I am a big Hetalia fan and when I found out that there was going to be a movie made, I was shaking with anticipation, but after finally watching it, it left me kind of disappointed.
The main plot within the movie wasn't actually that bad--aliens(Pictonians) come to Earth, mess stuff up and the nations must band together or turn into faceless, formless beings. It could have actually grown into an impressive movie, as the show originally consists of clip-like episodes to begin with, carrying no real plot, but entertaining all the same. I feel that there was potential that was never uncovered; there could have been an awesome story with action, hardships, friendships and the ever present comedic element. Unfortunately, we got a story that was kinda generic, with, I especially didn't like, clips from the original show, which took away from the events of the main movie. The beginning is a mimic of the world meeting, having shots of each main character's face, as well as Germany yelling for everyone to shut up and even the climactic scene played out on the same trapped on an island scenario and during the dramatic scenes, why must there be a close up of every character? So, I do know that this movie was made for the fans, but I feel like this movie could have aspired to greater heights and reached out to more people, rather than settling for the fans they already had. I mean, if you haven't seen Hetalia, the movie may seem a bit confusing and this confusion limits the success and enjoyment to viewers. If we wanted to watch the show, we could have gone back and watched through it, we didn't choose to watch the movie in order to see something we've already seen, or at least I didn't anyway.
For me, when I hear that an anime is getting a movie, I instantly think: better quality animation. Naruto for example; when Naruto aired on Toonami, I was instantly hooked (I had already read part of the manga) and became a big fan. when I found out that Naruto the movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow was being created and would show in certain theaters in the US for a few days, I was jumping off the walls with excitement. The quality was amazing, being a step up from the show. Paint it, white, unfortunately is the same quality. There are more backgrounds which is nice, but staying with the show animation (which isn't bad) hints at laziness from the producers, but since they included the show exerts, I know they had to stick to a constant style. Also, combining 2D and CG never looks that great together (except in KARAS), which works ok with the pictonians,actually adding a bit of creepiness to how they move, but it's still doesn't fit that well with the regular 2D animation.
There isn't much to say about the soundtrack. It fit with the movie, being similar to the show's soundtrack, but there really isn't any redeeming qualities about it.
The characters are fine as usual, being the same, lovable guys and gals that attracted people to the show in the first place. In the movie, they are still fighting and bickering, choosing to fight alone, only to realize that they need to work together. Another typical development, but hey, at least they learned something right? The main thing was that you got to see some of your favorite characters in a new kind of setting, not expecting much character development (I wasn't) as the characters are pretty much defined and are good where they are.
Hetalia is one of my favorite shows for its characters rather than its plot, but I was really expecting more out of this movie than what I got. This movie could have been super great, but failed to go the extra mile as it only treated the current fans, creating a movie that was pretty much a recycle of the show, whether they literally took clips or created identical scenarios. I suppose a show like Hetalia, which carries no plot, just wasn't cut out to have a full length movie, where a creative plot was needed.