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Animation / Masha and the Bear

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Like Winnie the Pooh if Christopher Robin was a little girl and Pooh was a big circus bear.

Masha and The Bear (Russian: Маша и Медведь, Masha i Medved') is a Russian animated television series produced by Animaccord Animation Studio that launched on January 7, 2009. It is loosely based off the Russian folk tale of the same name, which is analogous to Goldilocks.

The series focuses on the adventures of an adorable, precocious and mischievous little girl named Masha and her friend, a 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 hide away as they are afraid of her. She then sees a butterfly and follows it into the forest, ending up at a house which turns out to be the Bear's. The Bear, who has been out fishing, comes home to find that Masha has made quite 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 brings her back at his home, and they both become good friends. Many adventures ensue.

The animation is surprisingly smooth, detailed and professional compared to the usual animation in your average children's shows. The show is also noteworthy for being a HUGE hit on YouTube. Many episodes have got above 200 million views, with Episode 17 getting 4.5 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.

The series is available on YouTube in Russian (Seasons 1, 2) and English (Season 1). note  In the US, it can also be watched on Netflix or Universal Kids.

Contrast Nu, Pogodi!, a famous Russian cartoon where the duo doesn't get along.

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!
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original story was short, so it was necessary.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Masha is said to be 3 years old and yet she can perform all of these daunting tasks, speak properly and even engineer stuff.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Masha gives the nickname "Mishka" to The Bear because it is a common nickname for bears in Russian.
  • Anachronistic Animal: There's the 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.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: One day, Masha finds a photo camera and uses it. It looks like a late 19th century/early 20th century camera, but instantly develops photos like a 1980s Polaroid.
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: An episode focused Bear's birthday has one to a previous episode that has Masha devour Bear's birthday cake at a previous birthday party.
  • 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.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: In the first episode, the Bear gets rid of Masha by dumping her deep enough in the forest and seemingly is fine with it... until night falls. He then realizes she will likely be endangered alone in the dark forest and goes back to search for her in vain... then it's revealed she made her way back to his house, much to his relief.
  • 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".
  • Don't Go in the Woods: When the Bear is trying to get rid of Masha in the first episode and it seems like he's dumped her far enough deep in the forest, night suddenly falls and the Bear changes his mind, thinking that she might now be endangered.
  • 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.
  • Faint in Shock: One day, Masha's cousin Dasha comes at the Bear's and Masha's home. Due to Masha being a bit too brutal when opening the door, Dasha's clothes end up dirtied with mud and she has to change clothes... and Masha gives her a dress identical to her own. The both of them look nearly identical as a result, and it confuses the Bear, to the point he faints when he sees the both of them at the same time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Human Snowball: In one episode, Masha is late for the Bear's schools lessons, goes out with skis on and ends up rolling into a large snowball upon descending a hill leading to the Bear's house.
  • Jerk Jock: The Black Bear is big, strong, and arrogant.
  • Just One More Level!: The Bear becomes addicted to video games in one episode. 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 rallies 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 All 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.
  • Lives in a Van: The two wolves live in an old broken UAZ-452 ambulance car.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Masha causes no shortage of heart attack-worthy reactions from the poor Bear whenever she puts herself in harm's way.
  • Papa Wolf: The Bear protects Masha like a father would and she is much like his own child.
  • Pity the Kidnapper: In one episode, the two wolves kidnap Masha and want the content of the Bear's fridge as ransom. The Bear laughs it off, knowing Masha will give them hell with her hyperactivity and Comically Inept Healing advices.
  • 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.
  • Saving Christmas: The Santa's Sick! variant.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm:
    • In the first episode, Masha is chased by a swarm of bees that she unleashed when she crashed into the Bear's behives.
    • In the second episode, the Bear unwisely stores all of the behives in a closet anticipating Masha to bring mayhem outside. Sure enough, she enters the closet and sets them free, and they end up stinging the poor Bear in the butt.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Standard Snippet: When the Bear tries to shoo Masha away from his home in the first episode, it's set to Julius Fučík's "Entrance of the Gladiators", aka the music piece you're likely to always hear in a circus.
  • 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.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Masha and her cousin Dasha are nearly identical save for slight differences in eye and hair color. Naturally when together Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Unintelligible: Every animal that isn't a human.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Masha and Panda. They bicker nearly every time they're together, but consider each other friends.
    Masha: We became such good friends. Wish he stayed longer.
  • Vocal Dissonance: You wouldn't expect the mean wolves or the big and strong Black Bear to have such silly high-pitched voices.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: In the first episode, after dumping Masha deep enough (or so he thinks) into the forest with his bicycle, the Bear celebrates getting rid of her while he's driving away without looking in front of him... and crashes into a tree.
  • Weird Moon:
    • The Moon is literally crescent-shaped and covered in yellow sand, some of it being quicksands... About the only realistic thing about the Moon in Masha's universe besides low gravity is that there's an abandoned Lunokhod on it just like in Real Life.
    • At one point, Masha grows planet-size and her head hits the Moon, as if it was just a ceiling decoration.