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Squirrel and Hedgehog (다람이와 고슴도치) is a North Korean cartoon developed by SEK. Widely considered to be political and militant propaganda, the show has nonetheless gained a massive following not only in it's native North Korea, but outside of the country as well.

The story revolves around the titled Squirrels and Hedgehogs of Flower Hill as they defend their home from various would-be invaders, thought to be inspired by real nations who have at some point taken arms against North Korea.

The show's influence can be seen in it's various merchandising, it's songs sung in concert by children, it's characters used as mascots for various products. It has also produced a spin off Manhwa and even video games.

SEK has prided itself on stating that Squirrel and Hedgehog was always intended to instill in children a sense of love for their home country and the military defending it, and inspire loyalty and patriotism.

In the late 2000s, Italian company Mondo TV acquired the rights to a localization and developed "Brave Soldiers", a show that uses footage and very base elements of it's source material to become a show of it's own. Brave Soldiers is generally not as fondly looked upon by fans of the original.

Episodes 1 through to 24 where animated by hand using cels and traditional hand-drawn animation techniques.

Episodes 25-28 utilised Toon Boom animation Software after which, the remainder of the series was animated using Adobe Flash.

Plot

Season 1

When a small village of Squirrels in the nation of Flower Hill come under attack, they are forced to join forces with their neighbouring Hedgehogs and Ducks and defend their land. Spies Juldarami and Geumsaegi are sent to integrate into enemy territory and uncover various plans, weapons of mass destruction and put their lives on the line to save their country.

Season 2

Having defeated the Weasels and come home at last, Flower Hill is met with a new threat as Wolves threaten to invade. Their strength and weapons terrifying to behold, Geumsaegi must once again infiltrate the enemy in order to keep them from his beloved Flower Hill.

Production

Squirrel and Hedgehog was shown and rebroadcast on Chosun Central TV up until 2013 when the show abruptly ceased production under a "temporary" suspension. At the time of this writing the suspension has not yet complete bringing many to wonder if Squirrel and Hedgehog has been cancelled.

However, articles in 2018 show the existence of an Android game available in North Korea, Brave Scout which has people wondering if this is marketing to build up hype for the end of the hiatus, or simply cashing in on nostalgia.

That being said, Squirrel and Hedgehog's production has been full of various hiatuses and suspensions lasting years at a time for varying reasons.

Episodes 1-4 where made and broadcast between 1977 to 1982.

Episodes 5-14 released in the 1990's only to have severe issues and delays caused by The March of Suffering and the ensuing aftermath.

Production resumed more smoothly commencing from episode 15 onwards from the early to mid 2000s.

Season 2 began with Operation Noose in late 2006 with a brand new animation style. , however it would be two years before the next two episodes in 2008 would appear and another two years for another in late 2010.

The final three episodes produced thus far came out on a yearly basis until 2012 , thereafter production entered hiatus in 2013.

Influence

The show is considered a classic in North Korea, as beloved by many natives as Disney is to a Western audience.

Murals featured on the wall of the Changchon nursery school

It is considered by many as a staple in young children's entertainment to the point where very young children have been filmed singing the various songs from the show, re-enacting episodes as school plays and murals being painted in classrooms.

The show has sold a number of toys, articles of clothing and accessories, backpacks and stationary.

Many adults reportedly look back fondly on episodes of the series, which is unsurprising given the length and popularity on the show.

It is uncertain when footage of the show leaked to western audiences, but in the early to mid 2010's, semi-translated videos began to crop up on youtube, which piqued a morbid curiosity at the idea of a propaganda cartoon depicting cute, lovable characters struggling in grisly combat.

Others, particularly those in the USA, were attracted by the Wolves who seemed to be caricatures of American military and found the portrayal to be unintentionally flattering.

The show appears to be particularly popular with English and Russian speaking audiences, though efforts have and are being made to offer faithful translations to those speaking alternate dialects.

Controversy

The show is often cited as evidence of brainwashing in North Korea, critics often pointing out its gruesome violence and presumed depiction of other nations as the enemy as evidence that it is training children to hate it's neighbouring countries.

Whilst SEK have denied the suggestion that characters are based on nationalities, the Manwha makes a more implicit connection; the initials "USA" imprinted on the Wolves' helmets being one example.

Others controversies include the supposed homoerotic tendencies. As the male characters are often shown embracing and dancing together, some have claimed that the show is pushing a homosexual agenda. Given the history of LGBT rights in North Korea, the implication of homosexuality perceived by the western audience is likely unintentional.

Regardless, "Brave Soldiers" averted the issue by making occasionally changing the identities of the character models and their genders and / or relation.

Cast

Unknown (episode 1, 2~4)

Won Jeong-Suk (episode 5~31)

Heo Gyeong-Hee (episode 32)

Unknown (episode 4)

Kim Tae-Lyeon (episode 10~13, 17)

Won Jeong-Suk (episode 14, 15)

Lim Bok-Hee (episode 19~)

Lim Un-Young

Unknown (episode 1~4)

Gwon Nyeong-Ju

Choe Hyeon-Ha

Kim Dae-Hong

Kim Dae-Hong

Unknown (episode 7~11)

Kim Tae-Lyeon (episode 6, 12~26)

Won Jeong-Suk (episode 27)

Lim Bok-Hee (episode 28~)

Gwon Nyeong-Ju (episode 8~26)

Lee Eun-Ju (episode 27)

Kim Dae-Hong

Unknown (episode 27, 28)

Kim Yeong-Cheol (episode 31~)

Kim Dae-Hong (episode 27)

