So a few friends have been asking me lately what I've got against this inexplicably popular series that seems to have popped up recently called Axis Powers Hetalia. They love it... and I HATE it. Hate it hate it hate it!!! But the mere fact that it fills me with boiling rage everytime I think about it is not a good enough reason for them, so I guess I'll try to piece together why it pisses me off so very much. -I'm- not even entirely sure why I dislike it so much, so this'll be a learning experience for everyone involved, hmm?
First off: the concept. Yes, it's kind of a cute idea. Anthropomorphization of anything can be fun if done well. The problem is, it's not done well. This wouldn't be such a big deal if the series wasn't so fucking popular. You can get away with some historical errors if you're a little podunk webcomicker with a solid twelve fans, but not if your series is so big that it gets turned into an anime. And the whole WWII thing is just in bad taste, especially coming from Japan, a country that, to this day, tends to deny any wrongdoing in WWII. And that's certainly not me hating on Japan, that's just a fact.
Second, the characters. Jesus-fucking-Christ-on-a-cross, the goddamn motherfucking characters. Talk about the most uninspired, unoriginal, impossible to tell apart, two-dimensional, and flat-out insulting cast of characters you've ever seen!! It pisses me off both as an artist and as a writer to see so much praise heaped upon such bland, poorly-designed characters. Yes, you can argue that they're supposed to be stereotypes or something and ignore the fact that none of them have any sort of engaging personality. Fine. Whatever. Have your Sues and eat them too. But couple that with the genericness of their aesthetic design and the already-poor art style of the original comic and you have a perfect piss-off-Lissa cocktail. Note to any budding artists out there: changing the hair/eye color/style of a person DOES NOT A NEW CHARACTER MAKE. If people tend to confuse your characters with each other, you are doing it. Fucking. Wrong.
Third, the history. Listen, Mr. Hotshot-Hetalia-Writer, if you're not going to do your fucking research, don't get anywhere NEAR the subject of world history to "satirize" (and APH is not satire, as this Deviant's journal kindly points out). The history of any given country, particularly of the powers involved in WWII, is a touchy, objective, and sometimes downright painful subject. To not handle the matter with care is a surefire way to piss off anyone whose life has been affected by things like the Holocaust or the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or September 11th. If I've heard correctly, the comic completely glosses over the Holocaust. It's a comic about fucking World War II. Either include ALL of the war, both what little good is there to be found and the bad, or don't fucking cover the war at all. See what I mean? The very idea of trying to make light of such a dark part of history is incredibly offensive... and that's coming from someone who, to my knowledge, hasn't really been affected by WWII. Hell, I don't even give a damn about history and I don't claim to know much about it, I nearly failed that class a couple times. But I DO care about making fun of people who have done nothing wrong, and a LOT of innocents were wronged in that war. To pretend their suffering just didn't happen for the sake of entertainment is nothing short of despicable.
And I've saved the pettiest reason I hate Hetalia for last: the fucking fandom. I'll readily admit that mainstream anything tends to piss me off. Not always, but pretty damn often. I wouldn't even call Hetalia "mainstream," but it's popping up in enough places I frequent to REALLY get under my skin, DeviantART being the biggest offender here. A few people don't care for Hetalia because they're squicked by the yaoi it spawns. Well guess what? I love yaoi, and that's yet another reason I'm so pissed off by APH!! It's one thing to pair up fictional characters from a story and another entirely to slash entire countries with one another... and be entirely serious when you do so. If you were poking fun in an Encyclopedia Dramatica sort of way, fine by me. "OLOLOL THAT COUNTRY IS SO THAT OTHER COUNTRY'S BITCH LOLOL" and move on. But then people write fanfics and draw fanart of these bishounen that are supposed to represent countries and make them boink? And they actually try to make it serious? Excuse me?? I'm sorry, but the idea of countries even being attracted to one another is one I find so absurd as to be laughable. Countries, even anthropomorphized ones, do not have "relationships" with each other. It's all strictly business. Sure, you CAN twist all that around to fit your sparklypoo slashfics, but then you come right back to the issue of that whole "pissing off people" thing. Let's insult an entire generation of people for a silly little yaoi story. That sounds like a wonderful idea.
So there you have it, my overly wordy explanation for my anti-Hetalia-ness. All of that, plus the fact that I'm just really fucking sick of hearing about/seeing APH everywhere. Sane, rational people are treating this series like it's the best fucking thing to ever happen ever and that sentiment is pissing me off. It's not cute, it's not clever, it's not well-done, and no matter how many times you say otherwise, the fandom is fucking retarded... as most fandoms are.
And now I'm going to go read some nice, unoffensive, plotless yaoi to cool my rage - yaoi that is nothing more than two guys that are hot and want to sex it up. Nothing deeper than that. WHICH IS HOW IS SHOULD BE DAMMIT.
Why I Cannot Stand Axis Powers Hetaliaby mewtaila
OMFG... This Hetalia craze is driving me insane, If your TL;DR then Main point: HETALIA IS....
1. Biased 2. Historically Inaccurate 3. Drawn horrendously 4. I want to hunt the artist down, Shove a history textbook down his throat and punch him in the uterus. No joke.
