Reading Between Reviews: Miraculous Ladybug

Heyo.  First post on this blog, let’s go!

So, there’s a French 3D animation that, in recent months, has been taking the world by storm, creating a fandom over the course of just a few nights: a fandom that has only continued to grow.  From its beginnings as a 2D anime-esque short, to the 26 episode western animation that it is today, Miraculous Ladybug has received quite a number of favorable reviews.  And, having watched it recently myself, I’d like to put in my two cents on the show!

For the sake of organization, I’ll be dividing this review into five sections, which I’ll do my best to keep relatively concise.  These will be story, characters, style/art, thematic elements, and personal enjoyment.  Also- for those who haven’t watched, I’m keeping this relatively plot-free. With that out of the way, let’s get into it!

1. Story

Here’s the scene.  In the beautiful city of Paris, France, we have a young pair of superheros, Ladybug, and Chat Noir, who fight off evil supervillains on the daily, controlled by the mysterious Papillon.  Or I suppose, for those who watched the English dub, Hawkmoth.  Corrupting and empowering the citizens of Paris, Papillon schemes in the shadows to take the source of the superheroes’ powers, their Miraculouses, for whatever nefarious purposes he has.  All the while, Ladybug and Chat Noir have to live out their normal middle schooler lives, as the clumsy, nice girl Marinette, and the rich, socially awkward young model, Adrian.

Miraculous is an episodic superhero show: a very villain-of-the-week kind of plot line.  Because of this, it should be judged as such.  You’re not going to get into the show for its huge plot twists or its complex storyline, but rather, the antics of these two superheroes, and the villains they face, on a day to day basis.  Because of this, if the two protagonists and the villains they faced weren’t executed right, it would be a much less entertaining series.  But luckily, between unique powers, great designs, and interesting character interactions, there’s more than enough charm to keep the series fresh from episode to episode.

It is what it is,  and as such, the continual story is….not very concrete.  Beyond basic character development and certain small details, picked up from setting to setting, we don’t get much in the way of a streamlined timeline, at least until near the end.  However, what we do get is enough to set our mind ablaze with possibilities: of what could potentially be in the Miraculous universe.  Who knows: after all, it’s only season one!

2. Characters

Although not the most complex, dramatic, or compelling characters, Miraculous is very, very adept at making its characters…just plain likable.

We have the main character, Marinette, the clumsy, awkward, nice girl, who comes from a loving family and has her fair share of friends in her middle school class.  Gifted by the kwami, Tikki, she is given the powers of luck and creation, with which she fights evil, under the guise of Ladybug: a confident, strong, sassy and snarky superheroine.  With her best friend Alya (who coincidentally, runs a blog all about Ladybug) she goes to school every day, trying to live a normal life when she can, helping her parents run their store, and participating in various crafts on her own time.MP_Making_of_a_derby_3If Marinette is the simple teenage girl living a normal life, then Adrian is the one who is completely separated from any semblance of normal.  He’s been blessed with looks, fame, and smarts, and is a young model who could have everything he ever wanted, except genuine care from a father who is cold, and a mother who is gone.  However, he studies hard, and is hopeful to make new friends.  Gifted by the kwami, Plagg, he is also given the powers of bad luck and destruction, so he too can fight evil as Chat Noir: a cocky, outgoing hero who makes ENTIRELY too many bad puns involving cats, and, coincidentally, is head over heels in love with Ladybug.Adrien_Agreste

These two leads make an incredibly engaging, incredibly entertaining duo that are honestly great to watch.  They are characters with depth, feeling, and relative complexity in regards to some other shows, but more than that, they’re just fun.  As they ought to be.  And although their characters are somewhat static as far as personality traits, it is honestly their interactions with others, that evolve over time, that are more interesting to watch.tumblr_o1w93nMbPg1v4gjf6o1_1280

Now.  When talking about the characters of Miraculous Ladybug, I’ve gotta mention two things.  First of all, every character, even the side ones, have great personalities in their own right, even if rather simplistic in what character archetypes they fulfill.  I’ve mentioned Alya, who is incessantly positive and kind, but there’s also Nino, Adrian’s fun-loving best friend, and of course, alpha bitch Chloe, who is probably responsible for the majority of conflicts in Miraculous.  Essentially, every character, even if they fulfill some basic stereotype, is a joy to watch on screen (or in Chloe’s case, kind of a more bitter frustration), and due to the episodic nature of the show, each one gets their own time to shine, for the most parttumblr_o2zcpsBSvB1srovwqo4_1280

Second.  The romantic square that is played up between  Marinette/Ladybug and Adrian/Chat Noir have is ridiculous.  In the best way.  Augh.  It’s just.  Augh.  So good.tumblr_inline_nzqwtygOVF1rg41qj_500

So yeah.  overall, the characters are great.

