In this time of political and world unrest, the rise of right wing politics around the world, let’s look at a series making fun of all those stupid stereotypes of nations round the world by turning them into people 🙂
Hetalia started out as a web comic that was then adapted into a manga and then an anime. As mentioned the show stars human personifications of the various countries round the world. Starting off the lead cast are based on the main players in the 2nd World War: Germany, Italy and Japan on one side. America, UK (in the original Japanese he’s referred to as England and they did say Scotland exists but have never made a character for him, but there’s plenty of fan art, key thing it was the dub that changed him to the UK so I won’t hold that against the show), France, China and the ever terrifying Russia (they actually address and show Canada as one of the major players but always fail to notice him, or his pet cute little polar bear).
Other countries do appear in the series such as Hungary who is one of the few that is depicted as female (and a better fighter than all the males) who also had one of my favourite lines when it was dubbed… then altered making the sexual innuendo of her demanding back “vital regions” to the much less funny “happy places”. Well anyway, each character is basically a caricature based on stereotypes of the countries. For example America is almost always eating a hamburger and claiming himself to be the hero. Germany is incredibly strict, Japan was shut and Russia is secretly plotting to watch all the others crushed before him.
Hetalia was originally set out like as short comics, so the jokes early on at least often have a short build up and pay off. These are often slightly silly renditions of events in WW2 at least in the early days. Now obviously you shouldn’t take this as historically accurate and NO they don’t go into some of the darker things that happened in the war, – it’s a comedy series. After the shows starts to use up material from WW2 the cast tends to diversify and do material from all over history (such as where that line about Vital Regions comes in) though it is at no point in chronological order. For Example America going over to Japan in black ships saying he wants to make friends with his whales (before being corrected) happens much after it goes over to Roswell.
The episodes themselves are short, about 5 to 10 minutes each but there are many of them, and even then they are sometimes broken up into different sketches some of which are part of a series such as Chibitalia, which shows Italy’s younger days. The series is rather amusing and for those people who like shows such as Horrible Histories I would recommend this humorous take on history.