What Really Happened to Korea in Hetalia: Axis Powers?

Five Allied Powers of Hetalia.png
Five Allied Powers of Hetalia” by http://www.gentosha-comics.net/hetalia/2011/02/artestella.html. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Many fans of the popular Hetalia: Axis Powers webcomic and manga were looking forward to seeing the character “Korea” in the anime series; he was supposed to appear in Season 1. A representation of the country he was named for, the character was:

“… a free-spirited type, obsessed with video games, drama, studying abroad, and the internet. (source)

Before the series aired, however, an online petition was started by several South Koreans who were offended by the character; they demanded that the series be banned. Over 16,000 signatures were collected, and the South Korean government themselves called Hetalia: Axis Powers a “national crime”.


The character was depicted as someone who claims to hate Japan (another character in the story), but is constantly copying him, and likes to take credit for other people’s inventions. This was taken as an insult by many Koreans.

We know that the relationship between Japan and Korea has always been a strained one, dating back hundreds of years to the colonization of Korea in the early 20th century- and more recently, when Korea called for another apology from Japan on the issue of comfort women, even while in the midst of their own problems with US comfort women of the Korean War.

Hetalia: Axis Powers artist Hidekaz Himaruya has stated that he had also planned a North Korea character, a “musician… fond of reading and dancing… more timid than South Korea”. However interesting that might have been, it’s unlikely the characters will ever appear on the anime, because of all the controversy attached to them.

Burst Angel

Burst Angel is a production made by Gonzo animation studio. It is a Japanese anime series that was directed by Koichi Ohata from a screenplay made by Fumihiko Shimo.

The setting of Burst Angel takes place in the near future. Since there has been an exponential rise in criminal activity throughout Japan, Japanese authorities allowed its citizens to possess firearms and this helped to establish a new police force called the “Recently Armed Police of Tokyo” or “RAPT”. The main characters are a band of mercenaries composing of Jo, Meg, Sei and Amy.

Burst Angel

Burst Angel

Burst Angel was first aired all 24 episodes in April 6, 2004 and ended on September 14, 2004. The title was successful enough to obtain an original video animation called Burst Angel Infinity, which was released on March 23, 2007. The series composer was Masara Nishida and he also made music for the original video animation.

The plot is in the near future where there is an unusual rise in criminal activity. It has no also become legal to possess firearms in Japan and this was so that lawful citizens could start protecting themselves. During this event, the “Recently Armed Police of Tokyo” was established so the government could start exterminating criminals instead of the usual process of arrest.

The main character Kyohei Tachibana is a student at a local culinary arts school who hopes to someday become a pastry chef. The story starts with him motorcycling down a narrow inner city street then he suddenly encounters a shoot-out between a mysterious woman whose hair was silver and a seemingly psycho gangster. Kyohei then is able to escape unscathed and ends up working as a cook for a group of mercenaries whose members include Jo, Meg, Amy and Sei so that Kyohei and the bunch could travel to France. The girls are actually false mercenary agents for an international group known as Bailan.

The mercenary group that Kyohei Tachibana joins is actually a group that tries to make money by taking bounties of off the people they are tasked with catching. He then gets entangled with the mysterious woman whom he had seen at the narrow street and he has to fight against the psycho gangster in an effort to help Tokyo.

An OVA of the series, Burst Angel Infinity was released in Japan on March 23, 2007. Unlike Angel’s Adolescence, the OVA deals is a side story revolving around Jo and Meg visiting Sam and her old gang in New York explaining the aftermath of episode 14 of the TV series.


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Gurren Lagann

Anime mecha fans all around the world would probably be familiar with the out-of-this-world proportioned anime television series, Gurren Lagann. In Japan it is called Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann which literally means “Pierce the heavens Gurren Lagann.” The series came to fruition thanks to Gainax as it was co-produced by both Aniplex and Konami. Gurren Lagann spanned twenty-seven episodes as it was first aired on Japan’s TV Tokyo between April 1, 2007 and September 30, 2007. The series was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and it was written by the well-known veteran anime playwright, Kazuki Nakashima. Their creation had started to be developed during the initial participation of the famed animator in the Abenobashi mecha-themed episodes that were done by the same studio.

Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann

The world of Gurren Lagann is set in a future where Earth was ruled by the tyrannous Spiral King, Lordgenome. The wicked ruler forces mankind to be isolated amongst small subterranean villages. The vast world of the anime is centred on two seemingly ordinary teenagers that live in one of the insignificant subterranean villages. Simon and Kamina would desire nothing more than being able to go to the surface. Somehow destiny has granted their wish as they were able to acquire a giant mecha, Lagann that enabled Simon and Kamina to reach the surface where a fate of epic fighting together with other humans against Lordgenome’s forces awaits them.

Even though it was originally announced that the series would be licensed in America by ADV Films in 2007 but in a series of transfers, the license went to Bandai Entertainment in 2008, and then to Aniplex of America later in 2013. Aside from America, Gurren Lagann also aired in UK under the license that was acquired by ADV Films in 2007, and then Beez Entertainment held the UK distribution rights in 2008. Eventually the rights went to Anime Limited in 2013. Aside from appearing on television, the series was also adapted into manga, being published by  ASCII Media Works from 2007 up until 2013. The franchise also includes four light novels, created by Shogakukan, that come together as a series.  . Gurren Lagann also appeared as a Nintendo DS video game that was released in October 2007. The game includes a special episode of the series. Finally, there are two animated films that were produced; the first one was shown in Japanese theaters on September 6, 2008. The second film premiered on April 25, 2009. It goes without saying that the anime series was a success as it also boasts of winning several awards before at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, the Animation Kobe, and Japan Media Arts Festivals.

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Baccano (Italian for “racket” or “ruckus”,) is a Japanese “light” novel series that was written by Ryohgo Narita and illustrated by Katsumi Enami. The series revolves around the story being told from different points of view, the setting is in a fictional United States at different historical time periods. The most notable of these is the Prohibition Era. The series features different classes of people such as alchemists, thieves, thugs, Mafiosi and Camorristi whom are unconnected to one another. The different classes begin to cross paths after an immortality elixir is recreated in 1930 Manhattan, which sets off events that spiral wildly out of control.



In February 2003, ASCII Media Works’ which was formerly known as MediaWorks released the first light novel Dengeki Bunko imprint, and as of March 2013, twenty light novels have been released. The light novels also have sixteen anime television episodes in series that were directed by Takahiro Omori which was produced by Brain’s Base and Aniplex. Baccano was aired on WOWOW from July 26, 2007 to November 1, 2007 for the first thirteen episodes and the final three were released direct-to-DVD. The animated series was then transformed into a two-volume manga, including an adventure video game for the Nintendo DS with an additional two part drama CD’s. On top of that, the first release of the first drama CD included an additional novel and the DVD release garnered two gaiden novels were released in parts of the anime adaptation.

The English dubbing for the anime episodes was Funimation and they also have licensed the release in the United States and Canada. Manga Entertainment from the United Kingdom received the series license for its own country while Madman Entertainment acquired licenses for releases in both Australia and New Zealand. Hulu was able to stream the entire English-dubbed series during October 2009 and today English subtitled episodes continue to be streamed. Funimation has a website that streams both English-subtitled and dubbed episodes. Animax Asia received licensing and the series debuted in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

Due to its amazing success, ASCII Media Works in 2002 awarded the Gold Prize of the ninth Dengeki Novel Prize to the first light novel, The Rolling Bootlegs, after reaching third place. Since the light novels had attained a wide following it received numerous awards apart from the said above. Along with the novel, the anime adaptation of the series was also very popular in both Japan and the United States receiving a lot of positive feedback for its plot, characters, animation, strong dubbing and musical score.

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Kill la Kill

One of the latest anime sensations that the homeland of anime, Japan, has produced is Kill la Kill. Based on the title alone, one would assume that there would probably some violence in this anime series. Well, as a matter of fact, it has a shitload of violence, enough to satiate any action lover’s appetite for animated killing. The plot follows a vagabond part student named Ryuko Matoi who is on a quest to look for the murderer of her father. Obviously, this sets her on a path of violence that would eventually collide against Satsuki Kiryuin, Honnouji Academy’s iron-fisted student council president and Satsuki’s mother’s fashion empire.

