I bet you weren't expecting to see another Hetalia review on Japanator any time soon, eh?
Hetalia is one of those shows that just has a bad stink on it. All you have to do is say the word "Hetalia" and it makes you feel dirty unless you're one of its proud fans. The wild fans (mainly of the female variety) cast all kinds of intrigue for those who otherwise wouldn't have given the show a shot. And most of these casual viewers were probably disappointed.
Fear not though, faithful readers, as I'm not going to spend the rest of this article bashing Hetalia for all its worth. I have no reason to gush over it either. Just click through the cut to read my thoughts on season four.
I you aren't familiar with Hetalia: Axis Powers, I'll give you the quick rundown. It's a parody show about history (mainly the World War I and II eras, though it does go back a bit further) in which almost every country of the world is represented by a pretty boy. The relationships between the various countries are then represented in a sort of "humanized" way, which cheap jokes and a lot of distracting chibification and other cute-style animation.
I'll admit that there was a time I actually kind of enjoyed Hetalia. It was some fun fluff to enjoy with friends while partying or doing other things. It provided some material for conversation since the depictions on the show aren't entirely accurate. It also was easy to digest in its 5-minute per episode format.
Once that shiny and new feeling wore off and I stopped watching though, Hetalia was forgettable. Now that I was assigned Season 4 for review, I can confirm that they ran out of ideas. They even messed up poor Sealand's bits, and he was one of my favorite characters for the pure "ridiculous" factor.
I can't really go into story lines for this season because Hetalia is often random and too many different things happen from one episode to the next. Some of the highlights include England being captured by Italy/Germany/Romano and trying to escape repeatedly to no avail, the Austria Freeloader Series, nekotalia (Hetalia characters as cats), and lots of stuff with Japan hanging out with Germany and Italy.
If you're into dubs, I think that the job is pretty hit-or-miss. The actual translated lines do have their charm, but given that they tried to give each character a different accent to match their backgrounds, I was confused most of the time. I couldn't understand about half of what anyone said, even by the time I was halfway through the disc. I personally prefer the dub, since I had to use subtitles anyway.
Once you're through with the two and a half hours of Season 4 material, there's a bonus disc which includes chibitalia (more chibi, yay?), a few shorts, outtakes, fan event coverage, interviews with staff, and clean OPs and EDs, including Marukaite Chikyuu. I already mentioned there's a dub track, so you've got the option to hear everything in Japanese or English, with or without subtitles.
As far as this release goes? It's a great one. FUNimation spared no attention to detail to make this a fantastic piece of merchandise for the fans. As far as the content goes? It's not my thing, but I know there are a lot of folks out there that like this stuff. If you're into Hetalia, this DVD is for you.
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