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Hetalia World Series: Season Three (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 24, 2012 by  



This series is totally insane! And if you thought season two was crazy, this third season is even crazier!  “Hetalia Axis Powers: Season Three” features 24 five-minute episodes plus the Japanese fan event interviews, English dub commentaries and outtakes and more! If you have an open mind, are not politically correct, have a pretty good sense of humor, then “Hetalia Axis Powers: Season Three” may be for you. Definitely worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © 2008-2010 Hidekaz Himaruya, Gentosha Comics/Italia Project. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Hetalia World Series – Season Three

TV EPISODE RELEASE: 2009-2010

DURATION: Episodes 1-24 (120 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: 13 and Up

RELEASED: January 17, 2012

Directed by Bob Shirohata

Series Composition by Takuya Hiramitsu

Original Creator: Hidekaz Himaruya

Character Design by Masaaki Kannan

Animation Producer: Keiichi Matsuda

Anime Production: Studio DEEN

Featuring the following voice talent:

Daisuke Namikawa/Todd Haberkorn as Italy

Hiroki Takahashi/Christopher Bevins as Japan

Hiroki Yasumoto/Patrick Seitz as Germany

Katsuyuki Konishi/Eric Vale as America

Masaya Onosaka/J. Michael Tatum as France

Noriaki Sugiyama/Scott Freeman as United Kingdom

Yasuhiro Takato/Jerry Jewell as Russia

Yuki Kaida/Clarine Harp as China

Scott Freeman as England

Atsushi Kousaka/Mike McFarland as Estonia

Urara Takano/Monica Rial as Belarus

R. Bruce Elliott as Bishop

Kazutada Tanaka/Ryan Bijan as Poland

Katzutada Tanaka/Ryan Reynolds as Latvia

Scott Sager as Egypt

Atsushi Kousaka/Jonathan Brooks as Prussia

Atsushi Kousaka/Vic Mignona as Greece

The awesome international incidents never stop in Hetalia World Series! All your fave Allied and Axis boys are back, and they’ve brought a bunch of new guys to the party. You like to party, right? Duh.

 

Feel the tension build as Prussia plots an invasion of Austria’s happy little place. Try on a codpiece! Share in Spain’s pain as he does his best to look after little Romano. Run with stampeding kittens! Swoon at the awkward new bromance blossoming between Japan and Greece. Eat a yummy churro! Listen and learn as France teaches Italy about the birds and the bees. Avoid Sealand! Cheer as America befriends space aliens and whales. Truly, no matter whose flag you fly, it’s about to get all SQUEE up in here. Like, big time.

This limited edition comes with a purple bandana featuring Prussia.

Contains episodes 1-24.

Have you been looking for a unique and hilarious anime series? If so, “Hetalia World Series” may be the series you are looking for.

Based on a comic and later adapted to a manga and anime series by Hidekaz Himaruya, “Hetalia Axis Powers” and with the newer seasons known as “Hetalia World Series” is an web-based anime series in which each episode is five minutes long. It also happens to be an allegorical interpretation of political and historical events during World War II. But instead of focusing on military leaders and watching countries at war, the series focuses on single men who represent their countries.

The term Hetalia is a portmanteau combining the words “hetare” (Japanese for “incompetent”) and “Italia” (Italy) and is meant to make light of Italy’s cowardice during World War II.

As of 2012, “Hetalia Axis Powers” is 103-episodes long (each episodes last 5-minutes long) and is directed by Bob Shirohata (“Gravitation”, “Let’s Dance with Papa”, “Diamond Daydreams”), series composition by Takuya Hiramitsu (“Hunter x Hunter”, “The Prince of Tennis”, “Read or Die”) and character designs by Masaaki Kannan (“Initial D: Third Stage, “Oishinbo”, “Urusei Yatsura”). Anime Production is by Studio DEEN (“07-Ghost”, “DNA^2”, “Ranma 1/2”, “Rurouni Kenshin”).