Kill la Kill

Kill la Kill

Kill la Kill is the very first television anime project that Trigger has made. Hiroyuki Imaishi was tasked to be the director while the script was penned by Kazuki Nakashima. These two are considered to be a duo in the anime world as they used to work with each other in the making of another anime series, Gurren Lagen. Kill la Kill lasted for 24 episodes as it aired on the television sets of Japan between October 3, 2013 and March 27, 2014. The series also aired in America after it was licensed by Aniplex to be simulcast with the airing at Japan. Kill la Kill is to be concluded with a 25th OVA episode that would be released in September 2014. Coinciding with the start of the airing of the anime series, Kill la Kill’s manga adaptation was first serialized in Kadokawa Shoten’s Young Ace magazine on October 4, 2013.

The world of Kill la Kill is set at the Honnouji Academy, a high school located in Tokyo Bay. The school is being ruled by the dominating student council that was headed by Satsuki Kiryuin. The members of the student council have their own distinct uniforms that are named Goku Uniforms which when translated to Japanese means “high quality uniform”. Apparently, these uniforms enable them to possess superhuman abilities. As most tyrants imbued with definite power do, they choose to use their power to harass the weak, in this case, the entire school. Such was the dynamics of Honnouji Academy until Ryuko Matoi, a student that wields a long sword that is shaped like half of a scissor, transfers to the school to look for the one who murdered her father. At first she was constantly defeated by the student council in battle. All these changed when she stumbles upon a sentient sailor uniform that somehow forces itself to be worn on Ryuko. This mysterious uniform was named Senketsu and it gave Ryuko amazing abilities that allow her to keep up with Satsuki and her henchmen.

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Yakitate!! Ja-pan

Yakitate!! Ja-pan  is a manga, authored byTakashi Hashiguchi, serialized in Shogakukan’s Shōnen Sunday, which has been adapted into an anime television series by Sunrise. The manga has spanned 26 tankōbon volumes, while the weekly serialization of the manga has ended as of January 10, 2007. The anime series, broadcast on TV Tokyo and other local stations from October 2004 to March 2006, spanned a total of 69 episodes. The series won the 2003 Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen manga.The manga series was later licensed by Viz Media for North American distribution.

Yakitate!! Ja-pan

Yakitate!! Ja-pan


The story focuses on Kazuma Azuma, a boy on his quest to create “Ja-pan”, a national bread for Japan itself. He initially heads to Tokyo to expand his horizons at the bread-making chain Pantasia; the story continues with Azuma’s exploits with his other coworkers.

The title of this series itself is a play on words; Yakitate translates to “freshly baked”, but Ja-pan has a double meaning. Besides referring to the country of Japan, pan is the Japanese word for “bread” (stemming from Portuguese pão). Ja-pan is a pun for this series. This mimics the style of the names of other varieties of bread in Japanese, such as “furansupan” (French Bread), “doitsupan” (German rye-based bread), “itariapan” (Italian bread), etc.

Besides the desire to create his Ja-pan, Azuma also possesses the legendary Solar Hands. These hands are warmer than normal human hand temperature, and allow the dough to ferment faster. This gives him some advantage at the beginning of the series, but his innovation is his greater talent.

Although the story has baking as its main theme, the parts that raise the most interest are the outrageous puns in the story. Especially notable are the “reaction” based puns made by the judges, who go to great lengths to prove a single point about the bread that they had tasted. The series in general also pokes fun at the shōnen genre’s tendency to be melodramatic over mundane tasks.

Originally only a 5 week series, the manga version of Yakitate!! Japan was formally serialized due to the positive fan response. Yakitate!! Japan received comparatively widespread support across various age-groups with notable popularity within the bakery industry. The series was also highly popular with the generation who grew up reading and watching the series Mister Ajikko. Yakitate!! Japan also managed to carry its popularity over to the anime version. A characteristic of the series is the usage and explanations of various technical terms employed in baking, thus providing the series with additional educational value. Another feature of the series is found in the reactions where some popular anime and manga series are parodied. What began as a pure cooking-themed manga, Yakitate!! Japan eventually took on heavy “gag elements” by the end of its run.

