At first glance, Marinette Dupain-Cheng appears to be just an ordinary girl, living with her parents in France and helping out at their family bakery. At school, it seems that the most she has to deal with are crushes and annoying classmates. However, with a pair of magical earrings, Marinette can transform into the Miraculous Ladybug, one of Paris’s greatest superheroes, fighting alongside her partner, Chat Noir (French for Black Cat). Ladybug and Chat Noir are destined to fight the nefarious Hawkmoth, or Le Papillon in French. Le Papillon is a rogue who can turn ordinary humans into supervillains. These two heroes must also stop him from stealing their Miraculous, the objects that give them their powers.

Miraculous Ladybug

Originally premiering worldwide in 2015, MIRACULOUS LADYBUG, otherwise known as MIRACULOUS LADYBUG: THE ADVENTURES OF LADYBUG AND CHAT NOIR, is an ongoing animated series. The show is an international phenomenon, co-produced by several animation studios, including ZAG Animation, Method Animation, Toei, and SAMG Animation studios, animation forces from France, Korea, and Japan.  The show focuses on the captivating dynamics between Marinette Dupain-Cheng/ Ladybug, and her crime-fighting partner, Adrien Agreste/ Chat Noir.

Here are some of the reasons why I love MIRACULOUS LADYBUG and why you would too:

Diversity

First of all, Marinette, the titular protagonist, is biracial, the daughter of French/Chinese parentage. The show takes the time to address Marinette’s heritage in what I thought was a subtle and respectful manner, including moments when she struggles with speaking Chinese (as not all POC automatically know their family’s ancestral language), as well as facing cultural miscommunications with relatives. Also, Marinette’s full name translated from both Chinese and French languages translates to “the one who rises to make the bread,” appropriate for a girl whose family owns a bakery. What’s more, the show’s diversity doesn’t stop at featuring Marinette as a token minority, showcasing the entire character set as a heterogeneous mixture of ethnicities and backgrounds.

Miraculous Ladybug

Miraculous Ladybug

Marinette Dupain-Cheng is a bright, talented, creative young woman, trying to balance her daily life with all the responsibilities that entail being France’s greatest superheroine. Marinette lives as an incredible hero and as an aspiring fashion designer, dreaming up new creations in her spare time. This demonstrates that feminine interests don’t necessarily detract from superheroic qualities, a positive message for male and female viewers alike. As Ladybug, she is fluid and confident in battle, using her fighting skills and cleverness to defeat her opponents.

Admittedly, she stumbles over her crush on her classmate, Adrien Agreste (let’s face it, first-time crushes are embarrassing and awkward). However, Marinette’s feelings for Adrian only define one aspect of her character. Furthermore, the romance plays a thematic role in the story. MIRACULOUS LADYBUG avoids the simplistic trope of “female characters need a love interest.” Loyal and devoted to her friends and family, Marinette embodies the most of her “average girl” life and “superhero” life in a beautiful force of a character.

READ: Want better and more Asian representation? So do we!

Chat Noir

On paper, Adrien Agreste seems to have a perfect life: popular at his school, a talented fencer, and a successful teenage fashion model. However, behind his usually cheerful appearance, Adrien lives under an exceeding amount of pressure, striving to meet his taciturn father’s high standards of perfection while maintaining a secret identity of his own. As opposed to Adrien’s humble, quiet, and reserved personality, Chat Noir acts as Adrien’s wilder, more romantic alter-ego, constantly cracking cat-related puns and flirting with his partner, Ladybug. Just as the show wouldn’t be MIRACULOUS LADYBUG without Ladybug, Chat Noir/ Adrien Agreste’s character is essential to the overall charm captured by the show.

Miraculous ladybug

In a video interview with the creators of MIRACULOUS LADYBUG, the protagonists were said to have been directly inspired by actual superheroes, as seen by Ladybug swinging around the city using her magical yo-yo like a female Spiderman and the flirtatious Chat Noir acting as a tribute to Catwoman. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, there’s more.

Magical Girl/Superhero

The world the characters live in obviously applies superhero logic. The masked “good guys,” Ladybug and Chat Noir, must combat superpowered foes headed by an evil mastermind, Le Papillon. Yet elements of the Magical Girl Trope also appear, such as the fabulous transformation sequence (not limited by gender as clearly seen by Chat Noir’s transformation scene) and the “calling out your attacks” trope as seen in Magical Girl shows, such as Sailor Moon, with phrases like “transformez-moi”(Transform me) and “Il est temps de démoraliser” (It’s time to de-evilize, in the rough English translation.)

A lot of the same dynamics found within superhero stories are present within the Magical Girl genre as well. One such idea is the Paper-Thin Disguise trope, a situation in which when the protagonists put on their masks they become completely unrecognizable to their daily companions and loved ones, despite the many physical similarities between their regular selves and alter egos, similar to the Clark Kent/Superman situation. The show fluidly combines these elements, demonstrating the fundamental nature of heroism. Magical Girl shows and Western superhero shows have fundamental similarities regardless of traditional gender roles.

READ: Need more feminist and diverse cartoons? Check out DreamWorks’ VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER

Romantic Dynamics

Miraculous Ladybug

The romantic dynamic between the two protagonists contributes much to MIRACULOUS LADYBUG’s drama and comedy. Marinette has an intense crush on Adrien. She cannot confess because of her constant stuttering and shyness, while Adrien only sees her as a good friend. Ironically, he is madly in love with Ladybug as both Adrien and Chat Noir, spouting his adoration for her. Ladybug only humors Chat Noir’s flirting, seeing him as just a faithful partner. Neither have any idea of the other’s true identity, creating what the French theme song calls a “criss-crossed love.”  The show creates a love quadrangle by only using two individuals. Remember this before complaining how your own love life is complicated.

READ: If you are a romantic looking for great love stories, be sure to look at the upcoming BINGO LOVE!

It’s also important to note the sense of respect found in the entire love dynamic. Miraculous Ladybug and Chat Noir are equal partners, each contributing to their victories through their own skills and talents. When Chat Noir flirts with Ladybug, he never pushes past her point of comfort. He respects her personal boundaries while admiring her talents as a superhero. Though Marinette originally idolizes Adrien as her crush, she is primarily attracted to him for his kindness and sincerity. She eventually begins a genuine friendship with him with the possibility of it turning into love.

Miraculous Ladybug

A Miraculous Show Indeed

I first discovered MIRACULOUS LADYBUG while surfing the web. The polka dotted superheroine piqued my interest, and I decided that the show merited a look. The first few episodes immediately hooked me. Its animation style was unique and well-done, featuring fluid CGI animation with each character and setting possessing a distinctive design. Also, the writing is perfect for an all-ages audience. It captures the humorous antics of a superhero’s double life while teeming with romance, friendship, and adventure. It’s all set to an amazing musical soundtrack as well. MIRACULOUS LADYBUG features all of the things I look for as a fangirl: feminist themes, beautiful graphics, racial diversity, and captivating characters.

The creators have announced that the show has been renewed for a second and third season. Season 2 will be premiering this year, most likely around the summer of 2017. I would highly recommend watching this series because this show is truly Miraculous.

MIRACULOUS LADYBUG is available for viewing on Netflix.

One Comment

  1. Hakeem

    December 2, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Great work#Love the ladybug character, i hope comicverse entertains new superhero characters tho….cos i got one.and wish there is enough space for another superhero for great france and the world too…..via d comicverse franchise..Thank you.

    Reply

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