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DVD Review

DVD cover

Hetalia Axis Powers
Paint it , White!


Starring (voice): Daisuke Namikawa, Hiroki Takahashi and Hiroki Yasumoto
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 18 June 2012

Hetalia started life as a series of very short animations on the web, ideal for a short, witty, sometimes scurrilous look at history. Each country was personified by an individual, who took on their national characteristics - although many of the countries may not recognise themselves, as these are the characteristics as seen through the eyes of the Japanese. The English are pompous, Americans over zealous would be heroes, Italians cowardly, Germans overbearing and aggressive, though oddly enough the Japanese are thoughtful and introspective, odd that.

The shorter pieces worked because they fired so many gags at you that some of them were bound to stick. On the back of the short animations success, because, apparently everyone likes to spend their time taking the p*ss out of other countries, Hetalia forged ahead with making a full movie.

Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint it, White. (1 hr, 17 min, 41 sec) was directed by Bob Shirohata, who had also directed the shorts.

This time the main countries have to deal with the Pictonians, an alien, faceless race who believe that they have achieved perfection and wish to convert everyone and everything into one, white, faceless mass. The bones of the main story are pretty thin and if it were not for all the breaks for jokes, the story would have struggled hard to sustain even a half an hour length.

Our heroes bicker, finding it difficult to reconcile their differences for long enough to make some sort of concerted defence against the Pictonians, luckily for them the mother ship lands, literally, on their front lawn, allowing them access to the ship, where they attempt to win over the invaders with various forms of traditional hospitality.

This is not a show for the easily offended, especially for Germans and Italians. Germany is portrayed an only a hairs breath away from being a Nazi, there is an especially cringe worthy joke involving Jews which took my breath away and I’m not easily shocked. Italy spends his whole time either thinking about food and women or running from the fight.

If you liked the recent release of the shorts, well this is pretty much more of the same thing. The introduction of an overall story does little to improve the jokes but does improve the show as a viewing experience. The animation is bright and the quality of the disc was good with an English 5.1 audio track, plus the original Japanese 2.0 with subs.

The disc does well for extras which kick off with The Hidden History Hidden Within Hetalia which consists of text pages for those who didn’t pay attention at school.

Hetalia: The CAPSLOCK commentary, is a full length commentary for the film. It’s a fun filled piece, full of jest and little solid information, but well worth a listen. You also get the original theatrical ending (1 min, 57 sec) and the same thing, but textless (1 min, 57 sec).

Opening Day Stage Greetings (11 min, 56 sec) has the Japanese cast welcoming the audience to the film, talking a little about the series, but mostly just entertaining them. The disc finishes up with the Trailer (1 min, 28 sec) and Outtakes (2 min, 46 sec), which has the English vocal actors messing around.

This is a suck it and see venture, you’ll either spend your time laughing your socks off or open mouthed at some of the tasteless jokes.


Charles Packer

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