Hetalia and the phenomena of MAD videos

The skill, ingenuity, and often times bizarreness of fan-made anime MADs never cease to amaze me (and Hetalia ones are no exception)…

The phenomena of fan-made or MAD anime videos has become ever prevalent since the launch of Nico Nico Douga, YouTube, and similar sites. If there’s an anime series they like, dedicated fans with good video editing skills will create any kind of wonderful or weird video imaginable; parodies that blend different series together or use images or audio from one series to parody another, unison MADs that use the opening song of one series with images from another, neta MADs that convey one quick joke that only fans of that series can appreciate, AMV-like MADs that artistically portray a theme from a particular series…and lots of other kinds.

What amazes me the most about these kinds of videos is how much time and dedication went into some of the most elaborate ones, for example, videos that use only fan-made animation but often look just as good as official images.

Hetalia is one anime series that has been getting a lot of attention in the MAD video community lately. To demonstrate just how hardcore some fans are, here are some of my favorite Hetalia MADs:

Note: YouTube tends to delete Hetalia videos so I apologize in advance if any of these videos become unavailable.

All the images in this video are fan-made animated gifs. The song is “Unlimited,” the opening for the anime Samurai 7. It’s extremely well-made though it makes Hetalia look like a serious anime when it totally isn’t XD

The K-ON! opening heavily redrawn to show Hetalia characters instead. Why? Why not! XD

And let’s not forget the Caramelldansen craze. Not only is all the animation fan-made, they diligently included the entire Hetalia cast.

Hetalia version of “Hare Hare Yukai.” Once again, all of the animation is fan created, some of the best I’ve seen actually.

I don’t think you’ll find this kind of creative, obsessive fan dedication anywhere but among Japanese anime fans. Perhaps it’s just another attribute of Japan’s unique otaku culture. Unfortunately, videos like this are considered copyright infringements, especially on YouTube, and are routinely deleted. Actual episodes I can understand, but all these kinds of videos are doing is giving the series free promotion, or at the most, they’re just harmless, fun things for fans to share.

I personally think videos like these, and all the great AMVs out there, deserve some artistic recognition. After all, even if they’re using existing characters and music, they’re blending it together in such a unique, imaginative way, that it becomes something different. They’re putting in hours of work for free to make a visual/audio creation purely out of appreciation for anime. Ten or more years ago it may not have been impossible, but I think something like that should go under the category of “Art” nowadays =)

4 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Liza says:

    I just love watching Hetalia MADs and you have all my favorites on your list. (espically the Unlimited one)

  2. Jan Suzukawa says:

    I still convulse over the Haruhi parody (with Japan as a deadpan Kyon).

    I think videos like these are definitely art. And Japanese fans making these labor-intensive parody videos – it’s part of their obsessive fan culture that includes making doujinshis (also incredibly labor-intensive). I think they just relate to their anime and manga on a whole different level than we do. :)

  3. 2DT says:

    I’m kind of disturbed by Hetalia and how it seems to function basically as fan bait. But then I realize that I’m a fan of Strike Witches and laugh at my blatant hypocrisy.

  4. Yumeka says:

    I think just about all anime is fundamentally meant to be fan bait; all creators want their shows to be adored by fans so they’ll buy the merchandise. But I think Hetalia seems more “bait-ish” than others because of its controversial plot of portraying racial stereotypes in anthropomorphic versions of different countries. But there’s no harm in falling for the fan bait, whether it’s Hetalia or Strike Witches XD

Leave a Comment