, but I never comment, because maybe I am too old and prefer to let younger persons speak.
    However, this time I had to. This anime, representing Nations with opposed degrees of virility… Systematically humiliating one nation and not the others… for being disunited during the middle-ages? for being poor during the industrial revolution? tss… tss… It is very silly and very poisonous.
    In my country (which is not Italy), it is characteristic of the lowest cultural level and the lowest ethical standards. I am surprised you even mention it in your blog.
    This anime is seriously evil. Seriously.
    What do we do next? We take another nation and we show the character as systemically effeminate episode after episode? Who? The French? The Russians? The Viet-Namese? The Canadians? The British? And we make fun of their past economic difficulties too, like famine, industrial pauperism, financial crisis? Tss….

  5. Kim says:

    Kurisu: No offense but you make absolutely no sense. Have you actually read or watched Hetalia? It does not exclude just the Holocaust, it makes jokes about random historical events. It does not cover every historical event that happened during WWII except the Holocaust. What it covers is entirely random, but the author has very wisely decided not to make jokes about the Holocaust or Rape of Nanking (which are just two very sensitive issues but certainly not the only sensitive issues of WWII). Instead the author makes jokes about common stereotypes (although nowhere does he say these stereotypes are true, and I think people who think that miss the entire point). He also makes jokes about the relationships between countries through different world events.

    As for the Producers, Mel Brooks was making fun of Nazi Germany, not of the the deaths of millions of people.

    Also I fail to see where I said it is okay to make fun of the atrocities against the Chinese but not Jews when I also clearly mentioned that the comic also wisely avoids issues like the Rape of Nanking. China is only in the comic during WWII as one of the allied powers along with US, England, Russia, France, etc . There was no Jewish State during WWII, so please explain to me how “Jews” can be part of the comic in anyway during the WWII section except if the manga-ka made references to the Holocaust, which I still think he rightly avoided. The comic looks at nations not cultural groups.

    Finally, if you actually read my post I did clearly say the manga-ka could perhaps cover Israel at a later historical period, so nowhere did I say Jews were completely off limits. I only said sensitive issues such as the Holocaust and Rape of Nanking (among others) should be off limits in this type of comic.

    As for my age and your patronizing know it all attitude, I am already very much grown up.

  6. Shirachi says:

    PEOPLE – IT’S A CARTOON.

    Yes, there are tasteless ones. But somewhere out there someone likes it, otherwise it wouldn’t be one anyway. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you should write an essay about how you shouldn’t like it, how its politically incorrect, etc, and rain on someone’s parade.

    Look at it this way: would you rather have it poke fun at the actual horrifying Holocaust, as you seem to be implying, because its “ignoring” it and be called tasteless anyway, or just poke fun at the countries involved instead of the events? Because that’s basically what Hetalia is: poking fun at the flaws and stereotypes of the nations of the world.

    I thought it was a very good move on the author’s part to skim over the historical facts and merely use them as a simple backdrop for his comedic effect.

    But that aside – I, personally, find it quite funny. Maybe it’s a benefit from living in a country that’s always mocked and poked fun at, so I found it great fun for them all to be reduced to hilarious, bishounen-styled idiots (if not in one area, than in another).

  7. Kurisu says:

    Oh, it’s a cartoon? Thanks for pointing that out. Obviously, you feel a CARTOON is important enough to read about and defend it if someone expresses a negative opinion. Did you know that propaganda frequently comes in form of innocently looking cartoons and posters? This is true as much for WWII on any side as it is today. Ever heard of Captain Copyright?
    I don’t think it’s a good idea to belittle the leaders and regimes in WWII over and over again. Modern people fell for GWB twice, Italians fall for Berlusconi over and over again. When they’re always assured how Hitler, Mussolini etc. were total ridiculous morons, they assume every idiot would ever vote for such guys. Unfortunately, these regimes were actually rather smart in many ways and others still are today. They are just excellent at manipulating the majority opinion.

    “Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you should write an essay about how you shouldn’t like it, how its politically incorrect, etc, and rain on someone’s parade.”

    If that’s your honest opinion, then how can’t you see my point? Also, if it avoids the holocaust and Jews, it isn’t political incorrect at all, quite the opposite. Movies like “Life is beautiful” exist and won Oscars. I simply find the authors of this anime opportunistic and exploitive. As said it mirrors the official Japanese opinion: “Yeah, WWII happened but let’s not talk about attrocities.” On the other side they don’t have a problem with referencing the biggest crime against themselves in hundreds of anime. Ever noticed how many anime and other Japanese series or movies are directly and indirectly are about the nuclear bomb? Apparently, they don’t have much of an issue to accept that part of history and are even capable of creating deep, inspiring works. The latter is laudable, the former is hypocritical. Two wrongs don’t make a right and two dumbs don’t make a smart.

