Like many manga and anime series, Hetalia: Axis Powers is subject to much fan speculation and various theories, which may turn into misconceptions when newcomers confuse fanon with canon. Mistranslations of profiles and strips may also contribute to confusion as well. This is a list of some of the different rumours, misconceptions, and fan-theories related to the series and its characters.
Ancient Greece and Byzantine
Rumour: Ancient Greece later becomes the Byzantine Empire.
Fact: Uncertain. The identity of Greece's mother has remained a source of confusion, with contradictory official sources.
In Axis Powers Hetalia: The CD, Greece's mother is identified as having been the Byzantine Empire. It is said that Turkey (as the Ottoman Empire) killed her and kidnapped young Greece for himself. The timeline on the Hetalia website also lists the Fall of Constantinople on the timeline of events for the series, with both Byzantine and Turkey involved in it.
However, Himaruya has also identified Greece's mother as Ancient Greece, which has lead to debates over whether he intends to have her be "Byzantine" at a later stage of life or for Byzantine to be a completely separate character. Proponents of her becoming Byzantine will point to his quote about Ancient Greece's troubles and internal struggle, and will point to other "dissimilar" character evolutions like Prussia's. The opposing side will argue that the cultures are too different and that Byzantine was also known as the Eastern Roman Empire and so would likely be a relative of Rome, perhaps a child of his, and that her struggles are related to the competing city-states that comprised Ancient Greece, which was not a singular nation. However, as seen as with the Holy Roman Empire, a character can call themselves Roman and still be completely unrelated to Rome.
A "Byzantine" is also mentioned in the profile notes for a Magyar character on Himaruya's blog, which was included alongside notes for Rome, Germania, and both Ancient Egypt and Greece. This has lead some to assume that Himaruya has indeed made Byzantine a separate character from Ancient Greece, though it remains to be seen what he will do with either of them. However, it is to be noted that Himaruya's plans for characters are subject to change over time, and that the Magyar character was originally identified as Hun in the incomplete Gakuen Hetalia screenplay. Germania has also been alternatively referred to as a "father" or "grandfather" of Germany/Holy Roman Empire, and others. Another theory is that Greece has poor memory and Ancient Greece could have been his grandmother (rather than mother), making Byzantine his mother.
Rumour: Kenya, Zimbabwe, and three unnamed female African nations appear in concept art for Gakuen Hetalia.
Fact: Though two of the girls' hairstyles somewhat resemble the hairstyles of Zimbabwe and Kenya, the "Kenya" in the sheet is shown to have a slightly different look to her hair. In designing the initial uniform sheets, Himaruya had also opted to use generic characters to represent both the Europe and Africa classes as a way to show the uniforms without choosing a specific nation. However, he did use South Korea and Taiwan in art for the Asia Class uniforms, which has lead to speculation that perhaps one of the models could have been intended as an uncredited cameo of an African nation. The models for these two sheets however seem to have been intended to be normal unspecified girls.
In the demo version, there are five African nations that appear as super-deformed heads when greeting Seychelles: Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Ghana. Though Kenya is a female, the genders of three of the others are left ambiguous, though most Western fans assume that they too are women. In the rare instances that they are referenced in Japanese fanart, Zimbabwe is characterized as either male or female, and Botswana and Ghana tend to be male. Uganda is shown to be a male in the game, when he is carried out by paramedics for laughing too hard at Seychelles' coat-of-arms.
Five other African nations (Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, Cabinda, Ethiopia, and Congo) introduce themselves in the demo, though their faces are unseen. Ethiopia is the only one whose gender has been outright confirmed, being a male (and picked on by the rest of the class due to being associated with Italy). In his notes around the demo's release, Himaruya mentioned that a Libya character was to be included, but they do not show up in either the demo or the unfinished screenplay.
An unidentified female African colony of France's has shown up in a doodle for Lithuania's Outsourcing in the footnotes about Europe's colonies having been affected by the Great Depression. To this date, Himaruya has yet to reveal which former French colony she represents.
Arthur Kirkland: England or the United Kingdom?
Rumour: Arthur Kirkland is England/UK/both.
Fact: The exact country identity of Arthur Kirkland has been a source of fan debate in part due to translation inconsistencies of the character's English name in both scanlations and official media. The name's katakana reads as Igirisu, which has been used to refer to both England (Ingurando) and the United Kingdom (Eikoku), though it would technically refer to "Britain". Usage of the Union Flag in most media indicates that Arthur is the UK rather than simply England, and an early profile has "United Kingdom" written in English. In Gakuen Hetalia and some merchandise, he is instead referred to as "England".
In the original profile, it is mentioned that Arthur is one of four brothers, which would suggest that while he is referred to as "UK", he only represents a part of it. This is also alluded to in the strips and a note by Himaruya, the latter of which identifies his brothers as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (regarding the third one, while Ulster may be conflated with Northern Ireland, such is not the case, although Himaruya could be talking about the Republic of Ireland).
When a fan asked if Arthur was England or the UK, Himaruya answered that he is only technically known as "England" by his brothers, and known as "United Kingdom" to other characters. This seems to confirm the long-standing fanon theory that while all four brothers represent the consituent countries or "Home Nations" of the United Kingdom, it is Arthur who acts as the state's overall personification. Such an arrangement reflects the real-life role of England as the seat of the UK's central government in contrast to the separate, devolved governments of the other three, and concurs with the fact that Arthur displays primarily English stereotypes and mannerisms.
Rumour: Australia is the younger brother of England, named Bruce/Cody Walters/Jak/Steve Kirkland. He is popular for telling strange jokes that nobody understands.
Fact: True. Both he and New Zealand call England 'older brother'.
Fanon interpretations of the character often give him the surname Kirkland, though at least one iteration on deviantART has him named Cody Walters, along with the aforementioned fanon profile information. As it is a completely fanon interpretation of Australia, it should not be considered true for the series.
