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Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint It, White! – Review

by SamMarch 20, 2012

Title: Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint It, White
Encompasses: Movie
Published by: Madman Entertainment (Australia/New Zealand), Funimation (North America)
Based on: The webcomic/manga series by Hidekazu Himaruya
Genre: Comedy
Audio: English and Japanese Dubs
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Runtime: 81 Minutes
Cost: $24.95
Special Thanks: Madman Entertainment for kindly providing me with a copy of this title for review

Right now where I live… everywhere is buzzing with pre-electoral campaigning about why the leader of each party should or should not be the Premier of Queensland… and personally I get annoyed every time I turn on the television and it seems to be just constant bickering between the two parties in different advertising campaigns. I also put the Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint It, White DVD into my Playstation 3 recently and endured a different kind of bickering….. a good type of bickering that had me chuckling most of the way through this 81 minute anime film.

If you are not aware of just what Hetalia Axis Powers is about (I strongly suggest you start at the DVD collections and not the movie…), the best way to describe it would be: “Human Personifications of Countries” and “International Relationships to a zany new level”. Sure there might be cultural stereotyping, warped world history and squabbles between nations…. but it is an anime not the news so that counts for something right? When aliens begin to invade Earth… will these “dashing” young men manage to unite and save the world? Is it worth your time finding out? Read on to find out in my review of Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint It, White!”.

It’s totally the end of the world in Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint it, White! This full-length flick brings all your fave boys together in modern times with one goal: Drop the bro-hammer on some alien invaders! The Pictonians have arrived from deep in space. They also have dangly glow-balls on their heads, which is kinda cool, but still. The freaky aliens are using use their crazy rainbow-beam-thingy to paint everything on Earth the same color: white! See, now the title of the movie makes more sense, right? Anyway, if the Pictonians are to be stopped, the Allied guys and the Axis boys — plus some new characters, too — must set aside their differences, unite against their common foe, and hopefully get together for a sweaty work-out to make sure they’re super-ready to save the world!

Even as I sit here writing this review I am not all too sure about how to go about reviewing it…. as it is either something you would really enjoy or not be able to last more than a few minutes watching. Of course, given that you are interested in the movie and not the anime series itself then I will assume that you actually enjoy the series and am just curious about if the movie lives up to the standards previously set. Fortunately I think the bar has not been lowered and was as random and funny as previous installments. While you have watched them bicker and fight previously, all the countries must work together in order to protect themselves from an alien invasion that envisions turning all of us into white goo creatures with no faces and very little personality. But as you might expect, most hold stereotypes and superiority complexes that guarantees a tough road to success.

The general plot is there, the alien “Pictonian” invaders are here to colonize us because we are “easy” targets and the countries set out to save the world. It doesn’t really get anything deeper than this, meaning it is a series heavily focused on the comedy and one you can just pick up and enjoy – a sufficient knowledge of history and geography wouldn’t go astray however. This was a nice deviation from the normal mini-episodes that occur in the main series, but I felt by doing it in this style they only hit the half-way mark, sometimes providing quite a few laughs and other sections that either tried to be funny and weren’t, or just so-so overall. This is not a full 80-minute long movie however, with I would say around 10 minutes worth of mini-episodes similar in style to normal releases of the series and have nothing to do with the actual plot but gave the non-main characters a chance to shine.

When thinking about it more seriously… it was more the sarcastic and witty humor that was key in my enjoying this series, with the random humor being the factor that was more hit-or-miss, but provided you are familiar with the series you are bound to get just as much enjoyment out of this as you did the original television series.

The overall design quality of this show was pretty good, however was nothing spectacular. For the purpose of comical scenes, viewers are presented with alternating normal and chibified character appearances, which in most cases worked well. Actual character designs and facial expressions were also well planned for each individual character, often bringing  a feature of the specific country in order to set them apart. While it may sound strange, the most creatively designed characters were the Pictonians. Sure they lack any unique identifying features, facial expressions or clothing… however when contrasted against the ever-changing colourful environments, they provide a simple idea that works well visually. Environment designs were perhaps the biggest roller-coaster of quality in this entire release alternating between some of the more detailed backdrops I have seen in a while to ones that were rather bland.

The English dub provided by Funimation is easily the biggest highlight of this release, and I felt that in comparison to the Japanese dub (Which to their credit does a good job still), the English dub had a bit more freedom to conform to the stereotypical accents and mannerisms that we are more suited to. The overall soundtrack didn’t really have much presence when watching the series and was overshadowed by other factors such as the voice acting. The movie does not come attached with an opening sequence but does however featuring an ending with all the series characters Bon Dancing to the song Wa! Wa! World Ondo by World Eight (Italy, Germany, Japan, France, England, America, Russia and China) and was a fun way to bothend the movie and to fit as many of the series extended character cast in as possible.

They have crammed a sufficient amount of extra content onto the disc, most of which is actually worth a watch through. These extras include:

  • The Hidden History Hidden Within Hetalia – A rather detailed analysis of many scenes in the film which correspond to moments in history you may not be fully aware of.
  • Hetalia: The CAPSLOCK Commentary – I have had great experiences with Funimation anime commentaries, with the only limitation being that they usually do not do enough of them in their releases. Several voice actors and team members take part in this movie-long commentary and proves to be a very interesting listen.
  • Original and Theatrical Ending Sequences
  • Japanese Opening Day Stage Greetings (11:56)
  • Paint It, White! Trailer
  • Outtakes
  • Trailers for Mamdan Entertainment Anime Releases (Naruto Shippuden Movie 2 Bonds, Chaos;Head Collection, Azumanga Daioh (Discontinued now I believe…), Hetalia: Axis Powers Season One and Lucky Star

Overall however, I enjoyed my time watching this film, and if you are familiar with the series and have enjoyed it so far – there is a good chance you will enjoy this one as well. Fans will be glad to know however that they will not have to wait too much longer for Madman Entertainment to release the Hetalia World Series (Season 3) Collection. Infact, you will only have to wait one more day with copies due for release on the 21st March 2012 at a cost of $39.95

Final Score
Storyline / Character Development: C+
Design: B-
Music/Voice Acting: A-
Personal Preference: B-
Extra Content: A
Overall Score: B-

Sam
Your average, perhaps slightly geeky 22 year old University student who spends his days studying but his nights watching, reviewing and reporting on video games, anime and manga. Has been writing for The Otaku's Study ever since it opened in 2006 as Sam's Anime Study.
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