    Of course, it’s thinkable that by “offending” people they cause many debates and cause people to inform themselves about this era. Artists should certainly provoke. The question is though whether they provoke the right people. Doing it just for the commercial value is rather detestable.

  8. AlexS says:

    I personally hate that many cultural products that mention world war II have to have the obligatory jew holocaust chapter. Not because I hate jews, but simply because sometimes it feels forced and shallow (and in general I’m totally disatisfied with the way the holocaust is explained and taught, but that’s another story).

    As for this anime, it’s so totally random that I can’t have an opinion so far (I have not read the manga). Also, this anime is a concentrated heap of stereotypes. If stereotypes get on your nerves (they usually do irritate me) and you can’t get over it, this anime won’t be pleasant. So far, I find it more interesting than funny, and I look forward to see where the anima is going to.

    Also, I loved the inflation reference, and look forward to see how Japan will be introduced.

  9. jute says:

    I wonder if they are going to portray my country, the Philippines. Right after Pearl Harbor, Japan came with bombs and warplanes to our capital, despite it having been declared to be an open city to spare more destruction and death.

    Oh, and here’s a sensitive issue: comfort women!

    To be sure, it’s all very interesting, but I’ve decided not to watch this show to spare myself any possible heartache.

  10. Marmoset says:

    While there have been many calls that this is harmless, it just feels disrespectful. “Germany is angry because France beat it in the first one” not only is this pretty much not true but where is Poland? Where is the Soviet Union? Not to mention China-Japan violence had been going on for two years by 1939. By simplifying and subverting these very complex and often horrific events, it is disrespectful to the people of lived through those times and the people who didn’t.

  11. Italy’s song was so hilarious! haha! And I don’t think the jews will be portrayed, or if they will be, it ain’t gonna be too violent or bloody. But so far the author has avoided really sensitive issues/events.

    And . . . .*FACEPALM* I feel sad that there are lots of people who see the series politically and in an extremely nationalistic way. Most of them even judge it so negatively without even reading much of the manga (perhaps without even seeing the anime either) I think it’s a fact that Hetalia is NOT a propaganda. It’s just poking fun at stereotypes and stuff. FOR FUN! Not meant to be seriously offensive in any way. Hetalia’s not meant to be taken seriously in the first place!

    I don’t want stupid debates. I’m just upset to see Hetalia being thought of negatively even though it . . . actually promotes world peace!!!! Not everyone sees it that way though =_=

    And no, I’m not exaggerating things. Yes, I’m a huge fan of the series, but I ain’t worshiping it or such.

  12. Lika says:

    *ahem* I’m not going to get into any of the debates here because I’ve washed my hands clean of that ever since fandom_secrets, but I’d like to clarify a few historical points in this episode.

    Germany isn’t angry because France beat him, he’s angry because he has to pay back around 13 billion dollars worth of debt because of the Treaty of Versailles written after WWI.

    The joke that Italy makes about the money is that because Germany was so in debt because of the Great Depression and having to pay back France for the war damages that they tried running off great deals of bills to compensate, which backfired because inflation was at insane levels where, yes, a simple egg would cost over three million dollars.

    RE Arnaud:

    Canada is sometimes seen as being ‘girly’ because his character is seen as one being shy and ignored. Because the Canada strips do not deal with any wars (as of now), I can say without feeling guilt or backlash that they are nearly completely accurate, especially on our relationship with the USA (I am Canadian which is another reason why I don’t feel the guilt in saying that the Canadian comics are an accurate portrayal of our country).

    RE Jute:

    There hasn’t been a Philippines character yet in the webcomic so I’d assume that one would not appear in the anime.

    RE Marmoset:

    Germany was angry that France defeated it during the first World War (France and Germany never had a good relationship even before then with the wars they were waging on each other during the 1890s). Germans were also angry that they had to pay back an insane amount of money when they too were devastated by the war. The Treaty of Versailles set out very unfair rules that Germany had to swallow and YES, many Germans were indeed angry over that, to the point where in any good History class, the Treaty of Versailles is usually stated as a reason why World War II occurred (and because people are very sensitive about such topics, it is A reason. Not the only one or the major one).

    Also, Poland, Russia, and China do appear, just in later episodes. The invasion of Manchuria is in the webcomics, so there is a chance that will appear in an episode as well.

  13. Arnaud says:

    Dear author, my last attempt, because I like your blog, and apparently I am sniffing disaster before you do.

