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Animation / Nu, Pogodi!

Nu, Pogodi! (Ну, погоди!) is a Soviet (and now Russian) children's cartoon reminiscent of Tom and Jerry. (The creators of the show claim that they've never seen Tom and Jerry, although they did admit to being inspired by post-World War II Walt Disney films). Sixteen cartoons were produced between 1969 and 1986. Two more were made in 1994 and 1995, and two more were made in 2005 and 2006, for a total of twenty episodes.

In classic Road Runner vs. Coyote fashion, it follows the adventures of an anthropomorphic wolf who constantly chases after a hare in an urban environment. The Hare is an embodiment of youth, athleticism and intellectual virtues, while the Wolf is a chain-smoking, alcohol-swilling lowlife (though he can apparently play instruments and draw).

The series is notable for its eclectic soundtrack, from old Russian folk songs to 1980s techno. More often than not, the animation is synchronized with the music down to a frame.

"Nu, Pogodi!" translates roughly as "Just You Wait!", which is indeed what it was titled when aired on TV outside Soviet Russia. Yes, the show has been translated to English. However, apparently dubbing was done on a rather low budget. Cyrillic text was hastily blanked out and replaced with electronically generated English translations and only when the text is to be prominently visible, voice acting was just so-so, and the translators didn't even bother with translating any of the songs with vocals in them, leaving the songs unintelligible to non-Russophone viewers.

Some of the shorts are available to watch on YouTube with English subtitles. The Internet Archive also has episodes, but without subtitles.

Contrast Masha and The Bear, a Russian cartoon where the duo gets along very well.

Nu, Pogodi! provides examples of:

  • Alla Pugacheva: As an Anthropomorphic Animal (a fox). Hare and Wolf run into her dressing room and then both end up singing her song, Iceberg.
    • Also in episode 14: Million Scarlet Roses plays in the background when Wolf visits Zayats. The fact that he came over wearing fancy clothing while bringing him cider and red flowers just boosts the Ho Yay Up to Eleven.
  • The Alleged Car: Wolf's car in episode 14 - a total junker with mismatched wheels, a coal-powered engine (complete with a chimney), an umbrella for a brake, shoebrushes for windshield wipers, a bicycle handlebar for a steering wheel and a Mercedes-Benz hood ornament. It falls apart after Wolf gets out of it, but magically comes together as he gets in it later.
    • It also happened in an earlier episode, when the Wolf stole a racecar, the very quickly was reduced to little more than a badly battered body and one wheel.
  • All Just a Dream: Episode 16, where Wolf passes out on the beach and dreams he's living in a world of Russian folk tale legends. Also Episode 9, where Wolf is Trapped in TV Land, but it's ultimately revealed as a hallucination induced by a broken TV set. Or Was It a Dream?
  • Amusement Park: Setting for Episode 2.
  • Amusing Injuries: Wolf suffers through many.
  • Ash Face: In episode 2, Wolf stomps on a magician's hat and gets completely covered in ash.
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: In one short, the Wolf is thrown out of a TV studio when he tries to sneak in, and keeps re-entering in attempted disguises as other animals (e.g., wearing a black-and-white striped shirt and claiming to be a zebra, or dropping on all fours with a big bowl on his back and proclaiming to be a tortoise). None of these work.
  • Balloonacy: In episode 2, Wolf swallows a balloon and starts floating in mid-air with the string sticking out of his mouth.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals
  • Beach Episode: Episodes 1 and 19 both take place at the beach.
  • Blowing Smoke Rings: In Episode 13, the one made in 1980 to coincide with the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, the Wolf makes the Olympic rings with cigarette smoke.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: In episode 2, the Wolf's eyes are only seen when the Hare shuts the mirror hall's lights off.
  • Call Back: In Episode 10 the Wolf has a dream that mirrors a scene in the first episode, except the roles are reversed and the Hare is pursuing him.
    • Remember that song you heard in the beginning of episode 2? Well, guess what is the song they use for the Wolf and Hare's tango near the end of the episode?
    • Episode 19 has several back to episode 1, especially at the end.
      • Both episodes are set primarily at the beach.
      • The beavers who take the Hare para-sailing in episode 19 are the same ones who took him jet-skiing in episode 1 (except that now there's a third one).
      • In episode 1, the Wolf whistles "A Song About a Friend" while climbing a rope after the Hare. In episode 19, when the Wolf starts climbing the Hare's tether, the soundtrack plays a phrase from a whistled version of the same song.
      • Finally, the Wolf's ultimate predicament (being dragged behind a speedboat on a rope) is the same in both episodes.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Episode 17, in which the Wolf dreams of the Hare turning into a werewolf.
  • Catch Phrase: Wolf's "Nu, Zayats, pogodi!" ("Well, Hare, you just wait!"). In the English dubs, it's "Just! You! Wait!".
  • Catch That Hare
  • Clothing Damage: In Episode 3, the Wolf, during his usual pursuit against the Hare, gets some clothing damage during the chase. First his motorcycle helmet is crushed by a train, then one of his gloves gets bitten off and presumably ripped off by a pike, then he loses his helmet and jacket from a fish tank, then his shirt (which is green in this episode) gets ripped in two while he tries to dry it frantically (which provides a bit of Fanservice as well as a Walking Shirtless Scene for the rest of the episode), then his other glove is destroyed due to a car crash from a car breaking down (one he stole) and finally, his pants get caught in Hare's bike which is too small for him forcing him to remove his pants and leaving him in his pink underwear.
  • Determinator: see Catch Phrase above.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Wolf and Hare.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The original pilot film (roughly two-and-a-half minutes long) had vastly different character designs for the Wolf and the Hare. The wolf was also more outwardly malevolent than in the series proper, coming off as more of a creepy predator than the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist that he became. Hare was both vastly younger and much more proactive in foiling the Wolf's attempts to eat him, acting more the Jerry to Wolf's Tom than later on.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When you first see the Wolf kicking a trash bin around and smoking cigarettes, you know that he is up to no good. And when you see the Hare watering his garden gleefully, you know that he is made of Incorruptible Pure Pureness.
  • Excited Show Title!
  • Furry Confusion: One episode had Wolf running from an anthropomorphic lion, and another episode had him locked in a cage with a real lion.
  • Genie in a Bottle: In Episode 16 the Wolf is on the beach when he finds a bottle. Of course the genie is the Hare, who promptly zaps the Wolf into the bottle and off into fairy tale land.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: Oddly, completely and totally averted — the show does not hinge on any sort of political propaganda, and no Soviet iconography at all is seen. If not for the fact that the signs are all in Russian, the show could very easily take place anywhere. The show originated in the middle of Leonid Brezhnev's rule of the USSR, a time when there was a major propaganda resurgence and when the Cold War had definitely taken a turn for the worse, making it all the more unique.
    • In the opening moments of the first cartoon, the Wolf makes an exaggerated, sarcastic bow when a couple of policemen ride by. It's a pretty startling scene for the Soviet Union in the late 1960s.
  • Good Animals, Evil Animals: Hares are good, wolves are bad.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: The Wolf triggers this after chasing the Hare on a ski lift in Episode 8, merely by whispering his Catch Phrase.
  • Hall of Mirrors: In episode 2, the Wolf and Hare walk through one with distorted mirrors.
  • Hammerspace
  • Hollywood Drowning: Wolf in episode 1 starts flailing and screaming (even underwater) when he is drowning in the ocean.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Some fans will refer to the hare as a rabbit. He's a hare, not a rabbit; and yes there is a difference.
