“Hetalia: FINAL LIVE ~A World in the Universe~” will be released on DVD on Sept. 7, 2018. The show had five separate live performances, running in the Makuhari Messe Hall in Chiba from March 17 – 18, 2018 for three shows and the Festival Hall in Osaka on March 21, 2018 for two shows.
Staff from the previous three musical adaptations (“Hetalia: Singin’ in the World,” “Hetalia: The Great World,” and “Hetalia: In the New World”) return, including the director Kōtarō Yoshitani, composer Tak, and choreographer MAMORU.
Along with them, the main cast from the trilogy make a come back with some changes in the line up during the Osaka performances.
Ticket costs were ¥10900, which was approximately $100. They were available on pia.jp from Jan. 7 – 14 along with two lotteries that took place from Jan. 20 – 28 and Jan. 30 – Feb. 4. General ticket sales began on February 11.
Unlike the previous three, this was the only adaptation that was a concert as opposed to a full length musical. The performed songs were all the ones from previous musicals along with a couple new songs specifically composed for the final live.
“Hetalia” has a long history, starting up as a webcomic by Hidekaz Himaruya in 2006. The series revolved around world history through the use of characters that were, essentially, personified countries.
They carry several traits of their respective country, and contain both good and bad stereotypes. The series focused mostly on World War II times and the countries involved, such as Italy, Germany, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, France and China, with more being added as the series went on.
In addition many historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Leonardo da Vinci are portrayed alongside the 60 countries and territories depicted.
While the main storyline of the series takes place during World War II, other stories fall during modern holidays, and other various historical events from the past.
It uses satire and light-hearted comedy to reinterpret well-known events as well as less common historical and cultural trivia. Historical, political, economic and military interaction between countries is generally represented in the series as social interactions and misunderstandings between the characters.
From then on, the comics were compiled (and at times redrawn) when put into manga form with six volumes released from 2008 – 2013. After that, no more manga was released in English.
2009 brought the anime of “Axis Powers: Hetalia” to the world with two seasons that ran from Jan. 24, 2009 – March 5, 2010.
The third and fourth seasons ran under the title “World Series” returned and aired from March 26, 2010 – Feb. 21, 2011. A feature length film was released before “World Series” came to a close called “Paint It White,” featuring an anime original story.
A two year break followed before the fifth season “The Beautiful World” was released and ran from Jan. 25, 2013 – June 13, 2013 with a new director, introducing a new artstyle to the show.
A second two-year break followed before the final season came out called “The World Twinkle” which ran from July 3, 2015 – Oct. 2, 2015.
Currently, “Hetalia: World Stars” has been running in Shonen Jump+ and has done so since Sept. 22, 2014 and is still ongoing. This series has introduced a plethora of new characters including Roman emperors and jumps around the timeline of the world in order to hit several spots possibly missed in prior serialization.
The series has received many accolades throughout its run, with both printed English volumes of the manga reaching the top of The New York Times bestseller list, and favorable reviews of the anime by critics.
Fans of the series have helped keep it relevant by spawning a yearly convention called “Hetalia Day” in 2009. Fans meet at various locations to celebrate the series, and it usually falls on United Nations Day, in the spirit of what the series represents.
While “Hetalia” has fallen from prominence in recent years, “World Stars,” the merchandise and the musicals have kept the spirit of this comedic take on the world’s history alive and well.
Arts & Entertainment Editor