Wow, a talking fish!
February 6, 2010 2:19 PM   Subscribe

"Wow, a talking fish!" is a cheerfully deranged bit of animation based on an Armenian fairy-tale, starring a poor old fisherman, a talking fish, and probably the most psychedelic wizard ever committed to film.
posted by wanderingmind (32 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Fucking incredible.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 2:36 PM on February 6, 2010

So the moral of the story is, uh, be nice to fish and you'll never need to buy drugs again.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 2:40 PM on February 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, "wow" doesn't really cover it.
posted by queensissy at 2:40 PM on February 6, 2010

posted by Elmore at 2:46 PM on February 6, 2010


So, uh. Yup.

I'm still not entirely clear on the tech behind it, but I grow increasingly sure by the day that the internet can get me high.
posted by Stunt at 2:51 PM on February 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

Here's a different version (text only), from a collection of 19 other Armenian fairy tales. There are a few more Armenian fairy tales on the wikipedia list of fairy tales, amongst the many others.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:57 PM on February 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

At first I thought, "Oh, look. The wizard is based loosely on the Blue Meanies." That impression didn't last long. Are we sure that Owsley didn't disappear into central Europe?
posted by hippybear at 3:04 PM on February 6, 2010

Aha - thanks, filthy light thief. I was looking for the original tale to pad this post out some, but there are enough differences that I was thrown off pretty well.
posted by wanderingmind at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2010

I loved this!

Does anyone know what the answer to the riddle is?
posted by spacewaitress at 3:23 PM on February 6, 2010

Am I missing a lot in the translation of the were-fish's story? I feel like it's a bunch of wordplay that I don't get.

And, yeah, that's one psychedelic wizard. I don't think drugs alone can explain that. It's more like thinking waaaay too much about what you'd do if you were a shapeshifter.
posted by cmoj at 3:24 PM on February 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

A shapeshifter with drugs.
posted by Stunt at 3:29 PM on February 6, 2010

I like how the fish in human fom is wearing Addidas. The animators put at in a lot of attention to small detail. Definitely rewards careful viewing... and I also get the impression that there's a lot of idiom, pun and cultural-specific humor in the Fish's riddle that was lost in translation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:35 PM on February 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

That. Was. Excellent.

cmoj, there isn't really any wordplay, it's mostly random (though picturesque) nonsense to confuse the wizard who (ostensibly) came to confuse the old man with riddles. This type of flowery imagery is more common in Russian than English, at least in everyday speech.
posted by Scarf Face at 3:40 PM on February 6, 2010

is all Armenian animation this cool? Watch out Anime...
posted by Redhush at 3:59 PM on February 6, 2010

There's something fishy about this.
posted by Elmore at 4:03 PM on February 6, 2010

That was incredible. Anyone found anything else they've animated?!
posted by ubersturm at 5:06 PM on February 6, 2010

IMDB has this on Robert Sahakyants and I think this is the movie. Here's Sahakyants' obituary. Sounds like quite a guy. Wikipedia just has a stub and has nothing. Here's another obituary. “Youth was kept in him, and it is impossible to create animation films without it. This is an irretrievable loss.”

posted by wobh at 7:37 PM on February 6, 2010

Lovely animation. Good story too. And the wizard sequence is exactly how I wish all Saturday morning cartoons were (this may have something to do with watching H. R. Pufnstuff as a child.)
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:29 PM on February 6, 2010

A few more from Sahakyants et al. (subtitle-free but you'll get the gist):
Kto rasskazhet nebylitsu? (1982)
V sinem more, v beloy pene... (1984)
Ish ty, maslenitsa! (1985)
posted by gubo at 8:33 PM on February 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

well this is kinda psychedelic too
posted by MrLint at 8:46 PM on February 6, 2010

ek ho was great.

posted by FusiveResonance at 9:47 PM on February 6, 2010

What is the source of the whole 'deal with a demon/devil, but there's a catch' meme? Seems to pop-up everywhere. Im guessing there's probably a proto-story that predates Faust or even Christianity.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:19 PM on February 6, 2010

Im also surprised that the Armenian word for "echo" worked out so well in translation.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:20 PM on February 6, 2010

The story in Genesis chapters 2 and 3 probably goes way back. "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it" seems like a primal bit of wisdom.

also, we get 'echo' from Greek.
posted by wobh at 12:09 AM on February 7, 2010

A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:50 AM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow, flashback time.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who noticed the Adidas on the fish-man. Russians in the 1980s coined the term "adidasovsky" (meaning Adidas-like, and by extension cool, awesome, or as Time magazine translates it, terrific) based on the popularity of Adidas shoes. It stands to reason that Armenians adopted the term or were familiar with it.

Anyone know when this cartoon was made?
posted by Marla Singer at 3:52 AM on February 7, 2010

To answer my own question: 1983. It says so at the very end, after the credits.
posted by Marla Singer at 4:00 AM on February 7, 2010

As a lifelong fan of animation, I've been amazed to find out very recently that there was a whole world of marvelous Eastern European animated cartoons that weren't accessible to me. When I found this cartoon not long ago, "A Fire Glows in Yaranga," I was so delighted that I thought of making an FPP for it, but then I realized I didn't have any supporting info or context and wouldn't find enough without reading Russian. (And it was directed by a woman in the 1950s, no less! The hell she could have done that in an American studio.)
posted by Countess Elena at 8:16 AM on February 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:25 AM on February 7, 2010

Dammit, Hardcore Poser. Now I'm going to have the HR Puffnstuff theme music in my head all day (and I didn't even need to click on the link for that to happen).
posted by JaredSeth at 1:31 PM on February 7, 2010

Sorry JaredSeth; I'd forgotten the power of earworms. They hibernate for decades and can't be killed; only replaced.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:07 PM on February 7, 2010

See also:
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:28 PM on February 7, 2010

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