Booba

Bооba (Буба; the creators chose the English-language transliteration themselves) is a pretty new Russian animated cartoon series for very young children. Begun in 2014, there are now 16 episodes of about four minutes each, and new ones are released monthly. The show it is well-regarded by the parents who’ve posted online reviews of it.

Booba follows the adventures of a strange creature—a hobgoblin, apparently, who looks like an old man (albeit furry). According to the description on the show’s official YouTube channel, he is “sweet and inquisitive, like a five-year-old child. He studies the world without malice or offense, only with joy and surprise. He doesn’t speak, but he produces sounds to express his emotions.” All that is known of Booba is that he somehow missed the past 100 years of human development: he knows nothing about the contemporary world, but he’s very excited to find out all about it. The more he finds out, the more he wants to know.

Booba is a creation of 3D Sparrow, a Russian animation studio. Despite their small size, they’ve managed to spread their show to countries all over the world, and there is a stuffed animal and app to go along with him. They’re also very Western-oriented, as the company’s site is all in English and there are English-language versions of the show’s site and YouTube channel. The show airs on Karusel (Карусель) in Russia.

Probably the most interesting fact about the series is also one that’s hard to confirm: The first episode of the show was posted on a Russian web forum, Pikabu.ru, sometime in 2014, with the notation that “the cartoon came to be over the course of a full year by a team who is located in Kyiv and Moscow. Despite the geopolitical situation, we are releasing it at last!” In response to a commenter who called the episode “horrible,” the original poster noted, “The show is oriented more toward a Western audience!”

 

Creators: 3D Sparrow Studio (executive producer Nikolay Okorokov)
TV channel: Karusel (Карусель), Tlum (Тлум), ANI

 

The first episode of Booba, 2014:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.