Hetalia World Series S4

Christmas is fast approaching, and many of us already need a break from all the hard work that is Christmas shopping, or just a few ideas for gifts for a self-confessed anime lover. Well, there’s a great deal on Play.com at the moment: for an eye-wateringly good £15.99 you can join Goku on his epic adventure in Dragon Ball Z Complete Season 1. Perfect gift for any Dragon Ball fan!

Hetalia World Series This week saw the release of Hetalia World Series Season 4. A lighthearted comedy based on web-comic and manga by Hidekaz Himaruya. The anime itself was first released back in 2009, and this week saw the release of its fourth season.

Some of you may already be familiar with Hetalia’s many characters, each character (mainly boys, with a few exceptions thrown in) embodies a particular country. Representing these countries, their characteristics and interactions in very stereotypical ways, offering some slightly over-the-top humour.

If you’re new to this particular title (as I was when watching this) you might find it a little confusing at first, with no clear consistent storyline through the series. But, what it does do is throw a bit of everything at you, at once. I guess you could say it’s a non-linear world history lesson, with some random facts that will soon get you intrigued in each of its five-minute long episodes. Facts such as an Italian restaurant finding itself occupied with a load of baby sea turtles paying the restaurant a visit (in 2008), for the food, obviously. Or, that there’s something called a codpiece – a pouch that a man would typically wear, in what we could say, a very personal space.

Hetalia is informative to say the least; you will find yourself learning about various historical events and facts without realising. The DVD has some great little added extras, including explanations of these hidden histories within each episode.

Hetalia DVD
As a fan of subbed anime, I don’t usually watch anime with English Dubbing. However, the dubbed version does add something extra to the humour, using the most obvious (perhaps slightly cringe-worthy) accents for each of the characters. The subbed version is a little less over the top, and personally I found it easier to follow and slightly more enjoyable.

Through most of this series, one word came to mind: ‘Random’. But after a while, admittedly the series did grow on me. Whilst this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it is a humorous anime. A bit like marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it, and you soon may find it becoming something of a guilty pleasure. But, then again, pleasure should never be guilty.

Review by Samantha Buttigieg

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