Masha and the Bear (Russian: Ма́ша и Медве́дь, translit. Masha i Medved Russian pronunciation: [ˈmaʂə i mʲɪdˈvetʲ]) is a Russian animated television series created by Oleg Kuzovkov and produced by Animaccord Animation Studio (Moscow, the Russian Federation), 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 was released in 2009.
Plot and episodes
- 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 is constantly forcing 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, kind, but mischievous little girl who is exploring the world around her. This leads to many funny and entertaining situations. The kind-hearted Bear is always trying to keep 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 used to work with the Bear in the circus, and a Female Bear that is the object of the bear's affections. Characters also include a hare, squirrels and hedgehogs, a pig called Rosie, a goat, and a dog who all live in Masha's front yard.
The show consists of three full seasons, with 26 episodes each. The first thirteen episodes of the fourth season have been launched already.
- List of episodes see here.
- List of characters see here.
- See also spin-off Masha's Tales and Masha's Spooky Stories.
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 genuine 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…
The series' production has been handled domestically at Animaccord Animation studio since 2008. 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.
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. In subsequent seasons Masha was dubbed by Rebecca Bloom (ep. 27-39) and Angelica Keamy (ep. 40-52) and now is Giulia De Carvalho and Kaitlyn McCormick.
The music for each episode is written by Russian composer Vasiliy Bogatirev. Many compositions are stylized for famous works: Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, a circus theme from the movie «Soviet Circus», rock Masha performs an cover version AC/DC. Even more than music recognizable songs that are tied to the plot and perform an applied function. 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.
Awards and achievements
- 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.
- In February 2015, Masha and the Bear won a 2015 Kidscreen Award for Best Animation in the Creative Talent.
- 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 2018, one copy of the video «Recipe For Disaster» has received over 3.1 billion views on YouTube, making it the site's fifth most viewed video of all timeand the most viewed video that is not a music video. Moreover, the official YouTube channel of the project — MashaMedvedTV — is consistently ranked among the top five most popular YouTube channels in the world.
Masha and the Bear is the only non-music artist to have two videos exceeding a billion views on YouTube. In particular, the Russian-language version of the episode «Маша плюс каша» («Recipe for Disaster») has more than 3.1 billion views. The second most viewed Masha and the Bear videos are: «Приятного аппетита» («Bon Appétit»), with over 1.1 billion views.
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.» 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!»