Usavich

(from Japanese うさぎ "usagi", rabbit, with "vich" giving it faux Russian flavor) is a series of animated short films being produced for MTV Japan by Kanaban Graphics since 2006. It's about an odd couple of rabbits imprisoned in a Russian prison. While the first season shows the absurd everyday occurrences of the two rabbits' prison life, the second season tells the adventures of their escape and life on the run. So far, 26 episodes have been produced.

etting

The episodes are quite musical. Most every action has a sound associated with it and most episodes in the first season begin with a quiet jazzy beat accompanied by the rhythmic squeaking noises of Putin dancing Kozachok on his bed. Episode usually ends with punchline accompanied by chorale "Jesu bleibet meine Freude" from J.S. Bach's "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" (BWV 147). The animation style is a clean rather sparse linear style with broad swatches of color. There is no speaking. There may be incomprehensible whispers, but usually no intelligent speech is heard (though in the second season some Russian phrases can be heard quite clearly). Everything is communicated through either incidental sound or by a character's stereotypical expressions of rage, fear, etc.

Characters

Kirenenko

Kirenenko wears a prison uniform with red stripes, number 04. He has a safety pin stuck through his left ear. Originally a mafia boss, he was sentenced to death. He once had a twin brother. Generally quiet, but very dangerous when he becomes angry and goes berserk. He likes order and does not forgive anyone who crosses his path or otherwise "meddles" in his life. He collects sneakers (shoes) and is generally oblivious (apathetic) to the world around him while he reads his magazine advertising sneakers. He cares for nothing but his sneakers.

Putin

Putin wears a prison uniform with green stripes, number 541. Has his ears tied together and is good-natured. Although generally dim-witted, when the door gave him a test he was passing with flying colors until he failed to correctly identify the gender of all the chicks when he placed the transvestite chick into the female slot instead of the male slot. Likes fun but often gets in trouble. An honest laborer who once missed a day of work due to hangover and was sentenced to 3 years in jail as a capitalist agent. However, he enjoys life in prison with its free food. He was only one day from being released when he followed Kirenenko out of the cell.

Leningrad

Leningrad is a frog living in the toilet in Putin and Kirenenko's cell. He does little more than croak, eat Komanech, and defecate her out again.

Komanech

Komanech is a transvestite ("okama") chick found by Putin while sorting chicks by gender in Episode 2. Her mother visited during episode 6 and was eaten by Kirenenko.

Prison workers

Several guards and other prison workers visit Putin and Kirenenko in their cell. They are never fully visible, and the character on the other side of the door is indicated by one of several door designs that slide into place. Episode 3 briefly reveals that they too are rabbits.

*Kanshukov - various guards (from "kanshu", Japanese for prison guard)
*Rodov - work boss (from "rodou", labor)
*Zenirov - paymaster (from "zeni", cash)
*Shokeshi - executioner (from "shokei", execution)

Boris and Copuchief

Boris and Copuchief (or Koptsev) are militsiya (police) officers, which chase Kirenenko. Copuchief is a driver and Boris is a rifleman.

Vehicles

Season 2 features some soviet cars and military vehicles. Moskvitch 407 is the car Kirinenko and Putin use for their escape, civilians drive Ladas VAZ-2101, and militsiya use Lada VAZ-2105 police car, BA-20 armored car and even KV-1 heavy tank.

Episodes

Each episode is 90 seconds long.

Season 1

Episode 1 - Time for Food (食事の時間)

A prison guard gives Putin and Kirenenko each a live fish to eat. Putin is unable to eat his fish as it slaps him in the face. Kirenenko is dissatisfied and throws his fish in the toilet while the guard watches. The guard taunts him by giving him a fishbone, which Kirenenko shoves into the guard's mouth. The guard beats Kirenenko, and he becomes angry and beats the guard back. The episode ends with Kirenenko eating a gourmet carrot while the guard serves wine. Putin's fish continues slapping him in the face.

Episode 2 - Time for Work (労働の時間)

The work boss arrives and Putin eagerly goes to work. He easily completes his first task of assembling Matryoshka dolls, and then is given chicks to identify as male or female. When he comes across Komanech he pauses, then throws her into the female slot. The boss snaps the whip on him and leaves. The paymaster then arrives and flips a coin over Putin's head toward Kirenenko, who is sitting on the toilet. As Putin dives for the coin, Kirenenko moves aside and Putin lands in the toilet.

