All right so, this happened a while ago, before school started, that it went down. But I should probably go back even further to when it really first started. It was when Axis Powers Hetalia was in full swing; second season was still bounding through the fandom and giving out new glorious episodes every Monday.
My older sister and I were both very involved in the series, which was a rare occasion since she often didn't share interests with me. Oh sure, I would force myself to get into whatever she was getting into so we could at least have a reason to hang out, but this was the first she came into my fandom without me working for it. It was really nice. Considering it was still unknown in our small town, it was even nicer to just have someone to relate to.
She and I cosplayed it together, watched episodes together, got merchandise together, you know the whole kit-caboodle. Though she was always able to get more stuff than I was because she actually had a job. At some point, she actually bought a bootleg DVD of Hetalia so she could be able to watch it at any time, (Whose picture I've provided here thanks to my mother lending me her camera for a second before she had it sold the next week) of course all the episodes just being ripped from the internet sites that had them subbed. I watched one or two episodes with her but really I was content with watching them online so I left her to it.
About two or three days after she got the DVD, she acted really… weird, is the best way I can describe it. In a drop of a hat, she dropped the whole Hetalia series, setting aside her merchandise and shelving her Hetalia cosplays, even selling some of them. When I tried to ask her about what was up, she just said she didn't want to talk about it to the point that she'd glare at me if I mentioned it to her. I was extremely disappointed at losing my sister when it came to sibling bonding and the fandom, at the time just figuring she 'grew out of it' or found something even better. That mindset especially fit in when she started to read Homestuck soon after it to have something to do.
Now here's where it got even weirder, now it's been a while since then probably like about a month or so. I'm not sure why, probably a phone call from my best friend, I got the urge to watch some episodes with just some classic good ol' Italy. Though currently the internet was being worked on by my father, since he was changing phone providers and all that mess, so I decided to look for that Hetalia DVD my sister had.
It took me a long while but I found it shoved in the back of the DVD cabinet, not sure exactly why she shoved it back there... well at the time. The bootleg wasn't that bad really; it had fan art of the everyone as chibi's around the world with the title on top, same for the disc just printed on fan art. I popped the DVD in the player in my room and decided to look through the episodes to find a really fun one, maybe the one when Romano is first introduced.
As I went through the 'Episode Choice' option though, I found something really weird in between episode 23 and 24; for those who don't know it's the 'Liechtenstein and Switzerland' episodes, very cute indeed~ and the 24th has the conclusion of the Axis on an Island arc.. thing. But there was another square choice like an episode, but there really wasn't a title next to it, saying what number it was or what the episode was about. Though it wasn't that it was untitled that caught my interest, but the screenshot of it. It was Italy smiling, looking upwards in a content daze (his eyes actually OPENED mind you!) with glistening eyes and what looked like sand, like perhaps he was laying on it.
This blew my friggin mind, for this was something new! I craved for new things in a fandom, always! Perhaps this was a hidden chapter I wasn't aware of, like a bonus episode! I bit my lip and trembled with excitement, and I knew I had this all to myself. Wait until my friends heard about this! I was going to be more knowledgeable than anyone else! Of course… when I look back, I wish that I wouldn't have found it.
Without much ado, I clicked the 'select' button on my remote to watch it. The title animation appeared as always, the large orchestra blaring out for a few seconds to show the Japanese katakana of 'HETALIA' with 'Axis Powers' next to it. Soon after it shifted to the view of the island that the axis were stranded on, Japan and Germany sitting against a shade of the tree while Italy just laid in the sand, soaking up sun with that cute dumb look on his face.
Now before I go on, I've read stories like this before about lost episodes of cartoons (stories that I didn't believe in until now honestly), and I know how they went off about it being in extremely bad quality, but this actually wasn't too bad. Sure it wasn't the *best* quality, it was still quite pixelly from being ripped from a site then burned onto a disc, but it was okay, the sound just a tad muffled nothing too out of the ordinary. Of course, this just kinda made it creepier later on when it was able to be seen better... but I'll get that in a bit.
Back to the episode, while Italy was sunbathing in his jacket and shorts, the camera cut over to Germany and Japan, though they both looked a tad... upset, if not a bit worried. And then they started to speak… two things through me off. One, there was no subtitles, so I had zero idea what they were talking about, and two… their voices were actually those who voiced them in the series. I was extremely impressed of such raw footage, though I was a bit miffed there were no subs. Oh well, as long as Hiroki Yasumoto (Germany's seiyuu) kept talking, I was happy all of the way.
