Hey kids, let’s all play a fun game called ‘pretend the screencaps are in really good quality’.
It’s time for the oddly named UNITED STATES OF HETALIA, which…doesn’t really involve America! Meet Germany and Italy as they try to launch a surprise attack on the English forces and then fail! And get lost! And shipwrecked! And meet up with Japan, who is confused about them, especially by Italy, who doesn’t believe in pants! While engrish sound effects fly all over the place!

Nothing suss!

Oh man, lovely background art, in my Hetalia? It's more likely than you think!

Even the non-scenery backgrounds look much better...

It was highly necessary that I cap this to preserve this historical moment when Deen finaly let Italy go pantsless.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Hetalia episode as well done as this one: there is decent background work! And lighting! And nice choice of colours! And mention of being shipwrecked with no reused footage whatsoever! Also Italy actually did take his pants off instead of being censored by those hideous yellow boxers (because censorship in an anime aimed mostly at older audiences when there is more nudity in Dragon Ball makes total sense), which is the first time this has actually happened in the anime. The problem is, it’s probably going to confuse a lot of people. What’s in this episode is the entirety of the colour pages at the start of volume 3 of the manga – United States of Hetalia – which, unless I’m mistaken, is supposed to be some kind of parody of an American war comic (hence all the ridiculous english sound effects flying around like a Panty and Stocking episode) – which would also explain why it seems to show Japan meeting Germany and Italy for the first time. Timeline-wise, especially for the anime, this makes no damn sense (he did this under completely different circumstances back in episode 4 of the original series). But it doesn’t have to make sense as a ‘war comic parody’ – and it also explains why the three are even more Flanderized in personality than they are usually. The only thing the anime really has to indicate that it’s not exactly ‘canon’ is the use of the ‘United States of Hetalia!’ logo popping up as eyecatches instead of the usual ‘Hetalia’ one. Which was a pretty good idea as I don’t really know how else they could have approached it. (My headcanon is that it’s a comic produced by America as a piece of anti-axis propaganda to show everyone what loonies they are, and I’m sticking with that)
I do wish Deen could put this much effort into every episode, though (I think it’s mainly because the original comic was in colour)… it really made it much more fun to watch.
After the credits though they do that annoying thing where they animate one frame of a 4koma and then ‘to be continue it’, even though the rest of the segment will be over really quickly at the start of the next episode. But oh well. This one is just about Italy trying to get Japan to show some emotion – it’s on the back cover of volume 3 in full colour. So in all it was a very ‘volume 3’ kind of episode.

Where is Germany looking, so seriously 8|

Daaw he looked so cute for that split second before Germany tried to break his neck.

So it is possible to take Japan by surprise.

...Yeah this is mostly for the cat.

For looking nice and being really dumb fun I’m giving it full marks.