Hetalia: Axis Powers

Hetalia: Axis Powers
Hetalia: Axis Powers
Cover of Hetalia: Axis Powers volume 1. Characters featured (from foreground to background): North Italy, Germany and Japan.
ヘタリア Axis Powers
Genre Comedy, Historical
Written by Hidekazu Himaruya
Published by Gentosha
English publisher Canada United States United Kingdom Tokyopop
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Comic Birz
Original run 2006 – ongoing
Volumes 4
Original net animation
Directed by Bob Shirohata
Studio Studio Deen
Licensed by Canada United States Funimation Entertainment
United Kingdom Manga Entertainment
Released January 24, 2009March 13, 2010
Runtime 5 minutes
Episodes 52
Original net animation
Hetalia: World Series
Directed by Bob Shirohata
Studio Studio Deen
Licensed by Canada United States Funimation Entertainment
Released March 26, 2010February 14, 2011
Runtime 5 minutes
Episodes 48 (plus 4 OVAs)
Anime film
Hetalia: Axis Powers: Paint it, White
Directed by Bob Shirohata
Studio Studio Deen
Licensed by Canada United States Funimation Entertainment
Released June 5, 2010
Runtime 70 minutes
Gakuen Hetalia Portable
Developer Otomate
Publisher Idea Factory
Genre Adventure game, Slice-of-life
Platform PlayStation Portable
Released March 24, 2011
Anime and Manga Portal

Hetalia: Axis Powers (ヘタリア Axis Powers Hetaria Akushisu Pawāzu?) is a Japanese webcomic, later adapted as a manga and an anime series, by Hidekazu 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 stereotyped anthropomorphic characters. The main characters are the countries which made up the Axis powers and Allies of World War II, namely Italy (North Italy in particular), Germany, Japan, United States, England (representing the United Kingdom), France, Russia and China. Hetalia (ヘタリア?) is a portmanteau combining hetare (ヘタレ?, Japanese for "gutless" or "pathetic") and Italia (イタリア?).[1] This is to make light of Italy's domination by neighboring states since the Italian War of 1521–1526.

Himaruya originally created Hetalia as an online webcomic, and so far four tankōbon have been published by Gentosha Comics, the first on March 28, 2008, the second on December 10, 2008, the third on May 20, 2010 and the fourth on June 30, 2011. English translations of the first two volumes have been published by Tokyopop in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Both printed volumes published so far have topped The New York Times manga best seller list.[2][3] 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.

Main characters

So far, over 40 countries have been personified as human characters.[4] Ancient empires such as the Roman Empire and micronations such as Sealand have also been personified.

Axis Powers

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 Hungary, make additional appearances.

Italy 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 (known as Grandpa Rome), 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. He has good contacts with Poland. His artistry and extreme love of pasta and pizza are references to Italian culture. He uses his adorable ways and cute face to charm any girl he meets. He is portrayed as a "lovable loser".[5] Italy represents the northern half of the country of Italy, while 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[6] and Romano is voiced by Ian Sinclair. Young Italy, known as Chibitalia is voiced by Aki Kanada in Japanese and Brina Palencia in English.
Germany 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. 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. His extreme devotion to the military lifestyle would make him an effective leader, if not for the fact of constantly baby-sitting Italy. Despite this, as the series progresses, he forms a close relationship with 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.[6]
Japan Japan (日本 Nihon?)
Japan is a reclusive, polite and hard-working character. When he introduces himself to Italy, he says that his hobby, "is to read the atmosphere of a conversation and answer in the least offensive way possible." He seems to have a problem with others being in his personal space, for he gets uncomfortable if anyone touches him or gets too close. In the series, he is shown to be inexperienced with the Western world, and prone to culture shock. He looks young, but claims he is very old, 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.[6]

Allied Forces

The Allied Powers, primary characters within the series. From left to right: Russia, England, America, China, France.

The Allied Forces group consists primarily of the characters America, Britain (also known as England), 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.

