Rumors and Misconceptions
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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 rumors, misconceptions, and fan-theories related to the series and its characters.
- 1 Rumors/Misconceptions about the Series
- 2 Rumors/Misconceptions about Characters
- 2.1 Ancient Greece and Byzantine
- 2.2 African Nations
- 2.3 Australia Rumors
- 2.4 England or the United Kingdom?
- 2.5 Germany's Last Name
- 2.6 Holy Roman Empire's Fate
- 2.7 Hong Kong and Taiwan
- 2.8 The Italy Brothers: Twins?
- 2.9 Germany and Veneziano after the war
- 2.10 Spain and Romano have a father-son or brotherly relationship
- 2.11 New Zealand
- 2.12 North Korea
- 2.13 Philippines
- 2.14 Prussia
- 2.15 Shotalia
- 2.16 Sweden's Sexuality
- 2.17 Taiwan and Japan
- 3 Rumors/Misconception about Human Names
- 4 Rumors/Misconceptions About Himaruya
- 5 Old Rumors/Misconceptions
- 6 References
Rumors/Misconceptions about the Series
Rumor: Axis Powers Hetalia is a yaoi (genre that focuses on male same-sex relationships) manga.
Fact: While Hetalia has gay subtext, the main focus of the comic is on humor and history.
Hetalia's Early Days
Rumor: Hetalia began in March/May 2003.
Fact: Though the above was assumed to be true for a long time due to little info existing about the early days of Hetalia 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-teenage Himaruya. The following year introduced Advance! Kitakou Broadcasting Club Pure and Barjona Bombers, and the two series began to cross over. However, Himaruya would later delete a large chunk of Kitakou stories, and both series seemed to eventually be abandoned once he drew more Hetalia stories.
While it is likely that he might have had a Hetalia concept in mind earlier, it appears that the first chapter was drawn in mid-2006, with the rest of the series following in the fall.
The Series Title
"Is the title of the series "Hetalia Axis Powers" or "Axis Powers Hetalia?"
The title of the series, more specifically the order of the words, has been up for debate ever since the published manga and anime came out. While most fanworks use the abbreviation APH, the published manga and anime render the title as Hetalia Axis Powers (or Hetalia: Axis Powers), which is the official "international" title for the series in both of those incarnations, although the actual manga volumes show the logo with the APH ordering.
However, the original webcomic is titled Axis Powers Hetalia, and the title appeared this way in the first independent drama CD (Axis Powers Hetalia: The CD), as well as on two of the later commercial drama CDs. It may be that the original title was intended to be read as "Axis Powers: Hetalia", though it remains uncertain.
It would appear that either title is valid for the series, although the APH ordering would apply to the webcomic and some of the merchandise, while the HAP ordering would apply to the anime, published manga, and other merchandise. Two of the commercial drama CDs leave out the "Axis Powers" part altogether, and simply refer to the series as Hetalia.
The Polish translation of the published manga (released on November 13th, 2009) opted to use the original APH order for its release, though it remains to be seen what order other countries will use to refer to it by. When FUNimation licensed the anime version of Hetalia for North American distribution, their site referred to it as "Hetalia: Axis Powers" yet also listed it as "Axis Powers Hetalia" in the summary for the series. It was then revealed with the solicitations for the first English DVD that they had opted to use the HAP order.
Rumors/Misconceptions about Characters
Ancient Greece and Byzantine
Rumor: 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 point to how it would be impossible anyway, as both cultures are much too different and that Byzantine was also known as the Eastern Roman Empire (and 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.
Rumor: 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 off 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. But the models for these two sheets 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' crest.
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 of the colonies she is meant to be.
Rumor: 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: Official profile information for Australia has yet to be given by Himaruya. Due to Australia having been a British colony and the character sporting the same thick eyebrows as England, some fans assume that they are directly related (though it is to be noted that Hong Kong also has thick eyebrows, which England cursed him to have).
Fanon interpretations of the character often give him the surname Kirkland, though at least one iteration (seen on deviantART) has given him the name Cody Walters, along with the aforementioned fanon profile information. As it is a completely fanon interpretation of Australia, it should not be considered as true for the series.
England or the United Kingdom?
"Is he "England" or the "UK"? Is he both?"
The identity of this character has long been a source of fan debate, in part due to translation and inconsistency with the name in English text in both scanlations and official art and merchandise. In katakana, the nation name is spelled out as Igirisu, which has been used to refer to both England (Ingurando) and the United Kingdom (Eikoku), though it would technically refer to "Britain".
