Hetalia: Axis Powers
Ever wonder what would happen if the countries of the world were actually anime characters? If so then you have probably seen Hetalia. If not, you should give it a view. The concept is fairly straight forward; countries, of all sizes and eras, are shown as stereotypical personifications in an anime style. The Axis Powers series focuses on the countries involved leading up to and during World War II. It is a take that presents this period of history in an entertaining and fun way. I was personally surprised to see how often actual historical terms and moments were used as a background for this show.
Each episode is fast paced, as each has a run time of slightly over five minutes. The episodes are split in two parts, Hetalia and Chibitalia. With the former showing history, using the Hetalia concept, in a present situation view point, and the later, in the adorable chibi style, which shows the formation of many present day nations from a past tense point of view. One problem many seem to have with this show is that it pokes fun at a dark period in human history. Additionally, those that have a problem with a satirical take on one or more countries might be offended, as each country is mocked for various policies or problems they face. The satirical take is done in jest and I find it no more or less offensive than other shows that use political satire. With the short run time of each episode, it takes a few episodes for the show to find its footing and sense of humor, and it will reward those with the patience to stay with it.
This is a great show to watch if you have an interest in world history, international politics, or political satire. The anime is extremely well written and thought out. Because several scenes are accompanied by on screen blurbs explaining the historical background that relates to what is happening in the anime, it could be viewed by younger audiences to help spur an interest in history. In this case I would recommend the viewing to be someone who can explain various historical moments shown, or direct them to proper reading to better understand the story.