"If you hate it so much don't read it"
-As a History lover and a cartoonist who wants to make historical comics one day, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE. It's like saying "Ignore that person who's hitting your Friend with a baseball bat". SERIOUSLY. I CANT.
"It's just a satire chill out"
-Oh no no no no, my dear friends. Satires are meant to be sarcastically witty voices meant to bring upon improvement of the issue being satirized. Sometimes its a bold public statement. Othertimes its an outy. And often then not, are done on Issues within the time frame of the creator. Once you toss in something that must be held delicately and objectively like History (of the PAST no less), and mix it with racism, biases and stereotypes, your in a new ballgame. (Doesn't help that some of the information is WRONG or missing LARGE PIECES OF COMPLICATED HISTORY TO BACK IT UP. These pieces of argument not only are relevant but today we can easily study the culture on ALL ends of the war. And ladies and gents, that's how you NOT be offensive but STILL be satirical.
What makes HETALIA different from Say a Satirical cartoon with racist elements in WWII is that: 1. That Satirical cartoon was drawn in that time frame and is OBVIOUSLY biased because they cant look back on that said event objectively like we do today. 2. You can't MIX modern Elements with Historical elements in Historical satires, Which Hetalia does to such a large extent. For example: China's weird obsession with Hello Kitty has NOTHING to do with its war against its brothers. 3. Satires have a single OBVIOUS criticism generally from one party to another. It CAN be subtle, but most of the time the Satirical element is obvious to those who it's targeted to. When you see Hetalia your blinded by the cutesy but first and foremost you see "Racism, followed by lil historical quirks and then the satirical element" <-- which is bad.
"So what's so biased about it?"
Racism and Stereotypes aside, the TITLE IN ITSELF is biased.
Hetalia- Cowardly/Useless Italy (referring to Italy in World War II). If the author DID ANY RESEARCH he should note that Italy's surrender in World War II was stemmed from their people NOT being COMPLETELY BRAINWASHED OR FORCED into DYING for their Dictator (they were different from Germany and Russia). They Supported Mussolini but was not drilled to die for their cause (Italian Fascism was alot more leniant). Their "surrender" was a smart decision to prevent the deaths of their men on the battlefields. After all, why toss the lives of countless men on a cause where our leader himself is dead? Japan infuriated by their surrender rounded up Italian soldiers in Japan and tortured/executed them should they not pledge allegiance to the Axis powers. For this outrage Italy declared war on Japan.
^Cowardice? Now isn't that a biased judgment. Especially when the characterization of Italy MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH BABIES. He runs around acting like a complete idiot, sobbing like some baby and stuffing his face with Pasta. WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU? Why couldn't ITALY'S side of the argument come out? Was it REALLY an act of cowardice?
Historical inaccuracies: Too many to count. Most inaccuracies actually are based more on LACK OF INFORMATION AND RESEARCH from the Author's part.
-Great Britain believes in magic and is portrayed as useless- Well fair author, have you forgotten how they bravely stood up to the German Blitz singlehandedly thanks to the guidance of Churchill until the U.S Entered the war? England did not wish to participate in Wars on Mainland Europe. Afterall, their problems aren't our problems. 'Nuff said. Doesn't help that GREAT BRITAIN had THE greatest NAVAL base and Took over practically the whole world. Useless? Useless? Britain's power was ENVIABLE at the time, the amount of colonies it possessed and the reasons why it didn't eagerly participate in World Wars was Spelled out during the weimer period. >[
Did the author mention that? Haha of course not! We're too busy showing how England is a bad drunk! Since when did a historical comic cross over to being just blatant stereotypes about people? Also some of the comics were actually based on "hearsays", "Propaganda" and "rumors". <-- Historical rite? rite? FAIL. How about you mention some Historical facts before tossing random bits of half truths for us to sit on.
-U.S- Mr. Hero. Once again a crude bias when the U.S much like England DID NOT WANT TO PARTICIPATE in EITHER of the World Wars, hence our late entrance.
-GET IT IN UR HEAD DUDE- Austria Hungary was Germany's number 1 Ally in world war I, they even threw a frikkin parade for hitler in World War II. Italy not so much thanks.
WWII tee hee what a cute event between the little fight of our countries. Thanks a bunch author, you forgot to mention your japanese people BOMBING Pearl Harbor. Oh and how about the Holocaust? The Atom bombs? The MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO DIED. Nope nada. What about the Attack to the great Russian giant that brought upon Germany's downfall? Did you know it was a direct reference of Napolean's failed attempt at eastern conquest? No? Cutesifying history is ok, but shoving racism DOES NOT HELP. History is grim full of war, violence and cultural assimilation, NOT little boys eating pasta and crying over spilt tea and crap.
Creating a "Character" with stereotypical quirks is one thing, its another for the character to be given the name of their COUNTRY, which you're collectively generalizing as a whole. Thanks for being an ass, dude. Really. Oh and totally GAYING them up is Even worse. FYI: Not everyone is gay let alone COUNTRIES. K THX BAI. It's true Countries had certain Hostilities/ alliances/ relations with other countries, but Last time i checked we weren't all Sexually frustrated twinks who want to gay up our neighbors.
