Anime featuring anthropomorphized battleships or samurai swords seem like no-brainers, given that they have a certain cool factor among young otaku and by their very nature make it easy to develop action scenes. Filling your cast with personifications of sovereign nations, though, sounds like a harder hill to climb.
Nevertheless, Hetalia, which started as a webcomic starring anthropomorphized versions of World War II’s Axis powers, succeeded, thanks to its non-stop winks to historical events, willingness to skewer every country on the planet (Japan included), and undercurrent of homoeroticism. The franchise has since spread to print manga and animated TV and movie forms, and now it’s invading new territory with the Hetalia stage musical.
The official Hetalia Twitter account just sent out an announcement for the project, which is still five months away from raising its curtain. The venue has already been set as the Zepp Blue Theater in Tokyo’s Roppongi neighborhood.
Every country on the planet, including those that no longer exist like the Holy Roman Empire, are candidates to appear in Hetalia, and to date the series has already featured dozens of characters. As such, it’s doubtful that the stage version will include all of them, but fans can probably look forward to seeing at least those shown in the musical’s first promotional image.
The first cast member to be announced is actor Kotaro Yoshitani, whose previous anime-to-stage credits include roles in the Sengoku Basara, Alice in the Country of Hearts, and Bakumatsu Rock productions. It’s currently unknown which Hetalia character will portray.
The Hetalia musical is set to run from December 24 to December 29, likely with performances held every day during that period.