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Hetalia Axis Powers and the paranormal

Saturday 16th June 2012

Matt ‘Mulder’ Kamen gets paranormal, Hetalia-style

Hetalia Axis Powers Paint it WhiteWith an alien invasion on the horizon in Hetalia: Axis Powers – Paint It, White!, it might finally be time for the wacky cast of anthropomorphised countries to work together. While the movie sees Germany, Britain, America and, of course, Italy tripping over each other’s ridiculously stereotypical national foibles, it bears asking how our questionable heroes would respond to real-life cases of alien encounters.

Great Britain – The Rendlesham Forest Incident, 1980

Rendlesham ForestOne of the most notorious UFO spottings in the UK took place in a sleepy part of Suffolk. Lights were observed descending into Rendlesham Forest on 26 December, seen by both civilians and military staff at the nearby RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge bases. An investigation into the forest ended with reports from servicemen of inexplicable lights moving independently through the trees. Sergeant Jim Penniston reported coming across an unknown craft – which he later attributed to time travellers rather than aliens. The next morning, impressions on the ground and burn marks on nearby trees were found. Two days later, Lieutenant Charles Halt would lead another expedition into Rendlesham, intending to measure radiation levels, when his squad also saw lights in and above the forest. Despite Halt’s writing affadavits for the Ministry of Defence which are available to the public, talk amongst UFO afficionados persists of a governmental cover up of what ‘really’ happened on those nights.

Hetalia Britain’s response? He’d probably leave some fresh scones out for the aliens – who’d choke to death on his awful cooking – or think they were new members of his imaginary menagerie.

Italy – Varese Encounter, 1950

Varese EnncounterFactory worker Bruno Facchini stepped out for a break on an April evening, and was drawn to a glowing light. He reported seeing a circular vessel being worked on by “a light-skinned being”, seemingly performing repairs of some kind. As other creatures emerged from the vessel, Facchini began to run away, until he was knocked off his feet by a weapon that used a “beam of force”. He claimed to watch the ship take off, with the sound of a large beehive. While the encounter could be taken as the rantings of a tired manual labourer, police took interest the following day, finding burn marks, heavy indentations and scraps of metal.

Hetalia Italy’s response? He’d cry and hide. Then ask Germany to help send the scary aliens away. Then have a nap.

America – Roswell, 1947


Possibly the most famous UFO story of all time – the supposed crash landing of an extra-terrestrial craft. William Brazel discovered debris near a ranch he was working on in either late June or early July (dates differ). A report to the local sheriff lead to military involvement from the Roswell Army Airfield, specifically Major Jesse Marcel, and the recovery of a large silver disk that Brazel had moved from the crash site. News reports at the time indicated the army had revealed it found a flying disc, though these were shortly amended to stories of weather balloons. Over the years. eyewitness reports of the unearthly nature of the materials recovered surfaced, along with claims that the UFO’s inhabitants were also found in the crash – including some still that were still alive. Though widely debunked as a small town panic or outright hoax, alien enthusiasts still insist that Roswell remains a first contact encounter – and a massive, ongoing cover-up.

Hetalia America’s response? We’ve already seen this one – America’s pet alien Tony now lives in his house after crashing in Roswell. America seems pretty cool with it.

Hetalia: Paint it, White! is out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.


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One Piece. Pieces of Hate

Been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt....
Of the anime titles turned into T-shirts by Uniqlo, One Piece is the biggest – the reigning king of all the anime and manga franchises, pretty much unchallenged in the 16 years since Eiichiro Oda began the manga, and 14 since Toei Animation started animating it. But perhaps Uniqlo would have turned One Piece into a line of shirts even if the saga hadn’t been a world hit. Just look at those pirate designs – brash, cartoony, uncompromising. There’s no whiff of a committee, no hint of a five-year product plan reliant on changing a heroine’s hair colour (or deepening her cleavage). It just helps that the pictures are as commercial when they move as they are when they’re a cool static graphic in a manga, or on the front of a T-shirt.

One Piece: Strong World

The Straw Hats Pirates come together for an adventure like no other...
Written by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda himself, Strong World leads the Straw Hats into the deadly path of Golden Lion Shiki.