United States 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. America is very similar in appearance to Canada, who is often forgotten and was seen "invisible" by other nations. 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. He is often portrayed as a rude fellow and one who has disregard for whom his actions affect or just what they might be. Despite his faults, he cares about his friends and always helps others. He has a mixed colored blond and brown hair, has blue eyes, and wears glasses. In the anime series, he is voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi in Japanese and Eric Vale in English, both of whom also voice Canada.[6] As a child, America is voiced by Ai Iwamura in Japanese and Luci Christian in English.
United Kingdom England (イギリス Igirisu?)
England, also known as the United Kingdom, Britain, or Arthur Kirkland, 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.[7] 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.[8] Himaruya has confirmed that England represents the UK and England, while Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales are his siblings.[9] England's other relation is Sealand, a micronation whom England considers to be an annoyance due to his continued attempts to get other countries to recognise him as his own state. In the anime series, England's voice actor is Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor is Scott Freeman.[6]
France 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. However, he gets very upset when another nation refers to him as an 'old man', as he claims he's still young. When he is happy, his laugh (hohonhohon) is intended to be a stereotype of him being French. He is often depicted wearing flashy blue and red clothes 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.[6]
Russia Russia (ロシア Roshia?)
Russia 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. Despite his brutalities towards others, he truly means well. 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 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 water faucet pipe. For unknown reasons Poland is not afraid of him (probably because Poland is the only country that won a war with him and General Winter). In the anime series, he is voiced by Yasuhiro Takato in Japanese and Jerry Jewell in English.[6]
China China (中国 Chūgoku?)
China is one of the oldest nations, being depicted as immortal as well as being four 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. After China's defeat in the Opium War, he became the cook for England and France. During the fight between the Axis and Allies, China fights Germany and Japan with a Wok (round cooking pan) and ladle, which became his weapon of choice that also serves as a stereotype that China serves good food. China's boss was introduced as a green Chinese dragon with an intimidating appearance, but in reality, he is quite relaxed and moderate as well as shown to be bullied by China in a comedic way. China is often depicted with pandas. In the anime series, he is voiced by Yuki Kaida in Japanese and Clarine Harp in English.[6]



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.[10]

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,[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] It is not known yet who will publish the third and fourth volumes in North America following Tokyopop's move to close publishing in the region.[14]

No. Original English
Release date ISBN Release date ISBN
01 March 28, 2008[15] ISBN 978-4-3448-1275-8 September 21, 2010 (NA)[16]
October 12, 2010 (UK)[17]
ISBN 978-1-4278-1876-8
02 December 10, 2008[18] ISBN 978-4-3448-1514-8 (regular edition)
ISBN 978-4-344-81535-3 (special edition)
December 28, 2010 (NA)[19]
January 11, 2011 (UK)[20]
ISBN 978-1-4278-1887-4
03 May 20, 2010[21] ISBN 978-4-3448-1938-2 (regular edition)
ISBN 978-4-344-81939-9 (special edition)
[n 1]
04 June 30, 2011[22] ISBN 978-4-3448-2233-7 (regular edition)
ISBN 978-4-3448-2234-4 (special edition)

Drama CDs

Hetalia: Axis Powers has been adapted into a series of drama CDs, and so far nine have been released. An independently produced CD that was recorded prior to voice casting of the anime (Axis Powers Hetalia: The CD) was released on September 14, 2008. The first official CD (Hetalia Drama CD: Prologue) was released on August 29, 2008, the second (Hetalia Drama CD: Volume 1) on October 24, 2008, the third (Hetalia Drama CD: Prologue 2) on December 29, 2008, the fourth (Hetalia Drama CD: Volume 2) on June 3, 2009, the fifth (Hetalia Drama CD Interval Vol.1: The CD Of The Awesome Me) on August 15, 2009, the sixth (Hetalia Fantasia) on August 27, 2009, the seventh (Hetalia Drama CD Interval Vol.2: Boss CD) on December 8, 2010, and the eighth (Hetalia Fantasia 2) on December 10, 2010. An ninth official Drama CD based on the Gakuen Hetalia PSP game will be released in 2011.[23]


