Masha and the Bear

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Masha and the Bear
Masha and The Bear logo
Genre Adventure, comedy
Created by Oleg Kuzovkov
Country of origin Russia
Original language(s) Russian
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 64
Production
Running time 7 minutes
Production company(s) Animaccord Animation Studio
Distributor Animaccord Animation Studio
Release
Original network Russia 1, Carousel, Teletoon, Treehouse TV (Canada)
Cartoonito, Boomerang and Milkshake! (UK)
Cúla 4 (Ireland)
Original release January 18, 2009 (2009-01-18) – present
External links
Official English Website mashabear.com

Masha and the Bear (Russian: Ма́ша и Медве́дь, Masha i Medved; IPA: [ˈmɑʂə i mʲɪdʲˈvetʲ]) is a Russian animated television series created by Oleg Kuzovkov and produced by Animaccord Animation Studio (Moscow, Russia), loosely based on the oral children's folk story of the same name. The show focuses on the adventures of a little girl named Masha and a fatherly bear that always keeps her from disasters. The first episode “How They Met” was released on the 18th of January, 2009.[1]

The series has been translated into 25 languages[citation needed] and was broadcast in more than 100 countries.[citation needed] The series was released on Netflix and through NBCUniversal.[2]

Many of the episodes have been successful on YouTube; in particular, one copy of the video "Маша плюс каша" ("Recipe for Disaster", in English version) has received over 2.2 billion views, making it the site's fifth most viewed video of all time, and the most viewed video on YouTube that is not a music video.[3][4] The remaining top ten most viewed Masha and the Bear videos are: "Bon Appétit", with over 830 million views; "Laundry Day", with over 770 million views; "La Dolce Vita", with over 620 million views; "The Foundling", with over 560 million views; "Hocus-Pocus", with over 460 million views; "Two Much", with over 420 million views; "One, Two, Three! Light the Christmas Tree!", with over 390 million views; "Little Cousin", with over 390 million views; and "Home-Grown Ninjas", with over 300 million views.[5][6]

The show consists of two full seasons, with 26 episodes each. The first three episodes of the third season have been launched recently, and the additional 23 are in work at the moment, to be released over the next three years.[7]

For the first season in English, Elsie Fisher — the voice of Agnes, the youngest of the three girls in the Despicable Me films — was chosen to dub the voice of Masha.[2]

Plot[edit]

Masha is a Russian girl who lives in the forest with her pig, goat and dog. All the animals in the forest are afraid of her as she forces them to play with her. One morning, Masha sees a butterfly and inadvertently follows it inside the home of a bear who has gone fishing. While playing there, she makes a big mess. When the Bear returns, he sees the disaster caused by Masha. The Bear tries to get rid of Masha, but he is unsuccessful, and he and Masha become friends.

In each episode of the show, Masha is portrayed as a smart, very kind and mischievous little girl who is exploring the world through a number of entertaining situations where she demonstrates her assertiveness, being absolutely fidgety, whereas the kind-hearted Bear always keeps Masha out of trouble but often ends up the unintended victim of her mischief. There are several supporting characters in the series, including Masha's cousin Dasha, a penguin adopted by the Bear, a young panda cub from China who is the Bear's cousin, two wolves who live in an old UAZ ambulance car, a tiger that worked with the bear in the circus, and a Female Bear that is the object of the bear's affections, along with a hare, squirrels and hedgehogs, and a pig (Rosie), goat, and dog who live in Masha's front yard.

Sources[edit]

According to the project's director, Denis Chervyatsov,

Masha was based on a real person... In the 1990s, the project's artistic director, Oleg Kuzovkov, was on holiday when he saw a little girl on the beach. The child was so ingenuous and open that she could easily walk up to a stranger and play chess with him or pick up his flippers and go swimming. However, after a few days, the vacationers began to hide...[8]

Production[edit]

The series' production has been handled domestically at Animaccord Animation studio since 2008.[8] The scenario for each episode is written by Oleg Kuzovkov, creator of the cartoon. Then the storyboarding is developed in accordance with the script and, in general, consists of at least 2000 slides. After the team finalizes the plot of an episode, the work for the 2D animatic kicks off. At this stage, animators define the duration of each scene in an episode, how characters are placed in it and interact with each other. After this step of the production is finished, the episode is passed for dubbing. Dubbing must be completed before 3D animation is applied, as the 3D animators need to know the characters' dialogue, intonations, and emotions in advance in order to keep their lip movements synchronized to the audio and make their facial expressions look realistic.[9]

3D animation

The 3D animation process begins right after dubbing has been finished. Animators manipulate all the movements that happen during the scenes, such as opening doors, taking books from bookshelves, and creating all the bodily movements required to bring the characters to life.

