Masha and The Bear (Russian: Маша и Медведь, Masha i Medved') is a 2009 Russian animated television series based loosely on the Russian folk tale of the same name (analogous to Goldilocks).
The series focuses on the adventures of a precocious and mischievous little girl named Masha, and The Bear who is a grandfatherly retired circus performer that tries to keep Masha out of trouble.
Masha lives in a house in the middle of a Siberian forest. One day when she wants to play with the animals in her farm, they all hid away because they were afraid of her. She then sees a butterfly and follows it into the forest, ending up at a house which turned to be The Bear's. The bear, who has been out fishing, comes home to find that Masha has made a mess. He tries to keep Masha out but she persists. At nightfall, The Bear sends Masha outside, but when he realizes the dangers of her walking alone at night, he searches for her and welcomes her back, and they both became good friends. This is the beginning of many adventures.
Despite being a children's animated series, the animation is breathtakingly beautiful and surprisingly professional compared to the usual animation in children's shows. The show can be enjoyed by children, adults, and even animation enthusiasts who love to watch the intricate details and wonderfully colorful animation.
The show is also noteworthy for being a HUGE hit on YouTube. Many episodes have got above 200 million views, with Episode 17 getting 4.25 billion, making it one of the most viewed videos of all time! Episode 24 also surpassed 1 billion views as well which makes the series the only non-music artist to have two videos that exceed a billion views each.
Some commentators have tried to suggest that the series is propagandistic, claiming that the Bear represents Russia trying to exert a paternalistic control over its smaller neighbors, represented by Masha and the forest animals. The show's producers have always denied such claims, and on the face of it there doesn't appear to be much evidence to support them.
Contrast Nu, Pogodi!, a famous Russian cartoon where the duo doesn't get along. Not to be confused with the British cartoon Eddy & The Bear.
Masha and The Bear provides examples of:
- The Ace: In addition to his tricks as a former circus performer, the Bear is skilled in cooking, sewing, gardening, chemistry, is a capable artist in own right and is handy with tools. He even won an Academy Award and created his own time portal for crying sake!
- Adorably Precocious Child: Masha is said to be 3 years old and yet she can perform all of these daunting tasks and speak properly.
- Adult Fear: Leaving a child alone (even if it's not your own) in the middle of the forest at night.
- Affectionate Nickname: Masha gives the nickname "Mishka" to The Bear because it is a common nickname for bears in Russian.
- Anachronistic Animal: Shadow of a theropod dinosaur in the cave bear episode.
- Animation Bump: Dear lord, the actual show compared to the Flash-animated intro feels like they are from two completely different shows! However, averted on later episodes, which use a CGI intro.
- Artistic License Biology:
- Butterfly (of Small Tortoiseshell species) should have dorsal and ventral sides of its wings colored differently.
- Hedgehogs eat berries or mushrooms and don't hibernate in winter in the show.
- Eurasian red squirrels don't change fur color in winter in the show.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Masha can easily get distracted by everything that surrounds her.
- Beary Friendly: The bear is very friendly to Masha.
- Beary Funny: Far from being a dangerous carnivore, the Bear is basically a Butt-Monkey to Masha's antics.
- Bittersweet Ending: In "Spring Has Come", although The Bear didn't get his lady, he enjoyed the rest of the day playing with Masha. And the Female Bear regretted choosing the narcissistic Black Bear and considered going back to the Bear.
- Brand X: Several of them, most notably Animaccord (The Bear's fridge and a piano)
- Bratty Half-Pint: Masha can be annoying at times and likes to talk a lot and easily becomes hyperactive.
- Catchphrase: Masha going "Hmph!" every time she is upset or when things don't go her way.
- The Chew Toy:
- The rabbit goes through much abuse and antics.
- The wolves. Given their success rate (nonexistent) and frequency of Amusing Injuries, they must be related to Wile E. Coyote.
- Christmas Episode: More than once an episode would be centered around Christmas.
- Cool Old Guy: Due to his middle-aged voice, being retired after having a successful career in the circus, and him living alone while performing light activities, the bear seems to be elderly, or at best middle-aged.
