Sometimes I would like to say I have taste in what I choose to fangirl over. Sometimes, I would like to say that I get into a series because of the meaningful plot and the deep characters. However, sometimes this is complete and utter bullshit. I know that some will argue that Hetalia has both of these traits, but you have to look exceedingly hard to find either in most cases.
In a series that has about one main plot and a million filler plot-lets—filler plot as in “wow, this is wacky/hilarious/cute/etc. but will have no lasting impact on the character”—and that each episode is divided into about three to four five-minute segments (in total, the episode is about fifteen minutes, content-wise), it’s hard to say that it said plot is in anyway ground shaking. Also, as far as author Hidekazu Himaruya is concerned, the characters are slightly flat and serve mainly as marketing tools which have served him well. Hey, I’m not going to lie: I got into the series for good looking boys and stayed for the…good looking boys (although the girls are pretty awesome too).
Good thing there’s fandom picking up the author’s slack.
Of course there’s a fair share of indulgent slash with no point what-so-ever, but if there’s one thing that this fandom has done better than a lot of other fandoms it’s creating fanon (fan-made character ideas that become so widely accepted that they’re like actual canon). I actually care more—or should I just say ‘actually care’?—for these characters because of what I’ve seen in fan works. So, allow me to introduce you to one of those works. Now, if you’ve read any of our ‘Fanfiction Follies’ series, you have an inkling of an idea of what types of fanfiction that I approve of and that I find “suddenly the characters are in high school!” fic to be for the most part stupid. This is a high school fic.
No, no, hear me out.
There’s a reason why Are You There, God? It’s Me, Canada works as a high school fic and that’s because the characters actually act like they’re in high school. A shocking concept, I know. There are actual teachers. Actual cliques that exist for more than just drama against the main character. Homework. Other students outside of the main character’s posse that have lives. It just exceeds my expectations in every way for this type of fic in general. Author, Jekaro, also makes the wise decision to not have all the main characters from the show be students. The older countries end up being teachers (IE: Germany, Italy) and parents. The younger countries are the students along with some other miscellaneous original characters.
The story itself focuses on Canada, and oft passed over character: in fact, in the show itself, it’s often joked about that no one even remember who Canada is, not even his pet.
Canada (who will be called by his human name, Matthew, for the rest of the review) lives with his two parents, England (“Dad”) and France (“Papa”), and his brother U.S.(Alfred). As a fervent FRUK family shipper, this made me too happy for words.
Mostly the story is about Matthew trying to find his own way through life, coming out from behind the shadow of his brother and being proud of who he is. Which is what high school is usually about. This story isn’t breaking new ground per say, but what really makes it is the wit and the relationships between the other characters. Holy shit, Matthew is hilarious. He is, of course, vulnerable and awkward as well, but his sarcasm is highly enjoyable. Take for instance this little nugget of gold he writes in his journal (NOT a diary) as his parents are making up after a fight.
Falling on my hair in spring
My walls are too thin
Fields are made bright gold
Baked soft in the summer heat
Why are they so loud?
The fall air is crisp
Like breathing in ice cold clouds
Winter brings the snow
Cold and clean like brand new sheets
Someone kill me now
And most everyone, even the highly welcomed addition of Seychelles as his best friend, has this kind of humor. It’s seriously great.
And as I stated earlier, relationships play a big part. Matthew’s parents must find a way to
relate to their son which is terribly difficult given how they’re so used to dealing with Alfred, the loud and bombastic jock that he is. And this difficulty the parents have is palpable and believable. Heartbreaking at times, but there’s always hope and humor. Besides that, Matthew not only has to deal with falling in love, but also coming to terms with the fact that he is falling in love with a boy…who looks like and dresses like a girl All the emotions Matthew goes through, all the thought processes, are realistic and it’s clear that Jekaro really thought this through rather than going straight for the ‘Hawt Yaoiz’ ™. I would have never considered the adorable Poland x Canada ship previous to this fic, but it’s really great. I just love it when a fan work can open my eyes to something I never saw before!
And so, dear reader, I offer this story up to you to enjoy. If you like slice-of-life with a dash of drama and a healthy dose of wit, this is your story. Read it here at the LJ Kink Meme (I’d give it a solid PG-13 rating, so don’t worry about the meme name…for this story.)! I should warn you, though, that the story never finished and it seems to have been abandoned. Alas! Perhaps someday they will continue. I’ll hold out for that day.