Episode 3 - Time for Shower (シャワーの時間)

The guard hoses Putin down with a fire hose, scrubs him, rinses him off, and hangs him by his ears to dry. The guard then looks at Kirenenko, who is lying in his bed. Kirenenko jumps on top of the water stream and rides it. The guard cuts off the water abruptly and Kirenenko lands in the toilet. Kirenenko angrily pulls both the door and the guard into the cell, slamming them down head-first behind him. Komanech flies into the cell before the other guards board up the doorway. The episode ends with the guard (still behind the door) giving Kirenenko a proper shower.

Episode 4 - Time for Pleasure (娯楽の時間)

Kirenenko makes the captured guard serve as a pool table, using Komanech and the Matryoshka dolls as balls. He breaks and immediately wins by making the guard swallow all of the dolls. Next, he turns the guard into a ping-pong table and plays ping-pong with Putin. The ball comes to a rest just under the guard's nose and the guard sneezes, blowing the ball into the toilet. Kirenenko beats up the guard, then ties the door around him and uses him as a seat while he goes fishing in the toilet (using Komanech as bait). He feels a tug on the line and pulls up the frog, Leningrad.

Episode 5 - Time for Dancing (ダンスの時間)

The door is still tied up and leaning against one side of the cell. Leningrad is crouching on the closed toilet seat while Putin and Kirenenko lay on their beds, Kirenenko reading his usual magazine advertising sneakers. This episode is mainly an exploration of music created from incidental sounds in the environment. At the end of the episode, Leningrad defecates out Komanech.

Episode 6 - Time for Visitors (面会の時間)

Putin is jumping on his bed when the boarded-up door slides aside to reveal a a visitor window with a stool. Putin sits on the stool, and looks around for a moment before Leningrad's mother, Sharapova, is raised up toward the window on the other side. Putin carries Leningrad to the stool. Leningrad and Sharapova croak at each other, and Leningrad returns to the closed toilet seat. The window with Sharapova slides away to reveal another window, this time with Komanech's mother behind it. Putin and Leningrad both turn and look at Komanech before he realizes who the visitor is and runs toward her. Just before reaching the window, however, Komanech is eaten by Leningrad again. Komanech's mother bursts through the window to rescue him. Her abrupt entry upsets Kirenenko and he is shown eating her at the end of the episode as Putin sobs while holding a picture of the dead hen.

Episode 7 - Time for Exercise (体操の時間)

Putin is again jumping on his bed as the guard's visor slides open and his arms stick out holding a whistle and a billy club. Putin eagerly runs up to begin his exercise. The guard starts blowing the whistle, going at a quicker pace with each exercise, causing Putin to move faster until he passes out on the floor. The guard then notices Kirenenko laying on the bed reading his magazine, and starts blowing his whistle and beating the billy club on the floor to get his attention, but does not notice Kirenenko has already walked over to in front of the door. Kirenenko grabs the whistle and club and starts blowing on the whistle, forcing the guard to start exercising instead. Like Putin, the increasingly strenuous exercise causes him to pass out.

Episode 8 - Time for Gambling (ギャンブルの時間)

Putin and a guard are playing a card game. Putin plays a card showing a rabbit walking out of his jail cell, which is countered by a card with a noose on it. Putin then plays a card showing a rabbit digging out of jail, which is countered by an electric chair, a guillotine, and a rabbit facing a firing squad. The firing squad card causes Putin to be knocked back to the floor as if shot in the chest. The guard celebrates his victory for a moment before Kirenenko sits down at the table to play. This time, the guard makes the first move: the firing squad card from the previous game. Kirenenko responds by entering a rage and playing four Joker cards, showing rabbits holding an axe, a spiked club, a chainsaw, and a shotgun, respectively. The guard slumps backward in defeat, and Kirenenko counts his winnings while Putin shivers in the corner, his genitals blocked by Komanech.

Episode 9 - Time for a Snack (おやつの時間)

This episode begins in much the same way as Episode 1, but with sugar cubes on the plate instead of fish. Putin sits down and starts licking the cubes while Kirenenko gets up, knocks on the door, and flicks the sugar cubes into the guard's eyes, which causes him to close his visor again. Kirenenko knocks on the door again, and the guard gives Kirenenko a bomb disguised as a pastry. Kirenenko eats it without hesitation, and surprises the guard when the bomb explodes without killing him. Kirenenko burps smoke, then enters a rage and crushes the guard, causing the door to be boarded up again. The episode ends with Kirenenko eating cake and tea while Putin begins to eat another disguised bomb.

Episode 10 - Time for Toilet (トイレの時間)

Putin is dancing on his bed when he suddenly needs to use the toilet. Looking over to the toilet, he sees Kirenenko already using it. He looks anxiously at the guard, but the guard is indifferent and knocks him toward the toilet. Kirenenko bats him back to the door, and the guard hurriedly moves aside to let Putin use the guard toilet. Putin finally relieves himself, but he accidentally drops the toilet paper. Kirenenko kicks it off to the side, causing Putin to panic again.

Episode 11 - Time for Execution (処刑の時間)

The executioner arrives to carry out Kirenenko's sentence. At first he tries to behead Kirenenko with a guillotine, but the blade shatters against Kirenenko's neck. The executioner seals the cell and fills it with poison gas, causing Putin to jump into the toilet for safety. Kirenenko inhales the poison gas, then exhales it directly into the executioner's gas mask, killing him. Putin lifts his head out of the toilet, and Kirenenko farts poison gas in his face.

Episode 12 - Time for Torture (リンチの時間)

In the middle of the night, five prison guards sneak into the cell and beat Kirenenko. Eventually they realize Kirenenko has disappeared in the midst of their beating, and look to up to see him above them, with a demonic look on his face. The guards pull out machine guns and begin firing, while Kirenenko jumps to the ground and crushes one of them, and catches bullets being fired by the rest. They fire a rocket at him, which Kirenenko swallows. Their final attack involves a tank being brought in and fired, which does not faze him at all. He crushes the four remaining guards and throws them out of the room. Some time later, Putin wakes up (having slept through the events of this episode) and sees the cell door covered with a brick wall.

Episode 13 - Time for Release (出所の時間)

Putin realizes that he is one day from release and starts packing his belongings, as well as Leningrad and Komanech. Kirenenko is reading his magazine when he notices a pair of sneakers he wants. He pounds a hole around the cell window and walks out, then pounds a hole in the prison wall. Putin cautiously follows him, dodging bullets. Kirenenko stops a car with his foot, then gets in the driver's seat. Putin joins him as a passenger, and they head down the road.

Season 2

Episode 14 - Watch for Aggressive Drivers (乱暴運転注意)

Putin sticks his head out the window while Kirenenko is driving down the road, narrowly avoiding being hit by road signs and various vehicles, with most of the vehicles swerving out of the way and crashing. This attracts the attention of the police (militsiya), Boris and Copuchief. They begin ramming the car the rabbits are in, which riles Kirenenko to jump out of the car and stand on the trunk, grabbing the police car when they try to vault toward him, and pounding the car on the ground until the car flies off and Kirenenko is left holding a small piece of metal.

Episode 15 - Watch the Road (脇見運転注意)

Smiliar to the previous episode, Putin is nearly hit by a truck passing by. The police return, aiming guns at the car, but hitting the side of a tunnel the rabbits' car is driving through. Exiting the tunnel, Putin notices a hen crossing ahead of them. The hens begin to panic before the car plows into them, causing Komanech to blush along with the hens. Putin then sees a cliff ahead of them, and Kirenenko in the backseat reading his magazine. He moves over to the driver's seat before the car goes over the cliff, embedding the car in the other side.

Episode 16 - Watch for Uphill Traffic (坂道発進注意)

Continuing from episode 15, Putin stands on the roof, looking up and trying to figure out how to get back up the cliff. He eventually ties a string to Komanech and gets her to fly up, which is thwarted by Leningrad eating her, which causes them to drop, with Putin now holding on to a small ledge. He hears the car being started below him, and looks down to see Kirenenko backing out of the cliff, dropping for a moment, then driving straight up, catching Putin and the others in the process. Putin lands in the car, and sees Kirenenko in the back seat again.

Episode 17 - Watch for Snipers (狙撃注意)

Putin stops the car at a roadblock, which is a trap by the police to kill them with sniper rifles. Boris fires at Kirenenko, and they celebrate until realizing the bullet only made a hole in Kirenenko's magazine. He notices the hole and becomes enraged, throwing the boxes and barrels that make up the roadblock and even his own car at the police, causing an explosion that rains down car parts on them, as well at Kirenenko's suitcase, which he catches.

