PRETTY.

This episode adapts a short story in volume 3, ‘The Yoke of Tartar’, in which a young Lithuania meets littleRussia – not yet the huge country he would become, for the first time.
Then it pads out the rest with those dumb ‘punchlines to use when you can’t think of a punchline’ things that should never have been animated in the first place.

Yay for background effort!

LOOK AT HOW CUTE THIS IS

No way is that a dog. It is a giant cat. A giant barking cat.

I just had a thought; how long do animals/pets in Hetalia live? It must be heartbreaking for the countries if they only last as long as a regular animal. My headcanon is that the Funny Looking Cats (and Pochi) are immortal though.

Here is the first Hetalia review to get both the Deen-related tags, which may seem rather odd. I’ll talk about what Deen did right first. More than ‘right’, it’s something done really, really well. The Yoke of Tartar actually looks really good; the backgrounds are gorgeous, the mood is creepy and foreboding and the music that accompanied it (first time I’ve heard this particular music in Hetalia I’m pretty sure) really helped to emphasize all that, particularly with the sound of the wind and snow along with it. It’s another one of those more serious Hetalia installations that are often hit-or-miss when animated, but Deen really did a good job on it. Plus little Russia is just so precious, creepy as he is. If this had been in an episode with some other decent material it’d easily be a 4.5 melonpan episode.
It’s a shame then that Deen seemed to just not care about anything other than the Yoke of Tartar. It’s only about half the total episode time, and the rest is those ‘punchline’ things that…aren’t even really ‘strips’, just splash pages in the manga. They’re kind of funny in the manga, but they really just don’t work in the anime. What’s even worse is that they take up even more space than they are meant to; despite being just one ‘frame’ in the manga, Deen have to make up what happens before then, and they do this by reusing footage from other episodes to make a psuedo ‘yonkoma’ that…just never really is that funny. There’s also the fact that they have to do the explanation at the start of every one, which is a black screen with text and narration that goes for too long. (At least they made fun of this towards the end with the narration being fast-forwarded)
The only one of these that is decent in the anime is the one with the Greek army (a stampede of Funny Looking Cats) because that could never not be awesome, and instead of using old footage Deen actually managed to be inventive and make something new up (ridiculously dramatic headshots of random characters in a more ‘serious’ art style), which was actually pretty damn funny.

daw

Himaruya once drew a picture of Belarus eating something labelled 'punchline' so I guess this punchline-eating runs in the family.

AM I STILL WATCHING HETALIA

Oh okay I am.

Out of 5,
1/2