Denmark, Norway, and Iceland in the anime
Fact: False. The "announcement" of these three characters being in the anime was actually a hoax, believed to have originated from 2chan. A photoshopped image was circulated around the Internet, showing the three characters to be on a viewing screen (in actuality, it was a fanart). False information also circulated about the characters' voices, with the rumoured seiyū being:
Even after the hoax was exposed, some anime sites still have yet to remove the erroneous seiyū listings, which has continued confusing newcomers to the fandom. The hoax was further debunked when Iceland appeared in the film, Paint it, White, voiced by Ayumu Asakura. Season 4 marked the debut of Denmark and Norway, voiced by Hiroshi Shimozaki and Masami Iwasaki respectively, thus putting the final nail in the coffin for this rumour. Along with Iceland, they appear in the season's extra episodes.
Rumor: There was an episode of Hetalia: Axis Powers that was never subbed where Germany and Japan, while stuck on the island, drown Italy to eat him
Fact: False. This is nothing more than a creepypasta, an online horror story meant to shock and scare the reader. If you read the original creepypasta, it even claims the episode was on a bootleg DVD, which is a common cliche for creepypastas involving "lost episodes" and games. There are also some noticeable errors made, as Italy has yellow eyes in the supposed screenshots, but Italy has amber eyes in Axis Powers.
gg subs, a group in charge of providing fansubbed versions of Hetalia episodes until the end of Season 2, had taken some notable yet controversial liberties with the Japanese script when translating. Below are a few examples:
- Episode 01: Russia's reply to Estonia about bullying was subbed as "But it's so fun!", while official translations later revealed that he was actually supposed to be calling Estonia "annoying" for trying to stop him. Latvia was also incorrectly identified as "Lithuania".
- Episode 18, Episode 26, and Episode 28: "Go, China!", said by America, was subbed as "China, I choose you!", presumably as a joke referencing Pokémon. Interestingly, the FUNimation adaptation uses the fansubbed translation.
- Episode 41: France's line about the rumours him and England were spreading about Germany was subbed as "The scary rumors about Germany are spreading like AIDS!".
- Episode 48: Italy's lines about his voice are subbed as "Cool! My voice changed! I sound like a fag!" and "I sound like a fag! I really do!" while the more approporiate ranslation is "I sound so strange/weird!". The FUNimation dub uses a variation of the fansub, having Italy say, "I sound kind of like a homo, don't I?"
- Subbers had also used "fag" in other episodes, most notably replacing Sealand's "Jerk England" insults with it. "Retard" and "retarded" were also used on other occasions in place of "stupid".
Rumour: Germany's full human name is Ludwig Beilschmidt.
Fact: False. When Himaruya originally assigned human names for the characters, Germany was simply listed as "Ludwig" with no surname. He stated that there was a reason for Germany not receiving a surname, and that fans would eventually find out the reason and significance for it.
After Himaruya's old blog shut down, the posts with the characters having human names (or human ages) disappeared. Some fans have taken to giving Germany the full name of "Ludwig Beilschmidt" to correspond with his older brother, Prussia, whose human name was given as Gilbert Beilschmidt.
Of note is that the name Ludwig was once a common German name, and so the reason for not giving him a surname could be related to this. Some fans will point out that as Germany and Prussia were distinct, different political entities in history, it would be unlikely for Germany to take his brother's or even Austria's respective surnames. It is also rare for "sibling" pairs in Hetalia to bear the same surname, with "sibling pairs" such as America and Canada or Russia and Belarus not sharing a surname.
Rumour/Theory: Hanatamago represents the Åland Islands, which lie between Sweden and Finland.
Fact: Unconfirmed. So far, this is only fan speculation, as there is no apparent Åland character planned by Himaruya. Fans, however, wonder if Hanatamago could instead represent the islands themselves rather than a humanoid character.
The basis for this theory comes from Hanatamago living with both Finland and Sweden; geographically, the Åland archipelago lies between both countries. It also shares history with both, stemming from when Sweden ceded it to Russia in the Treaty Of Fredikshamn, whence it then became part of the Grand Duchy of Finland. Conflicts later arose over whether Åland belonged to Sweden or Finland, which led to the islands' state as an autonomous province of Finland, with its inhabitants retaining the right to speak Swedish and have their own culture).
Hanatamago's apparent immortality has also led to the theory if she may be a special sort of being like the personifications. Other fans have suggested that an Åland character would be more like an adopted child of Sweden and Finland, even though Himaruya appears arbitrary in selecting which territories he assigns characters to, with some places only represented by accessories or parts of the body of a larger nation. It remains to be seen if Hanatamago has more significance than she appears to have, or if there will be a canon, anthropomorphic Åland character.
Hetalia's early days
Rumour: Hetalia began in March/May 2003.
Fact: Though the above was long assumed to be true due to little information on early days of the series' and Kitayume, the March 2003 launch date actually refers to the founding of Kitayume itself (though it has also been given as May or June 2003 in some commemorative headers).
The first series on the site was Advance! Kitakou Broadcasting Club, drawn by a then-teenaged Himaruya. The following year introduced Advance! Kitakou Broadcasting Club Pure and Barjona Bombers, and the two series began to cross over. Himaruya later deleted a large chunk of the Kitakou stories, and seemed to have discontinued both series once he began working more on Hetalia.
While it is likely that Himaruya might have had a Hetalia concept in mind earlier on, it appears that the first chapter was drawn in mid-2006, with the rest of the series following a few months later.
Fate of the Holy Roman Empire
Rumour: Holy Roman Empire grows up to be Germany, having survived his apparent dissolution and death but with amnesia. Alternatively, Germany is the Holy Roman Empire reincarnated after his death at the hands of France in the Napoleonic Wars, or after his downfall at the end of the Thirty Years War.
Fact: Though the first is a popular theory supported by pieces of in-series evidence (most visibly in the cliffhanger to the strip Buon San Valentino), the exact connection between Germany and Holy Roman Empire remains to be seen.
Critics of this theory point out historical differences in the government of the German Confederation (and later German Empire) in relation to the political system of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the fact that it absorbed minor German states in its formation. After its dissolution, the German states of the Holy Roman Empire were first formed into The Confederation of The Rhine and were under the control of France from 1806 to 1813, while the German Confederation was established in 1815. It is of note that the Holy Roman Empire technically existed in name only after Peace of Westphalia, in which most of its component territories were granted sovereignty.
Supporters of the theory cite the Holy Roman Empire's full name from the 16th century onward, which was "The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation". Some fans also point to the fact that the Holy Roman Empire was considered the "First Reich", the "Second Reich" being the German Empire from 1871 to 1918, and the "Third Reich" being Nazi Germany (during World War II, the main timeframe of the series). This would make a stronger case for HRE's connection to Germany, since all three Reichs would have been the same character. A counter-argument for this would be that the Second Reich better represents Prussia, which grew out of his conquests and annexations in the 1860s. However, such terms as the First Reich and Second Reich are not considered appropriate to use for the HRE and German Empire, due to the usage of them by the Nazis and in propaganda. This makes it even more uncertain if the fan-theory with the Reichs would be "correct" for either character.
While most believe HRE dies in the Napoleonic Wars, due to a scrapped piece of artwork with France informing Italy of HRE's demise, some also believe that he dissolved at the end of the Thirty Years War and that Italy did not hear of his fate until the Napoleonic Wars. This is due to the aforementioned fact that HRE effectively existed in name only after the first war. In this case, some believe that Austria and France may have attempted to keep up the illusion that HRE was still alive until the official dissolution came.
In-series, it has been noticed that Hidekaz Himaruya has seemed to go out of his way in not showing a younger Germany in any of the strips, while Holy Roman Empire happens to have an uncanny resemblance to Germany and look much like he would as a child. Germany is also shown to have a hairstyle similar to HRE's when his hair is not slicked back, and both have prominent sideburns. A design of a teenage HRE furthers the connection, along with a scrapped piece of art where the child HRE dreams of himself and Chibitalia in their adulthood. In the latter image, the adult HRE is shown from the nose down, but appears to resemble Germany in his height, build, and hairstyle. But some theorize that the teenage HRE has become a scrapped idea, much like the draft of a separate character for the Teutonic Order (which was designed around the same time), and that HRE could have never aged or grown due to not being an actual singular nation.
Furthermore, a hint suggesting that Germany is HRE with amnesia can be found in the “Hetare 5: Lietuvis!!” part of the main storyline, in which Lithuania talks to Germany and is relieved that he does not remember him even if he, “along with Poland, had once beaten Germany's family member to a pulp”. The family member Lithuania is talking about is most likely Prussia, who, when he was still known as the Teutonic Knights, was beaten at the battle of Tannenberg by the Polish-Lithuanian union. However, in 1410, Germany did not yet exist, but because Lithuania fears that Germany actually could remember that incident, he might have already existed in another form, possibly the HRE. The fact that he does not, though, supports the theory that he forgot about it because of amnesia.
A debate has also arisen over the appearance of a young child in Comic Diary 7, who appears to be HRE in a "Knut" -shirt. Some fans believe that the child is HRE (due to his eyes), while others believe that he is instead a "young Germany" due to the shirt. However, a doodle of Chibitalia in modern clothes was also shown, so it may be that Himaruya was drawing HRE (or a younger Germany) in modern clothes simply for fun. If it was meant to be young Germany, his resemblance to HRE would be even more uncanny whether or not the two are intended to be the same.
Holy Roman Empire was also an offspring of Germania, as was Prussia, who is confirmed in later strips to be Germany's older brother. But Germania is shown to have many other offspring, and it is also debatable as to whether they are his children or grandchildren, as the official sources provide conflicting information. Prussia would also technically be the younger brother of HRE if he had originated from the Teutonic Order rather than Old Prussia. Some fans also believe that France would be his brother instead, as both were historically Francia (with HRE having come from the Eastern part).
One variant of the reincarnation theory was inspired by a doujinshi entitled Risorgimento: Holy Roman Empire did in fact die, but his body was revived and came to be the young Germany, who may physically resemble HRE but is not him in spirit.
There is a theory that Holy Roman Empire might be a girl and Hidekaz Himaruya is misleading us, and the girl may be Liechtenstein, which is supported by the fact that Liechtenstein is the only part left of the Holy Roman Empire.
Some members of the Japanese and international fandoms have a third theory for the connection: the two characters are not related in any way and the similarities are red herrings or mere coincidences in a possible bait-and-switch move by Himaruya. The only official word given on HRE's fate at this time other than his apparent demise being reported in a scrapped strip was Himaruya's debatable response to a fan's question (ca. 2007), where he promised that eventually:
- "Chibitalia and Holy Roman Empire will have a happy ending."
Hong Kong's gender
Rumour: Hong Kong is female.
Fact: False. Due to his somewhat androgynous appearance, Hong Kong's true gender has caused some confusion, with some fans believing that "he" is actually a cross-dressing female. However, his profile and trading card clearly state him to be a boy, and a "character distinction chart" by Himaruya also lists him as a male. His gender was further clarified when he was given a speaking role in Hetalia Fantasia.
Hong Kong and Taiwan
Rumour: Hong Kong and Taiwan are twins.
Fact: False. There is nothing in the series to suggest this, though some fans will often consider the two to be twins due to their connections to China and youthful appearance. Furthermore, the territories have had little history shared together other than being under the control of China, so while it is likely that they would be considered "siblings", it is unlikely that they are twins.
Although the characters' human names are no longer listed and none of the newer cast members have been given any, fans will often come up with their own names for those characters.
This can cause some confusion if fan names are mixed in with the official names, leading to the misconception that they are official as well. The original listing of human names was created in 2007, with Belarus and Canada being later additions in early 2008. It remains to be seen if Himaruya will create an updated list, though it is unlikely.
- Ukraine's human name is Yekaterina Braginskaya, and her nickname is "Katyusha".
- Denmark's human name is Mathias Køhler.
- Hong Kong's human name is Kaoru.
- Taiwan's human name is Mei.
