Masha and the Bear
|Masha and the Bear|
|A small Masha sits on the Bear's forearm. The Bear is waving at the camera.|
|Created by||Oleg Kuzovkov|
|Country of origin||Russia|
|No. of episodes||56|
|Running time||7 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Animaccord Animation Studio|
|Distributor||Animaccord Animation Studio|
|Original network||Russia, Carousel, ANTV|
|Original release||January 7, 2009– present|
|Official English Website|
Masha and the Bear (Russian: Маша и Медведь, Masha i Medved) is a Russian animated television series created by Oleg Kuzovkov and produced by Animaccord Animation Studio (Moscow, Russia), based in the folk children oral story of the same name. The show focuses on the adventures of a little girl named Masha and a fatherly pictured bear that always keeps her from disasters. The first episode “How They Met” was released on the 7th of January, 2009.
Many of the episodes have been successful on YouTube; in particular, "Recipe For Disaster" has received over 1.37 billion views, making it the site's fifteenth most viewed video of all time. The other episodes with over 250 million views are: "Laundry Day", with over 530 million views; "Bon Appètit", with over 510 million views; "La Dolce Vita", with over 440 million views; "The Foundling", with over 390 million views; "Two Much", with over 330 million views; "Hocus-Pocus", with over 310 million views; "Little Cousin", with over 300 million views; and "One, Two, Three! Light the Christmas Tree!", with over 270 million views.
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.
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.
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 sister - Dasha, a penguin adopted by the Bear, a young panda cub who is the Bear's cousin, two wolves who live in the old UAZ car, a tiger that worked with the bear in the circus, and 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.
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. Only when the step of the production is finished, an episode is passed for dubbing. It’s important to proceed with dubbing before 3D animation is applied as 3D animators need to have in advance an understanding of the sounds of the characters, with what intonation and which emotions they will they act to make the lip sync and mimics of characters look realistic.
3D animation process begins right after dubbing has been finished. Animators manipulate all the movements that happen during the scenes – open doors, take books from bookshelves, bring characters to life and control them like puppet-masters.
Rendering brings all the mentioned above processes together. Renders colorize grey 3D models and add such details as the Bear’s fur, Masha’s hair, etc. They set up lights and the weather in the scene as it is determined in the script.
Final stage of production, where composers review all scenes of an episode, checking intensity of colors, smoothing the edges of 3D models and bringing all together to get the full episode. Then the work is approved by the director as well as script-writer and then is being uploaded to the official YouTube of the project (MashaBearTV).
Masha, her sister and Father Frost are the only characters who speak. The others communicate through pantomime or wordless sounds.
For the first two seasons the Masha’s voice in original, Russian, version belongs to Alina Kukushkina, who was 6 when she just began to dub Masha. Seven years after, in 2015, the officials of Animaccord studio confirmed that the new voice of Masha would be Varvara Sarantseva, a six years old artist.
For the first season in English, Elsie Fisher —the voice of Agnes in the Despicable Me films –dubbed the voice of Masha. In subsequent season Masha was dubbed by Rebecca Bloom (ep. 27-39) and Angelica Keamy (ep. 40-52).
The music for each episode is written by Russian composer, Vasiliy Bogatirev. Most of the songs of the cartoon, such as 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.
- In December, 2015 one of the cartoon’s episode, "Recipe For Disaster", has received over 1.07 billion views, making it the site's fourteenth most viewed video of all time
Moreover, the official YouTube channel of the project - MashaMedvedTV - is always included in TOP-5 most popular YouTube channels of the world.
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!"
A Masha and the Bear mobile game was released by Indigo Kids. The game was installed more than 10 million times.
==Episodes==1 Netflix has released 27 of the first 29 episodes in 9 episodes of 3 segments each.
- Masha (Diminutive form of the name Maria/Mary) is a funny, vigorous and nice little girl. She lives in an old Trans-Siberian railway station on the other side of a path that leads to the Bear's house. She likes him a lot and often visits him uninvited or not, and very often makes a nuisance of herself. Despite her mischief-making, Masha can sometimes come through with surprising actions that makes the Bear happy or satisfied with the results of the day. Masha has big green eyes and fair hair. Her parents are dead and do not appear in the series. She is voiced by Alina Kukushkina
- The Bear is a big bear and retired circus star who lives in a wooden house. He is Masha's best friend and often acts like a father to her. The Bear's past as a circus performer has led him to pursuing various hobbies in art, music, fishing, and proudly displays the trophies and medals of his past accomplishments on his mantlepiece. He certainly cares for Masha but often tries to keep her out of trouble or out of his business, and is not afraid to be stern with her. His noises are provided by Oleg Kuzovkov.
- Masha's pets are a dog, a goat, a pig, and, in the first episode, chickens, too. 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, and sometimes the Pig likes to show off her dancing skills.
- The wild animals are a rabbit, squirrels, hedgehogs, and two wolves. Masha and a certain Rabbit often play hockey together (and make a mess or accidentally hurt someone), and the Rabbit is occasionally an antagonist of the Bear. 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 Russian idiomatic expression "wolves are orderlies of the woods" ("Волки - санитары леса"), thus living in ambulance cab and acting as medics is a pun).
- The Female 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 Female 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 is Masha's sister 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 is the Bear's young cousin from China, a panda. He and Masha are rivals, often bickering every time he comes for a visit but they occasionally get along and have fun together.
- Tiger is a tiger and the Bear's best friend from their days back in the circus where they both performed.
- The Black Bear is the Bear's worst enemy and Bear's chief rival for the attentions of the female bear. He has an arrogant and unsportsmanlike personality, cheating to win against Masha in a tennis game, and laughing at her when she grows gigantic.
- Penguin is 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 mother 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 is a Santa Claus-like character from Russia, Father Frost appears in holiday-themed shows.
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 Tails will premiere on Cartoon Network UK's sister pre-school channel, Cartoonito on June 20, 2016.
- Sputnik. "Masha and the Bear Destined for Cartoon Greatness". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
- Reprints, Ilya Khrennikov. "This Russian Bear Is Hitting the Mall". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
- "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.
- "Most Viewed Videos of All Time (Over 200 million views)". YouTube. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- "Get Movies Uploaded Videos". YouTube. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- "Маша и Медведь Uploaded Videos". YouTube. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- "Russian Animated Series 'Masha and the Bear' to Get New Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
- "Производственный процесс. Как делают мультфильм "Маша и Медведь"". The Village. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
- "'Masha and The Bear' wins a 'children’s Oscar'". rbth.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
- "MashaMedvedTV". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
- Vasilyeva, Nataliya (12 April 2016). "Russian cartoon bear takes the world by storm". The Big Story. Associated Press. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- "Boomerang UK And Cartoonito UK June 2016 Highlights". RegularCapital.com. Turner Broadcasting System Europe (Press Release). Retrieved 13 May 2016.
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