Hot as Hetalia: webcomic-based anime phenom explodes

Photo: Shannon Cottrell

Liz Ohanesian reports from the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, where Hetalia was hot stuff this year—"from cosplay gatherings to artist alley booths to panel sessions." It began as a web comic, then became a series of five-minute anime episodes. At the Expo, Funimation announced plans to release the first season of Hetalia: Axis Powers on DVD this September. The response? Nonstop screams from a packed room of fans. And a panel the following day on "Hetalia History" drew a capacity cosplayer crowd. Snip from Liz's photo essay:

In the Hetalia universe, countries are personified as young men and women with a variety of flaws. The emphasis isn't on war so much as it is on the relationships between the characters. Italy always relies on Germany for protection. Japan offends China upon first meeting him. America and England are brothers with a rocky relationship. Canada is irritated that he's frequently confused with America. And then there's poor little Sealand, who might be considered the world's smallest country if only the others would recognize him.

Anime Expo 2010: 'Hetalia' Draws Legions of Fans at Anime Expo (