    You taste is so precise usually. By reviewing Hetalia you dirtied your blog with something that is worth the grunts and shouts of English football supporters. And now you are attracting commenters who think that insulting a nation repeatedly is hilarious”.

    Please realize what you have done, and remove this article before it is too late. Please realize.

  14. Lurker-tan says:

    Hello, as a lurker of this blog I want to say that I really hope you keep on blogging this show despite the adverse criticism heaped on by earlier comments.

    As a reader of the manga, I have to say that it’s not solely focused on World War 2. It encompasses a huge time frame ranging from the 30 years war, the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, Hetalia isn’t just out there to make a mockery out of countries. It’s more akin to a parody of historical events. I think we are all mature enough to understand that Hetalia is not meant to be taken seriously, and that while Italy is portrayed so-called ‘negatively’ is all played up for humorous aspects (and there are genuinely touching moments in the series sparse as they may be).

    And in truth… Italy does get invaded a lot in history, and after the renaissance had trouble setting up a centralized monarch, lost it’s economic hot-spot status to another country, etc. etc.

  15. Grhasha says:

    Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and I find it the most helpful anime blog out there, so I was very happy when you decided to write about this series :).
    As for the various angry commenters, please don’t be discouraged by that! After all, most people understand there is nothing wrong with a few pokes at history. That is all there is to this manga/ anime. There is no hatred in it whatsoever. The problem is that people watch it with an already established opinion that they HAVE to get offended. Honestly, I’m an Israeli Jew and I don’t find the WWII references offensive at all. There isn’t a reason to get offended if you understand it is an… affectionate parody of historical events (not just WWII).
    Sorry for the confused post, I hope at least some of it made sense :)

  16. toro_chan74 says:

    I agree with Grhasha-san, I mean, they are just simply joking a bit about history. I know some people are sensitive about it but if they are then they don’t have to watch the anime, even though it’s really, REALLY good. Sorry if I am offending anyone while I’m talking about this ( or typing it…-_-‘). I mean, everybody has to joke about themselves at one point of time, and what’s wrong with that?

  17. psgels psgels says:

    Arnaud: I can see the points you’re trying to make, but I’m not going to remove this article. The point of Hetalia is simply to poke some innocent fun at some different countries of the world. The way to enjoy this series isn’t to see the characters as full-fledged countries, but instead as the stereotypes they are. I’m not sure in which country you live, but in the Netherlands, we constantly make fun of Belgians (and vice versa as well). That however doesn’t mean that we hate each other (in fact, we get along just fine).

    There are of course borders that you can’t cross. We have here a politician who is systematically insulting islamic countries, and even compared the Quran to Mein Kampf. In these cases, the purpose of these guys is to spread pure hatred, and obviously if Hetalia was such a series I’d drop it immediately as well.

  18. tealovertoma says:

    Rather than spread hate I like to think Hetalia teaches us how silly nationalism and patriotism is by poking fun at *every* country. Every country is messed up and has done bad things, people need to move on and making fun of historical events is an excellent way.

    If you don’t like the anime – and I hate to bring up this overused point – don’t watch it. Calling out for censoring on the web is like telling water not to be wet.

  19. SageGaiGar says:

    Wow, flame war. ‘least it’s a little cooler now. I might just check this out anyway.

  20. Aegd says:

    Arnaud, remove the article? Why would he do such a thing? It would just be playing into the hand of people like yourself.

    “Hi, I usually read this blog with great pleasure, but I never comment, because maybe I am too old and prefer to let younger persons speak.”

    Trying to raise yourself above the masses by implying that your age somehow makes your point have higher value. That’s kind of original.

    “However, this time I had to. This anime, representing Nations with opposed degrees of virility… Systematically humiliating one nation and not the others… for being disunited during the middle-ages? for being poor during the industrial revolution? tss… tss…”

    You really need to be quite thick to see Hetalia as systematic humiliation, considering that it portrays past and not current events. It’s a thing of the past and not really in the same way it happened, so how the hell can it be humiliating?

    “It is very silly and very poisonous.
    In my country (which is not Italy), it is characteristic of the lowest cultural level and the lowest ethical standards.”

    In my country we have flying mice and houses made out of gingerbread. It’s true because I just said so. You sure make lots of lofty statements without providing any proof.

    “I am surprised you even mention it in your blog.
    This anime is seriously evil. Seriously.”

    Yeah, because the devil made it. He lives in Japan and draws the lifeblood from anyone who watches anime.

    Seriously…

  21. Reina says:

    W-world peace and love…? (;_;)

  22. M-Master says:

    I think portraying the Jews during the Holocaust in ANY WAY would be insulting, and not because “OMG IT’S THE HOLOCAUST!” A big issue of the Holocaust was that people were being killed even though the only thing that set them apart from their neighbors was their religion (although it did occasionally lead to a slightly different lifestyle, especially in anti-Semitic areas). The Jews WERE NOT a separate race, a separate nation, a separate anything, and to treat them as such is not to understand the issue. Far more accurate to the Person=Country mentality would be Germany himself suffering during WWII, because millions of his people, Germans-who-happened-to-be-Jewish, were being murdered. In essence, Germany’s boss was killing Germany.

    TL;DR: The Jews killed during the Holocaust were also Germans/Poles/Austrians/Hungarians/French/etc. Judaism was just their religion, not their national identity. Having a character for “Jews” in Hetalia would defeat the purpose.

    And I am also in support of your blog! Keep it up!

  23. roche says:

    It’s NOT poking INNOCENT fun at nations and stereotypes when these characters are nothing BUT BALLS OF STEREOTYPES AND RACISM.
    This anime was also to be shown on KIDS TELEVISION, People! That means Innocent CHILDREN with no knowledge of history were gonna be brainwashed with this crap. Also Its also an insult to make a comic on history and NOT talk about the atrocities and build ups of it, history should be viewed objectively and have multiple arguments but this webcomic and anime is incredibly BIASED.

    Do you KNOW why its called Hetalia? Italy’s “cowardice” was a bias in itself. And believe it or not, during BOTH World Wars Italy LOST many lives as well. It’s ridiculous.
    And it doesn’t help that JAPAN is the most idealized of the countries. What does that tell you?

  24. I’m really glad to see this sort of discourse coming out of Hetalia. I don’t think we really see enough of it in the fandom.

    I actually think Hetalia is one of the most interesting ideas I’ve ever seen-it’s cute, funny, thought-provoking, politically-incorrect, relevant, mildly educational and doesn’t take itself too seriously. A simple but brilliant idea.

  25. Lim says:

    Uuhh… this is my first time to comment a blog… So please spare me…
    I didn’t think about world peace and such… before some mentioned it. But it is right, after I think it awhile, I found a video where many Maru Kaite Chikyuu that sung by many people using their own version and language inserted in one. I immidiately think “World peace, where everyone can holding hand and sing maru kaite chikyuu together”

    This is may be not the best source of studying history, text book is; but the best thing I gain is interest.
    Because I watch this anime, I gain interest in history. Making me want to read the history detail, even through neverending english words that make my eyes burnt (This is also made me study English ^^)
    Even though I still not receive world history subject, I am looking forward for it! :)
    And please don’t think that I offending some of you, this just a comment of unknowledge and short-minded young person.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:51 PM)
    Creating a account on the site is easy but I am not sure if you need a WordPress account to access it. Though if you email me the thing I can grab screenshots for you to save you the trouble.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:14 PM)
    @Aidan: I believe I have your email from the time I gave you the Black Desert Online Pass. Whichever way is easier for you is fine with me.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:10 PM)
    @bam, Sounds fine to me. Do you happen to have any of our emails? If you have a MAL account I could send you my email through there. Or I could create an Account for you on here?
    @Mario, Silly Mario. Don’t call me mister. It’s Lord Aidan, you filthy mongrel.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 12:41 PM)
    @Topgavin, I remember that being three panels in the manga but yep, they just had to amp it up. Sigh…
    Bloody hell Sliver Link.
  • topgavin
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 12:02 PM)
    Ep4 for Illya was… interesting…. Don’t know if I’m now more or less interested in the MC’s
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 09:02 AM)
    @Bam: sounds good to me really. The more the merrier. Let see if Mr. Aidan is alright with that.
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    Not really necessary to make an account or give me the WordPress pass. I’ll just email the review to Mario or Aidan.
  • Bam
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    I’m willing to cover Berserk if nobody else is up for it.
  • afgm
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 08:35 AM)
    nobody’s reviewing Berserk? A SIN!!
  • Vonter
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 07:17 AM)
    @Bam Read the Mob Psycho entry.

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Flying witch Review – 86/100

As I mentioned in one of my weekly posts, most of the reason why a slice-of-life anime show don’t work well is not because there’s nothing happen, but more because the cast isn’t interesting enough or the show tends to repeat the things that we already know. I’m happy to say that this is not […]

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Bungou Stray Dogs Review – 62/100

Well, we don’t usually give a review on the first cour of anime show, given the fact that the second part will air next autumn season. But since I’m not certain I would cover its second half, plus I don’t think this series will improve itself, I might as well give Bungou Stray Dogs a […]

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Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

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Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

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Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]