- I could go on all day with all the histories and countries he butchered but that would take forever*
FYI: Asians HATE each other. General consensus is our countries dont like each other or being compared to each other we just tolerate your existance. Koreans especially (no we dont totally love our japanese and chinese brothers after you guys TOTALLY used our peninsula as a battle ground and exploited our lands. Koreans prior to World war II NEVER owned their own land. Landowners were ALWAYS japanese and chinese). Stop trying to make Japan seem so cool since he's the only country that LACKS FAULTS WHAT-SO-EVER. Wise, quiet, shy and generally kind huh? Did you guys forget your imperialistic, ruthless and just as Culturally egocentric as the rest of us? Nah didn't think so.
So while my country is shown as this clingy boob grabbing pervert who apparently is only useful at making K-dramas and badly animating cartoons, how about you look back at YOUR shallow stereotypes too?
"The comic is just for entertainment purposes, calm down no one really believes it"
-Animes and mangas in Japan are geared toward children AND adults. From any and all age. Around the world, the same applies. So guess what? Of course older audiences DONT take it that seriously (if you do believe hetalia to be real history and you took World History classes in highschool and college please kick yourself in the head)
but guess who else is watching it? YOUNG KIDS, ranging from 14 and below are also viewing this STEAMING PILE OF RACIST CRAP. Impressionable young children at that.
"The art's not so bad, he can draw better than you can atleast"
I don't doubt that, but for a comic so popular, it's art is LAZY and HALFASSED. It looks like it was scribbled on MS Paint or something. The tone work is sloppy and each piece looks Incomplete or in its sketch phase. It doesn't help that his anatomy can use some work and his backgrounds have MUCH to be desired. Especially since countries are PLACES you know, Setting is VERY important (comicing 101 dude). Oh and tossing CHIBIS left and right sure as heck doesn't help either.
If anything the FANART for it and possibly the animation born from it makes this garbage LOOK GOOD.
Oh as for the characters: EVERYONE LOOKS THE SAME. United States looks like England who looks like Germany who looks like RUSSIA cept one has glasses and the other has large eye brows and Germany has his hair slicked back. Did we mention the two italians? God forbid i cant tell either of em apart. Or japan... or korea... Oh heck, they all look the same. Everyone's either blonde or asian. Some differentiation would be nice. (And adding some spare antenna hair piece does not make them a whole different character) LAZY. Doesn't help that when he chibifies them in EVERY OTHER panel they all look the same.
"Your blowing this way outta proportion."
Haha, yeah okay. I'll probably admit that just as how there are so many "Obsessive" fans, least i ent worshipping a halfbaked comic of nonsense. If you want a well researched Manga, there's alot of others. Heck FMA has more research put into it compared to this nonsensical trash. Or better yet MONSTER. The amount of research that went down in Monster is phenomenal from setting to time period to characterization. IT LOOKS LIKE GERMANY, HECK YOU CAN EVEN TASTE GERMANY *dies* If anything Western comics (american comics especially during the golden age since a majority of cartoonists at the time were in fact immigrants of european descent) do historical comics very well. If you want real history: read MAUS by Art Spiegelman who interviewed his own FATHER a holocaust survivor, he even went to trips to Concentrations camps as reference and had a SOLID build up. History is so RICH, do the research dammit, and plan it please! Now that he's so popular some CLEAN planning would be nice not jumping from one place to another in such a sloppy fashion.
"But its so KAWAIII"
... Please die. And to burst your happy Bubble, Most Countries have symbolic representations and personifications of their own. and guess what? Aside from mainly "Fatherland" Germany and the United kingdom, MOST OF THEM WERE FEMALE. RLY? RLY. Just as how russia was known as the MOTHER of MOTHERLANDS, MOTHER OF SLAVIC NATIONS, MOTHER RUSSIA. Female, get it?
"We don't mean to be racist, and we're not collectively stereotyping either."
Then stop calling them by their country names and call them by their character name pl0x. If your gonna learn history, learn history. But dont swallow this Hetalia Bullshyt as history less you'll be laughed at or possibly hated for your racist remarks.
"Are you done?"
For now yes. *does not wish to type out entire historical manuscripts on every historical fault even tho it does melt on my nerves* Crack open a textbook and learn it yourselves. You'd be surprised at how interesting history is if you tie up all the connections. Its a domino rollercoaster ride of events, counter events and build up that shape us today.
- sigh sigh sigh* Glad i got that outta my system. Bed time.
FYI: The Anime was to be premiered on the KIDS network in Japan. KIDS network. You think KIDS understand Satire? No. Instead they'll see racism and stereotypes hidden under their kawaii-ness. Thank god South Korea bitched about it's release. THANK YOU KOREA FOR SAVING TOMORROW'S YOUTH.
Maybe if the author you know... gave these countries some personalities and not a collective ball of stereotypes this comic would be redeemable. But that doesn't look like its gonna happen anytime soon.
Look here for more info: prince-orange.deviantart.com/j…
I hate Hetalia. The end.