- Ukraine has not actually been given an official human name, though her nickname came from the Japanese fandom and is a term for both a headband as well as a type of rocket launcher. It is also a diminutive form of the name Ekaterina/Yekaterina, which is used for her given name in fanon. Braginskaya is also the feminine form of the surname Braginski/Braginsky, the surname of her brother, Russia. "Katyusha" is also the title of a Russian wartime song (though an earlier Japanese song of a similar title is known to be in existence as well).
- Mathias Køhler was a name for Denmark that an anonymous editor put on the Hetalia page of TV Tropes. As Himaruya gave the character no human name, it is assumed to be one of several fanon names that have been used for the character. Mathias and Søren appear to be the most common fan-names for the character.
- Kaoru is a fanon name often used by both the Japanese and international fandoms for Hong Kong. The name means "fragrant", given that Hong Kong is the English approximation of the Cantonese term "fragrant harbour". It should be noted, however, that "Kaoru" is a Japanese name, which would be unlikely for a character not representing Japan to use. As such, other fans opt to use the name Hong for him. Having been a colony of the United Kingdom until 1997, Hong Kong is also often given an "English" name in fanworks (e.g., "Michael").
- Mei is a popular fanon name for Taiwan in the international fandom, as it could mean either "beautiful" or "plum blossom" in Chinese depending on how it is written, the latter being more likely and more popular as it is the national flower of the Republic of China. Taiwan's name literally means "beautiful island", which may also play a part in this misconsception. Interestingly, "Mei" in Japanese could mean "dark", and it could also be a shortening of her fanon nickname meimei, (Mandarin, "little sister") as some fans consider Taiwan to be the little sister of the Asian nations.
Due to the human names having not been listed in English, there are often debates over how to spell certain characters' human names. It becomes more difficult to determine the intended spelling as some names seem to be uncommon or nonexistent in the nation's language.
- The human name given for Lithuania is often rendered as Toris Lorinaitis, from the katakana spelling Torisu Rorinaitisu. Other common spellings for it are Taurys Laurinaitis, Toris Raurinaitis and Thoris Lolinitis. It is uncertain which Hidekaz Himaruya may have intended, though Laurinaitis does exist as an actual surname, while the given name Tolys is of Lithuanian origin (thus making the rendering "Tolys Laurinaitis" correct).
- Hungary's human name is another popular topic of debate. While her last name is clearly Héderváry, her given name (written as Erizabeta in katakana) has a number of possible transliterations: Elizabeta, Elizaveta, and Elisabeth/Elizabeth, along with its Hungarian equivalent, Erzsébet. The last of these may have been the intended name in mind, though Elizabeta and Elizaveta are the most commonly used in the fandom and what the katakana for her given name can be rendered as. It is also possible that Elisabeth may have been the intended spelling, as an allusion to Elisabeth of Bavaria, but that Himaruya made an error in his rendering.
- Switzerland's given name is usually spelled Vash in the international fandom, while Japanese fans seem to alternate between that spelling and two others: Basch and Bache. As with the letter "L" being spelled with an "R" character in kana, "V" is replaced with a "B". It is believed that Vash may be derived from the French word vache (cow). Vasch has also been used, though it is less common than the others. Basch may be in fact the valid spelling, as it derives from a short form of Sebastian and the katakana also matches the name.
- Finland's name is given as Tino Vainamainen, commonly rendered into Finnish orthography as Tino Väinämöinen. However, some believe that Himaruya may have meant for him to be called Timo, which is a more common Finnish name than Tino.
- China's surname is spelled as both Wong and Wang, though his given name Yao rarely has variations. In a blog entry, however, Himaruya stated that Yao could also be rendered as Yue in Japanese and the name in English as either Wang Yao or Wang Yue.
- Belarus' surname was long believed to Alfroskaya (katakana: Arufuroskaya) and was listed as such on various fansites, but it was eventually found that the katakana read Arurofuskaya, which has lead to the spelling Arlovskaya slowly coming into use. Her given name has been spelled out as both Natalia and Natalya, with some fans who do not want either spelling referring to her by the diminutive Natasha.
- Korea's name has had the most spelling variations to date. Though the correct Korean rendering is Im Yong Soo, it has been listed as Im Yonsu, Im Yun Soo, and Im Yong Su. Earlier spellings, derived from the rendering of his name in katakana include Ren Yong Soo, Lim Young-soo, and Lee Young-soo.
- Prussia's surname Bairushumitto was initially transliterated as Weillschmidt in English fansite profiles and different fanworks. Beilschmidt was later found to be a more accurate reading, and it is an actual German surname compared to the non-existent Weillschmidt, which slowly fell into disuse. The surname comes from the German words beil ("axe") and schmidt ("smith").
- Greece's human name is often rendered as Heracles Karpusi, with Karpusi being the Greek for "watermelon". Some other fan translations will refer to him as Herakles Karpossi, Heracles Carpus, or Heracles Karpsh.
- Estonia's surname is usually rendered as von Bock, however, some fans opt to render it as von Fock or von Vock, as there is no difference between "V" and "B" in Japanese. The spelling of his human given name has also been debated (i.e., Edward or Eduard). As it is a Germanic name, some would suggest the German spelling Eduart von Bock is the more sensible rendering.
- Turkey's surname is rendered as Adnan in most listings, though some opt to use Annan instead. There is also a debate as to whether his human name is spelled as Sadiq or Sadik. Since there is no "Q" in the standard Turkish alphabet, and the Sadiq spelling is more of a Kurdish one, fans tend to prefer Sadik.
- Canada's given name is rendered as Matthew, but some fanworks refer to him as Matthieu, or Mathieu as a nod the French language and culture in Canada.
- Russia's surname has alternatively been spelled Braginski or Braginsky, though the former is more common in keeping with Russian-to-English transliterations.
The Italy Brothers: Twins?
Fact: While the Italy brothers are often portrayed as identical twins in fanart and fanfiction, there is little in canon to support or suggest this. In the case of them being twins, it is more likely that they would be fraternal due to the differences in their size and appearance. Additionally, Veneziano specifically refers to Romano as his older brother (and conversely, Romano refers to Veneziano as a younger brother), though others will point to Japanese culture as identifying twins specifically by their individual age.
