Posted by psgels on 20 July 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hetalia: Axis Powers



A series in which all of the characters represent different countries. You just have to think of it. Hetalia follows the chronicles of the personifications of countries as Italy, Germany, Japan, America, England and France in a bunch of random sketches. I really liked the idea when I learned of it, so how did this series turn out in the end? Good, though it could have been done better.

I absolutely loved this series when it started messing around with cultural differences. This series really has a number of priceless episodes in which it takes different stereotypes under the loop. The references to each country’s history are also really hilarious at times. You’re obviously supposed to take them with a “little” grain of salt and this series by no means attempts to retell its version of history, and yet there are times when this series is surprisingly accurate and provides a free history lesson.

I really wished that I could have raved about this series, but unfortunately it’s incredibly inconsistent. It likes to waste entire episodes on topics that just… aren’t funny. A bunch of episodes are just random fanservice of gay pairings of the different characters, near the end of the series there are a bunch of episodes dedicated to a strange and unfunny subplot between Liechtenstein and Switzerland and there’s also a strange unfunny subplot about America cleaning out his garage that just keeps returning over and over.

I’m really not sure what was up with these kinds of episodes. They seemed to want to introduce some sort of serious storyline among the comedy, but that SO doesn’t belong in such a series that’s only made up out of five minute episodes. And I mean, this series has so much material it can choose from, and then it devotes three consecutive episodes to Liechtenstein, of all things.

Hetalia should have been better balanced. The episodes really range from utterly brilliant to utterly dull, and especially the dull ones can ruin the fun of this series a bit. Nevertheless, the brilliant episodes are definitely worth watching, so let’s hope that the second season is going to do a better job here.

On a final note: I do urge everyone to not take this series seriously. It’s never meant to insult anyone, just poke some innocent fun. The last thing you want to do with this series is take the jokes personal, which they obviously aren’t.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 8/10

13 Responses

  1. grunty says:

    Uh, why do ppl keep treating 26 as the last episode. 27 debuts this friday on mobile, and monday on animate.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Originally this season was announced as a 26-episode series. The upcoming episodes seem to be a second season, apparently.

    I wrote this review mainly for the sake of consistency. I’ve found that in most cases it’s much easier to write a review about each series individually, rather than an entire franchise.

  3. grunty says:

    To be honest, IMHO, that’s like doing a writeup on Naruto/Bleach/One Piece every 13/26 episodes, just cause they keep getting extended.

  4. Autonomous Monster says:

    There are people who take Hetalia seriously? It’s possible to take it seriously? Is severe brain damage and/or The Fear involved?

    But I think the focus on Liechtenstein is because she is… cute. It would appear even Yaoi series cannot escape the Dread Moe.

    I think the inconsistancy of the series stems mostly from the length of the episodes. They’re just too damn short. There’s enough time to squeeze in maybe five jokes and if they’re no good…

    It doesn’t help that a lot of the time the jokes are part of a mini narrative which has to be split between multiple episodes. And the episodes themselves are split between multiple narratives… graarglefurflewump.

  5. Scamp says:

    I agree with you completely. So utterly brilliant when it wanted to be, so hoplessly dull on other occasions.

  6. psgels psgels says:

    Autonomous: unfortunately, there are. Koreans tried to cancel this series because of the Korean character in the manga.

    Grunty: I see your point, but if you were to act with this logic, then how about a second season that airs five years after its original series? And how about OVAs? Should one wait before these OVAs have been released before reviewing the entire series? And where to draw the line? I’ve been there, and these questions caused me many headaches, so I just decided to review each season individually.

  7. grunty says:

    > then how about a second season that airs five years after its original series?

    Except this is not the case here. Why do you present arguments which have nothing to do with this? No comment.

    > ’ve been there, and these questions caused me many headaches, so I just decided to review each season individually.

    Yes, I especially love how you call episode 3 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae “episode 55″ of Jigoku Shoujo. Gives me a headache.

  8. psgels psgels says:

    So… you call me out on using an example that has nothing to do with the series, and then you mention Jigoku Shoujo? Yeah, makes sense.

    Anyway, I think you misunderstood me a bit. I’m not looking at this series individually, but instead I’m looking for a review system that works for nearly every single series. I like to be organized, and if I just randomly decided whether or not to review a part of a series or the whole, the results would be really chaotic and messy after a few years. That’s why I decided on having just one standard for all of the reviews I write.

    I know it’s not the best thing out there, but it at least works for me.

  9. grunty says:

    Oh dear.

    > So… you call me out on using an example that has nothing to do with the series, and then you mention Jigoku Shoujo? Yeah, makes sense.

    Since your headache comment was a general one, I fail to see the logic problem you tried countering with here.

    My response deals with all of the shows on your blog, Jigoku Shoujo was just the first to come to mind – might as well have been *INSERT ANIME HERE*. Wasn’t even an “example”.

    tl/dr: your headaches vs mine. :)

  10. Ckan says:

    Ah, you cut straight to what I feel about Hetalia – really funny sometimes but contrasted with “failed” parts.

    Still the goodness that has been provided in its 5 min episodes has been worth watching.

  11. Howling-kun says:

    I still haven’t watched it becuase I refuse to watch that crappy stream. Waiting to marathon the DVDrips.

  12. I am obviously a huge fan of this series, so I have more praises than complains. And no episode had been dull for me~ Haha! But I do agree to the many things you’ve mentioned~ especially the part of not taking this series seriously.

    I actually find it good that there are . . .err . . unfunny subplots in Hetalia. It’s generally a comedy series, but it tried to explore other genres, like for the America’s storage cleaning subplot: DRAMA. My complain to it I guess that it was too emphasized (for having so many teasers), but that part really broke my heart ;_; *it will still make me so sad even if I wasn’t an England fan*

  13. Topaz says:

    Hetalia is hilarious if your into politics and don’t take all the racial stereotypes seriously. It never failed to make me laugh, but the “chibi” parts are boring, unnecessary, and should be skipped.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:19 PM)
    There’s plenty of in battle explaining. I don’t think there’s been a battle without in battle explaining. You got the first time villain that ends up a good guy. You got powerups and levels of quinques. There’s a ton of shounen elements.
    Just because something has gore does not make it seinien. Deadman wonderland is Shounen and it has just as much gore and torture.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 02:52 PM)
    @Emma: ah, yes.
    @Aidan: How so? A variety of weapons and abilities does not turn something into a shounen battle manga.
    I’d need a lot more random in-battle explaining secret powers to your opponent, and a lot more mercy to not consider it seinen.
    Also, torture, balls and limbs being chopped off as a sick joke, slicing people in half without warning, breaking half their bones…
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:44 PM)
    I felt that the story became too shounen battle manga When at first it was portrayed as seinien. Especially with the quineqes and such.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:06 PM)
    @Raggers: His past with the old lady ghoul where he was castrated =<
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:48 AM)
    @Emma: which moment is that?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:26 AM)
    @Raggers : And in one moment, a rather disturbing development.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    @Raggers: Actually, thinking it over you’ve got a point there, As I had said I’ve been marathoning re and come to think of it, it is more enjoyable to do so that way.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    Oh, the priest? Yeah, definitely an awesome touch. Wonder how he feels about Amon’s death…
    Juuzou? I’d complain about Arima more, the guy is hax beyond belief. Juuzou was just a nutcase who was skilled with knives – and has pretty good development in the manga.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Emma: I think the pacing thing isn’t a problem if read as a whole – that’s a bit like complaining about slow chapters in books if you read them week-by-week. For a story like Tokyo Ghoul week-by-week just isn’t a good way to read it, I don’t think.

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