The usage of the Union Flag would indicate that he is the UK (rather than simply England), as well as an early profile showing "United Kingdom" written in English. But in Gakuen Hetalia, as well as 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 indicate that although he is referred to as "UK", he would only represent one 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 (oddly, though the profile referred to him being the youngest of four brothers, Northern Ireland would technically be the actual youngest of the four, while Ireland would be an older sibling).
When asked by a fan if Arthur was England or the UK, Himaruya answered that he is only technically known as "England" when around his brothers, and known as "United Kingdom" to the other characters. It would seem that this trivia would confirm a long-standing fanon theory: That while all four brothers represent parts of the United Kingdom, it is Arthur who acts as the representative for the whole of it.
Germany's Last Name
Rumor: Germany's full human name is Ludwig Beilschmidt.
Fact: False. When the human names for the characters were originally stated by Hidekaz Himaruya, Germany was simply listed as Ludwig, with no surname. Himaruya stated that there was a reason that Germany wasn't given a surname, and that fans would eventually find out the reason and the significance for it.
But after Himaruya's old blog shut down, the posts with the characters having human names (or human ages) disappeared with it. 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). A common fanon theory is that Prussia adopted the amnesiac HRE and raised him to become Germany, presumably christening him with the name Ludwig as well. Another assumption (based off of historical information) is that Austria raised HRE up after he fell out of France's control, thus he was the one to rename him.
Another thing 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 historical trivia. Some fans will point out that as Germany and Prussia were distinctly different in history, it would be unlikely for Germany to take his brother's surname (or even take on Austria's surname). Another thing is that it is rare for "sibling" pairs in Hetalia to have the same surname, with "sibling pairs" such as America and Canada not having the same surname (or Russia and Belarus).
It should also be mentioned that the name of the founder of the Holy Roman Empire was Ludwig, without a last name.
Holy Roman Empire's Fate
Rumor: Holy Roman Empire grows up to be Germany, having survived his apparent dissolution and death, but with amnesia. Alternatively, Germany is 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 evidence in-series, most visibly in the cliffhanger to the strip Buon San Valentino, it remains to be seen what the exact connection between Germany and Holy Roman Empire is. Detractors of the theory will point out the differences in the government of the German Confederation (and German Empire) in relation to the rule of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the fact that it took the German remnants time to form into that nation. 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 also to note that the Holy Roman Empire technically only existed in name only after Peace of Westphalia, in which most of its territories were granted sovereignty.
In historical reference, supporters of the theory will point to the Holy Roman Empire's full name (from the 16th century onward), which was The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation. Some fans will also point to the Holy Roman Empire being considered the First Reich, with the Second Reich classified as the German Empire (which lasted from 1871 to 1918) and the 'Third Reich' being Nazi Germany (the main timeframe in which Hetalia is set). This would make a stronger case for HRE's connection to Germany, since all three Reichs would be the same character. But a counter-argument for this would be that the Second Reich would better represent Prussia, for it grew out of his conquests and annexations in the 1860s. It is to be noted however, that 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" T-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.
Some members of the Japanese fandom (as well as the international one) for Hetalia have a third theory for the connection, it being that the two characters are not related in any way and the similarities are red herrings or mere coincidence 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 in Himaruya's response to a fan's question (circa 2007), where he promised that eventually:
- "Chibitalia and Holy Roman Empire will have a happy ending."
But the meaning of that statement has been left up to debate as well.
Hong Kong and Taiwan
Rumor: Hong Kong and Taiwan are twins.
Fact: There is nothing in the series to suggest this being the case, though some fans will often consider the two to be twins due to their connections to China and both appearing to be young. Furthermore, the territories have had little history shared together other than both being under control of China, so while it is likely that they would be considered "siblings", it is not very likely that they would be twins.
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 that to be the case. 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 Romano refers to Veneziano as a younger brother), which is used as evidence against the theory, though others will point to Japanese culture identifying twins specifically by their individual age.
In a response to a question by a fan, 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.
But it is to be noted that 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 colored to have darker, olive-toned skin in comparison to his brother, and had green (or hazel) eyes. In later artwork and the anime adaptation, Romano's skintone was lightened and his eyes were changed to brown (or amber, in the case of the anime). An early colored picture used in a 2006 flash video also initially gave him 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 than 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 had control over him for a lengthy period of time.
But proponents of the twin theory suggest that perhaps 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 March 17th, 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 in the case of them being identical twins, or at least their blood following 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 had Arabic blood.
Germany and Veneziano after the war
Fact: Even though most of the fandom seems to believe that, it's actually untrue. Historically, during the WWII, only the South part of Italy switched sides and joined the Allies, while the North stayed in the Axis, becoming the Italian Social Replubic while the South remained as the Kingdom of Italy. Meaning that, the one who switched sides would be Romano, and not Veneziano.
Himaruya himself also adressed about that fact, in one of his deleted entries from 2006, when he was asked by an fan about Veneziano and Germany's relationship at the end of the war, saying they became enemies, he said that: "Hold on there! This is something Japanese textbooks don’t talk about-! At the time, Italy was actually split into two countries. The South switched sides and joined the Allies, while the North continued to stay with the Axis even after they surrendered. Despite knowing they were losing the war, The North fought along side Germany until they were finally taken over by the Allies and Southern Italy. Since the existence of the North was not known in Japan, Italy was seen as the traitor, which is really sad. Maybe only people who are familiar with world history or in the military know about it nowadays. That’s the reason why there are two Italys." Revealing that, not only Veneziano did not switched sides, but also that being one of the reasons to why there are two Italys in the series in the first place.
Spain and Romano have a father-son or brotherly relationship
Fact: There is nothing in the series that ever suggests that, in fact, quite the opposite. Unlike England, who specifically raised his colonies as younger siblings, Spain "raised" Romano (and his other colonies) as his servant/henchman, being his Boss, thus meaning that they had a master/servant relationship, not an fraternal one like England and his colonies had. Though despite having an master/servant relationship at the beginning, Spain truly cared about him, being stated in one Himaruya's notes that while Spain treated Romano kindly, he was very stern to his other colonies. or even though he found Romano's frequent bed-wetting and harsh attitude to be annoying, Spain remained affectionate to him, and was determined to save him when he was captured by Turkey and from France's frequent attempts to take Romano from him. Even though their kingdom wound up thrown into debt due to all the money spent on South Italy's protection, Spain refused to let go of him since he was 'special' to him, even after being scolded several times by his boss.
"Is New Zealand a boy or girl?"
Fact: In a November 2013 Bamboo Thicket blog post, Himaruya has confirmed that New Zealand is a male.
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.
Occasionally, there is also the misconception that South Korea is the North, due to the fact that he is usually simply labeled as Korea (with no specific designation). But 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).
But in 2007, Himaruya did state 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 he was 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 he will be introduced any time 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.
Rumor: The Philippines can be seen in Episode 01 and the first chapter of volume 1. She is a maid that serves Spain a drink 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. Proponents of the Philippines theory believe that she was not named due to controversy, though the truth is that a character for the nation has yet to be introduced in the series. Though 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 of the nations not being like them, and address them by their nation name (ie: A medicine store clerk referring to Germany as Mr.Germany).
It was also speculated that a mysterious character labeled Asia3 was Philippines, but her identity was not clarified by Himaruya for the longest time. "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 as Vietnam with an alternate hairstyle.
The conference maid is also notable for having brown hair and green eyes like Spain, something that would not be likely for a representation of the Philippines. Himaruya himself had also clarified that the maid was a Spanish housemaid, when asked by a fan who she was.
Rumor: Philippines will be a girl and her name is Maria Clara Fernandez Carriedo (or "Clara De La Cruz"). She will appear in season 3.
Fact: False. Though a fan-created character named Maria Clara exists, there is no canon Philippines named this. Though Filipino fans want a character for their country in the series, there has yet to be an official design. Even so, there have been hoaxes purporting this and the above rumor as fact, sometimes started by fans longing for an official character or trying to find significance for the maid or Asia3. There has also been no such news reporting of a Philippines in the third season, except for another fan-created hoax.
Rumor: Asia3 is Philippines, as Himaruya claimed she was close to America and had a complicated love story.
Fact: False. Some of the aforementioned hoax-starters about Philippines will attempt to earn others' trust by claiming that there was information about her that Himaruya deleted, but the fact is that there was not any information to begin with 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 saving information and images in case of such deletions.
A falsified screencap was created and posted to the Hetalia Philippines community on Livejournal, stating that Asia3 would be Philippines, though it was pointed out that the grammar did not match Himaruya's (as well as the text appearing to be pixelized and the timestamp matching that of another blog post). Nonetheless, some continue to believe in there being some sort of conspiracy theory about a Philippines character.
But it was later revealed in a series of blog sketches that Asia3 was actually Vietnam with her ponytail simply worn differently. In the sheet of sketches, Vietnam was shown with various different hairstyles including one with a bun and one with flowers like the chibi sketch.
Rumor/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 3rd and 4th 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 theorized that he killed off 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.
The union of Brandenburg and Prussia is also something that has 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. Some other fans presumed 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 the Cleaning Prussia game (aka Kusogame, jokingly referred to as "Prussia's Shit Cleaning").
- Theory 1: Prussia is dead in the post-WWII timeline, as the nation 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 due to the differences between the East and West, or may possibly be Brandenburg.
- 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. It's been recently proved in Germany Plays an Impossible Game was 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. But 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 post-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 regular 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. But 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). But some believe that Prussia could simply represent the Germanic minority of the exclave, and that as it is a highly militarized territory, he would fit more in the role (due to Prussia being best known as 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, with Prussia having been dissolved and a remaining portion of it having been transformed into part of the GDR (with traces of its Prussian past being wiped out). 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.
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).
Rumor: 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 colored with gray or white hair, though Prussia's actual hair and eye coloring are shown to vary in the series:
- In the official color 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 his appearance in Christmas Rampage 2007, he has dark blond hair and blue eyes. He also appears with this color scheme in Noto-sama 5 and would have appeared that way in Gakuen Hetalia as well. This color 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 done of Prussia with his hair slicked back (to imitate his brother) has him colored with silver hair and red eyes. Another sketch has him colored with white hair and pink eyes.
- The Hetalia trading card series depicts Prussia with ash blond 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-blond) and his eyes are a deeper red. As the color palette used by Studio DEEN tends to change depending on lighting or the animation quality (most notably in the Chibitalia segments, where characters are colored in a washed-out "watercolor" palette) his hair alternatively appears as more blond or more of a gray tone in certain episodes, while his eyes appear even darker in some instances.
Some believe that his color variations are meant to reference the first line of the Prussian anthem: "Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt ihr meine Farben?" (I am a Prussian, do you know my colors?).
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 the blood.
Rumor: 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.
Rumor: 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 off of 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 off of, 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).
Rumor: Himaruya has confirmed that Sweden is gay, but only for Finland.
Fact: Though the above rumor 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 gay and Himaruya confirmed that Sweden was indeed gay, 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 favorites" with characters' relationships, or the possibility of there being homophobia in the series with the "strange" Sweden being the only confirmed gay character.
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
Rumor: Taiwan wants to marry Japan/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 feeling 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/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/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.
Rumors/Misconception about Human Names
Although the characters' human names are no longer listed, and Himaruya now only offers suggestions for them, 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. In 2010, Himaruya suggested potential human names for nations who had not received them during 2007-2008, but ultimately gave fans the final say in what these names were.
- 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 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 human name in fanon. Braginskaya is also the feminine form of the surname Braginski/Braginsky. "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 there was no human name given for him by Hidekaz Himaruya, it can be assumed to be one of a few 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 fandom for Hong Kong, as it means "fragrant" while Hong Kong means "fragrant harbor". But it should be noted that "Kaoru" is a Japanese name, which would be unlikely for a character not representing Japan to use. Other fans opt to use the name Hong for him due to this reason. Hong Kong is often given an 'English' name in fanworks (for example, "Michael") in reference to the westernization of Hong Kong while it was a colony.
- 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. The fact that Taiwan's name literally means "beautiful island" may also play a part in this misconception. Interestingly, "Mei" in Japanese could mean "dark." It could also be a shortening of her fanon nickname "Meimei" which is "little sister" in Mandarin, 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. As some seem to be uncommon or nonexistent as a name in the nation's language, it becomes even harder to tell which may have been the intended spelling.
- The human name given for Lithuania is often rendered as Toris Lorinaitis, from its katakana spelling of Toris Rorinaitisu. Other common spellings for it are Taurys Laurinaitis, Toris Raurinaitis and Thoris Lolinitis. It is uncertain what Hidekaz Himaruya may have intended, though Laurinaitis does exist as an actual surname, while the given name Tolys is one of actual Lithuanian origin (which would make the rendering Tolys Laurinaitis).
- Hungary's human name is another popular debate subject. While her last name is clearly Héderváry, her given name (written as Erizabeta in katakana) has a number of possible spellings: 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 isn't as common as the others. Basch may be in fact the valid spelling though, as it derives from a short form of Sebastian and the katakana also matches the name.
- Finland's name is given as Teino Vainamainen, commonly rendered 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.