In a response to a fan's question, Hidekaz Himaruya mentioned that he had designed Romano to be a few years older than Veneziano, and that their respective physical ages were approximately 22-23 and 20. Romano's appearance has changed slightly over the course of the comic, and that there was originally more of a visible height difference between the two (which is rarely–if ever–shown in modern strips and absent in the anime, where the two are the same height). The child version of Romano also shrunk in height in later-drawn strips, and now appears to be the same size as the younger Veneziano (while in his Chibitalia debut, he was shown to be significantly larger). Romano also was originally coloured to have darker, olive-toned skin in comparison to his brother, with green (or hazel) eyes. In later art and the anime adaptation, Romano's skintone was lightened and his eyes were changed to brown (amber in the anime). An early coloured picture used in a 2006 flash video also initially showed hime with jet black hair, while Veneziano had light brown hair.
Due to the characters being nations and therefore not as fully-human as they appear to be, their aging patterns are also shown to be different from a normal human's. Characters who knew each other as child-nations have been shown to out-age each other, or that younger nations may wind up outgrowing their older peers once they hit their equivalent of puberty. In a liner note to the webcomic version of Chibitalia, Himaruya suggested that Romano's growth remained (and remains) slow due to the long-term influence of Spain, who controlled him for a lengthy period of time. Proponents of the twin theory, however, suggest that Romano physically aged faster than Veneziano at birth, and only slowed down once he became controlled by Spain.
In their profiles, the brothers' birthdays are both given as 17 'March 1861'–the foundation date of the Kingdom of Italy. As both brothers are shown in the series to have been in existence since the days of the Roman Empire, it would appear that they count their unification as a shared birthday and celebrate it as such.
Himaruya has also noted that the Italy brothers have different types of blood, which would be unlikely for identical twins, or at least their blood follows the same pattern as human twins. It is mentioned in an early strip that Veneziano has Germanic blood in him, reflecting the German influence on northern Italy, while Himaruya stated in a Q&A that Romano has Arabic blood.
Korea's voice actor
Rumour: The seiyū Kaoru Mizuhara was to play South Korea in the anime version, but lost the role when his part was cut.
Fact: False. The above was a misconception that happened when Mizuhara was discovered to be part of the cast in Hetalia Drama CD: Prologue 2. In her interview segment, she mentioned Kankoku and Korean barbeque, leading to assumptions that she was meant to be Korea's seiyū. A mistranslation of the segment also added to the confusion.
However, it was later discovered that Mizuhara's mentioning of Korea was only in a "what if" situation of her being cast in the anime, with the Korean BBQ being something that she had enjoyed eating. Another seiyū had suggested a "Monaco" character for her earlier in the segment, before she decided to pick Korea (at the time, there was no Monaco character in the series). The only role that Mizuhara has had to date in Hetalia was a minor female voice in that drama CD.
An animation error in Episode 14 shows that Korea was originally going to be in the episode, though the rest of the shots where he would have appeared were edited to remove him due to the South Korean protests. It is unknown who he would have been voiced by, had Studio DEEN not cut him from the series.
Rumor: There is a North Korea in the series/The Korea in the series is North Korea.
Fact: There has yet to be a character for North Korea in Hetalia, though a number of fan-created characters do exist, the most notable being "Hyung-soo", created by the doujinshi artist, Lo-wah .
Occasionally, there is also the misconception that South Korea is the North, due to the fact that he is usually simply labeled Korea with no specific designation. His nation name, Daehan-minguk, would suggest that he is the South, as the name is generally used to refer to it by. South Korea is also written in kanji as Kankoku (which is used for the character), while North is rendered as Choseon. Factoids from his profile indicate that his culture reflects South Korea as well, rather than the North's. It is also noteworthy that he only appears in the contemporary strips, and that the flag used for him is the South Korean one. His original profile also stated that he was "an unbelievable nation in the south of the Korean Peninsula". The only thing to suggest him possibly representing both halves would be a comment by China, who was aggravated that he had to "share a border" with Korea.
A scrapped early design for the character is in existence, where they were originally designed as a female and said to be an idol-wannabe. Some fans theorize that her design could possibly be reused for a North Korea character, though Hidekaz Himaruya did recycle the basics of her design into the character Sena, from his discontinued webcomic entitled MoeKan (a portmanteau of moe and the first part of kankoku).
In 2007, Himaruya stated that he had plans to make a male North Korea character, and described him as being timid in personality and a musician, as well as being a "twin" of South Korea. However, as they were based off a Korean friend of his that moved away, and due to the controversy of North Korea in the news, fans feel that it is unlikely that they will be introduced anytime soon. There are fans that also feel that "North" would be better as a female character than Himaruya's intended male one, and use that scrapped South Korea design for her.
Rumour: The Philippines can be seen in Episode 01 and the first chapter of volume 1. She is a maid that serves Spain coffee at the conference.
Fact: False. Though some fans have speculated that the maid was meant to be an uncredited cameo of a Philippines character, the maid was intended to be a normal human and is simply credited as "Maid" in notes and in the anime guide WorldWideWalking. When asked by a fan who she was, Himaruya himself clarified that the maid was a Spanish housemaid; her brown hair and green eyes were like Spain's and are highly unlikely physical traits for a representation of the Philippines.
Proponents of the Philippines theory believe that she was not named due to controversial stereotype of Filipinas as maids, though the truth is that a character for the nation has yet to be introduced in the series. While it seems unusual for there to be a non-nation character at the conference, the series has shown instances of the nations interacting with normal humans before. In some cases, the humans are shown to be aware (in varying degrees) of the nations not being like them, and address them by their nation name (e.g., a pharmacy clerk referring to Germany as "Mr. Germany").
Name and appearance in Season 3
Rumour: Philippines will be a girl and her name is María Clara Fernández Carriedo (or "Clara De La Cruz"), and will appear in Season 3.
Fact: False. Though a fan-created character named María Clara exists, there is no canon Philippines so named. Though Filipino fans want a character for their country in the series, there has yet to be an official design. There have been hoaxes purporting this and the above rumour as fact, sometimes started by fans longing for an official character or trying to find significance for the conference maid or Asia3. There has also been no such news reporting of a Philippines in the third season, except for another fan-created hoax. Fans gave a shortend version of her name; Piri-tan.
