This review has actually been sitting in my draft box for over a month now, so excuse its lateness.
A while ago the company Movic released a set of Hetalia plushies of the Axis and Allied Powers (which I presume was merchandise for an unknown season of Hetalia set in an alternate universe in which China and Russia do not exist). Just recently they released another set, which included Chibitalia, Holy Roman Empire, Hungary, Austria, Liechtenstein and Prussia. Plushies are not generally my thing but I couldn’t resist Chibitalia, nor did it seem right to have him and not HRE. I’d previously bought France from the first set because out of all the plushies in that set, France was the only one I really liked who was in stock (I am still trying to figure out what on earth was wrong with the Italy brothers, they just looked bizarre. I like the plushies for England and America, but not being huge fans of those characters I didn’t buy them.)
And so I decided to review the three I have, even though it’s an admittedly odd trio.
As you can see from the picture above that long block of text, all these plushies come in clear plastic boxes, which I think looks rather nice. I actually think they look better displayed inside the boxes than out – not to say I don’t take them out from time to time. On the front is the character’s name. What you can’t see (very well, anyway) is that behind the character in the box is the country’s flag. This is a nice touch and makes the boxes that much more stylish…it just kinda sucks that, you know, it’s almost invisible while the character is in the box. For some reason or other Chibitalia doesn’t have a flag. Did Italy have its own flag at that point in history? I’m not sure. But anyway, no flag for Chibitalia, just some patterns. The back of the box for every character except Chibitalia and Holy Roman Empire have the chibi picture that Movic based the plushies of – there never was a Chibitalia/HRE drawn in this style, so instead the trading card picture is used for them.
And now on to the plushies themselves. They’re those felt plushies that aren’t particularly intricate or spectacularly made -and perhaps a little delicate (another reason I like to keep them safe in the boxes), but for little felt plushies, particularly of this size (approx 15cm/6 inches tall) these ones are quite decent. They’re also very cute.
We’ll start with France, since he’s an earlier plushie. As you can see, even in ridiculous little simplified chibi-form he still manages to be very…France.
I quite like the simplified details in his outfit, although it wouldn’t have killed them to add a small square of felt for a belt buckle. The little satin bow is a nice touch, though. He’s very soft to the touch – particularly his hair, which doesn’t feel like normal felt. It’s…silkier, not rougher and fuzzier like I’m used to felt being.
What I don’t like about France is his ears – they’re just flaps of felt that stick out oddly. They’re also a slightly different colour shade to the rest of his skin, so it looks odd. But in all there’s a charm to his simplicity, and he makes a nice addition to a shelf where he can wink creepily at the other figures on display.
Next up, Chibitalia. Chibitalia is my personal favourite of the bunch and is very suited to plushie form. He’s wearing his maid outfit from his days as Austria’s servant. Unlike the Italy/Romano plushies from the first line, Chibitalia has his eyes closed in proper Italy style.
Like France, he’s also soft and nice to the touch – out of all of them, he’s the one I take out of the box the most (I like to stand him on my desk sometimes).The kerchief thing on his head seems to be on a little low…it’s actually a bit hard to see from the front. Anyway I’m quite happy with the way Chibitalia turned out; his dress may look flimsy but it’s sewed on quite sturdily. Also, one thing I didn’t like about the Italy/Romano plushies in the first line was their very flimsy looking ahoge. Chibitalia’s still looks a bit odd in plushie form, but it seems to be attached quite well.
One thing I really like is that he also looks quite nice from the back as there’s some detail there too; a satin bow on the back of his apron. However I wish that his tag wasnt sticking out there; on France and HRE the tags are underneath their clothes.
One more thing about Chibitalia which is quite cute and interesting; if you’ve been wondering all this time about what’s under the dress, you bet, he’s got his bloomers on. And they’re quite well made! Two stitches, one at the front and one at the back, attached them to his skin – however, they’ve got elastic in them so they would stay on even if you were to snip that. Meaning yes, if you’d like, they can be removable. …Just saying.
Lastly, Holy Roman Empire.
To give a more pastelly, softer look, you may have noticed the lack of black colouring, such as Chibitalia’s eyes (which are grey). This is also true for HRE, whose close are a more babyish, gentle grey colour. His hair also looks much paler blond.
I did mainly get HRE because I couldn’t bear getting Chibitalia on his own – but he’s quite nice as well – his outfit just turned out a little boring when simplified like this. As for the new grey colour, I’m still undecided on it. I think the proper black would have looked smarter though, although the pastelly look makes a cute effect. I do like his hat – it’s very sturdy, although not removable (although it may be possible to snip some of the thread sewing it to his head, it probably wouldn’t be possible to get it to stay back on again). I don’t know if it was some weird factory defect, but my HRE has one arm up and one down. I don’t mind in the slightest though, it gives him a lot of character.
Personally I think his little cravat thing would have been nicer in satin though.
From behind you can see his cape; although it’s just a square of felt; not particularly exciting. Although I like his cute face, he really is a plushie that looks best when displayed with Chibitalia.
In all, these plushies are all pretty derpy and simple, yet that’s part of their charm. They make nice little collectables, and the neat boxes are a good touch for this. However, I wouldn’t want to buy the entire set of them, although Liechtenstein’s a little tempting. And to be perfectly honest, I do think the retail price for these (individually 1200 yen each) is a little high for what they are. But, such is the cons of licensed merchandise. I am happy to have them as a Hetalia fan – they also make adorable cosplay accessories – however I don’t know any online retailers that sell them if anyone wants to buy one. In fact I think these are Animate exclusives. However they pop up on ebay from time to time – but, as always with ebay, caution is advised because bootlegs already exist of the first plushie line. There is a new different line of more detailed and expensive plushies of the Axis Powers – plus Niholoid – that can be preordered from most online retailers, though.
As a group I’d give these plushies out of 5, this many melonpan: