Hetalia: Axis Powers
“In heaven, the cooks are French, the engineers are German, the bankers are Swiss, and the slaves are Korean.”
Hetalia is a portmanteau combining the words hetare meaning 'gutless coward bastards' with the word Italy. This is due to how the Japanese perceive Italy: A country dragged by Germany into a war it wasn't ready for nor obligated to fight. Italy's surrender to and subsequent fight alongside the Allies is looked upon by admiration by the Japanese, a fine example of a people coming together to fight their brutal Fascist government. The Hetalia: Axis Powers animated TV show (rated TV-MA) was first released on a Japanese kids station and was forced off the air by the Korean government. Fuck You Korea. Hetalia deals with the everyday lives of countries, their hopes, fears, and that petty squabble between the Axis and the Allies.
Italy- A brown haired young man who never fully opens his eyes and is obsessed with food. Hetalia thrives on the romantic feelings that Germany and Italy deny they have for each other. This is a subtly disguised reference to the secret feelings Mussolini had for Hitler; an insane and inept leader that would cause the Axis' downfall.
Germany- Portrayed as a blond, blue eyed man who frequently refers to Japan as "the yellow dwarf" and does not consider himself to be a part of the "mud races".
France- Portrayed as a blond, blue eyed man who is gay, bad at war, and is obsessed with cooking good food.
Britain- Portrayed as a blond, green eyed man who is uptight and mentally ill.
America- Portrayed as a blond, blue eyed man who is feeble-minded and obsessed with food. Has an alien sidekick only he can see.
Canada- Supposedly portrayed as a blond, blue eyed man who looks exactly like America yet invisible.
Russia- Portrayed as a platinum blond, blue eyed man that is always happy and nice. He is bland and uninteresting even when drinking vodka or starving his neighbors. Hetalia does not shy away from mentioning the atrocities Russia committed.
China- Portrayed as an androgynous man with long hair. Carries around a panda he orphaned and is obsessed with food. Hetalia does not refrain from telling it like it is.
Korea- Portrayed as a small black-haired, mentally challenged boy who is in love with Japan but disguises it with hate.
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Dictatorship of <insert name here>, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Fuck You Korea, Gabon, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland , Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Sealand- No country is too small to avoid Hetalia's comedic sting. Sealand, portrayed as a blond, blue-eyed boy in a sailor's outfit, is a principality consisting of 4 British citizens on a raised 100 square meters floating platform five miles off the English coast. Its mention in Hetalia has prompted numerous nations to reconsider Sealand's admission into the UN security council. Fuck You Ban Ki-moon.
Why Hetalia is funny
Experts generally agree that Hetalia falls well within the accepted definition of satire. One school of thought suggests that irony is conveyed through Hetalia's skillful inversion of countries being one person instead of many people with many opinions. Sarcasm is employed in the dialogue of the characters. Consider this quote by America:
No way! I forgot it was Christmas time already. Presents! I guess being bloodthirsty kinda gets distracting and by that I mean bringing democracy to the rest of the world.
This insightful yet playful jab at American external policy would make Mark Twain envious. People have already accepted the conventions surrounding the characterizations of countries as arousing amusement thus providing Hetalia with humor. Whether the humor is deliberately caused by Hetalia is not relevant. Sarcasm, Irony, and the various humorous circumstances arising from the parodical elements all make Hetalia a funny satire. When asked why Hetalia is so funny, creator Himaruya Hidekazu answered "People around the world that watch can't help but laugh and admit that they are actually a lot like their country's character in Hetalia"
Reception: Critically Acclaimed
Hetalia: Axis Powers has been called "A poignantly satirical and brutally honest indictment of the geopolitical climate of World War II; It is also a sobering reminder of our times" by its creator, Himaruya.
Hetalia's Historical Accuracy
Hetalia occasionally provides short vignettes of historical events, and the factual historical explanation of what just happened “for all you history Nazis that are strict about accuracy” says Himaruya. In fact, Hetalia is doesn't refrain from touching on a lot of taboo subjects even within its own Japanese culture. Actually one of the most memorable moments of the series was when Japan sneezed on China. A cleverly hidden criticism of the Japanese Military's practice of testing diseases on Chinese civilians. There is not one line of dialogue or action that is not thoroughly researched. When asked about the accuracy of the characterizations of the different nations Himaruya remarked "You can't tell me that Germans don't make good engineers. The Germans are just different that way". It has been independently reviewed by a panel of historians and deemed highly faithful to events in WWII. "We practically lifted this stuff right out of the history books" joked Himaruya.
Accusations of Plagiarism
A Japanese textbook company specializing in history books attempted to sue the makers of Hetalia for copying and stealing characters, settings, and storylines from their Japanese history textbooks. Hetalia's writers argued that no one can plagiarize history. Himaruya added "They are just jealous of my historical an satirical prowess". The textbook company won the lawsuit by showing that in that Hetalia in some cases contained word for word passages lifted and used as dialogue in Hetalia. Here is an example of the alleged plagiarism from episode 41:
France: Well, there's nothing better to do so I might as well start rumors about Germany England: Propaganda is not a way to pass the time. Child Narrators: Big Brother France and Information Manipulation Activities! France: Hey, check it out. Germany has been secretly gathering up Jews to extermination camps. England: Hey, check this. Germany's got an Atom Bomb France: My terrible rumors about Germany are starting like wild fire! England: It seems you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to do it. (emphasis mine)
While fans of Hetalia have accused Robot Chicken of plagiarism, Himaruya has stated he will take no legal action and has derided Li'l Hitler as a "Typical American view of the events surrounding WWII. It makes no mention of the American Oil embargo on Japan, or the fact that American fighter planes were already shooting down Japanese ones over China. Uninformed Americans think that the war started with Pearl Harbor, and like to demonize the Germans every chance they get!"
Spin Offs and Remakes
The makers of Hetalia are planning a concentration camp comedy called HetaJew: Arbeit Macht FUN!. The show will parody the lives of the forced laborers with anthropomorphic characterizations of the different groups held there. Critics are sure they will handle the delicate material with great care and fearless honesty, just as in Hetalia.
Jew- Always greedily takes the
only last morsel of bread away for himself
Homo- affectionately referred to as 'Faggy'
Schizoph- the lovable scamp who thinks the death camp is full of whimsical fairies and imps
Gyppie the Satanist Warlock