Hetalia: World Series review

Lookit what Funimation‘s sent over! Man, they’re super nice. :D

Hetalia: World Series is the third installment of the worldwide phenomenon of Axis Powers Hetalia but is considered a separate series from the previous two seasons. It is based on the web comic written and drawn by Hidekazu Himaruya and depict countries as pretty boys (and girls) and their interactions with one another in a mostly 4-panel comic format.

The setting ranges from ancient times to the modern era but started out mostly as a comic poking fun at Italy during World War II.

The name itself comes from the combination of the Japanese word hetare ([cutely] “useless”) and “Italia”. TL;DR: Hetalia = Useless Italy.

World Series pulls away from the topic of the two World Wars because the comic became more more about silly antics rather than the loose story of Axis vs. Allies. Because of this, there is a clear distinction between the two series and is treated as such even though it contains the same sort of humor and features the same cast.

The standard release includes:

  • a disk with 24 episodes
  • three commentary tracks by voice actors and directors
  • textless ending animation
  • an extra disk that includes a hidden history within Hetalia, unrated outtakes, and footage of fan events at the 2010 Tokyo Internaional Anime Fair and Tokushima.

Funimation sent me the Limited Edition version which comes in a paper slipcase and an exclusive purple bandana plastered with Prussia’s face and Gilbird (his pet yellow peep-like bird) all over it. The first two parts also had limited edition bandanas as well featuring the Axis Powers and Allies respectfully. I guess Prussia is popular enough to get his own bandana.

even his diary is awesome
Look at that smug face.

Close up of Flying Mint Bunny! My friend Kelly made him for me as a birthday gift. :D

Sorry, British people. Your BFF is a flying bunny that no one else can see.

You also ride unicorns.

Like the first two installments, Hetalia: World Series is a collection of 24 episodes that are faithful translations of the comic. There is less continuity between the episodes compared to the first two seasons because the comic’s change in focus. To its merit, all the episodes in this series are 5-minute skits than don’t follow a linear flow. I would still suggest new viewers to watch part of the first two seasons to become familiar with the main characters and to see its full appeal.

Many countries that took a back seat in the first two seasons were very prominent this time around.

Like Sweden and his “wife” Finland.

There is a new segment called Boss Spain and Chibi Romano replaced the wrapped-up Chibitalia. I enjoyed these segments because Spain truly shone and the rude child Romano (representing South Italy) is always fun.

Many fans enjoy Hetalia for its historical content. While I don’t think it’s an ocean of information, it can invite a person to do further proper research. The show still surprises me now and then either through the show itself or through its notes that are included on the DVD.

I did know about France’s penchant for strikes (since I had to live with them for a bit) but the segment was very cute.

I however, did not know about Japan’s close ties to both Greece and Turkey; who both hate each other.

Did you know what a paluszki was?

These things! YAY LEARNING! Apparently the word also just means finger in Polish.

Pucker up
And then there are the segments that poke fun at each country’s stereotypes (from Japan’s point of view since this is a Japanese anime).

why Japan builds safe cars
Like how Italy drives like a crazy mofo.

you should have seen the one last year
And how America totally loves ingesting neon-colored cakes that glow in the dark, dude.

What makes Funimation’s release of Hetalia a hot topic is the dub. They took creative license with the lines and intentionally added stereotypical accents to all the characters, and added some good ol’ American tongue-in-cheek vulgarity to it in order to suit American tastes. Some people love it, some people don’t.

It’s kind of like arguing whether Germany and North Italy are BFFs or BFFs.

I personally love the dub and I think Hetalia is a series whose dub benefits from breaking away a little bit from the original script from time to time. The voicework was great and alot of the reworked dub lines were hilarious.

Italy must have his hand on every cat
Like Germany’s apology to Greece because Italy was playing with Greece’s pussy (CAT) without permission. It just adds a good pinch of quirkiness to the show.

The original Japanese version of the series is also enjoyable and there’s a stellar cast of high-class seiyuu on board. Funimation’s subs read well and does its best to be unobtrusive when there’s already a lot of text on the screen.

I think it’s really a matter of American humor vs. Japanese humor. Watch it however you like.

The only downside to the dub is that I sometimes don’t understand the accents of the languages I am not used to such as Polish and it takes a few viewings for me to understand. Funimation! I miss when you had subs for the dub as well! That was amazing!

I also really like Funimation’s marketing for this series. They were very open and made it extremely fun, lighthearted, and interactive both on the internet and at conventions. There was already a giant fanbase for Hetalia and boy did they cater to it well.

All in all, I enjoyed watching Hetalia: World Series; especially with friends who enjoy the series for what it is. It is fun, light-hearted, semi-educational, and full of countries that act like five-year-olds that throw sand in each other’s faces most of the time. And how can that not be fun?

The series is marketed as TV-MA but there’s nothing that truly pushes it past a PG-13 rating other than the F-word used occasionally in the Japanese version (ironically, any f-bombs are bleeped out in the dub if used). The bloopers have more colorful language.

Check out their promo trailer if you need to see how cracky it is.


Funimation’s Hetalia Page

Buy Hetalia: World Series

Hetalia: World Series on Hulu (Japanese)

Funimation’s Twitter  + Youtube Channel



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