Hetalia: Axis Powers (ヘタリア Axis Powers Hetaria Akushisu Pawāzu?) is a comic, later adapted as a manga and an anime series, by Hidekaz Himaruya (日丸屋秀和 Himaruya Hidekazu?). The series presents an allegorical interpretation of political and historic events, particularly of the World War II era, in which the various countries are represented by anthropomorphic characters. Hetalia (ヘタリア?) is a portmanteau combining hetare (ヘタレ?, Japanese for "incompetent") and Italia (イタリア?). This is to make light of Italy's apparent cowardice during World War II.
Himaruya originally created Hetalia as an online webcomic, and so far three tankōbon have been published by Gentosha Comics, the first on March 28, 2008, the second on December 10, 2008, and the third on May 20, 2010. The series was later adapted into drama CDs, and an anime series created by Studio Deen has also begun streaming online. As of January 8, 2010, the anime series' international distribution is being handled by Funimation Entertainment.
The main historical events portrayed in this work occur between World War I and World War II. The series often uses satire and comedy to address well-known historical events as well as historical and cultural trivia. Historical, political, and military interaction between countries is allegorically represented in Hetalia as social and romantic interaction between the characters; the webcomic version in particular depicts military and economic incursions using various innuendo.
So far, over 40 countries have been personified as human characters. In Hetalia, these characters are normally referred to by their country's name.
The Axis Powers group of characters consists primarily of Germany, Italy, and Japan, who are also the protagonists of the series. The representations of countries also part of the historical Axis powers, such as Austria, make additional appearances.
- N. Italy (イタリア Itaria?)
- Italy, the primary protagonist and the title character, is a bright, energetic and sweet young man. In the series, he is depicted at various points as the infant grandson of the Roman Empire, and is recognized as the weakest character in the series, and as a carefree and cowardly soldier who often depends on Germany to resolve issues. His artistry and love of pasta and pizza are references to Italian culture. He uses his adorable ways and cute face to charm girls he meets. He is portrayed as a "loveable loser". Italy represents the northern half of the country of Italy, whilst his older brother represents the southern half. Hence, their full character names are Italy Veneziano and Italy Romano. In the anime series, both Italies are voiced by Daisuke Namikawa in Japanese. In English, Veneziano is voiced by Todd Haberkorn and Romano is voiced by Ian Sinclair. Young North Italy is voiced by Aki Kanada in Japanese and Brina Palencia in English.
- Germany (ドイツ Doitsu?)
- Germany is a hard-working, efficient, bureaucratic, and serious character. In the series, Germany is primus inter pares among the Axis Powers, and takes responsibility for the training of Italy and Japan. He is portrayed as a tsundere character. Another aspect of his character is his relative inexperience with relationships, leading him to be very by-the-book as a result of the belief that things will go wrong if he does not follow instructions to the letter. Despite this, as the series progresses, he forms a close friendship with the foil character of Italy. He notes at one point that he has a "crazy boss", a reference to the historical figure of Hitler. In the anime series, he is voiced by Hiroki Yasumoto in Japanese and Patrick Seitz in English.
- Japan (日本 Nihon?)
- Japan is a reclusive and hard-working character. In the series, he is shown to be inexperienced with the Western world, and prone to culture shock. A young man, his character design features dark brown eyes and black hair, common physical traits among Japanese people. He often tries to adopt the cultures of other countries he meets such as France. Generally quiet, he is often depicted with the attitude of a businesslike old man. In the anime series, he is voiced by Hiroki Takahashi in Japanese and Christopher Bevins in English.
The Allied Forces group consists primarily of the characters America, Britain, France, China and Russia. These characters are often depicted as comically failing to reach consensus in their war meetings. The representations of countries also part of the historical Allies of World War II, such as Canada, make additional appearances.
- America (アメリカ Amerika?)
- America is an energetic and headstrong character. In the series, he is raised by England and later fights for his independence. His brother is Canada, who is often forgotten and was seen "invisible" by other nations, including his brother. The self-proclaimed leader of the Allied Forces, his catchphrase is "I'm the hero!" His ideas for solving international problems are often absurd, but he is usually oblivious to the opinions of others. America's ideas and inventions are grand, but rarely go anywhere. His crippling fear of ghosts is at odds with his friendly acquaintance with a grey alien named Tony, who lives in his house. America is frequently seen clutching a hamburger, or eating while speaking. In the anime series, he is voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi in Japanese and Eric Vale in English, both of whom also voice Canada. As a child, America is voiced by Ai Iwamura in Japanese and Luci Christian in English.
