If you keep up with anime and manga news, then odds are you’ve heard about Hetalia: Axis Powers. It’s current fan favorite that started from humble beginnings as a single web comic. Now, it’s available in every form of media possible. If you’re interested in history, then the adventures of these anthropomorphic countries may interest you. Here’s what you need to know, if you want to get into Hetalia.
What’s Hetalia: Axis Powers?
As mentioned one paragraph ago, Hidekaz Himaruya originally created Hetalia as a single web comic in 2006, then went on to turn it into a regular webcoming. The manga followed shortly after, then came drama CDs, anime series and animated movie. The title itself translates roughly into Useless Italy: Axis Powers, which is fitting since the series first focused on Italy, Germany and Japan during World War I and World War II.
Don’t get confused when I say it focused on Italy, Germany and Japan though. While it is a historical manga, it’s also a comedy and satire starring humanized versions of the actual countries. Instead of depicting actual wars and battlefields, it shows the countries interacting with personifications of other countries. While the Axis members are usually the main focus, Allied Forces characters like America, England, Canada, France, Russia and China also have rather large parts. As time went on, even more countries were added as supporting characters, like Hungry, Switzerland, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Denmark and Sweden.
If you’re in North America, there are plenty of ways to see Hetalia. TokyoPop has commited to bringing the manga volumes to the US, and the first two are already available. Funimation has picked up the rights to the anime and movie, with the Hetalia anime already running on the Funimation Channel. Both the anime and movie will be on DVD this year.
So is there a Hetalia: Axis Powers game?
Why yes, there is a Hetalia: Axis Powers game! It’s actually in development right now. It’s a visual novel game that’s being put together by Idea Factory. It’s called Gakuen Hetalia Portable. Players step into the shoes of Seychelles, who happens to be the newest student at the World Academy. Even though she’s new to the school, she’s been tasked with putting together the annual cultural exchange party. Which means she has to meet and get to know all of the other classmates (countries).
Originally, Gakuen Hetalia was supposed to be an official otome (girl’s dating) game created by Himaruya himself for PCs. However, it was never finished. A demo was released in early 2007, but that’s as far as it got. So Idea Factory’s PSP version will be inspired by the original concept, but it seems like the dating sim aspects are being downplayed. It’s still coming out under the Otomate line, so expect a few romantic endings for Seychelles with some of the other countries-characters. You can pick it up on March 24, 2011 if you’re interested.
COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables reviews Tales of Graces F for the PS3.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week listed some 2011 import games to keep an eye out for.