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Animation / Adventures of Mowgli

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Mowgli of the Motherland

Adventures of Mowgli, known simply as Maugli, was a Soviet animation that was released behind the Iron Curtain from 1967 to 1971 as an animated series consisting of five episodes. It was later compiled into a single movie in 1973. Obviously, this is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, which follows it more closely than its American counterpart released around the same time.

In 1996, it was given an English dub with a hodge-podge of recognizable voice actors, including some of The Ocean Group's alumni (such as Ian James Corlett and Scott McNeil as Mowgli and Shere Khan respectively), Sam Elliott as Kaa, Dana Delany as Bagheera, and narration provided by Charlton Heston.


Tropes pertaining to the Soviet adaptation

  • Adaptational Species Change: Baloo is an Asian black bear in this version.
  • Adaptational Villainy: White Hood is much more vicious in this version, to the point she continues to threaten Mowgli even after he reveals that her venom glands and fangs are gone.
  • Adapted Out: Mowgli only visited the human village once before the end to collect some embers (the Red Flower) to use against Shere Khan and his coup. Meaning Buldeo and Mowgli's adoptive human parents were never featured.
  • Androcles' Lion: Mowgli earns the friendship of the elephants when he rescues their calf from a pit.
  • Beary Friendly: Baloo.
  • Berserk Button: As in the original book, Kaa hates being called an earthworm.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Kaa curiously has these despite being reptilian. Baloo has these too.
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  • Big Sister Instinct: Just like her book counterpart, Bagheera considers Mowgli as her little brother and is very protective of him.
  • Blush Sticker: Mowgli has these as a teenager.
  • Bowdlerise: Much of the more violent content was cut in the English Dub, such as Mowgli cutting off a Dhole's tail, and some blood red flashes as Mowgli kills Shere Khan.
  • Bullying a Dragon: White Hood threatens Kaa when he interferes in her attack on Mowgli. Especially considering she no longer has venom or fangs, as Mowgli reveals right afterwards.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin/Cat Smile: Bagheera does both.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Unlike most adaptations, this one covers Mowgli growing up into adulthood.
  • Corporal Punishment: Baloo and Bagheera do this to Mowgli. The former for running on two legs rather than all-fours when training the wolf pups. And the latter when Mowgli didn't apologize for landing on Baloo.
  • The Dreaded: The dhole are portrayed as a near unstoppable horde. Mentioning them made even Kaa shudder.
  • Dub Personality Change: A strange minor example: the opinions of the wolf council are switched in the dub. This results in one of the members apparently changing their mind to be against Mowgli joining the pack when he grabs Tabaqui's snout, as opposed to being impressed by it and accepting him.
  • Gender Flip:
    • Bagheera is a female in this version. Due to how "panther" is grammatically feminine in Russian.
    • White Hood the cobra is also turned female for this version.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Baloo and Bagheera are terrified to ask Kaa for help in rescuing Mowgli from the Bandar-Log, but he's their only hope. Afterwards Baloo swears never to do so again.
  • Honorable Elephant: Hathi, the bull Indian elephant who is the ruler of the jungle.
  • Informed Flaw: Despite being called a lame butcher (a reference to the book), Shere Khan displays extreme physical skill, being able to effortlessly follow and intercept Akela's chasing of a deer without the former even seeing him.
  • Jawbreaker: It's implied Mowgli killed Shere Khan this way.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Like in the book, Raksha (Mother Wolf) tells off Shere Khan when he asks for the young Mowgli in the first episode.
    • Bagheera with her kittens in the dhole episode.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Bandar-log.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Shere Khan indoctrinating some younger wolves to form a coup against Akela.
  • Panthera Awesome: Bagheera for a heroic example, and Shere Khan for a villainous example.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • A literal example with Father Wolf, who is hostile towards Shere Khan when he tries to claim the young Mowgli for himself.
    • Both Baloo and Kaa are this towards Mowgli.
  • Raised by Wolves: Mowgli, obviously.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Besides the several Indian fauna from the book that qualify as this trope, there's also Indian slow lorises and a male and female pair of Asiatic lions.
  • She's a Man in Japan: In an odd example of this trope, Mother Wolf and Father Wolf occasionally switch voices in the English dub, which has the consequence of changing who does what in a few scenes. In particular, in Russian it's Mother Wolf who stands between Shere Khan and Mowgli at the council rock. In one version of the English dub, this is inexplicably changed to Father Wolf.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Much like the original book, Kaa the python averts this trope, being a wise mentor for Mowgli. Except for the scene where he hypnotises the monkeys, which approaches Eldritch Abomination. White Hood the cobra plays this trope straight, although "she has outlived her venom" as Mowgli puts it.
  • Sssssnake Talk: White Hood speaks this way. Not Kaa, though, due to being voiced by Sam Elliot.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Tabaqui. It even provides the image for its page.
  • Truer to the Text: Especially in consideration to what came out in the west!
  • Villain Song: Subverted in the English version. While Kaa isn't a villain, the song playing in the background (and presumably intended to be from his point of view) when he hypnotizes the Bandar Log certainly sounds sinister enough to remind of this trope.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Mowgli and Kaa went to an abandoned temple that has a large treasure room. Being raised as a wolf, Mowgli does not know about the worth of treasures, as he only wanted the "iron tooth" (a dagger).

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