One Piece - ninja or pirates?

Matt Kamen turns video pirate!
“Ninja or pirates?” While Naruto – representing the ninja corner, of course – has proven hugely popular, UK fans have long been unable to weigh in on the other side. With the long-awaited arrival of One Piece on DVD this May, that finally changes.

One piece: Crew Manifest #1

Matt Kamen finds out who’s who in the One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy: The founder and captain of the Straw Hats, Luffy is a carefree soul who wants to become king of the pirates. After eating the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, he gained an elastic body, making him near-invulnerable and able to stretch but paradoxically making him unable to swim.

One Piece: Crew Manifest #2

Back at sea for volume two of One Piece
Before you set sail on the second round of voyages for One Piece, brush up on who you’ll be encountering in this latest volume of nautical nonsense

One Piece music: TOMATO CUBE

Tom Smith on One Piece’s TOMATO CUBE
One-hit wonders. Every country has them. And, as PSY can most likely attest, very few musicians really want to be labelled as one. Sure, it’s all fun, games and fancy dinners when that royalty cheque floats through the letter box. The one with all the zeroes from that single from yesteryear that went massive. But what about the rest of your work? It must be somewhat unsatisfying as an artist to be known for one track, while everything else remains relatively overlooked, and expectations are high for that difficult follow up single. If you’re TOMATO CUBE, you do nothing. Ever again.


This week we ask you whether you'd like to see Death Note receive a UK Blu-ray release


Hugh David on the full monty
Asian-American animator Monty Oum passed away tragically on the 1st February this year at the age of 33. RWBY (pronounced Ruby, the lead character’s name, but also an acronym of the four lead characters) is his legacy, a fully CG-animated web series that is as close to anime as a series made outside of Japan can be, so much so that Warner Bros Japan have bought it to dub and release locally.

Bleach Cosplay: Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez

Paul "Jaeger" Jacques seeks out the best anime costumes
Kasey Lee strikes a pose as Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, with the telltale Hollow jawbone still hanging on his cheek. Never let it be said this blog is afraid of showing topless cosplay.
Over the next few weeks we will be choosing our favourite Japanese and English voice actors. Disagree with our choices? Make sure you let us know your favourites!

Wolf Children and Families

In search of Mamoru Hosoda’s family ties
The Wolf Children is a family film about a family. This may help explain while Mamoru Hosoda’s movie was a hit in Japan, something that’s very unusual for a standalone cartoon film not linked to an entrenched brand. A well-rounded portrait of a family offers many ways in for different generations. The Wolf Children is the story of an unassuming ‘ordinary’ mum who must find reserves of superhuman strength; of a rambunctious girl and a troubled boy, each with different relationships to their animal sides; of a magic, mythic love between a human woman and a gentle werewolf; and of everyday, practical living away from city lights and mod-cons.

Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere

Andrew Osmond tries to make sense of Sunrise's mad new anime
As regular subscribers to Manga Entertainment’s podcast and twitter feed will know, there was some confusion about whether Sunrise’s new comedy-fantasy-action-fanservice series was called (deep breath) Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere or Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. We’re calling it the former in the UK, although releases elsewhere have plumped for the “in” option. Either way, it sounds less weird and Escheresque once you know that Horizon is the name of a pivotal female character in the series. But it reflects the inescapable fact that Horizon is, well, confusing.

From Naruto to Fairy Tail

Paul Browne on the music of Yasuharu Takanashi
Two high-profile Manga Entertainment releases have something in common in the form of musician and composer Yasuharu Takanashi. It’s the distinctive musical strokes of Takanashi that appear on the new Naruto movie The Lost Tower as well as the upcoming movie addition to the Fairy Tail series – Phoenix Priestess.

Toshio Hirata 1938-2014

Remembering the anime master who shunned the limelight
Toshio Hirata, who died on 25th August, might be reasonably said to have avoided publicity. Over the course of his career, he did gather a number of credits for directing, as well as storyboards, key animation and lowlier tasks, but he often obscured his own achievements by using the pseudonym Sumiko Chiba. In some cases, such as for his work on Azuki-chan, he simply asked not to be credited at all, claiming that his contribution was not really worthy of recognition.
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