Studio: Studio Deen
US Distributor: FUNimation Entertainment
UK Distributor: Manga Entertainment UK
BBFC Certificate: 12
English Cast: Todd Haberkorn, Patrick Seitz, Christopher Bevins, Scott Freeman, J. Michael Tatum, Eric Vale, Jerry Jewell and Clarine Harp.
Alien invaders. A world united. Weird goo. LOL wut?
After spending a happy summer last year passing the time by watching Hetalia: Axis Powers, I was delighted when Manga UK announced that they were to release the film, Paint it White, in June 2012, and I was happy to finally sit down to watch the film, and see how the antics of the lovable anthropomorphic countries would translate to the big screen.
The story begins in Germany, as a young woman is being chased by white, faceless aliens, who manage to corner her, and, in an explosion of green light, and strangely, pink flowers, turn her into one of them. The scene then quickly changes to a meeting with nine of the main countries of the series, Italy, Germany, Japan, England, France, America, Russia, China, and poor forgotten Canada. The meeting is about trying to save the world from these faceless aliens, named Pictonians. However, as usual, the meeting descends into a huge argument (featuring a great Doctor Who reference that pleased my inner Doctor Who fan), Germany trying, and failing, to restore order, and everyone walking out, claiming that they can get the aliens to pack up and go home without each other’s help.
However, they fail miserably, with their weapons and famous landmarks being turned white. We also see countries like Poland, Finland, Prussia and South Italy falling victim to the Pictionians. As the survivors of the attack, the countries must work together in order to defeat the Pictonians and prevent the entire world from being, as America put it, “freakishly boring and white”.
The film is animated by Studio Deen, who also animated both series of Hetalia, and the animation is the same for the film as for the both series. The animation, while not particularly detailed, is full of bright colours that a comedy sketch show like this needs. The character designs are basic, but bring out the cuteness for all the characters. While the animation isn’t great, it is all part of the show’s humour (so much so that, the English dub at least, makes fun of the quality of animation).
The soundtrack for the film is the same as the series, fun, light, and very fitting for the series. The films credits features a song, sung by the Japanese cast members, which is so catchy you’ll be humming the tune for days afterwards.
I watched the English dub track for the film, and it was as funny as the series is, and made the film an absolute pleasure to watch. The accents are hilarious, and the jokes, while they may offend some and make you go, “did they really just say that?” are just as funny.
The characters are all anthropomorphised versions of world countries, and their personalities reflect the stereotypes of each country, such as England’s cooking being bad. Their designs, like I have already stated, are basic, but it is all part of the shows humour.
I watched the film on Manga Entertainment UK’s DVD. The picture quality is great, with the NTSC-PAL conversion having no juddering and ghosting that plagued earlier DVDs with such a transfer, and is just as well, considering the frantic action and fast scenes that make up the film, and includes FUNimation’s dub and the original Japanese with English subtitles. The DVD has a decent selection of extras, including an audio commentary and outtakes from the dub cast and crew, two versions of the ending song (a Japanese theatrical version and a textless version), the Hidden History within Hetalia, which features some backstory on some of the sketches as they move too fast within the film, a stage greeting and Madman Entertainment’s trailer for the film.
Overall, the film is as fun, frantic and hilarious as the series. My only problem with the film is that it features sketches from the original series, and while it isn’t a problem for people who have yet to watch the series, may drag a little for those who have, as it makes up about 20 minutes of the film’s 1 hour and 20 minute run time. However, it is perhaps understandable, as Hetalia is first and foremost a comedy sketch show, and perhaps the sudden change to one of the sketches helps the film flow more easily in the series’ usual format. Despite that, the film is a fantastically funny watch, and is recommended for all fans of the Hetalia series.
I rate the film: