Image Credit: Miraculous Ladybug
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir is the cutest show I have seen in a long time. Produced by both French and Korean animation companies, Miraculous is a wonderful example of the magic that happens when people around the world work together. The concept seems simple at first glance. The show focuses on the stories of Marinette, a half French, half Chinese teenager, and her crush Adrien, a young French supermodel whose powerful father is distant at best. When danger strikes, Marinette becomes Ladybug and Adrien turns into Cat Noir, superheroes armed with miraculous items that give them the power needed to fight the forces of evil sent against them by a mysterious man named Hawkmoth. Marinette is in love with Adrien, and Cat Noir is enamored with Ladybug. If only they realized that the person they loved returned the feeling!
The wonderful thing about this mutual, mixed up love is because Ladybug and Cat Noir don’t know each other’s civilian identities, this pairing of one boy and one girl has actually broken off into four different couples with four shipping names: Ladrien, Marichat, Adrienette and my favorite, LadyNoir (shipping = fans publicly declaring that they want a certain couple to get together). It’s great to see their interactions with each other in all their different combinations, with Ladybug groaning at Cat Noir’s puns while Marinette gets all moony eyed at the very mention of Adrien’s name. There’s enough substance in their relationship(s) that I’m confident the show can continue on for quite some time and keep its adorable, fun-loving wit. Apparently the producers think so too, since Miraculous already has two more seasons scheduled!
While originally envisioned by Thomas Astruc as a show for a young adult audience, this concept didn’t gain traction with networks, and the show was eventually reconstructed into the kid-friendly form it holds today. This hasn’t stopped a boatload of adult fans from showing up though. The show has been a huge hit around the world, from Korea to America and even in Kazakhstan! Fans are drawing excellent fan art daily, making videos, creating cosplays of the costumes, and just generally adding to the awesomeness that this show already holds. Seeing such an active, worldwide fandom for a show is great, and I have fun watching episodes in English, French or Korean depending on which mood has struck me that day. Miraculous reflects the global community we live in today both in its creation and with the diverse cast of characters to be found on the show.
Being a kids’ show, there are some pretty gaping plot holes in Miraculous, the greatest problem being that the flimsy disguises Marinette and Adrien wear couldn’t possibly hide their identities from the world, least of all from each other! The villain of the week is also pretty hit or miss, with some like Lady Wi-Fi being sort of cool while others like Kung Food *shudder* should just never have seen the light of day. Still, the less than stellar villains are made up for with the great character writing of our main heroes and the supporting cast. Also, the villains may be cheesy, but the way they are formed is philosophically fascinating, something I’d like to touch on in a later article.
I would recommend Miraculous Ladybug to anyone who loves superheroes, romance, France and overall general cuteness. Influenced by such heavy hitting figures as Spiderman and Sailor Moon, I believe this show has the potential to become a cartoon classic, loved by child and parent alike and looked back on with fondness many years down the line. Here’s to a long run though, and many more Miraculers (as Thomas Astruc calls fans of the show) to come!
P.S. Miraculous Ladybug merchandise will be available in August of 2016! Dolls, plushies, action figures, accessories, comics… Eep! I can’t wait!