Hetalia is an international phenomenon! Historical meets hysterical, and the real history of the world gets seriously twisted. The title is a mashup between the Japanese word へたれ — hetare, meaning “useless” or “pathetic,” and Italia, which of course is Italy.
The focal character of the series is Veneziano, the personification of Northern Italy. Veneziano is also known as Feliciano Vargas. He has a brother, Romano, also known as Lovino Vargas, who is the personification of Southern Italy. Their grandpa is The Roman Empire, who disapproves of his two feckless grandsons. Veneziano has two allies, the high handed and arrogant Germany, also known as Ludwig Bellschmidt; and shy, retiring Japan, also known as Kiku Honda. Together, they make up the Axis Powers.
The Allies, arrayed against the Axis, are England, also known as Arthur Kirkland; France, also known as Francis Bonnefoy; China, also known as Yao Wang; Russia, also known as Ivan Braginsky; and America, also known as Alfred F. Jones. England is cynical and ill-tempered. France is a hopeless romantic. China is world-weary and feels that the rest of the Allies should defer to his wisdom as the eldest country of the alliance. Russia is just plain nuts. And America? Well, his catch phrase is “I’m the hero!” and he’ll never let you forget that. Oh yeah, make sure he’s got a good supply of hamburgers and he’ll be happy.
Characters representing other countries in the world have been showing up on a regular basis. Almost every nation of the world is represented now with a character, including countries like Sealand whose status is under dispute.
Did I mention this series is hilarious? Did I mention it’s a fan favorite? And oh yeah, you might learn something along the way….
More Hetalia here (in Japanese, however Google Translate is your friend)