The two seemed to be chatting about something serious, Germany clutching his stomach from time to time in pain as Japan would nod and set a hand on his stomach as well. My guess was that they had run out of steady food on the item so they were starving. That was kind of a downer to start the episode on, but it was only the beginning there was probably a fun way to get food later on! Just then Italy had called out, having the two of them look up to where he was, which was now currently running around in the ocean. He waved to them, and the two of them waved back unenthusiastically before the other went back to just playing in the sun and water.
I didn't notice this until then, but the only thing playing in the background of this was the ocean's waves, something not uncommon but it certain kept the atmosphere kind of stoic, especially when the focus was to the hungry and worried nations in the shade. But either way I was too sucked up in just the beautiful new material I didn't question it. I didn't even care that I didn't know the bulk of it; I mostly cared for the actions anyway.
The nations were quite for a while, before Japan had seemed to ask something and Germany look to him in shock, almost exclaiming before being quietly hushed by the island nation, making him whisper the line instead. Ooh what was Japan thinking, I thought~ But Japan had repeated the Japanese statement in a more quieter and clearer tone, not taking his eyes off Italy in the water. For a few moments the two of them discussed the issue, obviously talking about the Italian, though soon enough the two of them nodded in agreement. At that moment, even though it was just for a few seconds, Germany had made the saddest face I had ever seen… like he could burst out to tears at any moment but kept it back. Honestly I inwardly flipped my shit at such emotion, even if it was short, though it made me wonder even more what brought it on!
The scene changed to the night time, the three nations huddled around the fire for warmth, though they seemed at least content with their jackets on being near the warmth. As usual, Italy was fast asleep next to it, sleeping contently while leaving the other two nations to their thoughts. Still, only the sound of the oceans crashing against the shore was heard in the background as the two were silent, though soon enough the camera panned over them giving each other a subtle nod.
In unison, the two stood up, going over to Italy and picking him up very carefully, not wanting to wake him up. At this point I was extremely confused, what were they planning to do with him? Were they going to a new location? Quietly, they shuffled the sleeping nation over to the ocean, and carefully set him in face down, Japan setting his hands over the others head so to keep it still below the water's surface. It didn't take long until Italy began to thrash around, bubbles popping furiously on the water next to his head, only having Japan press down harder while Germany was looking away with eyes closed and lip being bitten onto, hard.
While this was going on, my mouth was hanging ajar. Japan and Germany… were drowning Italy?! Why?! As I just watched this insanity, I recognized the words 'gomennasai, Italia' come from Japan. 'Sorry, Italy.' What the hell?!
About fifteen seconds later, which felt like almost forever of watching the poor nation, Italy's limbs fell with a plop in the water, the bubbles ceasing to rise anymore. The deed was done. But why?! Japan and Germany picked up the waterlogged Italy and brought him back to shore, placing him down next to the fire. While Germany sat aside, just staring at the fire as if contemplating what they just did, Japan unsheathed his sword and kneeled down next to the corpse, taking off his own jacket and setting it aside. With one more look to the blonde before back down, Japan took a deep breath before making an incision from the base of his neck all the way down to his bellybutton, cutting in a bit more so he was able to flip the skin back to reveal the bloody organs of the once living nation.
At this, I had to pause the episode, feeling quite lightheaded at this. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. I mean, I watch HetaOni, I read and look at gory Hetalia stuff… but seeing it down in Studio Deen's style, and done in official voices (or if its fake.. a really good artist and very good sound a-likes), it was just way too surreal for me. And while I had the TV paused, I had a good chance to look at Italy's insides (god that sounds so weird as I type this), and they just looked so *real*. Not that they were hypercammed but as if the artist had stared at the inside anatomy of a person for hours, drawing every little curve to making it realistic.
I wanted to stop watching, I wanted to just turn it off and abandon that TV with the DVD inside. But I was already too far in; I had to see this through to the end. It would haunt me for the rest of my life if I stopped here. After taking a short breather and drinking some water, I pressed play on my remote to resume the madness.
