Cheburashka is a creature unknown to science. After the zoo rejects him, he becomes lonely and wants friends. Meanwhile, a crocodile named Gena is in the same boat and seeks friendship. The two meet and build a house for the lonely.
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Being an amateur animator myself, I've always enjoyed seeing all types of animation work specially when they are foreign made. But this "Shapoklyak" is greater than what I've ever seen.
I adored this cartoon. Just consider the kind of technology and resources that Soviet studios had in the 1970s and compare it to, say, Nick Park's Wallace and Grommit.. Wallace really pales in comparison to Cheburashka! "Shapokliak" is a marvel, a real jewel in animation history. (And don't misunderstand me, I do love Wallace & Grommit..)
Shapoklyak is one of four Cheburashka features produced by Soyuzmultfilm studio (or at least that's the number of episodes included in the DVD; if anybody knows any other episodes please tell me about them).
I do think there's something very special about this particular Cheburashka cartoon. To me, it is the more "cinematographic" if you would (just watch the marvelous ending with a train fading away in the distance as Gena plays very melancholic accordion music). The script is equally strong, with krokodil Gena actually sabotaging a very polluting factory. Just don't ask me what the old woman is up to, since I watched it in Russian without any translation of subtitles at all!
Yet that's actually the fun of Cheburashka: the animation is so great that you don't actually need to understand what the characters are saying. This is a very universal and timeless work of art (as evidence of this, just watch the rising popularity of these series in Japan).
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