by Victoria Erica | staff writer
There’s a lot you can say about Hetalia. No doubt the series on world history gone wild has inspired one of the biggest fandoms – mostly populated by young fangirls – in recent years. Hetalia follows the misadventures of the Axis and Allies of World War II. The thought of following Italy, Japan, and Germany as our main protagonists might raise an eyebrow, but every country gets their fair share in the dunk tank. Hetalia: World Series is just about plain fun and satire that takes you around the world one country at a time.
The third and fourth season of Hetalia are licensed by Funimation and are available under the label Hetalia: World Series. Like the first and second season, World Series follows our intrepid countries in the world of political intrigue and international relations. Each episode is a few minutes long and has a focus on a particular story arc. Story arcs include Italy living with Germany, America showing Japan Christmas customs, Spain raising a very shrewed (yet cute) Chibi Romano. In my personal favorite, “If the World Were Ruled by Cats,” the cast takes feline forms and continue their normal shenanigans. The good segments are really fun and lighthearted, but my main criticism with Hetalia is that the story is too ADHD – it moves all over the place and sometimes we don’t get a resolution.
The background music suits the lighthearted nature of the series. Nothing epic, just jovial fun. However, the ending themes will get stuck in your head. I thought it was creative for each country to sing their own versions of the ending theme. As a bonus, the Funimation dub has Todd Haberkorn singing as Italy in the Funimation credits. This song is cute and suits Italy.
The Funimation dub is hit or miss. The voice cast does a superb job nailing the accents. When I was watching the Japanese audio, it was often tough to keep up with who’s who – the European blondes tend to look alike. Patrick Seitz as Germany is brooding and gruff. He has many memorable one liners. His chemistry with Todd Haberkorn’s Italy is comparable to a buddy film – Italy is clingy and whiny, but the two manage to work together. Eric Vale is a brash, yet lovable America. I was surprised that Hetalia went into the Roswell crash; Eric Vale’s America is hilarious in that vignette. Vic Mignogna’s Greece is different from his usual repertoire – he’s collected and fatigued as the once-world-power. However, the Funimation adaptation seems to take a few liberties in the English language script. References to Princess Jasmine, Dragon Ball Z, and several gay jokes are dropped in. Jamie Marchi’s at-times-raunchy narration also suggests that dialogue was changed to please the slash fangirls and push for a more TVMA rating.
I would recommend seeing Hetalia at least once, even if it’s a few episodes. If it gets you learning more about world history, that’s awesome. But like Warner Brother’s Histeria!, it’s meant more for entertainment than it is for educational value. When I spoke to director Bob Shirahata at Anime Central 2011, Shirahata wanted to make a series that was fun for the whole family because there was so few family friendly anime series at the time. If anything else, enjoy season 4’s cat episodes of Hetalia. Now where’s my Russian longhair plushie?
[NOTE: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the SPJA.]