Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $24.98 US, $29.98 US (Limited Edition)
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: November 22, 2011
Not even an alien invasion can get the world’s nations to get along.
I have to admit that Hetalia is an acquired taste that might not suit all anime enthusiasts’ palates but, as a fan of the series, I was excited to hear that a movie was made and that FUNimation would bring it to us here in North America. Sure, it might not be the movie that would turn those who didn’t like it into Hetalia fans but Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint It, White! is a full-length animated movie that die-hard fans of the series will love. Everyone say it with me: Pasta!
Something is very wrong with the world as a terrified woman is running down a street yelling for help but none comes when she finds herself face-to-face with a number of, well, faceless entities. In fact, she is surrounded by a swarm of these beings with no distinguishing features except for an antenna with a glowing green orb at the end. Oh, and the poor woman, well she was transformed into one of them!
Once again, the nations of the world – or the cute characters that represent the countries – are facing a unique kind of threat. You see, the faceless beings are really alien invaders called the Pictonians who are turning humans into one of them as well as painting major cities of the world white. As always, however, the countries are not in agreement and more so when it comes to something as major as an alien invasion. In fact, the only suggestion comes from America whose response is always to use its military might. An argument ensues and it is Germany with enough sense to leave. Everyone else follows except for Canada who feels like nobody even cares about him.
They all take America’s recommendation of sending each country’s military arsenal against the Pictonian invaders as the world attacks only to discover that the alien’s technology is so advanced that they turn missiles and weapons into limp noodles. With weapons being useless against them, the world has no idea how to stop them as the invaders go from city to city turning humans into one of them and washing cities and monuments in a sea of whiteness. All is lost, it seems.
Still, even with things looking so bad, the nations will not give up as Germany trains Italy and Japan and America turns to an alien friend of their own named Tony (who speaks only profanity) to find out more about the Pictonian race. So when the mothership of said invaders lands on Earth, a small band that includes China, Germany, America and France sneaks aboard dressed like one of them.
It is aboard the ship that the group encounters the Pictonians and attempt to do what they should have done from the very beginning … open a line of communication with them. As it turns out, the alien invaders have a real legitimate reason for their invasion and, as a response, the rest of the world attempts to convince them that there’s more to humans than what they originally though. So begins each nation’s attempt to introduce the aliens to their culture’s fine cuisine, entertainment, delicious German beer and awful British scones that ruins the friendly negotiations.
There’s a final confrontation with the Pictonians as the countries face off against them in an exciting and strange finish as the most unlikely character turns out to be Earth’s last salvation. Like the series, the movie throws in short scenes that really have nothing to do with plot and oftentimes these scenes touch on rarely known historical events. For instance, France awkwardly and desperately asks England to marry him and ends up dragging England away. In another scene, England joins Japan in a hot springs where he meets a kappa and another Japanese mythical creature.
Oh, it’s always great to see Sealand again who is trying hard to be of help to the other countries in order to finally be recognized.
Unfortunately, Paint It, White! isn’t very inviting to newcomers so this is not the perfect jumping point for those who always wanted to get into Hetalia. If you’re a fan, the movie doesn’t fail to provide the same humor and zaniness of the series.
That said, Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint It, White is definitely geared more to the loyal Hetalia fans who have fallen in love with this quirky series and that’s not such a bad thing considering the fact that there’s an actual plot that works. If you’ve been dying to check this series out or give it a try, Paint It, White might not be the best place to start. Everyone else, this is a movie you will definitely need to check out.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
When an alien race known as the Pictonians invade planet Earth the nations of the world try to come up with a plan to save planet from being turned into a bland whiteness. Of course, the nations aren’t always in agreement on how to handle something like this but once they finally get to meet the invaders, they work together to make the visitors understand that they’re not all about wars.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The countries range from funny to chibi cute and the visual zaniness of the main series is present throughout the movie. Aside from the CG effects concerning the Pictonians, this movie looks like a lengthy episode from the series.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The voice cast for both the original Japanese and the English dub are topnotch and both manage to be absolutely hilarious in places. Then there’s the score that is done right but is overshadowed by the songs sung by the cast.
Aside from the FUNimation trailers as well as the original Paint It, White! theatrical trailer, there are fun extras that include Outtakes with the English dub cast (funny profanity-riddled outtakes) as well as the original theatrical end credits (one with text and the other without). There’s also the Hetalia: The CAPSLOCK Commentary track that includes the English dub cast and ADR Director that is actually worth a listen.
Also included is the Opening Day Stage Greetings with director Bob Shirahata as well as Daisuke Namikawa (voice of Italy), Hiroki Yasumoto (voice of Germany) and Hiroki Takahashi (voice of Japan) during the June 5, 2010 screening of the film. Then there’s the Hidden History Hidden Within Hetalia that takes through some historical references made throughout the movie including the Red Cliffs reference and why Iceland felt so lonely in the opening of the film.
While it might not convert those who don’t like the series, Paint It, White! has just about everything a loyal Hetalia fan can ask for in a feature film based on the series. In fact, I’ll even go as far as saying that the movie not only contains all the familiar crazy humor Hetalia fans appreciate but there’s an actual story that makes this even more worth watching.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment