This time I’m going combine my 12 days of anime with my special Hetalia posts I plan to have started by this stage (I’m writing this on the 1st of December. If this is the first you’ve heard of this mini-project Hetalia fangirls then go ahead and berate me in the comments to get moving). This time I’m going to look at one of the most remarkable and one of the most unexpected occurences of the Hetalia anime (although in retrospect it should have been obvious). The international discussions that arise in Hetalia fandom.
Yet again this is a story that begins right at the start of the year with the Koreans protesting at this terribly dangerous anime. Being portrayed as an over-reactor and getting easily offended did not please the Koreans so they, in true Korean fashion, over-reacted and got the show taken off the air (yes I know, not all Koreans are like that blah de blah). Unsurprisingly this had the opposite effect and garnered the show even more interest. Many people looked at it and thought ‘well this is totally harmless’ and never gave the show another thought. However there were many others that actually believed Hetalia was *gasp* dangerous! People would take these racial stereotypes to heart, automatically assume those previously ignorant to Italian culture would assume they were all pasta-loving wimps. If you were one of these people then this post is directed at you.
What has actually happened is a huge increase in discussion of different cultures in Hetalia fandom. The internet being the wonderful international place that it is (and I’m only being half-sarcastic there) means that there’s nearly always someone from the country being referenced to explain a bit about the history or culture of that country, even *gasp* Korea! To take a random example, here’s a comment from an older Hetalia post:
I’m Italian so a little info about Italy-Russia here: those two countries are close now, but it’s a pretty recent event caused by the fact that Berlusconi and Putin are both populists controllers of the media (Berlusconi owns or controls 5 channels out of 6) so they get along really fine XD but it’s more of “our prime ministers are friends” than “Italy and Russia are close”. The reaction of italians is similar to Italy and Romano’s ones , so it’s spot on XD
I’ve always looked at the historical and cultural references in Hetalia and quite often found myself trawling Wikipedia after an episode. This blog is only a tiny part of the Hetalia community. I’ve looked across all sorts of forums and Livejournal sites to find people discussing their own history or culture. OK, it’s mainly just fangirling but it still brings to light many things that these fangirls didn’t previously know. They aren’t taking the historical facts in Hetalia for granted (although for the most part Hetalia has been spot on), they’re actually learning about other cultures, the total opposite to what the haters thought would happen.
Tying world peace and Hetalia together is a bit of a big statement but I’m going to stand by that. What other anime has done more for building bridges between cultures? You could argue Pokemon is large enough to have people from anywhere and everywhere but the important difference here is that Pokemon fans join together to discuss Pokemon. Hetalia encourages discussion about different nationalities. The only people who may be enlightened are a bunch of internet savvy fangirls but can any other anime claim that title?
So what is my ‘moment’ that this post refers to…I’m not really sure. Maybe the time on some random Gaia forum where my blog was linked to with some people saying ‘oh yeah I love that blog! He always explains the history behind the jokes’. And that folks, is my part I’ve done for world peace this year.