After falling in love with the Hetalia series, I had been wanting to watch this movie for a long while, but much like the second season of Haruhi, It kept getting pushed back and my life got busy which prevented me from watching it. But for Christmas I got the DVD for the movie as well as the first 2 seasons, so I finally decided to watch the movie. At first I was not sure how well a series of 5 minute mostly non-sequitor webisodes could become a feature length film, as it seemed like a stretch to me. My exerience with these kind of movies being adapted from shows (mostly 30 minute shows though) to be kind of just... meh. Well as I watched I found out.
The main story arc seemed like an interesting idea, and for the most part the movie did a good job at making it work. My main gripe with the story is that they seemed to waste a lot of time on throw away gags that weren't as fun as they should have been. The biggest example of this was the showing of Switzerland and Liechtenstein throughout the course of the movie. It was cute the first time, but anytime after that it just distracted from the plot. Another thing that I didn't like is when they broke from the story to show us clips from the actual show. They essential took a clip show and sprinkled it throughout the movie. Even if the material was new, it still took us out of the main plot far too often, which when doing this kind of plot, is a bad move. It worked to break from the main plot in the show because the plot of WWII did not need to be followed tightly, and the format of the show allowed for that sort of thing to happen. Other than those two major gripes though, the plot was good. I found the jokes to be quite funny through out the film and was constantly laughing out loud. Also there were many scenes that I thought were awesome, like the battle the nations have with the pictos and all the different hospitalities that the nations had to offer.
For a feature length film, I was expected a major improvement of the animation in this film over the show. Don't get me wrong, the art in the show is already great, but for a movie, usually the art gets noticibly better, which this film just didn't seem to have. The animation still looked good, but not up to my expectations for a feature length movie based off of the show.
What can I really say. They are the same characters that we all fell in love with when we watched the show. To say any more would just become me griping about my favorite secondary characters not getting enough screen time, so I will leave it at that.
Despite some flaws with the main plot being broken by a misplaced clip-show from time to time, the film was pretty good. The humor was good, the main story was good, and we still love the characters. I will freely say though that the original show was better, I still liked the Hetalia Axis Powers Movie. I would recommend it only to fans of the show though. If you aren't a fan of the original show, you probably should get your first experience of Hetalia from the actual show.