Rumour: Asia3 is the Philippines, as Himaruya claimed she was close to America and had a complicated love story.
Fact: False. "Asia3" was shown to wear an outfit that some fans believed to be a maid dress, though the sketch was messy and the quality was not clear enough to tell exactly what kind of outfit it was. A later series of blog sketches revealed that the female character was actually intended to be Vietnam with an alternate hairstyle. Hoax-starters will attempt to earn others' trust by claiming that there was information about her that Himaruya deleted, but the fact is that there was no information aside from the vague sketch. Though Himaruya has deleted information in the past, they were only on old pages of his site or his short-lived Yahoo blog. In later years, fans have become better at archiving information and images in case of future deletions.
A falsified screencap was created and posted to the Hetalia Philippines community on Livejournal, stating that Asia3 would be Philippines, though it was discovered that the grammar did not match Himaruya's, the text appeared to be pixelised and the timestamp matched that of another blog post. Nonetheless, some continue to believe in there being some sort of conspiracy theory about a Philippines character.
It was later revealed in a series of blog sketches that "Asia3" was actually Vietnam with her ponytail worn differently. In the sketches, Vietnam was shown with various different hairstyles including one with a bun and one with flowers like the chibi sketch.
Rumour/Theory: The Prussia in the series is not the original, for he killed/merged with the original Prussia, who was a Baltic.
Fact: Debatable and unconfirmed. The early days of Prussia are something that have yet to be delved into in full, although a young Prussia (in his Teutonic Knight incarnation) appears in the third and fourth portions of the webcomic Extra Story entitled Liechtenstein's Journal Of Swiss Dopiness.
In his official profile, it is said that Prussia was born as the "St. Maria Order", though it is more likely that Himaruya meant The Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem. He then evolved to become The Monastic State Of The Teutonic Knights. This period on his profile is followed by a space reading "a bunch of other stuff", before skipping to his incarnation as Prussia.
It is notable that he has not been depicted as representing Old Prussia, a historical Baltic region which the Teutonic Knights later conquered and divided into Royal Prussia (a province of Poland) and Ducal Prussia. The latter would later become Brandenburg-Prussia, and then the Kingdom of Prussia. Its final incarnation after it was annexed by Germany was known as the Free State Of Prussia, which was later dissolved de jure by the Allied Forces in 1947.
As Prussia starts off as a Teutonic Knight, fans have theorised that he killed the original and took their name when he conquered their land, or simply merged with them and became the dominant personality. Alternatively, Old Prussia may not have had any character to represent it, and may simply have been a piece of important territory (or a "vital region") for the Baltics as Silesia was to Austria.
In Japanese fandom, it is common for Pruqsas (the Old Prussian name for Prussia) to be used as a "true name" of sorts for Prussia, though this is troublesome in light of the greatest discrepancies between the states represented by Prussia in the series and Old Prussia: Prussia's depiction as entirely Germanic compared to Old Prussia's Baltic nature.
The union of Brandenburg and Prussia is also something yet to be depicted in the series, leaving fans to speculate what may have happened to the other country. As Prussia's profile stated that he avoided any marriage, it is commonly assumed that he may have physically merged with Brandenburg, or killed him off as well. Other fans presume that Prussia may have also represented Brandenburg to begin with, as the Kingdom of Prussia grew out of it, but this was debunked when Prussia mentioned a "Brandenburg" as his and Germany's brother in Osōji Prussia.
A few different rumours and theories exist for the fate of Prussia after the state's dissolution in 1947, especially in strips set later in history for Hetalia:
- Theory 1: Prussia is dead after WWII, as the country was historically dissolved by the Allies in 1947. Any instances of him alive in modern strips are actually of him as a ghost.
- Theory 2: Prussia survives the dissolution due to having been transformed into East Germany and falling under the control of Russia. He continues to survive following German reunification in 1990 due to cultural and financial differences between the East and West, or may possibly be Brandenburg (the latter seems unlikely, as Brandenburg has been referred to as a brother of Prussia and Germany.)
- Theory 3: Prussia survives the dissolution, as he has fallen under the control of Russia and become the representation of the Kaliningrad Oblast (as it used to be Königsberg, the capital of Prussia).
Fact: Prussia's exact status in the modern-day strips is something that has yet to be explained in full. The common fan theory before he appeared in contemporary strips was that he was dead, and the dissolution of Prussia became a subject explored in fanworks. The alternate theory is that Prussia "evolved" to become East Germany, and fell under the control of Russia.
In a response to a fan question, Hidekaz Himaruya explained that in the modern-day strips, Prussia finds himself lonely due to being more like an enclave than an actual nation, and that he freeloads off of his brother and Austria. A series of production notes by Himaruya indicates that the second or third theories might be valid for Hetalia canon, as Prussia is described to have been under the control of Russia after WWII and was stuck working unprofitable jobs for some time. It has also been stated that Prussia hates Russia, and he has been shown to refer to his younger brother as "West" (though he also refers to him as such before Germany was historically split). Regardless of what name he may have taken on later, he is still referred to as "Prussia" in events as recent as the April Fools' 09 storyline and site event, where he hijacked Kitayume and created his own blog.
Another piece of evidence that could point to the East Germany theory is a Christmas game idea by Himaruya that was abandoned: In the game, the Hetalia nations are ordinary humans living in New York City, with Finland still working as a Santa Claus. An "East German" man was mentioned in the original text for the game, who seems to bear some resemblance in personality to Prussia. As Himaruya scrapped the game idea, it is uncertain if the East German was intended to be the human version of him or not.
The Kaliningrad theory had also had doubt thrown on it, as it is still considered a part of Russia at present, as well as the consequences of the expulsion and killing of ethnic Germans having affected it (and its populace having become mostly Russian). Some believe that Prussia could simply represent the Germanic minority of the exclave, and that as it is a highly militarised territory, he would fit more in the role (due to Prussia being known best for being a military state). A sentence in Prussia's profile in volume 3 of the published manga also gives it as a possibility, mentioning that though he lives with his brother, he has also become an exclave of Russia. While some believe it indicates he is Kaliningrad, others believe that it is simply his "house" that is now Kaliningrad.
