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Hetalia refers to a popular manga webcomic and Anime series first written by Hidekaz Himaruya and later adapted by Studio DEEN. The series has garnered a significant online fanbase since it’s original creation, spawning a number of fan creations such as Fan Art and Fanfiction, as well as creating a number of notable sub-memes.
Hetalia is a comedy short following anthropomorphised countries of the world, re-enacting historical events within a comedic fashion. Primarily the show follows the main character of Italy, as well as his fellow Axis Powers Germany and Japan. On top of this, there is also the Allied Forces, consisting of America, Britain, France, Russia and China, as well as a host of other countries.
Hidekaz Himaruya originally created Hetalia as an online webcomic. So far four tankōbon have been published by Gentosha Comics, the first on March 28, 2008, the second on December 10, 2008, the third on May 20, 2010 and the fourth on June 30, 2011.
An anime adaptation of Hetalia: Axis Powers was announced on July 24, 2008, produced by Studio DEEN, also known for their work on the Higurashi franchise. The show lasted from January 24, 2009 to March 5, 2010, running for 52 episodes. A second adaptation was also announced on December 10, 2009, retitled as Hetalia: World Series, and ran for 48 episodes. A fifth season, this time titled Hetalia: The Beautiful World, was also created, running for 20 episodes from January 25 to June 21, 2013. A sixth season, Hetalia: The World Twinkle was also announced. A movie adaptation, Hetalia: Paint it White! was also released on June 5, 2010.
In North America, Hetalia is licensed by Funimation, and is available for streaming on their website. The show has gained a large online following on many sites, including on Tumblr, Reddit, 4chan’s /a/ (Anime and Manga) board, Fanpop, My Anime List, and DeviantART. There are numerous sites that provide episodic information about the series, such as the Hetalia wiki, TV Tropes and Anime News Network. In addition, the Hetalia Facebook page also has over 300,000 likes.
There has definitely been some controversy about the show and comic due to it making light of many of the events surrounding WWII. People have also voiced their displeasure on the stereotypes portrayed by the countries as some have found them offensive. (examples: “America” is annoying and often shown eating hamburgers, Italy is portrayed as a pasta-loving weakling)
The Hetalia series has spawned a significant online fanbase since it’s creation, which has created much fanart and fanfiction. On the Japanese fanart site Pixiv, there are over 50,000 images tagged under “ヘタリア”, as well as over 46,000 videos on the video sharing website Nico Nico Douga. On DeviantART, there are also over 1,000,000 images tagged related to the series, as well as over 111,000 stories on Fanfiction.net
Dance Dance World Revolution
Dance Dance World Revolution is an avatar dance meme featuring anime characters dressed in the color schemes of different country flags dancing to a looped version of the number “Positive Vibe” by Newgrounds member NIGHTkilla. It started with a video of the character America, but spread out to other countries and series as well. The characters representing the countries commonly use the character models of the Hetalia cast, but fan made characters are also used.
Marukaite Chikyuu (Draw a circle, that’s the Earth) is a meme that originated from the ending theme for the first and second seasons of Hetalia. The original version was sung by the character North Italy (voiced by Daisuke Namikawa), but it spread out to other members of the Hetalia cast as well. This inspired fans to create their own versions of the song with even more characters from the series.
Become One With Russia
Become One With Russia is a meme based on a line often spoken by Russia’s in-show sister, Belarus, while around him, due to her obsessive infatuation with her brother. Eventually, fans took this one creepy phrase and turned it inside out, twisting the meaning so that Russia is the one who asks others to ‘become one’ with him.