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Published:May 20th, 2010 09:58 EST
WWII Gets a Face-lift with Axis Powers Hetalia

WWII Gets a Face-lift with Axis Powers Hetalia

By Tony Graff


Anime has been known for getting a bad rap: fans dressing up in outlandish costumes, characters in shows known for ridiculously huge eyes, impossible female proportions, and hair that defies most laws of physics. A person has to be brave to wade through the common place anime to find a series that really hits a mark. I`ve been searching for such anime for roughly a decade now, and have come across one that rises above the others. 

Imagine personifying every nation involved in World War two. The standards and ideals of the nation in a single person. Then let them go at it, representing many significant battles that took place, and generally making things have a vaguely Animaniacs feel to it, blending quirky silliness with actual education. 

The series focuses around Italy, who is found trapped in a box by Germany, who`s grumbling about France forcing him to work hard for next to nothing. Italy is described as being a total pansy, obsessing over pasta and not having a clue how to fight a war. Germany decides its time for a change. 

He and Italy start printing money, and getting stronger. They also recruit Japan to help them in this. Germany is very specific about this. Of course, this catches the attention of England, who seems to never be without his teacup, France, who fits the anime stereotype of being able to pass for either gender, and America, complete with bomber jacket and hamburger. 

the focus is on World War two, but there are some enlightening side stories that take place. America cleans out his storage shed, bringing up memories of the American Revolution and becoming an independent nation. Liechtenstein cutting her hair and following her big brother Switzerland around, much to the annoyance of Austria, even Grandpa Roman Empire makes an appearance. 

While there is a lot to enjoy about Axis Powers Hetalia, it isn`t without one or two ceremonial anime stereotypes. For the life of me, I still can`t figure out why the end credits say "Let`s make a toast with our boots" and you see all members of the Axis Powers toasting the viewer... with their boots. Set that aside, and it`s an anime series that is distinct from all others. Worth watching.