The West/East Question
At least three fandom theories exist for Germany being referred to as "West":
Theory 1: Though Prussia first refers to him as "West" in a strip taking place sometime in early WWII, the most popular (and considered to be the most likely) theory is that the two brothers eventually become West Germany and East Germany post-WWII. Prussia was dissolved and a remaining portion of it was transformed into part of the German Democratic Republic (German: Deutsches Demokratisches Republik), with traces of its Prussian past eliminated. The theory also seems to be the most likely due to the aforementioned notes by Himaruya and his statement that Prussia does not like Russia.
Theory 2: Himaruya is taking the history of old Prussia territory into account and Prussia refers to his brother as "West" as he used to be western Prussian territory. However, though non-Prussian German territories were somewhat west of Prussia, the most common division historically was Prussian in the north and German in the south.
Theory 3: "West" is short for Westphalia, after the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was created a year after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. Parts of Westphalia had also once been Prussian territory, including the Electorate of Hesse (a Hesse is mentioned as one of Germany and Prussia's other siblings).
Rumour: Prussia is voiced by Subaru Kimura, most famous for being the later voice of Gian in the series Doraemon.
Fact: False. When Episode 10 was released, many fans in both the Japanese and international fandoms assumed that an uncredited Kimura had voiced Prussia, due to the distinct type of voice used for the character. However, Prussia's voice actor was never officially confirmed for a long time, and fans wondered if the "mystery" voice actor would be recast if Prussia got a larger role in the series.
The speculation came to an end when an interview in Comic Birz revealed that Atsushi Kousaka had voiced Prussia in episode 10, and would continue to voice the character. It was also revealed that Hidekaz Himaruya had approved the casting and had anticipated that Kousaka would be the best choice for Prussia.
Rumour: Prussia is an albino, as evidenced by his pale hair and reddish eyes.
Fact: While his design does invoke the image of an albino, it has yet to be outright confirmed or commented on by Himaruya. In most fanart, he is simply coloured with grey or white hair, though Prussia's actual hair and eye colouring vary in the series:
- In the official colour chart, his hair is depicted as an almost off-white shade. His eyes are described as a "reddish-purple" (red-violet), with more violet than red in them.
- In Christmas Rampage 2007, he had dark blonde hair and blue eyes. He also appears with this colour scheme in Noto-sama 5 and would have appeared that way in Gakuen Hetalia as well. This colour scheme was what Himaruya initially intended for Prussia when he was introduced in 2007, until he decided to give him lighter hair and the "reddish purple" eyes (apparently to distinguish him from Germany).
- A sketch of Prussia with his hair slicked back in imitation of his brother has him with silver hair and red eyes. Another sketch has him coloured with white hair and pink eyes.
- The Hetalia trading card series depicts Prussia with ash blonde hair and red eyes, and his chibi figurine follows that scheme. He also appears this way in a few colored character sketches, and official art for The Blog Of The Awesome Me.
- In the anime adaptation, his hair is silver (or a silver-blonde) and his eyes are a deeper red. As the colour palette used by Studio DEEN tends to change depending on lighting or animation quality (as in the Chibitalia segments, where characters are in a washed-out, "watercolour" palette), his hair alternatively appears as more blonde or greyish tone in certain episodes, while his eyes appear even darker in some instances.
Some believe that these variations in colour refer to the first line of the Prussian anthem: "Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt ihr meine Farben?" ("I am a Prussian, do you know my colours?").
It is notable that contrary to popular belief, not all albinos have red or pink eyes, but may also have light blue eyes that may appear to be lavender due to the pigmentation of blood.
Rumour: Prussia is the older brother to Holy Roman Empire, as well as Germany.
Fact: Debatable. While it is confirmed that he is an older brother to Germany, there has been no official confirmation if he is the same to Holy Roman Empire (or what HRE's connection to Germany may even be). Prussia having appeared to have originated as a Teutonic Knight would suggest that he is in fact the younger "brother" to HRE instead, if HRE and Germany were the same.
In the liner notes to Liechtenstein's Journal Of Swiss Dopiness, Himaruya described Prussia as having grown out of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which had formed inside the Holy Roman Empire. If this were still the case, Prussia would be the younger of the two. Though it is possible that Himaruya was only referring to the historic Prussia, or hadn't yet decided what to do with his childhood, as his plans for characters are subject to change through the series.
But in the theory of him having been originally Baltic Prussia (which would place him as older), it would be of note that he would not even be Germanic, but a Baltic instead and likely not a child of Germania. To reconcile this, some theorize elaborately that Germania may have kidnapped Baltic Prussia or that he split in two and became Germanic (or at least one half of him). Detractors of the separate-character theory point to the Old Prussian place names still being intact after the conquering, which would seem unlikely to be kept around. Similarities are also drawn between Old Prussia being conquered and America being conquered by various nations, to where it is pointed out that there was no character death involved for the personification of America (who seemed to be born after "New Sweden"), so it is theorized it would be unlikely for Old Prussia to have been killed, instead having been "Germanified".
Some fans believe that if Germany is the older brother (through being HRE or through the original Kingdom Of Germany), it could be that he simply lets Prussia believe that he is older and act as such. Others believe that if HRE and Germany are in fact separate characters, Prussia would remain the older brother to Germany while HRE would have been a brother to France.
Before Himaruya confirmed the two to be brothers, some fans in the Japanese fandom presented alternate theories for their relation, one being that Germany was Prussia's nephew while another had the two as cousins.
The published manga
Rumour: Gentosha Comics discontinued production of the collected editions of Hetalia: Axis Powers, due to controversy and the South Korean protests.
Fact: False. While there was a noticeable lack of announcement for the release date of Hetalia: Axis Powers volume 3, it was never confirmed if the published manga had in fact been stopped due to the protests.
