Forget everything you learned in history class, and imagine all the nations of the world as cute guys hanging out on a wildly inappropriate reality show. Now, toss in every stereotype ever and prepare to pledge allegiance to your favorite superpower in Hetalia Axis Powers!
Maybe you’ll surrender to Italy’s charms. He’s a sweetie who’s always got a noodle in his mouth and he’s bff with blue-eyed Germany and shy Japan. Sounds nice, right? Of course, their friendship sort of causes world war II, but is that really such a big deal? Not if it means those adorable allies France, America, and England will be stormin’ the beach! No matter who comes out on top, victory is yours! Now ditch your textbooks and try to keep up, because history happens fast in Hetalia Axis Powers!
Hetalia: Axis Powers
(2009) began as a web comic by Hidekazu Himaruya that was adapted first to a manga, then to an animated series. Hetalia
depicts 20th-century history, mostly events between World War I and the end of World War II, as a series of misadventures enacted by adolescent caricatures of various countries. Italy is a coward who yells about cooking pasta; Germany demands order and insists on discipline; America talks while eating hamburgers. The ethnic humor grows thin when Italy joins forces with Germany, announcing, "You can order me around and I'll disappoint you," and Japan suggests "Axis" as "our team name." The last vestiges of taste fall by the wayside when Romano (Northern Italy) announces, "I've got a little surprise for you!" and Germany replies, "What is it, another Jew?" Apparently some people find this ethnic humor funny, but the series was cancelled in Japan when Korean protesters complained about the depiction of the Korea character in the print version. Twenty-six five-minute episodes of Hetalia
fit on one disc; the second offers commentaries by director Bob Shirohata. But the material is too slight to warrant these lengthy analyses, and the results feel like an annotated biography of a mayfly. Next to Hetalia
, Nerima Daikon Brothers
plays like The Critique of Pure Reason
. (Rated TV MA: ethnic stereotypes, profanity, cartoon violence) --Charles Solomon