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Hetalia: The Beautiful World - Limited Edition

FUNimation // Unrated // July 22, 2014
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted September 15, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Content:
My first exposure to Hetalia was at a con where I wandered into one of the various video rooms where booming laughter and cheers echoed from. I happened into a screening of Hetalia! Paint it White! and I was slightly intrigued by the franchise. It's been about two years since the last release of Hetalia here in the United States and fans have been raving, going nuts, clamoring for it ever since it has been announced in Japan. FUNimation has finally brought the 3rd season (or 5th by FUNimation's count) of the cult favorite overseas. Does it hold up to fan expectations?

If you're not entirely familiar with what exactly Hetalia is, then I will clue you in. The series' main presentation is as an often over the top allegory of historic events as well as general cultural phenomenon's. Characters are personifications/stereotypes of their countries. For example, America is overly head strong, overly confident and is always claiming to be a hero with his strong sense of justice, while Canada is overly nice. If you've seen Hetalia before, expect more of the same but with superior production values.

All of your favorite characters are back ad more offensive than ever! Italy (voiced by Todd Haberkorn), the lovable goofball whom is always pounding down pasta. Germany (voiced by Patrick Seitz), the brooding, Italy hating but secretly loving, tough guy. And let's not forget our hero, America (voiced by Eric Vale), the all American bad ass whom is a cheeseburger swilling, egotisrical, loud mouthed, "hero." Japan (voiced by Christopher Bevins), who is typically overly shy and polite. France (voiced by J. Michael Tatum), a hopeless romantic. While the series has at least 30 different countries, Beautiful World typically focuses on these five the most.

I don't know how previous seasons handled their storylines, but instead of stories jumping all over the place or one cohesive storyline, Beautiful World has 25 episode in their own self contained story, although a couple are two parters. My absolute favorite episode of the season had Japan visiting America, deciding to stay at his place for a while where culture conflicts ensue, like America fearing for his life as he tries a Japanese delicacy for the first time (screaming "YOLO Bro!!"). A few other excellent episodes include Estonia (voiced by Mike McFarland) getting hacked online, believing it's Russia behind the hack, Estonia calls America to trace the hack. Another has all of the countries being threatened with embarrassing photos to come to an April Fool's gathering in even more embarrassing costumes. England (voice of Scott Freeman) must find out whose behind it. Lastly, one of the funniest episodes revolves around Estonia falling asleep at one of the world meetings, waking up to discover all of our favorite countries have turned into women.

The series is not just a gag show though, the series has a lot of subtext to it, which I believe was a nice twist for a semi parody series. Hetalia, while not explicitly stating it, the series takes place during real life historical events, although they're typically blown entirely out of proportion, and this was definitely one of my favorite aspects of it.

-Positives:

+ The concept of the show alone is brilliant and worth watching just for that.

+ Dub work is exceptional. One of the best I've heard, in fact. My personal favorite performance is Eric Vale as America, but that's because he's given the best material to work with.

+ The production values are gorgeous.

- Negatives:

- Comedy is hit or miss.

Video and Audio:
The production values are gorgeous for Beautiful World, clearly showing it's bigger budget over previous seasons. It may seem a bit jarring at first to some long time fans, as the character designs have changed slightly, giving us a sleeker and sharper take on the characters. A lot more detail has been put into background shots and into the expressions. It's just an all around superior production.

You have two options for the audio here, the first is your standard Japanese stereo track and the second is a 2.0 English dub track. Per usual I watched this in English while sampling the Japanese track. In no way, for me at least, does the original Japanese track compare to the dub work. The accents are amazing, the cast is exception, the dub scripts are punched up a notch to make situations even funnier. The dub is fantastic. The audio mix is very good in the fact that there are no dropouts or distortions to note.

Extras: - A limited edition bandana featuring some of the characters.

- A chibi sticker set.

- Episode 3 commentary with Jamie Marchi, Eric Vale, Patrick Seitz, and Tyson Rinehart.

- Episode 7 commentary with Jamie Marchi, Eric Vale, and Christopher Bevins.

- Episode 10 commentary with Vic Mignogna, Kent Williams, and "Todd Haberkorn."

- Episode 11 commentary with J. Michael Tatum, Vic Mignogna, and Scott Freeman.

- Episode 12 video commentary with Jamie Marchi, Eric Vale, Tyson Rinehart, and Christopher Bevins.

- Episode 13 video commentary with Jamie Marchi, Eric Vale, Tyson Rinehart, and Christopher Bevins.

- Episode 14 video commentary with Jamie Marchi, Eric Vale, Tyson Rinehart, and Christopher Bevins.

- Episode 15 video commentary with Jamie Marchi, Eric Vale, Tyson Rinehart, and Christopher Bevins.

- Episode 16 video commentary with Jamie Marchi, Eric Vale, Tyson Rinehart, and Christopher Bevins.

- Episode 17 commentary with Eric Vale, Clarine Harp, and Patrick Seitz.

- Episode 18 commentary with J. Michael Tatum, Scott Freeman, Jerry Jewell, and "Todd Haberkorn."

* "Todd Haberkorn" actually sounds like Jerry Jewell imitating him.

- The hidden history within Hetalia.

- The hidden horror within Hetalia.

- Seven minutes of Dub outtakes.

- Interview with Director Watanabe.

- U.S. Trailer.

- Standard FUNimation trailers for series' such as Toriko, Attack on Titan, Devil is a Part Timer!, Fairy Tail, Ben-To, Karneval, Red Data Girl, and A Certain Scientific Railgun S. Overall:
My experience with Hetalia: The Beautiful World was a positive one. With rich characters, over the top comedy, a great premise, and a spectacular dub, it's obvious why this show has it's legions of adoring fans. You're sure to have fun with this crazy series! Recommended.

Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

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