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Gundam Build Fighters

Gundam would probably be one of the most memorable mecha-themed anime franchises of all time and one of the newest additions to its list of series is the Gundam Build Fighters. Kenji Nagasaki was tasked to be the director while Yousuke Kuroda, writer of the Mobile Suit Gundam 00, was hired to do the script. The characters were designed by both Kenichi Ohnuki and Suzuhito Yasuda. The anime series was first shown to the public with the name “1/144 Gundam Mobile” One thing that sets this series apart from other Gundam series is the fact that the mobile suits in Gundam Build Fighters are merely toys as the whole series revolves on the Gundam model or Gunpla aspect of the gundam universe.

The mainstay Gundam of the series: Star Build Strike Gundam

The mainstay Gundam of the series: Star Build Strike Gundam

The official unveiling of the series by Bandai was done on July 2, 2013. This happened simultaneously with the Gundam Build Fighters’ live press conference which was conducted in part celebration of Gundam’s 35th Anniversary in 2014. The series first aired on TXN stations in Japan on October 7, 2013. Aside from appearing in animated format, a manga adaptation was released and two photonovels were also released by Sunrise. These novels are on-going on Gundam Ace , Hobby Japan, and Dengeki Hobby Magazine magazines.

Gundam Build Fighters revolves around concept of the Gunpla Battle which is basically a virtual battle or contest that is won using gundam model kits or Gunpla. A participant is called a Gunpla Fighter and each one has his or her own GP Base. This gadget allows them to save their Gunpla’s data. During the battle, the GP bases are first set on the slot allotted in the Battle System which would then activate the dispersal of the “Plavsky particles.” These magical particles react only to the plastic material that Gunpla is made of and this gives the toys the ability to move or fly like real fictional gundams. The Battle System also generates a holographic landscape that is a simulation of several battlefields that are from different Gundam series. The battle officially starts after the Gunpla are scanned by the Plavsky particles. The abilities and performance of a Gunpla was based on the quality of its building process. Modifying the Gunpla in the forms of adding scratch-built parts and painting enhances the unit’s strength and performance. The Plavsky particles are also able to produce realistic battle effects such as explosions and laser attacks inside the Battle System. The realistic battle effects go hand in hand with damage that is sustained by the gunpla during the battle.

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Afro Samurai

Afro Samurai was a manga series that was both written and illustrated by manga artist Takashi Okazaki. The series is a Japanese senen dojinshi manga, and the title was serialized irregularly in the avant garde dojinshi manga magazine Nou Nou Hau for a year from September 1999 to May 2000. The manga was inspired by the artists love for soul, hip hop, and American media. This manga involves the life of Afro Samurai after he witnesses his father who owns the number 1 headband being killed by a gunslinger named Justice who was the one who owned the number 2 headband while he was a child. Afro Samurai upset by the death of his father sets off on a journey of revenge and manhood.

The samurai with the fro'

The samurai with the fro’

Gonzo, an anime studio, thought highly of the Afro Samurai dojinshi that it was adapted into a 5 episode anime TV mini series in 2007. Due to the success of the mini series, Gonzo took Afro Samurai for one more project which was a made-for-TV movie sequel called Afro Samurai: Resurrection in 2009, which gained two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation and Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Houror More). The former was actually won.

Takashi Okazaki re-released the original Afro Samurai dojinshi into a two volume manga which was only going to be released in North America by Tor Book and Seven Seas Entertainment. However, the license of the title and publisher was under their new name Tor/Seven Seas imprint which was only released after the anime series.

Afro Samurai is about a man who discovers that he must avenge his father’s death. He travels throughout Japan looking for the gunslinger Justice. He encounters many of the goons that gunslinger has hired to protect himself. Afro Samurai is then able to dispatch of the notorious thug. He is able to make a bunch of friends whom he entrusts his safety to. Also he becomes the leader of the group in order to show off his impressive skills in leading and fighting off the evil forces that try and destroy him.

Other than its success as an anime series, Afro Samurai was adapted into a video game and a live action feature film. In 2005, Gonzo had awarded Namco Bandai Games exclusive rights to publish two Afro Samurai video games, as announced that year. The debut trailer of the first game was released at the company’s Editor’s Day presentation. Afro Samurai was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on January 27, 2009 .The TV series and the film, two soundtracks were made by the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan have been released including a profile book in Japan.

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