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Hetalia World Series 2: Season Four (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 21, 2012 by  



This series is totally insane!  If you have an open mind, are not politically correct and have a pretty good sense of humor and have enjoyed the previous three seasons so far, then prepare yourself for another hilarious and crazy fourth season of “Hetalia World Series”!

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

TITLE: Hetalia World Series 2 – Season Four

TV EPISODE RELEASE: 2009-2010

DURATION: Episodes 25-52 (120 minutes)

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

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: 13 and Up

RELEASED: July 3, 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

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 an orange bandana featuring the entire main cast.

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 a 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 June 2012, “Hetalia World Series” 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 (World Series 1) was released on DVD in Jan. 2012.  And here we are with “Hetalia World Series 2” on DVD featuring episodes 25-52.

In this fourth season, we are introduced to two new characters, Denmark and Norway.  With this fourth season, Spain takes control of Romano.  Austria and Germany get into an argument whether Beethoven is Australia or German and spies from France observe them.

Japan and Germany meanwhile try to lay off the alcohol which starts to take its toll on Italy.   Meanwhile, Italy wants Japan up and show more emotion. Sealand wants to join forces with someone and England tries to escape from Germany once again.

Other stories include Spain and France fighting over Chibi Romano, the King of Lithuania getting married and forming an alliance with Poland, America goes to Japan to become friends in order to do some whaling and Japan to open p.  France gets stranded on an island with Italy and find out that England and Russia are on the island and plan to attack Germany.

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 Axis Powers: 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 Axis Powers: 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 2: Season Four” includes the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Episode 26 – “In Which America Does His Best Italy Impersonation” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director/writer Jami Marchi (narrator), Christopher Bevins (Japan) and Eric Vale (pretending to be Todd Haberkorn).
  • Episode 32 – “Super Italy Bros.” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring director Scott Sager, Todd Haberkorn and Ian Sinclair.
  • Episode 36 – “Japan’s Musical Fantasy” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring director Scott Sager, John Burgmeier (Switzerland) and Christopher Bevins (Japan).
  • Episode 41 – “The Homeless Wizard and France’s Idea of Fashion” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring director Scott Sager, J. Michael Tatum (France) and Scott Freeman (England).
  • Episode 45 – “China Gets the Best Lines” Audio Commentary – Audio commentary featuring director Scott Sager, Eric Vale (America/Canada) and Clarine Harp (Japan).

DISC 2:

  • The Hidden History Hidden within Hetalia – A text based information segment that explains the historical connection of each episode.
  • Outtakes – (6:07) English voice dub outtakes.
  • Four Boys, One Couch – (31:30) Charlene interviews the crew of “Hetalia” (Scott Freeman – voice of Britain, Patrick Seitz – voice of Germany, J. Michael Tatum – voice of France and director Scott Sager) at Otakon 2011 talk about the series.
  • Chibitalia – (16:48) A chibi short story about Chibitalia.
  • America’s Cleaning Storage – (5:27) A short story about America doing some cleaning.
  • Hetalia in Taiwan, Part 1 of 2 – (16:01) Daisuke Namikawa (Italy and Romano) and his adventures flying to Taiwan for the “Hetalia” event.
  • Hetalia in Taiwan, Part 2 of 2 – (6:38) Daisuke Namikawa (Italy and Romano) meeting the fans and enjoying the food and Taiwan.
  • Fan Event in Roppongi – (11:12) Japanese voice talent Konishi (America and Canada) and Masaya Onosaka (France) at a fan event in Roppongi.
  • Special Talk Between Bob Shirahata and Hiroki Yasumoto – (18:58) Featuring a conversation between Hiroki Yasumoto (Germany) and director Bob Shirahata.
  • Draw a Circle, That’s the Comment Corner – Daisuke Namikawa (Italy and Romano), Hiroki Yasumoto (Germany), Hiroki Takahashi (Japan) and Noriyaki Sugiyama (England) talk about the series and its debut airing on BS11.
  • Interview after the Hetalia Movie Premiere Welcome – (5:12) Featuring Hiroki Takahashi (Japan), Daisuke Namikawa (Italy and Romano), director Bob Shirahata and Hiroki Yasumoto (Germany) after the screening of the Hetalia Movie.
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:25) Hetalia World Series Season 4 trailer.
  • “Marukaite Chikyou” performed by Italy – (2:37) The full music video of Italy singing “Marukaite Chikyuu”.
  • 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 fourth season is rather crazy, hilarious and focuses on relationships.  From Germany, Italy and Japan slowly becoming closer, smaller areas wanting to be countries and become a major force and others that simply don’t want to fight and try to be neutral.  It’s a farcical satire of what took place in World War II.  By saying that, this is not a series that focuses on war, violence, despair or destruction, if anything, it’s characters representing a country and seeing how they get along.

For example, in season four, you will get to see Germany and Japan actually warming up to Italy, more about Lithuania and this mysterious boy that he meets, Japan meeting Switzerland, Prussia finding a wounded Hungary and discovering that Hungary has breasts.  And America as always, doing his own thing.

It’s a crazy season four that comes at you in short spurts, but I think that’s what people enjoy about the series.  How crazy these episodes can get and how unusual it is from any anime out there.

If anything, for me, I just found the series hilarious, unusual but so much fun.   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 could get 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 fourth season DVD really delivers in special feature content. It’s one thing to get audio commentary by the English voice actors, plus interviews but also on the Japanese end, you get the stars being interviewed, having fun in Roppongi or one of the voice talent going to a a Hetalia event in Taiwan and the Taiwan fans going crazy!  It’s a great sight to see because this series is well-loved by fans all over the globe.  So, of the four “Hetalia” DVD releases, this one is the most jam-packed release, when it comes to special features.

Overall… “Hetalia World Series 2: Season Four” is a pretty awesome DVD release!  And I loved how there was good character development outside of Italy, Germay and Japan.  And those who want to see more of the other characters, will be happy to know that this fourth season’s episodes, does just that.

“Hetalia World Series” is a unique, bizarre, quirky anime series and 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 and may be a bit too unusual or too short for their tastes.

If you have an open mind, are not politically correct and have a pretty good sense of humor and have enjoyed the previous three seasons so far, then prepare yourself for another hilarious and crazy fourth season of “Hetalia World Series”!






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