Worried what something your kids are going to drag you through is going to be like? Want to get your little darlings to try something that you might also enjoy watching? Curious to find out if what your cherubs have being talking about all week isn’t some kind of crazed psychology project? Jenna Pateman gets to see many weird and wonderful children’s television shows thanks to her daughter, and when she isn’t too busy doing the parent thing she will be sharing her findings with you!
Modern-day Paris is under attack! The evil villain Hawkmoth is sending out Akumas, small black butterflies with the power to transform the citizens of Paris into monsters if they are having a rather bad day… but thankfully the duo Ladybug and Chat Noir are there to defend protect the city of love. No-one knows these superheroes’ identities, however, it is obvious to the witnesses that Chat Noir is in love with Ladybug, flirting with her every time they appear, although it appears that Ladybug doesn’t return the feelings. When Paris is not under attack, the magical Ladybug is a Parisian teenage, Marinette Dupain-Cheng who is able to transform thanks to her magical earrings, and her Kwami, the ladybug like cute thing, Tikki. Mariette lives with her mother and father above a French Bakery, she dreams of becoming fashion designer and is in love with her classmate and model Adrien Agreste, who unknown to her, transforms into her partner Chat Noir using his Miraculous Ring, and his Kwami, Plagg, a black cat.
Miraculous Ladybug was originally created by Thomas Astruc and developed by Jeremy Zag and Zagtoons, a French animation studio, although it is a truly an international production being made by many animation houses including Method Animation and De Agostini Editor S.p.A. from Italy, Toei Animation from Japan, SAMG Animation from South Korea, DQ Entertainment and Assemblage Entertainment from India, and Globosat from Brazil. The series was developed over many years with the first piece of animation for the franchise coming out as a 2D animated PV pilot made by Toei Animation, which had a much darker tone than the CGI series that started in 2015, however, it did start the momentum for the adult fandom.
I was personally was introduced to the show, simply due to my daughter deciding that the promo image looked really cute on Netflix, and thus pressed play, and led to us both enjoying ourselves, and me quickly searching out for the fandom (and quickly devoured a lot of excellent fanfiction)
So why do I enjoy a CGI animated show aimed at young children?
Well, first off, the characters are great. Mariette, in my opinion, is a great role model for young children. Part of this is due to her problem-solving skills, as instead of hitting the villains, she uses her brain to come up with ways to defeat them and save the day. Actually all the teenaged characters are brilliant role models, with the show’s staff coming up with really unique and different kids, who you could see being in a class together. Every one of them has their own talents, likes and dislikes, and you see some of them struggle with issues such as anxiety and confidence, especially as the show’s monsters of the week, the Akuma, are mostly the transformed side characters, and the reason that happens to them is very much tied to their emotional state.
The main villain Hawkmoth (otherwise known as Papillion in the original French) is an amazingly over the top bad guy, with both the voice actor and animators making the character chews the scenery in every scene he is in, as well as appearing to have an understandable motive that is slowly being revealed to the audience.
Adrien, the other main lead, is just a cinnamon roll. He is a young man who just wants to have a little bit of freedom, to be able to attend the local school and go out with his friends, but due to his stern and controlling father, he is very limited in want he can do, and keep a picture-perfect image. Because of this when he is transformed into Chat Noir, you can tell he loves being a superhero, allowing him to have fun and run across Paris’ rooftops, without his father knowing anything.
The main reason I adore this show is simply how silly and dumb the show is. For example one of the latest released episodes has the class going on what was effectively the Eurostar to visit London, and the train and all it’s passengers end up in space. There is also the fact that one of the teenage boys, Max, has created his own small flying robot with an advanced AI, that no-one questions. Although a lot of Hawkmoth’s Akumas come from the Mariette and Aiden’s classmates, he does also end up transforming some very ridiculous things and people including Max’s robot, multiple young children because they were having tantrums or nightmares, a rockstar and his pet crocodile, a local man that loves pigeons a little too much, Santa, and of course a baby, who turns into a giant who goes on a rampage in Paris because he didn’t get a lollipop. Plagg, Adrien’s kwami loves stinky cheese to the point of obsession. Oh, and Paris’s famous landmarks, including a certain tower, get destroyed or toppled on a regular basis.
The show, especially in season 2 and 3, is prepared to make fun of its self, but still, have plot twists that even surprised me. There are some generally heartwarming moments, seeing how much all the characters and side character care for each other. The show also delights in teasing the audience, especially with what is affectionately called the ‘love square’ between Mariette/ Ladybug and Ariden/ Chat Noir, using the fact that the audience knows exactly who is the owner of each of the Miraculous to its advantage for both drama and comedy.
The show also makes use of a very creative staff in terms of designs, especially for the heroes, villains and of course the Akuma of the week, making for a very bright and attractive show. Although there are a few moments of less than stellar animation, the vast majority of episodes have superb animation and some really interesting shots, especially for a show of its type.
If you have enjoyed magical girl shows before, I would highly recommend Miraculous Ladybug. It takes many of its cues from the classic tropes of the genre and has fun with them. It is also a very good watch for anyone that have to keep some children entertained for a little while, knowing that both you and the younger individual will have a good time.
Also…. It makes me really want to visit Paris….
Jenna Pateman is one of the hosts of Reel History, now broadcasting on Bunkazilla. Check the schedule for upcoming broadcast times.
You can follow Jenna on twitter @nadesicokitty and if you enjoyed her work you can support here at Ko-fi.com. Just hit the button below.