Gentosha did later put out two "storyboard collections" and a guide (World Wide Walking) for the animated adaptation, which suggested that they had not completely stopped publishing Hetalia-related materials. After a long hiatus, the third volume of the series was finally announced on 24 September 2009, and was released in May of the following year.
It's good to get a fresh way of looking at it.
Rumour: Character designs of a teenage Holy Roman Empire and Italy brothers can be found in the special edition booklet of Hetalia: Axis Powers Volume 2, and are meant for the Shotalia storyline.
Fact: The sketch in question was actually drawn by Himaruya as a tribute to a fangame he liked that was loosely based on his Shotalia idea (which he said would cover the Thirty Years' War). It first appeared on his original blog and Kitayume in early 2007, and was reposted to his new blog, Bamboo Thicket. The fangame, Gloria Hetalia, has yet to be completed due to changes and complications in its development.
A canon sketch of an older HRE does exist, and was created when Himaruya first announced his plan for Shotalia. Neither of these sketches can be found in the Volume 2 booklet, though sketches for other characters are displayed, including theoretical RPG designs for the Axis and Allies (which were later used for Hetalia Fantasia).
Although the storyline was first planned back in January 2007, no further announcements about it have been made, leading to speculations that it has either been postponed or scrapped entirely, possibly along with the idea of HRE as a teenager.
Fans have noticed that the teenage Italy appears to be wearing papal robes in the fangame that the sketch was based on, the implication being that the original artist meant for Italy to represent the Papal States, which has to lead to some criticisms over the inaccuracy. The teenage version of HRE appears as a knight in the game, and dresses in a similar fashion to the Teutonic Knight incarnation of Prussia.
A teenage version of Italy has made brief appearances in Hetalia canon, while the teenage version of Romano has only appeared in a few blog sketches and was briefly shown from behind in Maria Theresa And The War Of Austrian Succession where Italy appeared as well.
Sweden and Finland
Rumour: Sweden/Finland is a canonical couple.
Fact: False. While the pairing has been given attention in canon, and Sweden has been shown to have clear feelings for Finland, there has been no evidence given that Finland returns these feelings.
Finland objected to Sweden calling him his 'wife' in The Violent Su-san of Northern Europe Takes a Swing. He also told Hanatamago in the Christmas Event 2007 that Sweden was not his husband.
Rumour: Himaruya has confirmed that Sweden is a homosexual, but only for Finland.
Fact: Though the above rumour is in fact old information that was later lost, it remains confirmed as true in the Japanese fandom for Hetalia. The information could originally be found on Himaruya's original update logs from 2007, which were later deleted.
In the original question, a fan asked if Sweden was homosexual and Himaruya confirmed that Sweden was indeed actually homosexual, but also told the fan to feel relieved as Sweden only had feelings for Finland. The statement has been seen as somewhat controversial due to the implication of the characters having set sexualities, the idea that Himaruya might be "playing favourites" with characters' relationships, or the possibility of there being homophobia in the series with the "strange" Sweden being the only confirmed homosexual.
As Himaruya's plans for characters tend to change, there is also debate as to whether this statement could still be considered canon or not.
Taiwan and Japan
Rumour: Taiwan wants to marry Japan or stated in a strip that she planned to marry Japan, explaining why she told China to leave him alone and does not get along with China.
Fact: Taiwan has not expressed any sort of feelings for Japan so far, and there is no evidence of her having said that she wished to marry Japan. The doodle where Taiwan tells China to leave Japan alone is often brought up by some Japan x Taiwan shippers as evidence for their pairing, but some go as far as to suggest that Taiwan has been longing to marry Japan due to her defending him.
Some China x Taiwan fans will also suggest that it is China that she wants to marry and that she is his little sister, though it has yet to be seen what her actual relationships with both are like. In China's drama track, it appears that Taiwan does not see China as a brother or a lover, but as a teacher. As the track was written by Himaruya, it could stand to reason that this is valid for the strips.
Rumour: It is Prussia that coins the term "vital regions" in the comics, and his favourite hobby is to invade them and to threaten to seize them.
Fact: It is actually Austria that coined the term "vital regions" in the story Maria Theresa And The War Of Austrian Succession, though many fans have mistakenly attributed it to Prussia. After Austria mentions the term, Maria Theresa tries to convince him that there are better ways of stating what happened to him. The term is mentioned once in the strip, and another time in the currently-unfinished followup about the Seven Years' War.
Due to Prussia being strongly associated with the term, however, it has become a meme to depict him as threatening to "seize" and "invade" others' vital regions to the point where it is a common misconception that he actually said so in the series. Russia is another character that the "vital regions" has been mistakenly attributed to.
Spain has used the term once in another strip, after having a nightmare where Romano jumped on him and "crushed" his. In Checkmating Poland, Lithuania also mentions to Poland that his "vital regions" are surrounded.
Vietnam and Tsundere
Rumor: Vietnam is a Tsundere mainly because she isn't photogenic, indicating that her relation with America and the Vietnam War made her even more of a tsundere
Fact: Vietnam is described as a headstrong woman that is usually patient when it comes to things such as photos and war. However, there is no indication or actual confirmation that Vietnam is a tsundere at all, and infact, the total opposite of what many fans believe.
As her relation with America, there, as of yet, had been no web comics referring to the Vietnam War nor that she was shown that she was a Tsundere towards anyone.
In fact, it's disproven that Vietnam is a tsundere since being "headstrong" is someone who is tough and extremely brave, and the fact shes actually quite open to making many things and the fact that Austria ordered cinammon from Vietnam. There was no evidence of her trying to call America an "idiot" nor Taiwan a "idiot" and try to beat up Taiwan when she tried to embarrass her in the webcomic.
Rumor: Belgium is straight, because an earlier note said that she's a straight man type ("tssumoki"), and is therefore a straight woman.
Fact: False. The note did not explicitly confirm Belgium's sexuality. The word "tssumoki" specifically means the "angry guy" or the one who is usually the one who is mad at everything. However, this appears to be nulled after Belgium was officially introduced. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that Belgium is straight.