Instantly I was greeted by a 'sluuuurp' sound of Japan sliding his hand into Italy's body and pulling out one of the organs out of place, it looking like the liver (with it so detailed it was hard not to mistake the organ). Japan sighed as he cut off the connecting strand with his sword and set the mess of an organ onto the others discarded jacket before going back in and setting aside a kidney, both of them. While Japan searched around, Germany reached over to some sharpened sticks he seemed to have gathered earlier and penetrated the sharp end through each organ that Japan had laid out. With a saddened sigh, he set the organ-kabobs on a range on the fire so it could get cooked, which I didn't know how that was even possible.
Once more, after a seemingly long period of time, Germany pulled the now cooked liver from the fire while handing Japan - who accepted it with his arms still blood smeared - a kidney. Both of them were in silence before Japan murmured 'itadakimasu' and both took a large bite from it. Ugh it still makes me feel weird when I think about seeing that scene… but that lightheadedness faded as I heard something that made me gasp.
The both of them turned in shock, the camera panning over to show that Italy was awake. What!? How was he awake?! They drowned him! Or was he just unconscious? Hell, I wasn't even sure what was going on, and it seemed like the other two had no idea either. Germany and Japan tried to explain themselves, but Italy began to grow more panicked, slowly getting what was happening and he began to scream, in pain, fear, sadness, I couldn't even pinpoint what emotion was there. But it was so weird to hear him like that, it almost sounded like the man voicing him was in a large amount of pain himself.
Germany and Japan went over him, trying to get him to be quiet. Though after the large confusion of everyone yelling at once, Germany was the one to finally scream for everyone to be quiet, shaking Italy to try to make him quiet, resulting to just tugging the curl to make him stop momentarily. At this point, when I should have laughed, I was practically at the point of tears.
Germany talked, trying to appear strong and try to explain their situation. My guess of the situation was, there was no food left, so they were going to eat Italy since he was the weakest. Though he was a nation, right? They were all nations! Why did they have to resort to that? Was that why Italy woke up?
Soon enough, Italy gave an understanding nod, whimpering in pain and fear as well. He sputtered out something, pausing at a point to cough, blood drooling down his chin. Now it was Japan's turn to talk, seeming to try to comfort him in a soothing tone. And after his small speech, Italy nodded once more before looking down, seeing that Germany was gripping his hand tightly. With another nod from the German and Japanese nation, Japan went back over and scooped his hand into his now somewhat functioning body, pulling and cutting out his spleen and setting it aside.
Italy almost screamed, reduced to a sort of mixture of whimpering and sobbing, the camera cut to a view of his and Germany's hand becoming more constricted against each other. The shot panned up to the frowning Germany, who once glanced to Japans work before speaking again, calling Italy's attention. He spoke for a bit, trying to smile, and soon Italy smiled back at him, for once in the series actually opening his eyes to reveal their golden honey color and called him the familiar word he used to call him 'captain'.
Then there was a time skip of soon a large portion of organs lying on Italy's jacket, things I could recognize being intestines, pancreas, bladder, practically everything but the brain, lungs and heart. Japan wiped an arm to his forehead, smearing it with blood accidentally before impaling them on sticks and sticking near the fire. He turned back to Germany, who was still holding Italy's hand. He crawled over to get a closer look, and Italy had seemed to pass on again, his eyes lightly glistening and staring blankly upwards with a small smile on his head.This shot was the very one showed in the menu.
Japan looked up to Germany, seeing that he was frowning, blue eyes glistening with tears as he still tried to get over having this happen to him. Japan set a hand on his shoulder, murmuring something seemingly comforting, making Germany nod in agreement and sigh shakily. Japan frowned lightly at this before he moved aside, grabbing the dead Italian's free hand and squeezing it lightly saying something to Germany before looking to the fire where the organs were roasting. Germany glanced back to the fire for a moment before looked up to the sky where Italy was staring, the camera panning upwards to it, past the stars and everything until it was completely black.
And then the next episode started playing. Just like that, no credits or anything. Just left the episode on a cryptic or optimistic note. I have no idea.
I wish I could have it run on my computer to get screenshots, but the disk refuses to play on here for some reason (though my friend Fia was kind enough to get two screenshots for me, though the disk only worked on her computer for so long), and I don't really have a good camera to snap a clear picture. But I'd rather not look at that again. It may not sound as bad when you read this, but that made me get away from Hetalia for a while honestly. Though I am not as weak stomach as my sister, I still love the series and I will continue to love it.
But since then, I refuse to watch any anime episodes. I would prefer to see fan made gore over official ones any time.