- Belarus' surname was long believed to Alfroskaya and was listed as such on various fansites. But it was eventually discovered that the katakana read Arurofuskaya (rather than Arufuroskaya), which has lead to the spelling Arlovskaya slowly falling into use. Her given name has been spelled out as both Natalia and Natalya. Some fans who do not want to choose either spelling will opt to refer to her by the diminutive name Natasha.
- Korea's name has had the most spellings 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, included: Ren Yong Soo, Lim Young-soo, and Lee Young-soo.
- Turkey's surname is rendered as Adnan in most listings, though some opt to use Annan instead. There is also debate as to whether his given human name is Sadiq or Sadik. But there is no "Q" in the Turkish alphabet, and the Sadiq spelling is more of a Kurdish one, leaving fans to prefer Sadik since they feel it would be unlikely for him to use the Kurd spelling.
- Canada's given name is rendered as Matthew, but some fanworks refer to him as Matthieu, or Mathieu, acknowledging the French influence on Canada.
- Russia's surname has alternatively been spelled Braginski or Braginsky, though the former is more common.
Rumors/Misconceptions About Himaruya
Man Whose Face is Obscured by Ice Cream
Rumor: Himaruya posted a photo of himself on his blog, but placed a cup of ice cream so it would obscure most of his face.
Fact: False. This person was confirmed to be a friend of Himaruya's.
Beautiful World's Ending Theme
Rumor: The fifth season's ending theme is called Kira Kira.
Fact: False. This was a translation misunderstanding. The fifth season's ending theme is called Mawaru Chikyuu Rondo.
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 photoshopped onto it). False information also circulated about the characters' voices, with the rumored seiyū being:
Even after the hoax was exposed, some anime sites still have yet to remove the erroneous seiyū listings, which has continued to cause some confusion to newcomers in 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 and putting the final nail in the coffin of this rumor.
gg subs, a group in charge of providing fansubbed versions of the Hetalia episodes (until they disbanded during the end of the second season), 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 an added joke referencing Pokémon. Interestingly, the FUNimation adaptation uses the fansubbed translation.
- Episode 41: France's line about the rumors him and England spread 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!". The appropriate translation would be something like "I sound so strange/weird!". The FUNimation dub uses a variation of the fansub's translation, having Italy say "I sound kind of like a homo, don't I?".
- The subbers had also used "fag" in other episodes, most notably with Sealand's "Jerk England" insults being replaced with it. "Retard"/"retarded" was also used on other occasions in place of "stupid".
Rumor/Theory: Hanatamago represents the archipelago of the Åland Islands, which lie between Sweden and Finland.
Fact: False. Hanatamago is a normal dog with a prolonged life span, due to living with her owners.
The basis for the theory comes from Hanatamago living with Finland and Sweden, while in geography 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, where it then became a part of the Grand Duchy of Finland. Conflicts later came over whether Åland belonged to the Swedish or the Finnish, which lead to the state of the islands as an autonomous province of Finland (with the inhabitants retaining their right to speak the Swedish language and have their own culture). Hanatamago's apparent immortality has also led some fans to wonder if she may be a special sort of being like the nation characters.
Some other fans have suggested that an Åland character would be more like an adopted child of both Sweden and Finland, even though Himaruya has also appeared to be unpredictable with what territories he might assign characters to, while others are only represented by accessories or parts of the body.
In a September 2013 blog post, the rumor was debunked when Himaruya explained that Hanatamago is a regular dog but her owner's longevity rubs off on her. If she were to be separated from them, she would become a normal dog that ages normally. Prior to this blog post, the theory was merely fan speculation.
Hong Kong's Gender
Rumor: Hong Kong is female.
Fact: 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 Hidekaz Himaruya also lists him as a male. His gender was further clarified when he was given a speaking role in Hetalia Fantasia.
Korea's Voice Actor
Rumor: The seiyū Kaoru Mizuhara was to play South Korea in the anime version, but lost the role when his part was cut.
Fact: 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.
Prussia's Voice Actor
Rumor: 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.
The Published Manga
Rumor: 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 September 24th, 2009, and was released in May of the following year.
Rumor: It is Prussia that coins the term "vital regions" in the comics, and his favorite 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 it has been mistaken as a quote by Prussia by many fans. 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 those things in the series. Russia is another character that "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.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz (September 18, 2013). "東京オリンピックきたー！ [The Tokyo Olympics came!]". http://himaruya.blog61.fc2.com/blog-entry-1397.html. Retrieved September 17, 2013.