I may be slightly biased as I'm pretty much in love with the subject History, but I absolutely adored this series.
I stumbled across this anime a few months ago, and thinking it sounded a little... strange... I passed. But I did recommend it to my friend, who is as much as a history freak as I am, (probably more so). However, after attending TokyoPop Recon, where it was recommended, and there was even someone cosplaying as Italy (!), I decided to give it a go, and became instantly hooked.
The story, I think is a very original one. I mean, who could have thought of an idea of countries represented as young boys/men? (well apart from the genius creator of this manga...) Although at first, I thought it may not have worked, but it does!
Basically, for those who do not know at all what it is about, it focuses on the character Italy, for most of the storyline, who is a cowardly, pasta/pizza loving wimp and his "friend"/ally Germany and their adventures in the past. Most of these adventures, are set in WW2, however some are not, most notably for me, the Olympic Games! Studio Deen, in a nut shell takes events in the past, and twists them so that the characters fit in and turns it into a light hearted comedy.
I think, although I didn’t find it confusing at all, it could be confusing for some people as the storyline jumps around a lot, (this is just going on what my friends say...), but its remedied by the fact that each episode is only five minutes long, and it spreads out over a lot of episodes.
I don’t really know what to say about the animation. As far as I can tell, its better than a lot of anime out there, although it certainly isn’t the best, it’s still enjoyable enough for me to watch, as I’m the type to get annoyed at old school style animation. The colours were vibrant and pretty and I can’t really complain about anything.
Okay, the sound, at first, kind of did annoy me. Italy’s voice really irritated me, however after a few episodes I just learned to roll with it, and learned to accept that it’s an aspect of his character; I don’t think he would be Italy without his annoying child-like voice. As far as the other characters go, I think all of their voices were spot on (bearing in mind I watched the sub).
The music I thought was just awesome! Although, like Italy’s voice it was so annoying at the start and it shocked me quite a bit with the Marukaite Chikyuu at the end, but after an episode or two, I ended up loving the song, and actually singing along with it, (it’s surprisingly catchy). I ended up downloading all of the different versions of Marukaite Chikyuu, and my favourite is Japan’s.
As far as I can tell, music plays a vital role in Hetalia: Axis Powers, I think it’s just utter cuteness at the ending song, and Italy with his song for Germany is just so funny and refreshing, (and in Hetalia: World Series, I did love the extra songs such as the tomato song).
The characters are the only thing I’m marking this anime down for. Fair enough, I loved the characters, and their stereo-typical aspects, such as Germany with his Aryan looks, or Italy and his pasta loving personality, (the only thing I didn’t understand is why England appeared to have four eyebrows... or maybe they were just meant to be thick...), but to be honest, I found it a bit confusing with all the minor countries at first. Actually, I still do get Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia mixed up, especially since most of the characters seem to have blonde hair! Although my geography at naming countries has definitely improved (not good since I took Geography at GCSE... yeah Miss Reynolds, if you’re reading, IM NOT GOING TO GET AN A*), in one episode in particular it was so confusing that I had to keep going back to the description of the video just to keep track.
All in all, I actually love this anime, (it’s my favourite!), and have re-watched it a number of times, and it still doesn’t get old. I still end up laughing my head off, and even weeks after having last watched it, my friend and I, still talk about it a lot
I would recommend this anime to anyone, even if they hate history. The adventures that Italy gets up to is just hillarious, and the five minute episodes are handy as well, so that I can watch one episode quickly before I go to school; I’m sure someone else found that helpful as well.
Anyway, thanks for reading... it’s my first review ^_^