Rendering

Rendering brings all the above-mentioned processes together. Renderers colorize grey 3D models and add such details as the Bear’s fur, Masha’s hair, etc. They create the lighting and weather in the scene as determined by the script.

Composing

Composing is the final stage of production, where the composers review all scenes of an episode, checking the color intensities, smoothing the edges of 3D models, and bringing all the components together to form a complete episode. Then the work is approved by the director and script-writer and uploaded to the show's official YouTube channel (MashaBearTV).

Voice actors[edit]

Masha, her cousin and Father Frost are the only characters who speak. The others communicate through pantomime or wordless sounds.

For the first two seasons, Masha’s voice in the original Russian version was performed by Alina Kukushkina, who was 6 years old when she began to dub Masha. For the third season (seven years later in 2015), the officials of Animaccord studio confirmed that the new voice of Masha would be 6-year-old Varvara Sarantseva. The show's sound designer, Boris Kutnevich, provides the voice of The Bear. Mark Kutnevich provides the voice of The Hare.

For the English version, Elsie Fisher — the voice of Agnes in the Despicable Me films – dubbed the voice of Masha in the first season.[2] In subsequent seasons Masha was dubbed by Rebecca Bloom (ep. 27–39) and Angelica Keamy (ep. 40–52).

Music[edit]

The music for each episode is written by Russian composer Vasiliy Bogatirev. Most of the songs used in the cartoon, such as the soundtracks of “Laundry Day” and “The Grand Piano Lesson” episodes, became very popular in Russia and abroad.[citation needed]

Awards and achievements[edit]

  • In January 2015, the cartoon was included into a list of "TV Shows Destined to be Classics," which was compiled by the cartoon industry's periodical Animation Magazine to mark its 250 issue.[1]
  • In February 2015, Masha and the Bear won a 2015 Kidscreen Award for Best Animation in the Creative Talent.[10]
  • In October 2015, Kidscreen Magazine named Animaccord Animation Studios as one of the top 50 leaders in the world of animation (Kidscreen Hot50) and the top 10 production companies of the year.
  • As of June 2017, one copy of the video "Recipe For Disaster" has received over 2.2 billion views on YouTube, making it the site's fifth most viewed video of all time. Moreover, the official YouTube channel of the project – MashaMedvedTV – is consistently ranked among the top five most popular YouTube channels in the world.[11]

According to the Associated Press, "Masha, who is dressed in a folk costume with a headscarf, became a household name in many Muslim nations including Indonesia."[12] Dmitry Loveyko, managing director of Animaccord, said that "It's a Muslim country, so we thought we're lucky she wears a headscarf and her legs are covered!"[12]

Mobile apps[edit]

The first Masha and the Bear mobile app was released by Apps Ministry in August 2011. In 2013 the first mobile game "Masha and the Bear: Search and Rescue" was published by Apps Ministry. Later more publishers such as Indigo Kids, PSV Studio, Noviy Disk developed and released games and apps featuring Masha and the Bear.

Episodes[edit]

Netflix has released 27 of the first 29 episodes in 9 episodes of 3 segments each. Many of the videos were uploaded multiple times on three different YouTube channels ("Маша и Медведь", "Get Movies" and "Masha and The Bear") so their view counts across up to three channels have been combined.

Characters[edit]

Masha[edit]

Masha (Diminutive form of the name Maria/Mary) is a three year old girl. Masha is naughty and hyperactive, and always thinks about playing. She lives in a house near the Railway Station; near her house there is a path that leads to the bear house. Masha loves Bear very much, but in her games she tends to build up problems for Bear to bear. Her parents do not appear in the series. She loves sweets, jumping into a bucket and seeing the series of drawings of Masha and Bear. Masha's character combines the characteristics of 3-year-olds (making grammatical errors when speaking, crying when she is not given what she wants) with adult skills (playing tennis, fishing, cooking jams or playing electric guitar). She is voiced by Alina Kukushkina.

Bear[edit]

The Bear is a retired circus bear who lives in a tree house in the forest. His past occupation makes him very talent in performing arts (like juggling, unicycling, and even stage magic) although he's also known to dabble into other hobbies and even some intellectual pursuits. Some episodes feature flashbacks in which he remembers his childhood as a cub in the same house. In some episodes of the Russian-language version, Masha calls him "Mishka" (literally "Bear"), which is a traditional name given to bears in Russian tales. He is huge bear with a big heart and he is Masha's best friend, as well as a parental figure to her.

Masha's Pets[edit]

A dog, a goat, a pig, and, in the first episode, chickens. They live outside Masha's house in her front yard but almost every time Masha comes out they hide themselves to avoid her. The Pig is often forced to play with Masha, who makes her dress up like a baby in a stroller. In the episode "Dance Fever" it is revealed that the pig's name is Rosie.


The Wild Animals[edit]

The wild animals are a hare, squirrels, hedgehogs, and two wolves. Masha and a certain Hare (in the episode 'One, two three! Light the Christmas Tree' the present list of Father Frost in English describes this creature as 'Bunny') often play hockey together (and make a mess or accidentally hurt someone), and the Hare is occasionally an antagonist of the Bear, due to stealing carrots from the Bear's garden. The two Wolves live in a derelict ambulance on top of a hill and often look for something to eat, and strangely act as medics for any apparent injuries or illnesses though they sometimes fear Masha (due to the Russian idiomatic expression "wolves are orderlies of the woods" ("Волки – санитары леса"), living in an ambulance cab and acting as medics is a pun).


She-Bear[edit]

The She-Bear is a female bear. The Bear is enamored of her and sometimes goes out of his way to impress or even woo her. The first time she rebuffed him in favor of the Black Bear, only to realize how self-absorbed he is, and another time she turned her nose up at the Bear's banjo playing as she preferred more modern music. Even so, the She-Bear usually opens up to the Bear, such as the time she agreed to have a dinner with him, and she is sometimes kind to Masha, such as giving her a fashion magazine, helping to train her for her tennis match against the Black Bear, and helping her learn to ice-skate.


Dasha[edit]

Dasha is Masha's cousin from Moscow. She looks like Masha but she is very different, she has beige hair, blue eyes, wears blue glasses and an orange dress. She is afraid of the Bear and calls him "Shaggy".


Panda[edit]

Panda is a panda cub and the Bear's young cousin from China. He and Masha are rivals, often bickering every time he comes for a visit, but they occasionally get along and have fun together.


Whiskers n' Stripes[edit]

A tiger and the Bear's best friend from their days performing together in the circus.


The Black Bear[edit]

The Bear's worst enemy and Bear's chief rival for the attentions of the She-Bear. The Black Bear has an arrogant and unsportsmanlike personality, cheating to win against Masha in a tennis game, and laughing at her when she grows gigantic.


Penguin[edit]

A penguin that first appears in "The Foundling", as an egg that Masha finds and makes the Bear hatch. The Penguin quickly imprints on the Bear as his parental-figure and the Bear forms a sincere bond with him but chooses to send the Penguin to live in Antarctica for his own health. Even so, they stay in touch and the Penguin once visited.


Father Frost[edit]

He is a Santa Claus-like character from Russia who appears in Christmas-themed shows.


A sculpture of Masha and The Bear in Yelan.

Spin-off[edit]

A spin-off series to the show titled Masha's Tales is also available on Netflix. In the show Masha (voiced by a much older actress) tells classic Russian fairy tales as well as some Grimms' Fairy Tales to her toys. However, Masha makes up her own way of telling the stories (Such as putting a magical nutcracker who turns into a prince when she adapts Cinderella). She also mixes up the morals of the stories by often adding an additional ending so that way it could fit with what she's telling her toys. Masha's Tales premiered on Cartoon Network UK's sister pre-school channel, Cartoonito on June 20, 2016.[13] Another spin-off of the Masha and the Bear franchise – Masha's Spooky Stories – premiered on Cartoonito UK and Netflix in October 2016.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sputnik. "Masha and the Bear Destined for Cartoon Greatness". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  2. ^ a b c Reprints, Ilya Khrennikov. "This Russian Bear Is Hitting the Mall". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  3. ^ "There's a Russian cartoon that's one of only 20 videos to have ever reached a billion YouTube views". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  4. ^ "Most Viewed Videos of All Time (Over 290 million views)". YouTube. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Get Movies Uploaded Videos". YouTube. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Маша и Медведь Uploaded Videos". YouTube. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Russian Animated Series 'Masha and the Bear' to Get New Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  8. ^ a b Ustinova, Nadezhda. "How Russian animation 'Masha and the Bear' won the hearts of the world". rbth.com. Retrieved 22 July 2016. Date of publication not specified in online article.
  9. ^ "Производственный процесс. Как делают мультфильм "Маша и Медведь"". The Village. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  10. ^ "'Masha and The Bear' wins a 'children’s Oscar'". rbth.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  11. ^ "MashaMedvedTV". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  12. ^ a b Vasilyeva, Nataliya (12 April 2016). "Russian cartoon bear takes the world by storm". The Big Story. Associated Press. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Boomerang UK And Cartoonito UK June 2016 Highlights". RegularCapital.com. Turner Broadcasting System Europe (Press Release). Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Boomerang UK And Cartoonito UK October 2016 Highlights". RegularCapital: Cartoon Network International News. Turner Broadcasting System Europe (Press Release). 

External links[edit]