Masyanya

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Left to right: Masyanya, Lokhmaty, and Hrundel'. A screenshot from the cartoon Russian Punk Rock (2003).

Masyanya (Russian: Мася́ня) is a popular Russian adult online cartoon made with Macromedia Flash animation, created by Oleg Kuvaev. The title character is a woman in her twenties who lives in an apartment in St. Petersburg. Masyanya has an oval-shaped head and always wears a miniskirt and a shirt with a bare midriff. Aside from Masyanya, the main recurring characters in the series are:

  • Hryundel' (Хрю́ндель) - her rather dense, good-natured, overall-clad boyfriend.
  • Lokhmaty (Лохмáтый, Russian for "Shaggy") - their friend, a pudgy and care-free drummer.
  • Lyas'ka (Ля́ська) - a girl from Moscow and Masyanya's friend.

A typical Masyanya episode is only a few minutes long and consists mainly of sarcastic (and frequently absurd) commentary on contemporary Russian life. Some of the most popular episodes include one in which Masyanya and Hryundel' snicker and later hysterically laugh while Hryundel' is recording a jingle on the radio; another involves a sexual encounter made impossible by the lack of "shtuchki" ("thingies"), while yet another involves the two main characters exchanging a series of increasingly awful gifts, including a horse-shaped piñata and a bag of green cats.

The episodes are generally loosely connected, but the characters do not age. For most of the episodes, no particular sequence or storyline can be established. They can be watched in any order, but some episodes lose a great deal of their charm if one isn't familiar with at least some series history.

Russian pop songs are often used in the soundtracks of episodes. Several episodes are, in essence, music videos set to a particular song.

Masyanya's popularity is rapidly growing on both sides of the Atlantic. In Russia, Masyanya made the move from the Internet to television and can now be seen on several cartoons and talk shows, although its popularity is mainly supported by the Internet. In Germany, translations are being made of some of the more popular episodes. In the United States, Masyanya has become an integral feature of the Middlebury College Summer Russian Language Program in Vermont.[citation needed]

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