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Review: Hetalia Vol. 2 by Hidekaz Himaruya

Hetalia: Axis Powers Vol. 2
by Hidekaz Himaruya

I previously reviewed the first volume in this series here.

Everyone's favorite countries are back to play together, bicker, and occasionally go to war! “Relationships” seems to be the theme of this volume, for in this volume we explore Japan's struggles to join the Western nations at the turn of the 20th century and his friendship with America; how England became America's big brother; Germany's admiration for the Roman Empire and Rome's overbearing affection for his grandson, Italy; and of course, the never ending sibling rivalries between England and France, America and Canada, and Russia and his two sisters, Ukraine and Belarus!

This light-hearted romp through world culture is a lot of fun. The first chapter sets the tone with Italy, Germany and Japan interviewing other countries about how they celebrate Christmas. Japan's romantic Christmas is largely a holiday for couples, unlike the family-oriented celebrations of America and most European countries. As the book continues, it plays on other cultural stereotypes. One of my favorite chapters compares American horror and Japanese horror; America is terrified of ghosts and vampires, which Japan just finds silly, while America thinks Japan's terrifying nightmare children are simply HILARIOUS.

I wrote this in my review of Hetalia Vol. 1, but it definitely holds true in this volume too so I'll just cut and paste:
The comics themselves vary considerably in quality from one panel to the next. Hetalia started up as a webcomic by a student, and while some of the stories were cleaned up and redrawn for the print version, not all of them were. So one sequence might have crisp and clear inks, screentones and perfectly symmetrical panels, while the next will be drawn with pencils and sloppily shadowed with MS Paint! These unpolished comics have a rawness that is fun, but when reproduced on paper they can be difficult to read, too.

I'm not sure if the jokes were better, or if I'm simply growing more fond of the characters, but I thought that this book was even better than the first one.

4.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about Hetalia Vol. 2, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2011: n/a
2010: n/a
2009: n/a
2008: Tan Lines by J. J. Salem


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