Starbubbles's Reviews > Hetalia: Axis Powers, Vol. 1

Hetalia by Hidekaz Himaruya
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Feb 28, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction, manga
Read from February 25 to 27, 2011

This was hilarious! It took me a while to read though, I kept forgetting which countries had which face/clothes. The book reads like a series of short stories.

I was surprised to read that personifying countries was a foriegn conceipt to the Japanese audience. If you look at Western art, all sorts of things are represented by other things. But it's even more surprising in regards to Japanese History. When WWII ended, America had issues determining who was to be held "responsible" for their continued, er conquest. Even the emperor answered to a "higher" entity (Japan in and of itself). Maybe what the editors were refering to was the notion that other countries could also have "entities."

I chuckled to myself when I read Japan's description of itself. "Unique" and "small" appeared, and I can't say that was unexpected. Japan is as unique as any other country. On a side note, there is a reason why there is so much focus on the Shinto religion (even though very few actually practice it), Mt. Fuji, and Samurai. Japan actually has very few completely original ideas culturally as much of it comes from other places, whether or not that is ever ever admitted. (For those who want to know-
Alphabet: Chinese influence
Buddhism: Indian -lots practice this-
Government: modeled after the English, past Japanese governments, and with an American flare
Industrial Model: German
Educational Model: German
there are lots, but my brain is getting tired.) As for the "small" part, there are over 6,000 islands that belong to Japan. Japan is not small. There are plenty of other countries that are much smaller.

Now onto my favorite part, history!
The history presented in this was so boiled down that it would be difficult to say that this was completely accurate. You would only be able to catch the inaccuracies if you were not only well versed in the era that was being covered in that scene, but also that country's own history. Needless to say, it was interesting reading a Japanese presceptive on world history.

examples!
The American Revolution
As cool as it would have been for England and America to have a touching scene and end the war with a change of heart, that simply did not happen. America won because other countries found it to be an opportune time to attack other parts of English territory for their own gain. Spain had a hard time focuses on anything but attacking the Straight of Gibraltar and taking away control of the area away from England. England gave up to divert forces to protect more valuable rescources.
But an interesting nuance that was "accurate" was the clothing. America played up the "simple folk" look to other nations to feed into an image that Americans were hard working and straightforward. I guess you could thank Ben Franklin for perpetuating that myth to European audiences as he would not dress up to go to political meetings or parties. (It should also be noted that he did spend a lot of time partying, and not always alone.)

The Holy Roman Empire
This topic was presented in an unusual way when you consider other empires were not mentioned in this volume. Also, part of the time it was represented as a person, the other part, it was represented as a house. The Ottoman Empire would have been interesting seeing as both empires not only existed at the same time, but border each other. Oh, and the name did not come about because part of the Roman Empire desired a name change. The Roman Empire had an extremely long collapse, seeing as it split as it collapsed and part of it lasted longer than the other part. Also, the Roman Empire did not unite all of it's territories into one big massive country, nor did it unify Italy in the same sense it is today. Rome itself was basically always just the city. To be a true Roman, you had to be born in the city, not just in a Roman territory. When Rome conquered a place, it basically drew up a contract saying that Rome controls it, it pays taxes to Rome and is subject to Rome's laws, it does not get to participate in creating those laws, and Rome will protect it. Basically. Each place had a different agreement, so what I just said isn't 100% true, but it's generalized just fine. haha

Japanese Industry
Japan wasn't actually known for it's quality in WWII. It industrialized very quickly following the German model (which was also building very quickly, as it had a lot to recover from). So, the statement about mass producing things smaller, and also building robots is a nod to the present. You might be wondering who was the industrial leader, the English. America was close behind, but let's face it, was going slow and seems to have qualms when it comes to change. Other countries industrialized at an alarming rate such as Russia, Germany, and Japan.

I could talk about others, but this is why it took me a couple of days to finish this thing. I would read a cell or two, then talk it over with myself in my head, discussing the history I remembered, chuckled at the reference, and debated just how accurate it was. I wish I knew my world history better, I mean, it's been over 4 years since I've had a class that covered something outside of America. But this book was seriously fun and I look forward to reading book 2. It's so refreshing seeing someone present history as something fun and palatable to the masses.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Danielle Love your review. LOL. Sometimes I wish I could write huge reviews like these.


Starbubbles Danielle wrote: "Love your review. LOL. Sometimes I wish I could write huge reviews like these."

you can. they just take a while to write, and you need a tendancy to ramble. haha!


Danielle Starbubbles wrote: "Danielle wrote: "Love your review. LOL. Sometimes I wish I could write huge reviews like these."

you can. they just take a while to write, and you need a tendancy to ramble. haha!"


=) True to that!


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