Hetalia Axis Powers Volume 1

by Hidekaz Himaruya | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 1427818762 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 5/2/2017
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, May 02, 2017
I got this good-condition softcover at a local Savers thrift shop, for another release copy.

I first heard of this quirky web-comic via this TV Tropes entry (which I found because there are Hetalia examples on so many other TV Tropes pages), and found it so cute that I had to check out the online strips and the little anime segments. [There's a translated version of the anime on DVD too (I have it), and while I'm enjoying the performances of the English voice-actors, I harbor a fondness for the Japanese voice actors too; luckily the DVD gives both!]

The premise: the characters in these strips are personifications of various nations and empires throughout history, with some of the stereotypes and regional traits one might expect and with others that are - well, I don't want to repeat the word "quirky" too much, but it definitely applies! Sometimes we see the characters as adults and sometimes as children - "Chibitalia" for example; some strips have historical references while others are randomly entertaining (the nation-tans are all standing in the checkout line at the grocery, with the more congenial ones chatting happily while efficiency-minded Germany fumes). As per the title, the central plot has to do with Germany, Italy, and Japan, the Axis Powers of WWII, but there are flashbacks to the American Revolution, the fall of the Roman Empire, and many other events. And I find the characters and their oddball relationships (which often mirror the ups and downs of the real-world relationships of the countries) very funny and surprisingly charming.

This volume opens with a full-color section in which the countries/characters hold a world meeting to "solve the world's problems" - only problem is, America is chairing the meeting with his usual bravado, and insists that nobody's allowed to disagree with him. [He also thinks it would be a great idea to stop global warming by building a giant to protect the planet.] This strip introduces all the main characters and several of the secondary ones (though not always by name, so a knowledge of the flags of the world would be helpful here!). There are footnotes here and there giving some background info about a specific strip or series, such as the one in which Germany, Italy, and Japan unite - the footnote describes the Tripartite Pact of 1940, while the strip shows a worried Japan signing the form while Germany and Italy doze, all three of them tucked up beneath a heated kotatsu table.

In another strip, France offers to give his "pervert title" to England, but England suggests Greece instead, and the footnote mentions a survey in which Greece was the country that had the most sex. Useful trivia? {grin}

And then there's the one in which a meeting of the allies is disturbed because the members have an odd feeling that there's an extra person there, but nobody can see who it is. In the last panel we see Canada waiting patiently to be introduced - "but Canada's turn never came"...

While most of the storylines take place in the past, some have modern references, such as the one in which America uses Google to find out how to get to Germany, and the results instruct him to "swim across the Atlantic Ocean" - apparently this was an actual instruction from Google Maps at one point.

And there's much, much more, some serious, some informative, some surprisingly touching, some just wacky. I really like Hetalia!

Released 1 yr ago (5/7/2017 UTC) at Little Free Library, Benson Park in Hudson, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I plan to leave this in the Little Free Library at around 1 or so; hope the finder enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2017 TV Series release challenge. ***

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