Known in its native Russia as "Смешарики" (Smesharki) KikoRiki is one of the more successful cartoon projects in The New Russia, a series of 6-minute animated shorts about nine highly-stylized, cute ball-like anthropomorphic animals - hyperactive adventurer Krash (a rabbit), his best friend, level-headed collector Chiko (a hedgehog), beautiful fashionista Rosa (a pig), nerdy mechanic Pin (a penguin), cute farmer Barry (a bear), sweet cook Olga (an owl), brainy scientist Dokko (a moose), somewhat nervous poet Wally (a ram), and elderly artist Carlin (a crow) —the show's Russian name can be roughly translated as "Funballs". The show was launched in July 2004, getting Un-Canceled in 2020, eight years after the original show ended in 2012.
The show often boils down adult themes such as prostitution, gambling, Internet addiction, etc. to a level at which children can grasp the basic concept through metaphor, and for its reflection of the eclectic culture of post-Soviet Russia. In the end, though, it remains and is seen as a fun, friendly children's show—just with heaps of Parental Bonus.
Was dubbed in the United States by 4Kids Entertainment as GoGoRiki, which, in its usual fashion, changed all character names and removed many of the Russian cultural references. In this version, all names end with -riki (Although characters would often shorten their names, and won't use "-riki" parts of their names when talking to each other), which doesn't make sense by the rules of Russian grammar, since "smeshariki" is supposed to be the plural form of the type of Funny Animal that the characters are. This dub aired in 2008-2009 and covered 92 episodes out of 215. Another dub was made at around the same time, under the new title of BalloonToons. The show would later be redubbed under the title KikoRiki, which has stuck since then and was used by other countries, such as Germany.
The series had several spin-off over the years:
- The ABCs of Safety of the KikoRiki (2006-2012; 2017-2021) - a series of 1 minute 30 seconds long educational shorts that teach about various safety regulations.
- KikoRiki: The New Adventures (2012-2013) - an official continuation of original shots, with the only major difference being animated in 3D. A total of 57 episodes were made.
- Pin-Code (2012-2018) - Another educational spin-off, focused on inventing, programming and science.
- BabyRiki (2015) - a preschool spin-off, featuring child versions of some of the characters animated in 3D in a real-life backdrop.
- Panda and Krash (2021) - a collaborative project between FUN Union and CCTV Animation Group, starring Krash and Hehe the Panda from Panda and The Little Mole. Aside from that, the show is not related to either series, with all of the characters being the toys that can come to live.
Additionally, three CGI movies with bigger focus on the plot were made: KikoRiki. Team Invincible, KikoRiki: Legend of the Golden Dragon and KikoRiki: Deja Vu.
The characters are:Example: Russian original name (FUN Union dub name; 4Kids dub name; BalloonToons dub name; animal species' character was based on), character's description, Birthday.
- Krosh (Krash, Pogoriki, Jumpy; a rabbit), an energetic, adventurous, irresponsible boy. Birthday: December 29
- Yozhik (Chiko, Chikoriki, Joshi; a hedgehog), Krosh's quiet, introverted friend with glasses who is interested in collections. Birthday: February 14
- Nyusha (Rosa, Rosariki, Pinky; a pig), a beautiful girl obsessed with beauty and dreams of a handsome prince. Birthday: July 13
- Pin (Ottoriki; a penguin), a self-taught, unreliable inventor with German-like origins. Birthday: August 9
- Kopatych (Barry, Boboriki, Berry; a bear), a cute and handsome honey-loving farmer and accordion musician with a huge heart typically found tending to vegetables he grows in his garden and also loves beekeeping. Birthday: October 8
- Sovunya (Olga, Olgariki; an owl), an archetypical Russian country grandma known for her cure-all home-made medicine. Birthday: September 15
- Losyash (Dokko, Docoriki, ElDoc; a moose), a theoretical scientist, albeit with occasional odd interest in such unscientific things as astrology and shamanism. Birthday: May 25
- Barash (Wally, Wolliriki, Fluff; a ram), a poet with a crush on Nyusha and unreliable inspiration. Birthday: April 29
- Karkarych (Carlin, Bigoriki, BigBig; a crow), a retired traveling artist and pianist with an obsession with doing things with style. Birthday: March 3
To avoid the confusion, this page will refer to characters by their names from the FUN Union dub.
- Absentee Actor: Most episodes don't feature the entire cast, mostly Pin, who only appeared in 80 episodes out of approximate 200.
- All Just a Dream: The ending to "A Black and White Movie".
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: 4Kids dub of the show has one. Interestingly, the original intro was used as a short segment between the second and third shorts (as they used to air 3 shorts as one episode).
- Asian and Nerdy: In one of the episodes, Chiko is revealed to be an Indochinese hedgehog.
- Big Eater: Dokko is one. He's able to eat all the food for the entire week in one single day, as told in "Bad Manners".
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Most of the the characters have colorful fur, which such colors wouldn't be on real animals. Just to mention a blue rabbit.
- Bee Afraid: This happens to Barry in "Barry's Beehives", when he gets chased by a swarm of bees because they didn't like their hives, and in "A Run of Bad Luck", this happens to both Barry and Carlin when they get stung. These scenes serve as a Shout-Out to Winnie-the-Pooh.
- Bland-Name Product: Dokko uses the operating system "Okna 96", a parody of Windows 95/98 with a similar boot screen. ("Okna" is Russian for "Windows".)
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Chiko, Dokko, and Rosa seem to do it occasionally.
- Bungling Inventor: Pin, whose inventions include (but not limited to) a robotic nanny, which not only looks scary, but treats everyone like a literal babies, a fog-producing machine that covered the whole valley with it, and an indestructable slot machine that made half of the cast gamble all of their belongings. And if you are lucky enough to win, your prize is... A single carrot.
- Butt-Monkey: Chiko, Wally, Dokko and Barry usually take the accidents whenever things go wrong.
- Catchphrase: All of the nine characters have some. For example, Krash has "Fiddlesticks".
- Dokko's ones double as a Shout-Out to the Soviet film The Garage.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Pin peppers his speech with German words quite often, but, notably, when he prays, he does so in Latin, indicating he's Catholic. When other characters show any sign of religion, however, it's Orthodox Christianity.
- Clip Show: The last episode of the series made in Flash animation featured Krash and Chiko trying to remember who was their friend they saved in the first episode, "The Bench" (it was Wally). Even when Wally himself appears, they refuse to believe that it was him.
- Collector of the Strange: Chiko collects candy wrappers and cacti, and treats them as a very Serious Business.
- Delicious Daydream: In "How to Catch a Cold", Wally wants to catch a cold so he will be pampered and given all the treats he wants. He then imagines being fed jam and fruit.
- Evil Twin: Dokko's clone from "The Savage Clone" ("Double Doco" in 4Kids dub). Downplayed, as his personality is identical to the one Dokko used to have in his childhood, but if Dokko changed his ways, his clone never grew out of being a Jerkass.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: In the GoGoRiki dub of "The Last Rainbow" (titled "Extra! Extra!" for bonus points), an episode about newspapers and over exaggerated article titles, this phase was used word-for-word by Chiko few times.
- Flanderization: In the earlier episodes, Nyusha was a young, cheerful and feminine girl who believed in fairy tales and liked to eat candy. Then she became a hysterical, easily angered, selfish and manipulative brat who uses her supposed boyfriend, Barash, to her whims. As if this wasn't enough, she even crosses Moral Event Horizon in a couple of episodes without any remorse.
- Funny Animal: The entire cast comprises anthropomorphic animals.
- Gentle Giant: Barry, who has a huge heart.
- Getting Sick Deliberately: In "How to Catch a Cold", Dokko has a cold and his friends try to pamper him with jam and fruit. A hungry Wally attempts to catch a cold by swimming in icy water and sucking on icicles so he can get snacks too, but it doesn't work.
- Gilligan Cut: Many times, but the most blatant example is from "Do Stars Watch Us?", when Krash and Pin are taking pictures while flying on a plane:Krash: All finished! Now, take her down for a nice, soft landing.(cut to Krash and Pin with black eyes and bandages)
- Golem: Although it's never referred to as such, Dokko's creation in The Most Important Thing is very clearly one; not only is it made of clay, it is even animated by a piece of paper placed in its mouth as in Jewish folklore (the paper has a photo of Dokko on it rather than any text, though, but it's relevant to the story). That being said, it also veers into Frankenstein territory as Dokko uses lightning to bring the golem to life.
- Growling Gut: This happens to Chiko, Rosa, Carlin, and mostly Barry. Barry's belly rumbles when he's hungry.
- Help, I'm Stuck!: In "The Sweetness of Honey", Barry gets himself stuck inside his own bathroom stall while escaping his house and Wally pulls him out.
- I Never Got Any Letters: In the episode "The Lost Apology", Olgariki reflects how she fought with her friend (or boyfriend), and never made up because she was waiting for his apology. Turns out there were something like thirty letters which were placed between the pages of a magazine she was ordering by mail and had no time to read.
- Inconvenient Parachute Deployment: This happens to Barry in "The Parachute" when he is falling quickly, as he finally opens his parachute, causing him to float in the air. Unfortunately, when he tries to land, gust of wind blows him away, and his friends finally rescue him when he lands in his house.
- It's Been Done: In one episode, Krash gets unsatisfied with the lack of visible progress and decides to make great inventions by himself. Those "inventions" are a bicycle, tango, and tic-tac-toe.
- Keet: Krash
- Long Runner: Since 2004. 215 Flash animation episodes and more than 50 "new" ones in 3D.
- Mistaken for Apocalypse: It the end of the episode "In the Beginning was the Word (В начале было слово)", Barry, suddenly woken up alone in the snow, thinks he is a sole survivor after The End of the World as We Know It.
- Multi National Team: It's subtle and requires you to know Russian culture, but the cast of Smeshariki is actually quite diverse. Only Rosa and Krash don't have any distinct nationality: Olga is definitely Russian, Pin (and, apparently, Carlin, if his "true" surname "von Karych" is any indication) is German, Dokko is Ambiguously Jewish (he even made a Golem in one episode), Chiko is stated at one point to be an Indochinese hedgehog (and in another episode, poses as a Georgian - as in Georgia the Caucasian country, not the US state), Barry's accent is Ukrainian, and Wally's appearance and personality invoke the partially African Alexander Pushkin.
- Non-Standard Character Design: At least one character known as the Shadow Prince Lovermore is shown to have a humanoid appearance unlike the ball-shaped bodies the other characters have.
- No Antagonist: A deliberate decision by the creators, and unusual for a children's show. None of the nine characters can be considered "bad guys", and while they have conflicts, they're always temporary and simply arise from their diverse personalities.
- No Ontological Inertia: Any catastrophe, from erupting volcano and devastating tornado to Rosa literally crying a river and the whole valley getting covered in chocolate, and up to sun getting turned off for a short time and the entire universe being erased from existence, leaves no lasting trace.
- Ode to Food: In "How to Catch a Cold", Wally sings a song about how he wants to catch a cold so he will get all the food he wants.
- The Owl-Knowing One: Despite being a comedic character, Olga is still a Cool Old Lady with worldly wisdom.
- Panda-ing to the Audience: A new panda character was introduced in the 3D shorts. In BabyRiki, she is named Pandy.
- Parental Bonus: Tons of it.
Chiko (to Krash): "Call me Master - you won't go wrong".
- In the episode "A Forgotten Story", Dokko wires Carlin (who tries to remember something from his childhood in the episode) to a computer in order to see the insides of his mind. As the screen activates, two bedroom eyes appear on the screen, accompanied by waltz music, and Carlin starts jumping on his seat in excitement, and while Dokko asks him suspiciously what is he thinking about, Olga freaks out and prompty brings Krash and Chiko out of the house. Keep in mind that is supposed to be a kids' show.
- In one scene in the second movie as the plane is rocking back and forth, Olga holds on a pole does some type of dance while Dokko, Carlin and Barry make straight faces. ''
- Then there is one of the lines in "My Name is Pinky...?".
- Pluto Is Expendable: One episode is about Dokko declaring a hunger strike in protest against Pluto's demotion. Seeing it, its residents decide not to blow up Earth in revenge.
- Real After All: Implied when the real Ded Moroz (Santa Claus in the English dub) apparently shows up as a shadow after the characters pretend to be him.
- The same can be said for the Shadow Prince Lovermore, a character from the episode "Scary Stories". Rosa becomes terrified after hearing that story, but Chiko assures her it's not real. At the end of the episode, Rosa finds out Lovermore is real.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Krash, Rosa and Barry.
- Robot Buddy: Bibi (named "Roboriki" in the 4Kids dub) to Pin.
- Running Gag: Lots of those, including Barry's caterpillar and the Shadow Prince Lovermore.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Dynamics between Chiko (sensitive) and Krash (manly as a pre-teen can be) and sometimes between Dokko and Barry.
- Ship Tease: Between Wally and Rosa. Even more so in the 4Kids dub, where one of the songs written for this dub, "Opposites Attract" has two singing about their relationship.
- Shout-Out: So many that it might eventually need its own page. Barry is a close reference to Winnie the Pooh, when he eats honey and gets frightened by bee swarms.
- Shrinking Violet: Chiko, who is level-headed, and Barry, who is somewhat very shy.
- The Smurfette Principle: Only two female characters out of nine—one for two of the three age categories, with the creators admitting that they forgot to introduce a "mother" character for the middle-aged category. Though Olga fits the Team Mom criteria regardless.
- Species Surname: Almost everyone, with exception of Barry and, somewhat, Carlin, have names based on species' Russian name.
- Yozhik is Russian for hedgehog.
- Barash made from baran (ram).
- Krosh is from krolik (rabbit).
- Losyash is close to Los' (moose).
- Sovunya comes from sova (owl).
- Pin shortened from pingvin (penguin).
- Nyusha is apparently shortened from svinyusha (roughly "piggie"). Also, incidentally, it's a Russian short name for Ann.
- Karkarych's name made from crow's "caw" sound.
- Spiritual Successor: While the two shows are probably unrelated (Smeshariki is older), the vivid artistic style with colourful outlines and fluid Flash animations, the combination of a Sugar Bowl setting and adult themes and the large Periphery Demographic make Smeshariki somewhat similar to My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic but with a Russian flair. Hell, even the characters are similar (there's a vaguely southern orange farmer with a large hat, a cyan sportsman and a purple and magenta intellectual).
- Wacky Racing: "The Big Race" episode, with Pin as the announcer, while other characters race in teams of two through the desert in oddly designed go-carts.