The series that makes each country into its own character with quirks and humor returns for a new season that highlights more than just the big Axis and Allies powers.
What They Say
Prussia thinks revealing the contents of his diary will force the anime studio to give him more appearances on screen. Later, America and Canada decide to play a game of catch. There's only one problem: Canada can't catch.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a rather enjoyable first two season, Hetalia returns with yet another season, entitled World Series, which brings us more wacky hijinks with history and countries as characters playing off of each other. The whole concept, with its origins in the web comics to manga and to the original anime, simply struck a chord with me and proved to be a lot of fun, even if it does seem a bit toned down and mainstreamed for the anime incarnation. The first two seasons spent the bulk of their time dealing with World War II issues and settings which is definitely a lot of fun because of the way everyone antagonizes each other, but they also played it well with some small segments taking place in the present and others that went far into the past, particularly with Italy and Holy Roman Empire.
The first ten episodes of the World Series season essentially pick up where we left off before and runs with the same kind of humor, which is definitely a plus. Why change a winning combination, especially with it all working within the five minute timeframe. A bit more history is brought into it as Japan gets a most amusing education about how Sparta operated, with its immense amount of nakedness, which is something that really throws off Japan in a way that's amusing. The two are pretty good friends as Greece becomes a bit more of a player in the game, particularly as the two have a similar laid back and almost slow approach to things. Greece takes it a few extra steps, when you take into account the not necessarily lazy attitude but the more sleepy mindset, and it makes a certain amount of sense considering the lengthy known history of the country and how outgoing it all was for so many centuries.
Some parts of the World War II perspective are very amusing to watch play out. There's a lot of humor to be found with the way France deals with Italy over some "borrowed" paintings as well as how Lithuania reacts to overhearing Russia talking about Poland. Considering the way things played out, hearing any large nation talk about other small countries of a similar status makes them very wary of what might happen to them. Lithuania looks like he's constantly jittery and he even puts a regular watch on Poland's house, which is only exacerbated by the fact that Poland no longer responds to any phone calls from Lithuania. The way that Lithuania looks throughout this is highly endearing because of all the shaking lines around him. This is only outdone by a young Italy in the same kind of position earlier in his life.
The portrayal of America in the series continues to be a high point for me since it plays with a lot of basic stereotypes that has their root in truth. There's an amusing segment that involves England being down for the count for awhile with a cold and others try to help him, such as France, but the solution America comes up with is to slap a hamburger on his head. And he puts quite the great hamburger on there as well and can't understand why it's not working. Contrasted with the big characters, watching how secondary ones are abused is just as much fun. Canada's near invisible nature gets him hurt easily by America as well as he tries to play baseball with him and just wallops him. And poor China can't catch a break as nobody really meshes with his lifestyle and the way his history has defined him over the centuries.
One of the things that made Hetalia in its first two seasons so much fun for me was the dynamic between Italy and Germany. Italy in general just makes me either smile or laugh outright, but the two of them together or the forays into Italy's youth just push me over the edge. We don't get too much of that in this segment of episodes, though the pair have their episodes and Germany having to deal with Italy's older brother has its moments. The focus on a variety of countries and smaller gags works well and gives us a larger look at things. With such a large cast, there's plenty of ground to cover and jokes to work with and they do a pretty good job here, though it's mostly Euro-centric. When it delves into other countries, be it America or China, there's still plenty of laughs to be had. If there's any real disappointment, it's that it doesn't spend a whole lot of time on various historical elements as even the World War II aspect is minimalized here. When the Axis and Allies get together and deal with each other on that scale, there's a lot more humor that I enjoy. But what we have here is definitely fun and fits in with the World Series nature of it all.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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