Posted by psgels on 14 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hetalia: Axis Powers



Okay, so it might be a bit pointless to write a review about a show whose next season is going to air in a week or two, but who cares? Comedy sequels very often suffer from a lack of quality, whether it’s from a lack of inspiration, a burn out of the best jokes, or simply from trying too hard, it’s rare to run into a comedy that’s as good as its original. Hetalia however, is one such series. It’s not the best comedy out there by far, but it knows what it is: bite-size chunks of international humour.

The series still is far from the funniest show out there; in this season alone, I can name eight series that made me laugh harder than what Hetalia had to offer. However, in its second season it’s become much more consistent when compared to the first season: every episode was guaranteed to get a chuckle out of me, and it didn’t waste its time anymore on the pointless sketches as the garage cleaning, and the most annoying character of the first season (Liechtenstein) Only made one very small appearance. The historical and cultural references throughout the series are still spot-on, despite the at first seemingly stereotypical portrayal of all of the different countries.

The weak point of this season lies in the gay jokes. There are way too many of them, and they’re just not funny. Well, to me at least, but I found that the awkward moments in which whichever two countries made these embarrassed facial expressions whenever something even remotely ‘cute’ happened get old soon. I don’t have anything fundamentally against gay jokes, I enjoyed them for what they were in Junjo Romantica, but here they just won’t work.

Reviewing comedy series of course is something very personal, since everyone has a different kind of sense of humour, but I do want to praise Hetalia for this: its subject matter. Remember how last year, a bunch of Koreans got offended because this series parodied it? It just shows how easily ticked off some people are, by simple and innocent jokes. This series opened up a lot of discussions on that matter, and I hope that it helped along to build a bridge, so that we can in the future simply make innocent fun of other cultures without having hordes of angry people condemn you to death.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Consistent, quite funny, though too many gay jokes.
Characters: 8/10 – A colourful cast of different personified countries, though don’t expect anything deep here.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Nothing special.
Setting: 9/10 – Spot-on historical and cultural references.

4 Responses

  1. Watcherzero says:

    Second series hasnt been quite as funny as the first but my main gripe was they stopped labelling the countries, and with more than half of them having the same looks (England derived/Russia Derived)its hard to tell immediatley which (Baltic say)country is speaking.

  2. renz says:

    misspelling in title

  3. Jan Suzukawa says:

    I think Hetalia in its own modest way has contributed to world peace… In its use of humor in portraying the nations of the world, it’s opened up a dialogue among fans. Humor is a way to get under people’s defenses. Oh, and I also found Lichtenstein a little tiresome. ;)

  4. KitsuneUdon says:

    “The bunch of Koreans who got offended” actually had good reason to be offended. The history behind “Im Young Soo” was terribly wrong.

    As much as I love to see Korea groping Japan,
    I would have been sorely disappointed if they let it air.

    When Im Young Soo was in WWII, South Korea was attacked by Japan and taken over. Japanese murdered, mauled, starved, experimented and such on the Korean people. ((some)) Present day Koreans still have this great hatred and dislike of Japan.

    >Its a extremely touchy topic to tread on and create a comedy out of.<

    Maybe this is biased, since I'm Korean, but I hope some more people understand that they weren't just a bunch of prudes with no reason.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.

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