An anime adaptation of Hetalia: Axis Powers was announced on July 24, 2008.[24] It is directed by Bob Shirohata (Gravitation, Diamond Daydreams) and is animated by Studio Deen. It was originally scheduled for broadcast on Kids Station on January 24, 2009 but was later canceled. The cancellation only affected the Kids Stations broadcasts; plans to make the series available through mobile phone and Internet streaming were not affected. The controversies arose when numerous Korean protesters called for the cancellation of the series, claiming that the personified character of Korea was an insulting representation of Koreans. Kids Station claimed that the Korea character does not appear in the anime and that it was "unaware of the criticism in Korea,"[25] and cited "various circumstances" as being behind the decision to cancel its airing of the anime, but they did not provide further information as to the nature of these circumstances.[1][26] A second 26-episode season of Hetalia: Axis Powers was announced on April 16, 2009, and a third was announced on December 10, 2009.[27][28][29] As of March 7, 2010, the title of the anime has been changed to Hetalia: World Series.[30] A fourth season has been announced for Hetalia and will premiere on September 10. This season will feature the new characters Denmark and Norway.[31][32]

On January 8, 2010, Funimation announced it had acquired the rights to release the first and second seasons of Hetalia in the United States and Canada.[33] Funimation later began streaming Hetalia on their website, Hulu, and YouTube with Japanese audio and English subtitles and announced that characters would have accents in the English dub.[34] Via Twitter, Funimation clarified that the series was rated TV-MA due to "some instances of profanity, crude humor and adult situations", and that they base ratings on entire series rather than individual episodes.[35] The first DVD was released on September 14, 2010.[36] Funimation have announced at Otakon 2010, that they have the license the Hetalia World Series and will simulcast the episodes and release them on DVD in 2011.[37] In the UK, the series will be distributed by Manga Entertainment.[38]

Certain Animate stores will carry Hetalia-themed Purikura booths for a limited time, with a total of 10 anime sticker options.[39]

The series has made its North American television debut on December 23, 2010 on the Funimation Channel.[40]


A feature-length animated film adaptation was announced on September 23, 2009,[41] and was released on June 5, 2010. The film is entitled Paint it, White! and the eight main characters as well as supporting characters such as Liechtenstein, Sealand, Prussia, Finland, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Romano, Belarus, Ukraine, Greece, Poland, and Iceland are set to appear in the film - the main plot of the movie involves a vast majority of characters being transformed into grey-white faceless aliens called Pict. At Otakon 2010, Funimation Entertainment announced the license of the film and, as per a later announcement on their blog, will release it on DVD in November 2011.[42] The English dubbed version made its premiere at the Anime Weekend Atlanta convention, taking place from September 30 to October 2, 2011. To be released on November 22, 2011, each DVD will come with a green bandana as a bonus.[43]

Video game

A single-player video game based on the anime titled Gakuen Hetalia Portable (学園ヘタリア Portable?, lit. Academy Hetalia Portable) of the action/adventure-comic genre was released on March 24, 2011 on the PlayStation Portable in Japan. It was developed by Otomate and published by Idea Factory.


Both volumes of the printed manga version of Hetalia: Axis Powers have topped The New York Times manga best seller list. Volume 1 topped the list on October 10, 2010,[2] and Volume 2 topped the list on January 16, 2011.[3] Volume 1 has been in the top ten for twenty-one weeks and Volume 2 for fourteen weeks.[44]

Readers reviews of the British magazine NEO gave positive to mixed reviews for the anime version. One reviewer, Ellis Wylam, said that: "The animation is very colourful and cheery, and makes you astonished how they managed to create something so hilarious, fun, light-hearted and enjoyable out of a World War." However, Wylam also said that: "Unfortunately, some jokes (particularly in the first episodes) didn't make me laugh hysterically 'laugh out loud', as much as was expecting when I bought the DVD. However, the humour seemed to develop in later episodes, making you give out giggles that translate as "did he actually just say that?!"[45]

The second reviewer, Lara Garnermann, said that: "Hetalia is an extremely intelligently written anime, suited to anyone with an interest in world history or international politics, and of course anyone who wants to laugh for 26 episodes straight."[45] However, the third reviewer, Rohan 'Amuro' Hine, was more critical saying: "It is a very funny series, but a lot of jokes will go over your head, due to Japan having different stereotypes than us. For example, while we think the French are white flag waving cowards, in this, it's Italy who is the coward, and hides behind Germany for protection. And some jokes can go over your head if you don't have a PHD in history as well."[45]

