Home > Genre, graphic novel, historic, humorous, nonfiction > Book Review: Hetalia: Axis Powers by Hidekaz Himaruya (series, #1) (manga)

Book Review: Hetalia: Axis Powers by Hidekaz Himaruya (series, #1) (manga)

Three manga characters.Summary:
The nations involved in WWII and the events leading up to it are personified as over-the-top manga characters and through manga-style scenarios the historic events leading up to WWII are explored.

One of my good friends loaned this to me informing me that I would love it.  I DID. I REALLY DID.  I haven’t seen WWII this funny since Hogan’s Heroes was a mild obsession of mine in middle school, only this is historically accurate.

Each nation’s stereotypes (that are partly true) are blown over the top for the manga characters.  France is proud and snobby but pathetically weak.  The UK acts like a put-upon uncle who really just wants everyone to start acting their age.  Japan is impatient with Germany for including Italy in their alliance.  Italy is really short and loves pasta.  The US can’t stop eating hamburgers long enough to speak with his mouth empty.  It just goes on and on from there.  Every page or two depicts a different historic event that set the scene for WWII to explode across the globe, complete with footnotes to clarify anything that might not be entirely clear from the manga-style interaction.

I was a History major in undergrad, and WWII was “my war.”  (Every History major has a favorite war.  My close second was the Revolutionary War, but I digress).  In any case, I have a lot of knowledge about WWII, and Himaruya clearly knows his stuff, but he also gets the irony and funny aspects of different cultures clashing, and that’s what makes Hetalia so incredible. It felt like reading nonfiction in an incredibly entertaining way.  It reminds me of back when the History Channel was amazingly cool.

I can’t wait to swap this for the next book in the series from my friend.  I’m incredibly curious as to how Himaruya will handle the more serious topics such as the Bataan Death March and the Holocaust in the future entries.

While I loved this book, I primarily recommend it to fans of humorous manga and WWII buffs primarily.  I have the feeling others might not “get it.”

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Borrowed

Buy It

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