- Crying Wolf: Played With in "Call Me Please!" where Masha is given a phone to call the Bear for emergencies. Instead of deliberately lying, she constantly calls the Bear over and over to the point where the Bear gets rid of his phone and then isn't able to answer the phone when Masha really needs his help.
- David Versus Goliath: Masha faces against a big grizzly bear in a tennis match. She wins.
- Disapproving Look: The Bear would do this constantly to Masha when she does something he doesn't like.
- A Dog Named "Dog": The bear's name is "The Bear".
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first 3 episodes are more roughly-animated than the rest of the series. Between the 4th and 5th episode is when the signature style kicked in.
- Facepalm: The Bear does this nearly every time Masha does something that upset him.
- First Day of School Episode: Episode 11 is called "First Day of School".
- Fragile Speedster: Masha is nimble but because of her size, she can easily be picked up by others.
- Genki Girl: Masha has so much energy that she can run really fast.
- Gentle Giant: The Bear may look intimidating, but his heart is bigger than himself.
- Genius Bonus: various antics appear absurd but are correct for the situation. When teaching class Bear has portraits of Dostoyeski, Tolstoy and other famous Russian authors. To teach piano Bear uses proper fingering for C major scale; the first one taught. When Masha forces Bear to incubate an random egg she find, it MUST be between his knees. The egg hatches a penguin, and penguins do warm their eggs on top of their feet between their knees.
- Hiccup Hijinks: Episode 22 has Masha getting hiccups from eating a big Berry, which eventually spreads to Bear and some of the other animals. In the end, they get cured of the hiccups while she still has hers.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The Bear is huge and Masha is tiny.
- Jerk Jock: The Black Bear is big, strong, and arrogant.
- Just One More Level!: The Bear becomes one. He spend all his money on different video games and accessories and start playing non-stop, neglecting his house, his health, his hygiene and his friends. Masha rally everyone in the forest and even call the Panda and the Tiger to get him off the games, but in the end, he just prove too hopeless. Many seasons pass and the Bear decide one day to take walk outside, finding that everything that around him has changed. Much to his horror, the Black Bear and the Female Bear are married and had cubs. Fortunately for him, it was just a dream and he never got addicted to video games.
- Leitmotif: Masha and The Bear have themes that usually play when they appear.
- Little Guy, Big Buddy: Masha is the little one and The Bear is the big buddy who protects her at all costs.
- No Flow in CGI: Averted. The animation is breathtakingly smooth and every little detail like the fur of the animals and Masha's hair are beautifully animated.
- Papa Wolf: The bear protects Masha like a father would and she is much like his own child.
- Rake Take: One common gag, with Bear being the victim once and the Black Bear being hit by five rakes in a row.
- Rascally Rabbit / Righteous Rabbit: The Rabbit zigzags between these two where sometimes he will be heroic or innocent and sometimes he will be a sneaky troublemaker.
- The Rival:
- The Black Bear is The Bear's arrogant rival. They both sometimes fight over The Female Bear.
- Masha and The Panda don't seem to get along as well.
- Scenery Porn: The CGI is absolutely gorgeous. It really makes the lush green forest setting really pop out with vivid colors and makes it feel like a beautiful and peaceful place.
- Ship Tease: Whenever The Bear and The Female Bear meet and enjoy each other's company most of the time.
- Shipper on Deck: Masha goes for The Bear and the Female Bear.
- When thinking of scenarios for a movie, Masha and the Bear write a script for Forrest Gump, Zorro, the Titanic, Snow White and Avatar (no, not that one).
- Episode 58 is one big shout-out to Tom and Jerry, at the same time doubling as a jab towards What is Good website, which is notorious enough you can read about it on This Very Wiki over at the Moral Guardian page. (See, What is Good loves comparing Masha with Tom and Jerry, citing both as examples of mindless violence in cartoons.)
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Whenever The Bear tries to shoo Masha away, she always ends up coming back.
- Those Two Guys: The pair of wolves who appear in some episodes are almost never seen apart.
- Three Shorts: When aired on Netflix.
- The Unintelligible: Every animal that isn't a human.
- Vocal Dissonance: You wouldn't expect the mean wolves or the big and strong Black Bear to have such silly high-pitched voices.