Song Yeong-Cheol (episode 31~)

Lim Un-Young

Crew

TBA

List of Episodes

No. Title Card English Title Original Title Director Writer Music Original Air Date
S01 E01 Lesson for Squirrel image.png The Lesson for Squirrel 다람이가 찾은 교훈 Kim Jun-Ok Kim Jun-Ok Kim Jun-Ok, Kim Myeong-Hee 1977
S01 E02 In the Den of Weasels image.png In the Den of Weasels 족제비네 소굴에서 Kim Jun-Ok Kim Jun-Ok Kim Myeong-Hee 1978-1979
S01 E03 The Revenge Battle of the Squirrel image.png The Revenge Battle of the Squirrel 다람이의 복수전 Kim Jun-Ok Kim Jun-Ok Kim Myeong-Hee 1980-1981
S01 E04 The Scout Geumsaegdarami image.png The Scout, Geumsaegdarami 정찰병 금색다람이 Kim Jun-Ok Kim Jun-Ok Kim Myeong-Hee 1982-1983
S01 E05 The Continued Battle image.png The Continued Battle 끝나지 않은 싸움 Kim Gwang-Seong Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Baek In-Seong February 8, 1997
S01 E06 A Message Sent by Geumsaegi image.png A Message Sent by Geumsaegi 금색이가 날린 전파 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Han Sang-Cheol September 29, 1997
S01 E07 The Secret of Wolfspider Cave image.png The Secret of Wolfspider Cave 독거미굴의 비밀 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol December 13, 1997
S01 E08 Envoy to Mt. Rock image.png Envoy to Mt. Rock 돌산으로 날아간 특사 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol March 21, 1998
S01 E09 The Great Service of Goseumdochi image.png The Great Service of Goseumdochi 고슴도치의 위훈 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol June 12, 1998
S01 E10 A Battle at Mt. Rock image.png A Battle at Mt. Rock 돌산에서의 결전 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol September 1, 1998
S01 E11 Black Key image.png Black Key 검은 열쇠 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol October 30, 1998
S01 E12 A Dangerous Enemy image.png A Dangerous Enemy 위험한 적수 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol December 23, 1998
S01 E13 Secret Document image.png Secret Document 비밀문건 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol February 2, 1999
S01 E14 A Moment in the Enemy Rear image.png A Moment in the Enemy Rear 적후에서의 한순간 Kim Gwang-Seong Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol June 9, 1999
S01 E15 Operation White Snow image.png Operation White Snow 흰눈작전 Kim Gwang-Seong, Do Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol July 3, 1999
S01 E16 Operation White Snow Continues image.png Operation White Snow Continues 흰눈작전은 계속 된다 Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol September 18, 1999
S01 E17 Pangulggot Reports image.png "Pangulggot" Reports "방울꽃"은 보고한다 Do Cheol, Kim Young-Cheol Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol September 20, 2000
S01 E18 Through the Waves image.png Through the Waves 파도를 헤치고 Oh Sin-Hyeok Kim Hwa-Seong Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol November 30, 2000
S01 E19 A Hideous Plot image.png A Hideous Plot 무서운 음모 Kim Young-Cheol, Yun Young-Gil Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol April 1, 2001
S01 E20 An Explosion At Night image.png An Explosion At Night 밤하늘에 울린 폭음 Kim Young-Cheol, Lee Seok-Hoon Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol November 25, 2001
S01 E21 The Enemies are Alive image.png The Enemies are Alive 원쑤는 살아있다 Oh Sin-Hyeok Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol June 25, 2002
S01 E22 Searching For the Jewel Necklace image.png Searching For the Jewel Necklace 보석목걸이를 찾아서 Yun Young-Gil Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol December 24, 2002
S01 E23 At the Sturgeon Base image.png At the "Sturgeon" Base 철갑상어 기지에서 Yun Young-Gil Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol May 5, 2003
S01 E24 Against the Danger image.png Against The Danger 위험을 맞받아 Oh Sin-Hyeok, Gye Hun Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol July 10, 2003
S01 E25 Operation Thunder image.png Operation Thunder 벼락작전 Yun Young-Gil Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol November 28, 2004
S01 E26 Pangulggot in flames.png Pangulggot in Flames 불길속의 방울꽃 Oh Sin-Hyeok Kim Hwa-Seong, Lee Yeong-Chun Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol January 2, 2005
27 S02 E01 Noose Operation image.png Operation "Noose" "올가미" 작전 Oh Sin-Hyeok Choe In-Seong Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol December 27, 2006
28 S02 E02 The Secret Document of Dr. Dudeoji image.png The Secret Document of Dr. Dudeoji 두더지 박사의 비밀문건 Oh Sin-Hyeok Kim Hwa-Seong Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol January 1, 2008
29 S02 E03 In the den of huinjogjebi.png In the Den of Huinjogjebi 흰 족제비 소굴에서 Oh Sin-Hyeok Kim Hwa-Seong Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol August 25, 2008
30 S02 E04 Against the Enemies image.png Against the Enemies 원쑤를 맞받아 Lee Cheol Choe In-Seong Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol October 17, 2010
31 S02 E05 To the Den of the Wolf Unit image.png To the Den of the Wolf Unit 승냥이 소굴에로 Lee Cheol Choe In-Seong Kim Myeong-Hee, Ham Cheol February 17, 2011
32 S02 E06 Enemies are Vicious image.png Enemies are Vicious 원쑤는 간악하다 Lee Cheol Choe In-Seong Kim Myeong-Hee, Jeong Byeong-Cheol June 6, 2012

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