The series' main presentation is as an often over-the-top allegory of political and historic events as well as more general cultural comparisons. Characters are personifications of countries.Both positive and negative cultural stereotypes form part of each character's personality, since the series is based in Japanese cultural views of the world.
The main storyline's events occur during World War II, but the vast majority of the comics take place during other historical events, modern holidays, or at no specific time whatsoever. The series often uses satire and light-hearted comedy to reinterpret well-known events as well as less common historical and cultural trivia. Historical, political, economic, and military interaction between countries is generally represented in Hetalia as social and romantic interactions and misunderstandings between the characters.