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Animation: Investigation Held By Kolobki
Our heroes - Chief in gray, Colleague in green.

Investigation Held By Kolobki ("Следствие Ведут Колобки"; translit. "Sledstvie Vedut Kolobki") is a two-part Soviet cartoon written by Eduard Uspensky and directed by Igor Kovalyov and Aleksandr Tatarskiy - the first part coming out in 1986 and second in 1987. It can be watched with subtitles on Youtube - here (part 1) and here (part 2).

The plot kicks off somewhere in the USSR. Deep at night, the two investigators named Brothers Kolobki hear a loud thump, which they promptly dismiss as nothing. The next morning, they're staring dumbfounded at the four huge holes in their rooftop. The smarter of two partners, Chief (Шеф; translit. "Shef") figures out that the holes are actually elephant footprints. And sure enough, the local newspaper has an article about the disapperance of the rare striped elephant from the city zoo. Chief and his partner, literally named Colleague (Коллега; translit. "Kollega") embark on an investigation to find out just what is happening in their sleepy backwater city.

In The Nineties, a sequel in the form of six short cartoons was made, and in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a video game series based off the cartoons was created, available on PC and iOS.


This cartoon provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: At the zoo administration, Chief (voiced by Leonid Bronevoy) says "And you I'll ask to stay here."
  • Amateur Sleuth: Kolobki - they know their stuff well, but do not seem to be tied to the police, and private enterprise was outlawed in the USSR.
  • Bald of Evil: Karbofos.
  • Brick Break: Parodied. Colleague uses a karate chop to break a pack of maccaroni in half.
  • Brick Joke: The zoo guard who flies away in the opening later flies into the director's window, and even later he is seen sleeping with an anchor chained to his leg, as to prevent flying away again.
  • The Cameo: Captain Vrungel makes two appearances, first buying airplane tickets and then going through customs at the airport. The reason is that Aleksandr Tatarskiy worked on the Adventures of Captain Vrungel as well as Investigation Held by Kolobki.
  • Catch Phrase: Numerous, most famously "Ditto." and "I don't understand a thing!".
  • Cock-a-Doodle Dawn: In the finale, as the brothers drive off to the airport.
  • The Comically Serious: Chief lapses into it sometimes by virtue of being a calm, stoic investigator in a zany cartoonish world.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Karbofos, sort of. He is an animal trader, not a hunter, so he has to capture his game alive - but he's most definitely a bastard about it.
  • Endangered Species: A made-up one - rare striped elephant - is the reason for the plot happening.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Chief's pistol shoots suction cup darts, sometimes with a wire attached, and Karbofos' gun also shoots suction cup darts that deploy baloons to lift the target up into the air.
  • Four-Fingered Hands
  • Funny Background Event: A lot of them.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: The zoo's director literally turns red after the Brothers confiscate the elephant's case file and the guard from the opening breaks his window immediately after.
  • Hilarity In Zoos: The animals appear in three fairly long scenes, and do a lot of funny things: giraffe turns into a spotlight thanks to a lightning strike, rhino hides inside his "armour plating" and then folds into nothingness, etcetera.
  • Howling to the Night: In the very beginning, with the establishing shot of the moon. Doubles as Fridge Brilliance, since the camera pans down to a zoo - the only place in the city where the wolves could be.
  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: Inverted. A kangaroo catches Colleague this way.
  • Kitsch Collection: The brothers seem to have an awful lot of clocks in their home, and a shelf with five porcelain elephants of differing sizes.
  • Loophole Abuse: Karbofos acquires papers confirming ownership of the elephant this way.
  • Mind Control Music: The sounds of the flute make the elephant lose free will.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: This is how the story ends. Karbofos' lackey grabs his balloon gun and shoots it at him, stopping him from boarding the plane with the striped elephant.
  • Poirot Speak: Karbofos seems to use German like this, for example "Here's gut, ja ja".
  • Previously On: Shows up at the beginning of the second part.
    • Once More with Clarity: At the beginning of the first part, there are only silhouettes visible. In the recap, everything is shown much more clearly.
  • Punny Name: "Karbofos" is a pun on Karabas, taken from the name of an insecticide also known as "malation".
  • Running Gag: Colleague spitting out fish, the crow carrying away whatever it was sitting on.
  • Rummage Fail: In the climax, Karbofos' lackey accidentially wields a sausage instead of a gun.
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Unusually for a cartoon, it's drawn in a gritty style, with a lot of detail, signs of disuse such as cracked stucco on buildings, and something akin to film grain in all scenes.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The elephant likes fish oil very much.
  • Visual Pun: When Chief orders him to "get on the phone", Colleague literally goes and sits on a phone while calling.
    • The whole cartoon has a lot of visual puns, in Aleksandr Tatarskiy's trademark fashion.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Lampshaded. The city where the cartoon takes place is referred to as "Ensk", literally "N-City". The sequel shorts retconned it to 1950s Berdichev, Ukraine.
    • Not only that, but the time, even time of day, is never told explicitly in the cartoon - even if the clock is clearly visible. All characters use an expression "N hours".

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