A review for the second season of Hetalia, also in NEO by Matt Kamen gave the DVD of the season four stars, each for the program and the DVD extras. Kamen wrote that: "Despite its risqué jokes and abundance of national stereotypes, Hetalia thankfully manages to stay on just the right side of casual comedy racism - maybe that's why we don't feel too bad laughing uproariously at the dub, particularly Japan's heavy "Engrish" accent! It's best not to ask too many questions of this show - instead, just sit back and enjoy while Hetalia conquers your world."[46]

Hetalia won the 2011 NEO Award for "Best Manga" in a public vote.[47]

See also

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Portal icon Comedy portal
  • National personification
  • Afghanis-tan - a manga with a similar premise, but focuses on Afghanistan and its neighboring countries.
  • Chibisan Date - the second published manga by Hidekaz Himaruya often advertised alongside Hetalia in Comic Birz.
  • Strike Witches, a manga and anime series also set during World War II and featuring moe anthropomorphism, with characters being personifications of military aircraft.


  1. ^ Tokyopop has announced that it will be shutting down its North American Publishing division. The future of Hetalia and other titles released by Tokyopop remains unknown.


  1. ^ a b "Cute But Dangerous?". The Malaysia Star. February 1, 2009. http://www.star-ecentral.com/news/story.asp?file=/2009/2/1/tvnradio/3106251&sec=tvnradio. Retrieved February 1, 2009. 
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  3. ^ a b "Best Sellers - Manga: January 16, 2011". The New York Times. January 16, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2011-01-16/manga/list.html. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
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  17. ^ "Hetalia: Axis Powers Volume 1". Tokyopop UK. http://www.tokyopop.com/product/2923/HetaliaAxisPowers/1. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  18. ^ "ヘタリア 2―Axis Powers (2) (BIRZ EXTRA) [コミック] [Hetalia 2-Axis Powers (2) (BIRZ EXTRA) [Manga]]". Amazon.co.jp. http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4344815149/. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  19. ^ "Hetalia Axis Powers Volume 2 (Hetalia : Axis Powers) [Paperback]". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1427818878/. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  20. ^ "Hetalia: Axis Powers Volume 2". Tokyopop UK. http://www.tokyopop.com/product/2923/HetaliaAxisPowers/2. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  21. ^ "ヘタリア〈3〉Axis Powers (BIRZ EXTRA) [コミック] [Hetalia <3> Axis Powers (BIRZ EXTRA) [Manga]]". Amazon.co.jp. http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4344819381/. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
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  32. ^ "Hetalia Axis Powers 4th Season Confirmed for September". SGCafe. 2010-07-30. http://blog.sgcafe.com/2010/07/hetalias-4th-season-confirmed-for-september/. 
  33. ^ "Funimation Gets Hetalia, The Sacred Blacksmith Anime". Anime News Network. 2010-01-08. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-01-08/funimation-gets-hetalia-the-sacred-blacksmith-anime. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  34. ^ "Funimation Streams Hetalia, Tokyopop Confirms Manga Plans". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-05-02/funi-streams-hetalia-tp-confirms-manga-plans. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Funimation Twitter". Twitter. http://twitter.com/funimation/status/13314660500. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  36. ^ Hetalia: Axis Powers - Season One - On DVD 9/14/10 - Anime Trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M87JgXdBAJc&playnext_from=TL&videos=bqpQfbLxeOs. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  37. ^ "Funimation Adds Hetalia World Series, Strike Witches 2". Anime News Network. 2010-07-30. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-07-30/funimation-adds-hetalia-world-series-strike-witches-2. 
  38. ^ http://www.neomag.co.uk/news.asp?intID=1273
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  40. ^ "VOD Fridays – FUNimation Channel (12/17)". http://blog.funimation.com/2010/12/vod-fridays-funimation-channel-1217-the-forecast-calls-for-awesome/. 
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  47. ^ "WINNER: Best Manga - Hetalia Axis Powers". NEO (91): 10. November, 2011. 

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