  • Impact Silhouette: The Wolf does this in episode 2.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The Hare.
  • Instant Dogend: The cigarettes the wolf is smoking could be mistaken as such, but they're actually Papirosa
  • Laser Blade: When the Hare and the Wolf get ahold of remote-controlled robots.
  • The Last Straw: In one episode, the Wolf had barely managed to lift a very heavy barbell, when a butterfly lands on it, with predictable results.
  • Licensed Game: A release as a title from the Elektronika IM series of handheld games (said handheld is pictured on said trope's page).
    • The game has since been (unofficially) adapted to other systems. And yes, there is an iPhone version.
  • Lost Episode: While not truly "lost", there were a couple of episodes created in 1980 for an anthology show of the best in Russian animation (the premise of these was that the Wolf and Hare would be watching TV, the Wolf would somehow enter the action, and much fourth wall Mind Screw would ensue as Hare messed with the set). There also were a number of TV or film PSAs that had the characters (or substitutes in varying amounts of Expy), mostly asking the Soviet populace to conserve energy.
  • Mating Dance: Subverted in episode 2 when Wolf only danced the tango with the Hare because they were on stage.
  • Mickey Mousing: The action is often synchronized with the music, while not shoving it in your face.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Other than the Wolf's Catch Phrase, there is little dialogue, usually only squeals and giggles from the Hare or grunts and shouts from the Wolf.
  • Mistaken For An Impostor: An episode has the Hare scaring away the Wolf with a lion mask... followed by the Wolf trying to beat up a real Lion...
  • New Year Has Come: Episode 8 (it looks like Christmas, but this is Soviet Russia).
  • No Cartoon Fish
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The series uses this. Amusingly, sows are depicted as having more than one pair of breasts.
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: Wolf attempts to pull it off, jumping off a bridge to land on his runaway motorcycle. He just barely misses.
  • Paper Bag Popping: In episode 4, Wolf does this to make the runners think that the starting pistol had been fired.
  • Petting Zoo People: Chock full of them including foxes, bears, domestic dogs, and goats, with no humans in sight (except in the Russian Fairy Tale episode).
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: The Olympics episode has the Wolf mistake an Asian hare for the Hare. The Asian hare is wearing a robe, has quite obviously slanted eyes, bows to the Wolf as a greeting, and then proceeds to beat him up when the Wolf attacks.
    • Also seen here, where the Hare's tiny remote-controlled robot cripples the Wolf's enormous one with a couple of strategic strikes on the antennae.
  • Prickly Porcupine: Wolf unfortunately lands on a family of them in episode 1.
  • Product Placement: To an embarrassing degree in the 1990s revival episodes (17 and 18), made after the fall of Communism. To wit, apparently the first two episodes in the '90s were sponsored by a Russian electronics/cell phone/telecom company, and they claimed the pre-credits intro as ad space, with the Wolf and Rabbit using Nokia electronics and the AMT service while going through their usual antics.
  • Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: In episode 2, a feline magician performs this trick for the audience along with the Wolf. Amusingly enough, he pulls out the Hare.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Wolf is almost always wearing a pink shirt. He also has pink flower-printed boxers.
  • Recurring Character: The most frequent one is a hippopotamus who the Wolf always accidentally antagonizes while chasing after the Hare, much to the Wolf's eventual regret. A cat magician also pops up from time to time.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote
  • Robot Me: A robot Hare causes the Wolf all kinds of trouble in episode 14.
  • Shoot the Television: Wild tribesmen fling spears at the TV in episode 17 after being displeased with an episode of "Nu Pogodi".
  • Smoking Is Cool: Wolf was originally portrayed as more of a law-breaking rebel with a bad smoking habit. He's quit by episode 20, though, replacing his trademark crooked cigarette with a lollipop.
  • Stripping the Scarecrow: Happened with The Wolf when he was in the village, trying to catch The Hare. Apart from some rugs and a wide-brimmed straw hat scarecrow was dressed in cans, so he also makes loud noise when he's walking in it (especially since he walks into the train, of all places).
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: One episode had Wolf stumbling on a robot replacement for Hare. All it did was mutter "Hare. Wolf." over and over. Wolf hits it once, and it turns into a killing machine with Eye Beams and hands that shoot electricity.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Oddly, the little hare, who, despite sporting long eyelashes, big blue eyes and pink cheeks, engaging in girly activities such as watering flowers and being voiced by a woman, is (the artist insists) a male.
  • The Teaser: Each of them ends with the Wolf's Catch Phrase.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: After the fall of the Soviet Union, Soyuzmultfilm lost a lot of funding, and there was a significant drop in the production quality as the show fell under new management. Eventually the quality of the show improved but many people still prefer the old episodes.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: The wolf attempts to karate-chop a log, and smashes his hand. It turns crimson, and he has to run a faucet over it to cool it off.
  • Title Drop
  • Trapped in TV Land: Episode 9, except it's a real TV studio rather than a fictional TV universe where Wolf is trapped.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Sometimes Hare saves Wolf's life. Wolf doesn't take long afterward to go right back to hunting Hare.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Wolf is the center of attention more than the Hare is, and the Wolf has much more character depth than the Hare, who essentially is only something for the Wolf to chase. Imagine Tom and Jerry if Jerry did nothing but run from the Wolf.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Wolf in the New Year episode, dressed as The Snow Maiden. Yep, you heard that right.
    • The Wolf does it again in episode 19. This time, he steals a sow's swimsuit, and actually passes off as her until he takes his hat off. Note that female pigs in this show wear three bras and are extremely fat.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Hare does this on one occasion. Unluckily, he's dressed like a famous Russian singer and he happens to get stuck on stage in front of hundreds of fans.
  • World of Funny Animals
  • Zany Cartoon