Hetalia is meant for a very specific audience and even though I haven’t figured it out who that audience is, although I can easily say that their fan base is one of the most dedicated fan bases of anime, with there even being a Hetalia Day and a Hetalia Con. In Hetalia: World Series 2 (Season 4), all of the countries from the previous seasons return, along with a few more to join the fun. They’re all placed into comical situations, just like the seasons before it and if you’ve never seen any of it, like me, it might not make a whole lot of sense.
Although the situations may seem comical in nature, many of the skits recreate actual historic events. One good example is the portrayal of the invasion of Lithuania by the Teutonic Knights (Modern Day Prussia), in which he is shown to bully Lithuania, by threatening to torture them if they don’t convert to their order. Other skits include stereotypes of each of the personified countries, that adds some comedic flair. France is touted as smelling like cheese, Germany ends up being extremely mean and militant and Japan ends up being quiet and choose not to reveal their true feeling and motives to the other countries.
The writing for the English dub script is easily one of my favorite things about Hetalia: World Series 2. The dub cast isn’t that great, but the delivery and the vulgarity of it just made it extremely enjoyable. While the dub was certainly entertaining, the Japanese track felt much better, in terms of the cast and overall performance. Since the series is based off of the Japanese viewpoint of these different stereotypes, some of the gags fall somewhat flat and miss their mark. Another issue I had was with the variation of time frames with the series. At one moment, they’re referencing World War II and then the next jumping into events that happened in the Middle Ages, that make the series a chore to keep up with.
For the extras, there are five commentary tracks on the first disc, with the English dub cast talking about the series. On the second disc, Funimation packed a ton of features, aptly titled the “Hetalia Fan Disc”. There are in-depth explanations of the historical situations of various episodes, outtakes with the English dub cast, interviews with both the Japanese and English cast and a look at Hetalia events that have been created around the world. The show doesn’t have an opening theme song, so along with the text less closing theme, there’s also a music video for the closing song “Marukaite Chikyuu” sung by the voice actor, Daisuke Namikawa, who also does the voice for Italy in the series. The final extra on the fan disc are the “Chibitalia” segments that show all of the characters in chibi form acting out various segments not seen in the show. The two stories are how Italy ended up being part of the Holy Roman Empire and the other being the brotherly relationship between America and Great Britain.
I never knew what to expect when watching Hetalia: World Series 2 (Season 4), but it certainly grew on me once I got used to the pacing. Fans of comedy anime would certainly love Hetalia, but history buffs might be turned off by the erratic references that jumps around in time.