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Animation / Captain Pronin

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Captain Pronin is a 4-episode cartoon series made in the post-Soviet Russia at Studio Ekran between 1992 and 1994.

Created as a parody of American action movies that flooded Russia in the early nineties, it is about Captain Pronin, the grandson of Major Pronin, a character from a series of Soviet books from The '50s (who was like a Russian James Bond).

The 4 episodes are:

The series also has a video game spin-off, Captain Pronin: One Against All, a Microsoft Windows (with an unlicensed PlayStation port that was showcased by Vinesauce streamers Vinny and Joel) action game boasting 200 animations and 400 endings.

Captain Pronin provides examples of:

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    Series-wide tropes 
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Some characters have different skin colors:
    • Svistunov and the other junkies in Cafe Malina are blue.
    • Myshyakovich is green.
    • Among Myshyakovich's orderlies, two are bright pink, and another two are green.
    • James Bond is a pale pink-purple.
    • Don Corleone is also bright pink.
    • The space bounty hunters are red and green.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: And how!
  • Butt-Monkey: Svistunov loses his clothes in the first short, and gets his identity (and a valuable jacket) stolen in the second.
  • The Cameo:
    • James Bond and Major Pronin in the first episode.
    • Sergey Lemokh, of the band Car-Man, appears in the second episode as a cyborg villain. His band made the theme song to Captain Pronin.
    • Although probably unintentional, it is hilarious to see Princess Vespa (yes, they actually named her that!) being kidnapped and forced into marrying the Darth Vader expy.
  • Captain Ersatz:
  • Deranged Animation: Any time a character's face is seen up close.
  • Expy: Captain Pronin is one to Arnold Schwarzenegger, likely specifically to his character Ivan Danko in Red Heat.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Captain Pronin's theme song. "Captain Pronin Superstar!"
    • When Major Pronin meets James Bond and apologizes for a misunderstanding, he says "friendship" in plain English. Not knowing the word "understand", he then asks "Vehrstehen?" (German).
    • The dialog between Pronin and the trench-coated mafia man:
    Mafia Man: This is your money, give me a smoking! note .
    Pronin: No smoking, you give me very little money! (the in-built subtitles, hilariously, translate it as "Your money is counterfeit!")
  • Happily Married: Captain Pronin is happily married to his wife, seen from the first and fourth short. He also brings this up in the third short to rebuff another's affections: The Princess admits to falling in love with him.
  • Nobody Can Die: No one dies in any of the parts. Even mooks hit by hand grenades are merely knocked out. A vehicle crash wrecks the vehicle but the occupants survive without being knocked out or visibly injured.
  • No-Sell: Pronin never flinches in the rare case someone actually manages to hit him with a weapon.
  • Parody Sue: Pronin himself is extremely capable, nearly infallible, and adored by everyone but the villains. Subverted in the second episode: Most of Pronin's escapades in America follow a robot lookalike of him instead.
  • Theme Tune Rap: At the end of each episode, and there's a sequence set to it in every episode from the second onward.
  • Vocal Evolution: In each and every film, Pronin becomes a bit more hammy. In the first, he is quite stoic and reserved. In the second, he is a bit more hammy, acting kind of like Arnold Schwarzenegger until the very end, when... hoo boy. In the third, he is a full-blown Large Ham, who even takes time out to shill for his brand of rubber police baton while whaling on the Big Bad. In the fourth... well let's just say between Pronin's attempts at playing the accordion and dancing ballet, the scenery was well and truly chewed.

    Captain Pronin - Major Pronin's Grandson 
  • Ambiguous Syntax: when interrogating Svistunov, Pronin asks "Where do the drugs come from?", and the answer is "from a camel!", which in Russian means "go to hell, I'm not telling". Pronin, however, is satisfied with the answer and goes to a hotel owned by Camel (the cigarette brand), assuming that the drugs literally come from Camel.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played straight and then subverted with Putana. She crawls out of a crashed and flaming ambulance with no visible injuries, then a traffic sign falls on her. In the closing credits, she has a patch on her cheek and a cast on her arm.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Putana's codename means "whore" in Italian.
  • Book Ends: As Captain Pronin prepares for his mission, his wife reminds him to wear his bulletproof vest. At the end, she says how thankful she is that he did. He just used it to protect her from Putana's last-ditch attack.
  • Depraved Dentist: Dr. Myshyakovich.
  • Disappeared Dad: Captain Pronin's father is never mentioned, not even showing up in Pronin's baby pictures.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Both Putana and Pronin have, well, extreme driving skills. Justified since the latter is chasing the former in a life-or-death situation.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Simply yelling "Mouse!" is enough to make Putana shriek and leap up on a nearby table.
  • Enter Stage Window: How the ninjas sneak up on Captain Pronin. When defeated, they crawl out the same window, but Pronin nabs the last one.
  • Femme Fatale: Putana, the blonde lady sent to kill Pronin.
  • Gratuitous German: When Major Pronin meets James Bond, he says "verstehen" ("understand") to patch up a misunderstanding.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Ninjas are sent to Pronin's apartment as Plan B.
  • Haunted Castle: Myshyakovich's castle may not have any spooks, but it is spooky.
  • I Have Your Wife: Putana kidnaps Pronin's wife as he beats up the ninjas, using her as leverage to force Pronin's cooperation.
  • The Infiltration: One of Myshyakovich's mooks reveals himself to be James Bond.
  • Meaningful Name: The evil doctor who conducts Nazi-like dental surgeries for fun is named Dr. Myshjakovitz. "Myshjak" means "arsenic", a then-used painkiller that worked by basically killing a patient's tooth nerve to make dental surgery painless.
  • Not So Stoic: The only instance of the Captain being visibly horrified in the entire series is when Dr. Myshjakovitz tells him he's about to conduct terrible dental experiments on him.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Even in the photos of the Captain's life, from his birth all the way to his wedding, he's always depicted with his grandfather, Major Pronin.
  • The Door Slams You: Major Pronin appears by slamming a door to knock out Captain Pronin's opponent.
  • Seppuku: After the ninjas are defeated, one of them admits their failure and crawls out of the apartment to do this.
  • Pillow Pistol: Pronin sleeps (next to his wife) with his gun in holster on his body. When he wakes up, she simply reminds him to put on a flak vest before work.
  • Super Window Jump: How Putana escapes her first encounter with Captain Pronin.
  • Twinkle Smile: Putana does this with her gold tooth towards the audience twice, when she thinks she has the advantage against Captain Pronin.
  • Villainous Gold Tooth: Putana, the Femme Fatale sent to kill Pronin in Captain Pronin - Major Pronin's Grandson, has a gold tooth. Her means of forcing his hand include kidnapping his wife, and she shoots the camera a golden Twinkle Smile at the points where she thinks she has the advantage.

    Captain Pronin in America 
  • Animation Bump: The action becomes smoother during the chase sequence between Pronin and the trenchcoats.
  • Bill Clinton: At the second episode's credits, who happens to look like a character designed by Mike Judge.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Car-Man (named after the singer who performs the theme song) is a play of words: the word "machina" in Russian means both "car" and "machine", the last part often used to describe a robot. In addition, Carleone is the one who owns him (the grammatically correct spelling with o is deliberately omitted).
    • Don Carleone enjoys listening to his radio, where the same phrase "President of the United states cannot sleep out of fear of Don Carleone" is repeated over and over in at least four languages.
  • Brawn Hilda: The two bald, female wrestlers whose match Pronin and the mafia men intrude upon. Apparently stated to be a Take That! against American gender equality.
  • Brick Joke: A literal one. When Pronin meets the mafia in the alley, one man asks if Pronin can take a brick to the head. When Pronin confronts Don Corleone, another man sneaks up and tries to brain him with a brick. The brick bounces off the first time, then shatters the second, but Pronin is unscathed.
    • As a less literal one, Pronin spends the episode hearing that the US President cannot sleep because of Don Carleone. When the latter is finally defeated, Pronin proudly calls the White House, and wakes up the President to tell him the news, in the end, telling him to sleep well.
  • Clown Car: The mafia has a host of men packed into one car in the second episode.
  • Cyborg: Car-Man, the robot assassin whose threat kept the President of the United States awake at night.
  • Exact Words: A mafia man tests Pronin by asking "Can you do this?" and breaking a brick over his own head. Pronin answers "Yes I can!" and breaks another brick over the man's head to knock him out.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Pronin addresses Don Corleone after crashing a helicopter to his skyscraper.
    Pronin: (Italian Dialogue)note 
    Carleone: Memento mori, signor Pronin!
  • Immune to Bullets: Captain Pronin's pistol has no effect on Car-Man.
  • Instant Ice: Just Add Cold!: Pronin beats Car-Man by shoving him into a fridge. The next time the door is opened, out pops the cyborg in a giant ice cube.
  • The Mafia: Captain Pronin encounters a host of trench-coated gangsters, culminating in a confrontation with their boss, Don Corleone.
  • National Anthem: While Pronin is reading the news article about America, the background music is a snippet of "The Star-Spangled Banner".
  • Shout-Out: After the mafia's red car is parked, out comes a line of men, each taller than the last, much like the Dalton Brothers.
  • Twist Ending: Pronin appears to meet his match with Car-Man. Most of the short has been following a robotic duplicate of Pronin, with the real one entering the scene to capture the villains and lament the loss of the robot.

    Captain Pronin in Space 
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Captain Pronin can, with a help of a gas mask.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After knocking the Vader copy with a rubber baton, Pronin briefly addresses the audience to advertise it — with the word "Advertisement" even appearing on-screen!
  • Explosions in Space
  • Grade Skipper: Exaggerated — when Pronin gets back to the police academy to resume his entrance exam, the committee tells him they're counting it as a final exam and congratulate him on his graduation. Even better, there's no indication they were aware of the planetary invasion Pronin stopped in his absence.
  • Meanwhile Scene: Pronin was teleported away from the exam during the "camouflage" challenge, so the committee assumes he's amazingly well-hidden. They're still searching the room for him when Pronin reappears and immediately continues with the next challenge.
  • Mega-Maw Maneuver: After Pronin's first escape from not-Vader, bounty hunters emerge from behind a moon and capture him in this way.
    Cr1TiKaL: "Aw shit! Space Pac-Man!"
  • Rock Beats Laser: Pronin beats the lightsaber-wielding viking-horned Darth Vader-lookalike using a rubber police baton.
  • Product Placement: Parodied, with the rubber baton and in the credits.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Literally, as Pronin can swim in it just like water.

    Captain Pronin in the Opera 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The criminal caught at the end was arrested for, among other things, possession of large sums of money, an oxygen tank and a fake ID.
  • Art Evolution: This episode has much better animation than the previous ones.
  • Fatal Method Acting: invoked Pronin is called in as the actors playing Lensky in Eugene Onegin keep getting murdered onstage. It turns out that the Lenskys are all alive, and they were "killed" as a publicity stunt.
  • Oh, Crap!: The male ballerina's face when he realizes he's going to have to catch Pronin, who is built like (and probably weighs about the same as) a T-34, is this all over.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise/Wholesome Crossdresser: Pronin mugs a ballet dancer for her leotard and tutu to go undercover. Even though she's a good 150 pounds or so slimmer than he is, it fits perfectly.