- England (イギリス Igirisu?)
- England, also known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a tsundere character. In the series, he is depicted as an irritable young man. A former pirate, he is now a cynical and sharp-tongued gentleman. Some of his notable character traits include his terrible cooking skills, foul mouth, ability to see supernatural creatures ("imaginary friends"), and ability to perform magic curses on his enemies. Britain is most antagonistic towards France, with whom he shares a long rivalry, and America, his former charge. He's usually recognized for his large eyebrows, spiky blond hair and green eyes. In the English release of the anime, when asked why they opted to choose the name "Britain" over "England", Funimation explained that it was a request from the Japanese studio. Tokyopop, the English publisher of the manga, refers to him as "England."
- In one strip he notes that he has an older brother named Scotland. Himaruya has confirmed that England represents the UK and England, while Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales are his siblings. In the anime series, his seiyū is Noriaki Sugiyama and his English voice actor is Scott Freeman.
- France (フランス Furansu?)
- France is a romantic, carefree character. In the series, he is shown to have a long-held rivalry with Britain. However, he frequently makes sexual passes at many characters, including England. France explains away his long history of military defeats by attributing them to a joke from God. He regards himself as the eldest brother among the European nations and is referred to as such by some of them, though he calls Spain his elder brother in turn. He is often depicted with a rose, holding it in his hand. In the anime series, he is voiced by Masaya Onosaka in Japanese and J. Michael Tatum in English.
- China (中国 Chūgoku?)
- China is one of the oldest nations, being depicted as immortal as well as being several thousand years old, and is regarded as the eldest brother among the East Asian nations. He is disturbed and distrustful of Russia, reflecting the Sino-Soviet Split that actually occurred after the war. China's favorite food is variety, and as such has certain tastes for things and gets irritated if a food has a certain pattern of tastes. He is a big fan of Hello Kitty and tends to end his sentences with the suffix -aru, a Japanese stereotype of how Chinese people speak, however, he replaces the customary -aru with the suffix -ahen, which means opium, when speaking to England, as a reference to the Opium Wars. He is often depicted with pandas. In the anime series, he is voiced by Yuki Kaida in Japanese and Clarine Harp in English.
- Russia (ロシア Roshia?)
- Russia is a Yandere character. He is the tallest of all the nations, but has the innocence and cruelty of a child. He adores vodka and sunflowers. His primary target of resentment is General Winter, because despite using the cold to his advantage in war, he is also attacked by him every year. Russia has a kind face, but has mentally cracked from the strain of his bloody history. The other nations are terrified of him, especially the Baltic Trio (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia), whom he loves to abuse physically and emotionally. Occasionally, he stalks China, while in a panda costume. Russia also has two sisters: his older sister, Ukraine and his younger sister, Belarus. He becomes gloomy and depressed when either of them is on his mind because Ukraine left him to try and make friends in the European Union and Belarus, also a yandere, is obsessed with the idea of forcing him to marry her. She seems to be the only other country which Russia fears. Russia happily promises that eventually "all will become one with Russia". Another favorite phrase is "kolkolkolkol", used when he is angered. Russia is often seen carrying a pick axe. In the anime series, he is voiced by Yasuhiro Takato in Japanese and Jerry Jewell in English.
The original Hetalia: Axis Powers web comic was adapted into three tankōbon and published by Gentosha Comics. The first volume was released on March 28, 2008, the second on December 10, 2008, and the third on May 20, 2010. The second and third tankōbon were released as a standard edition and a special edition that included an extra small booklet.
In January 2009 Anime News Network reported that the series would also begin serialization in Gentosha's seinen manga magazine Comic Birz starting in the April issue, but this was later announced to be a publishing error. The Gentosha press release on which ANN had based their article actually referred a new series by Himaruya, Chibisan Date. Amazon.com has listed Hetalia: Axis Powers as being licensed by Tokyopop for a North American release, with the first volume released on September 21, 2010.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to [[commons: Category:Hetalia|
- Hidekaz Himaruya's official manga Kitayume website (Japanese)
- Official Gentosha Comics Hetalia: Axis Powers website (Japanese)
- Official Hetalia anime website (Japanese)
- Official Funimation Hetalia website
- Official Digital Edition of Hetalia on TOKYOPOP's profile through Zinio
- Hetalia: Axis Powers (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopediaar:هيتاليا: قوة المحور
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