A huge hit in the anime world which has gained many cosplayers and fans is Axis Powers Hetalia, a comedic history based anime. Hidekaz Himaruya first started it as a web comic then into a manga series which soon turned popular enough to be turned into an anime series. the series follows the protagonist; APH aka Italy: a timid man with a love for PASTA!!, girls, and who dreams of becoming powerful, like his grandfather; the Roman Empire (yet he always surrenders during battle -.-)
Italy looks up to the leader of the “Axis Powers ” team, Germany, who has to put up with Italy to the point of wanting to abandon him. He attempted to train Italy on weapons, but this led to him unpinning a grenade in his mouth, he tried to get Italy to order supplies necessary for battle and he arrived back with a suitcase full of pasta, and making him spy on England, France, America, China and Russia’s meeting proved a fail when he got caught and demanded food. Many times Germany recieved phone calls with Italy being captured, then having to save him again and again.
Germany is seen as the “tsundere” character; he’s cold and wary of Italy at first but then warms up to him. One memorable moment was when Germany attempted to go undercover as a Frenchman but got caught due to his eating habits;
“People generally mash their potatoes to bits in Germany, but in France, it’s common etiquette to chop them into little pieces and eat them.”
Whereas Japan plays the stereotypical character of staying silent and to himself, reading manga. He finds the western culture too overwhelming so goes back to his sushi. An episode shows America trying to lose weight from eating all his hamburgers so goes to, “the skinniest guy out there”; Japan to ask what his diet is. Japan’s reponse is; “Breakfast, lunch, dinner and an afternoon snack” much to America’s shock xD
In quite a few episodes you see the Hetalia clan’s enemies; England, France, America, China and Russia ambushing their camp on a beach. There are over thirty five characters and growing in APH. The characters are usually seen poking fun at their stereotypes. The characters may be named after the countries they represent, but they have real names as well: Germany -Ludwig, Russia- Ivan, America- Alfred, etc. The series is mainly popular with female fans as most of the characters are male, and the few yaoi references in it between Germany and Italy and France and England. This doesn’t phase me as anything important, I’ve never been a fan of yaoi (yuri yes), but what I did like about the series was the use of episodes based on actual world events: the Revolutionary War, the G-8 Summit, and World Wars I and II, for example. The use of stereotypical characters we can relate to and comedic value adds to a great series and if anything, makes you re-learn your old history classes with more effect than school would ever do.
Id say Italy would be my favourite character, this probably goes for most fans of the series, but a lot of the comedy mainly surrounds his character and I’d probably be a lot like him during the war; surrendering and eating food xD and me playing Assassins Creed II at the same moment in time does in no way effect this choice xD my other favourite character would have to be Russia, who is the opposite of Germany’s character. He may seem soft, but he’s actually a cold, crazy and vodka-loving country (who doesn’t need a parachute).
There is only 51 episodes and about five minutes each, so I recommend it if you’re looking for a quick anime series to get into, but do watch it carefully as some episodes run quite fast.
PS: Check out these amazing cosplayers; note she is actually Italian and he is German xD Photo credit goes to: Alliedis on deviantart: