"Cheburashka" was an extremely popular animation series during the Soviet era in Russia, animated by Timofeyevski. Heavily steeped in Soviet propaganda, including a blatant bias towards youth in the Pioneers, it nevertheless is quite entertaining.

The primary characters were Cheburashka, as sort of mouse-creature with a fuzzy body and enormous ears, and Crocodile Gena, a crocodile with a hat and jacket. The two were close friends and formed the basis of every episode.

Perhaps the most lasting impact that "Cheburashka" has had on modern Russia is that it is the source of "Pesenka Krokodila Genui", the Russian birthday song.

Cheburashka seems to have gained an enormous following in Japan since its owner Soyuzmultfilm sold the distribution rights to a Japanese company. Now Chebi and friends have got dedicated web- & i-mode sites, popular merchandise and whatnot (even minor credits in Russian were cut out from the original animation and used as some kind of art! Now I understand how inane may some random Asian writings, used for "style", look for a native reader).

What should I say? Yay for cultural exchange. Me, I was raised on Cheburashka (forgot nearly everything that was in there, though). Came overwhelmed from Spirited Away, too.

P.S. To whoever is in charge of Cheburashka's fate: please, don't sell him out for a Hollywood remake! We'll have to kill the poor creature after that.

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