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Literature / Cheburashka

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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).

All four of the 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).
  • All for Nothing: 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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 any known species of animal, despite other characters' attempts to find out what species he is.
  • Construction Is Awesome: Cheburashka and his friends really enjoy building the "house for friends".
  • Credits-Brand Products: in the first short.
  • Fame Through Infamy: Shapoklyak wants to do bad deeds because those are the ones that are remembered, not good deeds.
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shapoklyak, ultimately.
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  • 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.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Lariska the rat, to Shapoklyak.
  • 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.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Extremely averted with Gena.
  • 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.


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