The first two seasons and the animated film were released by FUNimation Entertainment in 2010-2011 and now, the third season is the beginning of “Hetalia World Series” which features the first 24 episodes and was released on DVD in Jan. 2012.

This time around, Romano is upset with Germany for being with his younger brother.  Greece wants to get closer with Japan, Poland and Lithuania working on a pact, China is getting tired of being pushed around, England captures Italy, Tony the alien lands in Roswell and Spain tries to rescue Romano from Turkey.

The series revolves around a group of characters that represent a nation which belongs to the Axis Powers or the Allied Forces and for the most part, a series that makes light on a country and focuses on The Axis Powers (N. Italy, Germany and Japan) who are the protagonists of the series.  Since season two, the series is now introducing more characters (countries):

N. Italy – A nation who is naive and always cheerful to the point that he annoys the others. He loves Italian culture and because he is always cute, the women love him. He represents the North while his brother represents the South (and he’s more of a jerk). Many of the episodes revolves around Italy. Also, very addicted to pasta and Italian food.

Germany – The serious nation who feels he is strong and not good with relationships but he is a by-the-book man who wants to make sure he trains Italy and Japan well because he has discovered friendship.

Japan – The hardworking, technology driven and business-like nation. Not used to being around with Westerners. He is not sure why these countries want to be buddy buddy and give him hugs. He doesn’t like hugs all that much. Also, eating food that is not Japanese.

In this anime series, the antagonists are the Allied Forces which include:

America – The hero who is full of energy and strength. He was raised by England but wants independence from him and also has a brother named Canada who is always silent. Also, lives with a gray alien.

England (Britain) – Irritable, can’t cook and foul mouth. Also, has the ability to see supernatural things. He can’t stand France and has a rivalry with America.

France – The romantic and likes to flirt with everyone. His older brother is Spain.

China – Distrusts Russia and loves Hello Kitty. He is also an immortal and always with pandas.

Russia – The tallest of the nations and can be innocent and cruel. Many nations are terrified of him.

VIDEO:

“Hetalia World Series: Season Three” is presented in 4:3. Character designs are good but it’s a series that is driven by its characters and not surroundings. Because it’s a web-based series, it’s not an anime series where you are going to see a lot of significant time for the painted artistic backgrounds. If anything, the focus of the series is primarily on its characters (the nations) and the expressions they give towards each others. More or less, focusing on the relationship of the nations.

There are some scenes that do show 3D such as water effects, some nicely detailed scenes when showing weapons and closeups on the weapons and there are some nicely painted watercolor like scenes during the Chibitalia scenes as well.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for audio, “Hetalia World Series: Season Three” is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Stereo 2.0. It’s important to note that the series is not action driven but is primarily dialogue driven and is quite clear through the front and center channels. There are a few scenes that uses sound on the surround channels but these scenes are very few.

As for the English and Japanese vocal tracks, if there is one major difference is how the dialogue is handled. The English dub utilizes profanity and takes liberty with some of the dialogue and story to make it more humorous for the American viewer. The English dub is quite hilarious!

A few key things I do want to note that the accents worked for this series. By no means are the accents perfect or right spot on but within the context of comedy, it works.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hetalia World Series: Season Three” includes the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Episode 1 (53) – “Prussia and Romano are Roomies” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director/writer Jami Marchi (narrator), Jonathan Brooks (Prussia) and Ian Sinclair (Romano)
  • Episode 4 (56) – “Eastern Block Party” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director/writer Jami Marchi (narrator), Joel McDonald (Poland) and Josh Grelle (Lithuania).
  • Episode 6 (58) – “Revolutionary Brothers” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director/writer Jami Marchi (narrator), Scott Freeman (Britain), Eric Vale (America/Canada) and J. Michael Tatum (France).