Episode 18 - Watch for Dancers (ダンス注意)

Putin drives along the road with Leningrad beside him and Kirenenko in the back seat. Like episode 5, this episode is an exploration of music created from sounds in their environment, including the police firing on their car. At the end of the episode, Leningrad defecates out Komanech.

Episode 19 - Watch for Missiles (ミサイル注意)

Kirenenko shines his sneakers until Komanech reveals herself to be inside the sneaker, which causes him to stick her head out the window and rolling it up until she's trapped. The police arrive, armed with a missile launcher. They fire it, carrying Kirenenko out the front of the car. The missile eventually runs out of fuel, causing him to crash on top of the police car and detonate the missile. The explosion propels Kirenenko back toward his own car, but carries Putin out of the car, which now chases after them.

Episode 20 - Watch for Punctures (パンク注意)

One of the tires goes flat, and Putin stops the car to fix it. Kirenenko takes this opportunity to get out and lay on the hill next to the road. Putin quickly replaces the tire, but before he can put the lugnuts back on, the new tire also goes flat. The police drive up in an armored tank and fire on Kirenenko, which blows him onto the road. He rips the top off the tank and forces them to pull his car along the road, while Putin chases holding a tire.

Episode 21 - Watch your Speed (スピード注意)

The engine overheats, and Putin gets out to look, noticing a jet flying overhead. Kirenenko throws a boulder at it, and the jet crashes right next to them, causing Putin to faint. Kirenenko pulls him along the road and wakes him up next to the jet's engine. Putin attaches the engine to the back of the car and starts it up, but it goes right through the car, with the rabbits in front of it. Pieces of Kirenenko's head start flying off until he eventually dies, with a halo appearing above him.

Episode 22 - Watch for Tanks (戦車注意)

Putin drives along with Kirenenko's corpse beside him, his head bandaged up. A tank appears in front of them and fires on the car, which swerves around the tank before they get fired on again. The tank turns around and continues shooting, causing damage to and eventually shatters the car, which Putin quickly fixes. He then presses a button on the dash to pop out bigger tires and the jet engine, and they get away from the tank. The previously dead Kirenenko reanimates and takes the bandages off to reveal that his eye is now in the wrong place.

Episode 23 - Watch for Mods (改造注意)

Putin works on the car and gets back in to test the new functions, including armor and a machine that brushes the driver's teeth. Putin looks back to see the toothbrush has made a second hole in Kirenenko's magazine. Kirenenko gets back in the car, having been on the side of the road, and notices the hole. Before he can do anything, however, Putin pushes the ejector seat button, temporarily getting himself out of harm's way, until Kirenenko drives up below where he was landing.

Episode 24 - Watch for Fakes (偽物注意)

The car pulls up to a roadside kiosk, and Putin gets out to buy food, which he eats, then runs into the outhouse, which explodes. Kirenenko walks up to the stand and sees a row of sneakers. He picks up a pair of them, which also explodes. The "shopkeeper" is then revealed to be a painting on a tank with the police inside. They repeatedly fire on Kirenenko, driving him into the ground. Kirenenko burrows into the tank and fires both of the police into the ground.

Episode 25 - Watch for Inspection (検問注意)

Putin stops at the end of a long line of cars at a roadblock set up by the police force to try to find Kirenenko and him, and pushes a button which disguises both rabbits. The police pull Putin out and frisk him, while other officers find Kirenenko and drag him out into the road. Boris and Copuchief arrive and begin firing. Putin gets back in the car and pushes a button to grab Kirenenko and jump away from the scene. He looks back to see a bunch of police cars chasing after them, even driving on the hills on both sides of the road.

Episode 26 - Watch for General Offensive 総攻撃注意

Continuing from the previous episode, the police start firing on them. Putin activates the armor while the police cars surround them and fire, ripping off the front armor panels and ripping Kirenenko's magazine. Kirenenko becomes enraged and runs toward the police, smashing their cars one by one, causing the police to flee. Boris and Copuchief start firing everything they have, but Kirenenko remains unfazed. Putin wakes up in the car (now with the top torn off) and looks over to see the police and their cars buried in the ground. Kirenenko gets in and they drive off as the sun sets, heading toward a city.

External links

* [http://www.usavich.tv/ Usavich.tv]
* [http://www.kanaban.com/ Kanaban Graphics]


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