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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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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