DISC 2:

  • The Hidden History Hidden within Hetalia – A text based information segment that explains the historical connection of each episode.
  • Hetalia Fan Event at the Tokyo International, Anime Fair 2010 – (37:24) In celebration of the third season of “Hetalia”, a special fan event was held at Anime Fair 2010.  Featuring Hiroki Takahashi (Japan), Daisuke Namikawa (Italy) and Hiroki Yasumoto (Germany).
  • Hetalia Event in Tokushima, Part 1 – (18:25) Masaya Onosaka (France) and Katsuya Koshi (America) arriving at JR. Tokushima Station.
  • Hetalia Event in Tokushima, Part 2 – (16:01) A few of the voice actors: Masaya Onosaka (France) and Katsuya Konishi (America) on a tour of Tokushima and arriving for a live special talk show held at Shimachi-Bashi East Park.
  • Fan Event – (19:45) Featuring interviews with Hiroki Takashi (Japan) and Noriaki Sugiyama (England) in front of an all-female Japanese audience (4700 who were selected to attend the event) at the Sunshine 60 Observatory.
  • Outtakes – (6:50) English dub outtakes
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:02) Hetalia Axis Powers trailer.
  • Textless Closing Song “Marukite Chikyuu”
  • Textless Closing Song “Hata Futte Parade”

“Hetalia World Series” is one of those series is fun, hilarious and quite crazy and it’s important to note that it does mock a lot of the things that happened during World War II and also the customs of certain countries in the characters (nations) as portrayed. Definitely not politically correct, not historically accurate and if anything, it’s more or less making light of how countries were towards each other but using a character to embody that nation.

The series is also immensely popular in Japan and around the world.  Not bad considering that this series is streamed digitally and each episode is only five minutes long.

The third season still focuses on various storylines which involve Hungary, Prussia, Greece, France, America, Japan and Germany.  If anything, the third season focuses on a variety of characters but this time around, the storylines are definitely appealing to a demographic who love to see the guys get closer together.  For example, the very unusual Greece tries to find ways to get closer to Japan (who is seen as angry) and talks about his love of cats and tries to get Japan to admit he likes cats and then Greece putting on cat ears and hoping Japan would rub his belly.

But the storyline for season three is less about Italy and Germany this time around but showcases Greece and Japan, Poland and Lithuania, Finland and Sweden visiting Poland and of course, we get to see how things strengthen between Germany and Italy (who fears that Germany hates his guts).

If anything, for me, I just found the series quite interesting to see how it would reinterpret certain situations from World War II within the characters and to see how wacky things would get. But most of all, It was also easy to watch since it’s only five minutes long. By saying that, it’s also a series that I wasn’t able to watch in a full sitting, it’s one of those series that you may want to watch a few episodes at a time but not at one sitting because in my case, I felt the antics were getting quite old and repetitive. So, I didn’t want to get burned out.

As for the DVD release, I will say that in terms of special features, this third season really delivers with the Japanese fan event and interviews.  So, those who love the Japanese voice acting or want to see how packed these events are, can definitely see it with their own eyes.  And for those who are fans of the English dub, there is three audio commentary tracks (the third commentary track was possibly the wildest English dub commentary that I have ever heard) and outtakes.

So, overall… “Hetalia World Series: Season Three” was a pretty awesome DVD release!

“Hetalia World Series” is a unique, bizarre, quirky anime series. I liked how FUNimation Entertainment worked it’s “Crayon Shin-Chan” like humor into the development of the dialogue but because Hetalia does deal with how nations are with each other and its quirky interpretation of war and history (while Crayon Shin Chan dealt with perverseness and modern pop culture).  For the English dub, I like the fact that Jami Marchi was brought in to write for season three, she brought a hilarious element to the season and unlike past episodes which got old really quick with humor, she and the other writers did a pretty cool job with this season!  I know there are some who will enjoy this crazy humor and that every episode is five minutes long, but I can see others who may feel that this series is not their cup of tea.

If you have an open mind, are not politically correct, have a pretty good sense of humor, then “Hetalia World Series: Season Three” may be for you. Definitely worth checking out!

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