Holy Roman Empire/Chibitalia is a popular and canonical pairing in the series Axis Powers Hetalia/Hetalia: Axis Powers, involving the Holy Roman Empire and the child version of Italy (referred to as Ita-chan in-series, Chibitalia in merchandise and in his official profile, to differentiate from his adult self).
Italy and Holy Roman Empire were briefly raised together as infants, before Grandpa Rome took Italy away to live with him for an indeterminate period of time. By the time Italy returned to his place of birth, the other children had become bullies to him and Holy Roman Empire vowed to make Italy part of his "New Roman Empire".
Life In The Empire
Italy eventually wound up claimed by Austria, on the behalf of Holy Roman Empire, after a period of war. The two children lived together in the household, HRE harboring a crush on Italy, who he believed to be a girl (due to his feminine sense of attire).
However, life soon became uneasy in the household. HRE soon gave Italy the offer of becoming part of his "New Roman Empire", which the other child refused, remembering what had eventually happened to his grandfather. HRE left the household, leaving only Austria, Hungary, and Italy behind.
It is at this point in time which the published version of the manga ends, with Italy crying as HRE departs. In the anime adaptation, the plotline appears to leave off here, though a "To be continued" footnote is shown, and the storyline is revisited towards the end of the first season.
After the unrest in his household, Holy Roman Empire decided to depart to go off to war. While he collected his belongings, all of the staff had since left the mansion and only Austria, Hungary and Italy were left behind.
As he prepared to leave, he approached Italy in the field and gave "her" the offer to become the new empire with him. After "she" refused, he ran away and was never seen again, leaving Italy behind to cry.
The Last Goodbye
Note: This section only applies to the original webcomic version and anime adaptations of the Chibitalia side-story
The time came when HRE had to return to collect his belongings, as he went off to war. Chibitalia, in a panic, took off "her" panties and gave them to HRE as a parting gift. HRE then asked Chibitalia what "her" people gave each other as a gift in their culture. "She" responded that it was a kiss.
After confessing that he had loved Chibitalia ever since the 900s, the two children kissed. HRE departed, promising that he would return after the war and that he would always love Chibitalia, no matter how many years go by.
In the anime adaptation of the final sequence (in Episode 22), Chibitalia gave HRE a deck brush as a parting gift, instead of taking off "her" panties. HRE flashed back to the time that he first saw Chibitalia using the deck brush, and accepted "her" gift.
After asking Chibitalia what "her" people gave each other as a gift and learned that it was a kiss, he thought of how he loved Chibitalia ever since the 900s, and the two kissed. The two parted ways, though HRE promised he would return after the war and that he would always love Chibitalia.
In the post-credit teaser to the episode, HRE was shown to be very happy with his new deck brush.
Shotalia And The Thirty Years War
An age-progressed design of HRE is known to be in existence for this storyline, suggesting that HRE had finally aged, as Chibitalia had, by the time of the war. Another illustration featuring an older HRE (with teenage versions of the Italy brothers) was featured on Himaruya's blog, Bamboo Thicket, though it had first appeared on Kitayume as far back as 2007.
Eventually, after the long period of war, Holy Roman Empire was believed to have died. In a scrapped strip by Himaruya, France broke the news to a teenage Italy that HRE was no more and urged him to forget about the other boy, as he had suffered enough in the war.
Before the existence of the scrapped strip was known, fanworks often depicted HRE dying in his "child" form and Chibitalia being informed of the news then by either Austria or Hungary. Historically, the actual Holy Roman Empire was dissolved by Napoleon after its last emperor, Francis II, was defeated in war and surrendered. This has lead to speculation by fans that France had killed HRE and was informing the younger Italy of his death, possibly out of guilt.
Holy Roman Empire = Germany?
A popular fan speculation, supported by hints given in canon, is that Holy Roman Empire survived his apparent "death", but gained amnesia and forgot all of his childhood memories, eventually growing up to become Germany.
The strongest hint in canon came in the Buon San Valentino cliffhanger, when after a disastrous proposal to Italy, Germany's mind became flooded with emotion and a memory of Chibitalia was shown from his point of view. In "PAINT IT WHITE!" the movie Germany does get reminded of HRE memories when he tells Italy " I BELIVE IN YOU" because all the allied countries where being turned into aliens. But Grandpa Rome gave him a marker when he sang the heaven and hell song that was sung when America fights the "Axis" two times.
Another connection drawn by fans is the fact that Chibitalia gave HRE panties as a parting gift, while in his adulthood, Italy gave Germany a pair of underwear as a Christmas gift. The Christmas Scribbles strip series which the latter strip came from also featured a "past tale" strip with HRE involving underwear as well (he accidentally pulled down Chibitalia's underwear on Christmas after "she" got stuck in a decorations box).
In the series, it's shown that HRE possesses the same type of dog as Germany, a golden retriever, and that he sleeps in a bedroom quite similar to Germany's, with minor changes due to time differences. At the beginning of the ending theme song, "Marukaite Chikyuu", Germany and HRE sing exactly the same words, that are different from the other characters' versions.
Hidekaz Himaruya had also once mentioned that Chibitalia and HRE would eventually get a happy ending, though the exact definition of the "happy ending" has been subject to much debate.
Germany is also shown to look much like HRE when his hair is not slicked back, and the two "grown-up" illustrations of HRE showed him to have a strong resemblance to Germany, albeit somewhat younger. In another scrapped illustration, HRE dreams of what he and Chibitalia will look like as adults, with Chibitalia being a grown woman (due to his lack of knowledge about "her" true gender). The adult HRE is only shown from the nose down, but the shape of his face and his height give him more of a resemblance to Germany, along with his hair appearing to be slicked back.Though their eyes look somewhat different, Germany's being more piercing and flatly-colored and HRE's appearing to be darker and shinier, the change could be chalked up due to aging and the changes in personality and maturity (in part due to his amnesia).
But it is to be noted that only one of the two teenage designs of HRE is actually "canon" for Shotalia, and that the illustration on Bamboo Thicket was actually drawn by Himaruya for a fan, in tribute to a fangame they created about the teenage Holy Roman Empire and Italy. Himaruya stated interest in wanting to draw the Thirty Years War story with HRE at a slightly older age, which lead to him drawing the first illustration.
Some also find it unlikely that HRE could have aged, due to the fact that the actual Holy Roman Empire wasn't a true empire nor a singular nation, but a collection of other small states. This has lead to the common assumption that he "died" as a child, though supporters of him being Germany speculate that he was raised up from being a child to an adult rather fast.
There are many personality similarities between Germany and HRE, the most obvious trait being the expression they both have most of the time. Holy Rome has a tendency to frown and is serious just like the adult Germany, even though it's to a lesser extent since he, unlike Germany, has been seen laughing once or twice. This may be due to the fact that he's still a child and, most probably, he has roughened as he grew up and matured. HRE is also seen to be quite strict, ambitious and determined when he's taking decisions. This is obvious when he tells Chibitalia that he wants to become powerful and is quite forceful when he tries to convince him to become part of him.He is quite short-tempered as well and has fits of anger similar to Germany's.
An antagonism is present between him and the young France, caused by Chibitalia, which is similar to the way the adult France acts towards Germany and Italy. France and Germany have the same antagonism, as opposed to France's protective behavior towards Italy, fact noticed by England, who remarks France is always saying heinous things about Germany, while he's treating Italy rather affectionately.
Later, Germany apparently has hidden romantic feelings for Italy that he tries to deny and repress, reminding of HRE's crush on Chibitalia and how he tried to restrain his emotions in his presence. HRE also has the habit to scare Chibitalia, just like Germany terrifies Italy occasionally. There are some differences between the two, but these could be due to HRE's maturing and growing up, fact that can be sustained in Italy's case, too, since Italy is quite different from his child self, because Chibitalia is quiet, calm and shy, while Italy is loud, hyperactive and extroverted.
The Germanic Connection
HRE was also a descendant of Germania and had Prussia as a brother, while in the later-day strips it is revealed that Germany and Prussia are brothers. Though Germania is said to have several children going by the(Hetalia trading card game), two others being the little-seen Saxony and Bavaria. It is often believed that Prussia was the older brother to HRE, and has been assumed even more since he is said to be older than Germany. But in actuality, HRE would be older than both. Some theorize that due to this, Germany would be the older of the two if he was HRE, with Prussia only thinking of himself as the older one.
There is also historical precedent for the theory of Holy Roman Empire becoming Germany: After the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806, it became known as the German Confederation, and then the German Empire. The full name of the Holy Roman Empire (from the 16th century onward) also happened to be The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation. However, other fans will often point out the government differences between the Holy Roman Empire and the later incarnations of Germany as evidence in an opposing argument. Some consider the Peace of Westphalia to be HRE's true death, rather than the official dissolution in the Napoleonic Wars.
It is also to be noted that after its dissolution, the German remnants of the Empire took some time to form into the Confederation, having been under control of France as The Confederation of The Rhine from 1806 to 1813, with the German Confederation being established in 1815. Before the official dissolution, there were also a number of German states that formed the Rhine (one being Liechtenstein), with the rest joining it once the Empire dissolved.
Some fans use the trivia about Hitler's statements of the Reichs, to wonder about a connection between HRE and Germany: Nazi Germany is considered the Third Reich, and the statement named original Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire were the first and second, respectively. However, Hitler was mistaken in this regard; historians classify the First Reich as the Holy Roman Empire and the Second Reich as the German Empire that lasted from 1871 to 1918. This strengthens the argument that HRE is Germany, since, this way, all three Reichs would be represented by the same character. The counter-argument is the fact that the Second Reich grew out of Prussia's war conquests and annexations in the 1860s, and that if anyone represents the Second Reich, it is Prussia, not Germany. The terms "First Reich" and "Second Reich" are also frowned upon due to their usage in Nazi propaganda, so it remains uncertain if Himaruya would use that connection (or even knew of it).
But until the time comes when or if the cliffhanger in Buon San Valentino is followed up on, the exact canon connection between the characters of Germany and Holy Roman Empire will continue to remain somewhat ambiguous.
Webcomic: Main Storyline
- Chibitalia side-story
- Chibitalia side-story (altered ending, Axis Powers Hetalia volume 1)
Webcomic: "Extra Stories"
- Chibitalia And The Holy Roman Empire
- Ita-chan's Dream
- Kitty Festival
- Christmas Scribbles (first strip)
- Playing In The River
- Hungary And Her Maiden's Heart
- Liechtenstein's Journal Of Swiss Dopiness, part 4
Webcomic: "Comic Diaries"
- Comic Diary 3
- Comic Diary 6
- Comic Diary 7