Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Cheburashka

Go To
Soviet series of books by Eduard Uspensky and animated puppet stop-motion shorts about Cheburashka, critter of ambiguous nature who is a friend of Gena The Crocodile who works in a zoo (as a crocodile).

Cheburashka had animated adaptations made by Soyuzmultfilm in 1969, 1971, 1974, and 1983. The animated adaptation also had an anime adaptation in 2009 called Cheburashka Arere?, three 2010 Japanese-Korean puppet shorts (with a 2013 compilation movie), a 2020 Japanese CGI cartoon short about the origin of Cheburashka, and a 2023 Russian live-action film adaptation.

The original four shorts are available with English subtitles on Youtube:

Book and shorts provide examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: By the end of every single animated short, Shapoklyak performs a Heel–Face Turn (something she never does in the book).
  • Animated Adaptation: Two decades after the last stop-motion short was made in 1983, there was an anime that was based on some of the stories.
  • Birthday Episode: It is Gena's birthday in the second episode.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Shapoklyak does all the nasty things she does solely for the sake of infamy. She's a female Dastardly Whiplash!
  • Cartoon Creature: Cheburashka isn't based off of any known animal species, and all attempts by other characters to find out what species he belongs to remain fruitless.
  • Construction Is Awesome: Cheburashka and his friends really enjoy building the "house for friends".
  • Fame Through Infamy: Shapoklyak wants to do bad deeds because those are the ones that are remembered, not good deeds.
  • Green Gators: Gena the Crocodile is a talking crocodile with lime-green scales (which are further emphasized by his dark-red jacket).
  • Happy Rain: The birthday song, in which Gena sings that he is happy despite it raining because it's his birthday.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Both Cheburashka and Gena desperately want to have friends, leading to them finding each other and then planning to make more friends.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: In the first short, Cheburashka is disappointed when he realizes the "house for friends" is useless since he already has made friends with everyone in the process of the construction - and then realizes this is actually a good thing since he now has a bunch of friends after all.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shapoklyak, ultimately (at least in the animated series).
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My! / Furry Confusion: Some animals (Gena the crocodile, Chandra the lion, an unnamed bear) can talk, walk on twos, wear clothes and generally don't differ much from humans (at one point crocodiles' unusual longevity is mentioned, Gena is a young adult at 50). Some cannot talk and walk on fours. Most secondary and incidental characters are humans.
  • Lean and Mean: Shapoklyak.
  • Lonely Together: Gena and Cheburashka bond over both being lonely and having no friends, and then decide there must be a lot of other lonely animals and people around and they have to make sure they get friends too.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Lariska the rat, to Shapoklyak.
  • Outdated Outfit: In the adaptations, Shapoklyak's outfit is very fashionable... for The '30s.
  • Plot Hole: in the first short Cheburashka comes to Gena's place because he read an ad about him looking for friends on the bulletin board. Later, he read a sign about scrap metal collection. And then the fourth short is all built around Cheburashka being unable to read.
  • Poke the Poodle: Shapoklyak's evil actions aren't really too horrible, mostly consisting of her doing minorly mean or annoying things.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Averted to 100% with Gena, who is possibly the nicest character of the whole franchise.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Cheburashka
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: The "house for friends" is built in ten days.
  • Road-Sign Reversal: one of Shapoklyak's pranks is this.
  • Villain Song: Shapoklyak gets one.