"Shut up you stupid bird!" - Chibi Romano
Hetalia is a strange fast-paced little show that anthropomorphizes the countries of the world into human form to tell stories about world history. It is based on a web-comic series that was in turn put into manga form, and each episode covers roughly one or two of the comic strips. With each episode being only five minutes long and jam packed with lots of random historical tidbits, you're thrown right into the story of each episode with very little time to get your bearings, so it automatically invites rewatchability. There have been several different series over the years: World Series, Beautiful World, World Twinkle, and a "full length" movie called Paint it White, but the classic Axis Powers series is our favorite.
It's strange to say that we were a fan of an anime before we even saw one episode, but that happened with Hetalia. We were swept up in the Hetalia craze in its heyday when we were at Otakon in 2010. They were premiering the English dub, so there were so many voice actors from the show in attendance and everyone was going crazy for Hetalia. We ended up leaving the premiere early because it was very hard to hear and keep up in such a large auditorium, but we left knowing that we would end up loving the show. We've kept up with everything Hetalia over the years, but nothing will be able to recreate the magic of the Axis Powers series. It focused on a smaller group of characters and had a more cohesive storyline since it was mostly based on the historical events surrounding WW2. Sure, it branched off to talk about other countries (or non-countries, Sealand) and other points in history (Chibitalia and Holy Roman Empire forever!), but it always came back to the conflict between the Axis and Allied powers. As the show has continued, more and more countries have been added to the cast, but we haven't been able to connect with their characters like we did the original core group. While it's nice to learn something about the Nordic countries, we would much rather continue to see what trouble Germany has to get Italy out of, more of America's visit to Japan, or even more of that neverending storyline of everyone stranded on that beach ("China, I choose you!").
Hetalia is a unique series in that it can't really get stale, but it has kind of let the reins out a bit too far as the years have gone by. Contrary to the situation with many other shows with a corresponding manga series, the Hetalia manga is actually harder to follow than the anime. There are so many characters now without distinctive looks and very little explanation to who they are, that without hearing their voices, you're completely lost. I still love Hetalia and can rewatch the original series as well as the movie over and over again, but I do believe that the universe has expanded too much from what we enjoyed the most. I just want to see the human versions of a few specific countries interacting with each other and being adorable together, is that too much to ask?
||Italy, Germany, America, Poland, France, Britain, Canada
||Italy, Germany, America, Poland, Austria
||Hetalia Academy, anything with Germany and Italy, anything with Chibitalia
||WWII beach scenes, Chibitalia
||Italy/Germany, France/Britain, Chibitalia/Holy Rome, Poland/Lithuania, America and Japan, Big Brother Spain and Chibi Romano, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
||Germany/Italy, America/Britain, Poland/Lithuania, Sweden/Finland, Switzerland/Austria, Britain and France, America and Japan, Holy Rome and Chibitalia