3. Style/Art

Perhaps where this show can be said to shine its brightest- literally- Miraculous knows the tone it’s trying to set, and its art, its general style is just so good.  It is a bright show, a happy-go-lucky one, and its tremendous, ridiculously detailed, bright, colorful world reflects that perfectly.  The good guys win, the bad guys lose, and the leading protagonists get to go back home in time for…well maybe not in time for class, but their lives aren’t too bad.

Beyond just setting a tone through the show’s art, its music, I have to mention that this is some amazing CGI animation.  There are moments that shine more than others, certainly, but no other animated show I’ve seen has maintained such a consistent level of quality.  Pictures don’t quite do it justice, but, just take my word for it, it looks pretty amazing.

This show looks absolutely beautiful- from its action choreography, to its slower moments, when Marinette’s in class, engaging in hijinks with her friends, or arguing with Chloe, Miraculous oozes quality.

tumblr_inline_o0rbr1YR6A1sftejj_540

4. Thematic Elements

I mention thematic elements just because, hey.  I like when series or shows have themes you can track or see.  Were going to be looking at general moralities, moods, and lessons that Miraculous tends to focus on as a whole- so beyond the story, beyond the episodes, what’s the nature of the show itself?

As a bright, happy-go-lucky show, we can expect a very positive attitude, focusing of course, on the themes of friendship.  Alya and Marinette share a close bond, as do Nino and Adrian.  Heck, even the side characters are shown to have good friendships.There are two themes, one deep, one not quite so, that permeate this show to a decent degree.

The first one, the obvious one, is the theme that both Ladybug and Chat Noir, as characters, both adhere to: luck.  As a show revolving around two characters essentially based on luck and bad luck, we get a decent amount of exposure to the theme that defines them.

Personally however, I find that Miraculous Ladybug has a huge focus Gabriel_and_Adrien_Agreste_Portraiton family.  Marinette and Adrian have drastically different families that influence the way in which their characters develop, and the odd thing is, family is usually not mentioned outright.  You simply get the sense that the families are there, which, I guess is true in other similar cartoons and animations.  However, just personally speaking, I don’t thtumblr_o1gamjfMTp1uiscmzo2_r1_540ink I’ve seen another children’s show that…has the sort of familial subtext that this one has.  It’s not the deepest sort of theme, it’s not the most concrete, but it’s certainly there, and I just thought it was worth mentioning.

Overall, thematically, it’s pretty…cut-and-dry.  More interesting themes than most children’s shows, but certainly not to any extreme level that other, similar shows have reached.  Perhaps in the future?

5. Personal Enjoyment

So. Miraculous Ladybug.  Essentially, I thought it was very enjoyable- it didn’t pretend to be anything other than what it was, and although, normally, I really really realllyyyy dislike episodic, villain-of-the-week shows such as this, I have to say they did a really good job with it.  From a design standpoint, everything works.  It’s a beautiful show, with engaging characters, an entertaining dynamic between the main characters, and just enough information to keep you interested in the world that Miraculous is trying to build- especiallyyy in the last five episodes.  Thematically speaking, it’s very, very positive, so you might not enjoy it so much if you’re looking for gripping plot or surprising darkness, but hey, I think it’s still worth a look.

So yeah.  Needless to say, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It knew what it was trying to do, and it executed it well.  Twas a fun ride! ヽ(´▽`)ノ

SW_Pound_it

And with that, just totalling up what I think, I’ll give Miraculous a solid 9.25/10, carried by its incredible graphics, style, and characters, and slightly weighed down, in my personal opinion, by its slightly one-dimensional plot and themes.  I’m hopeful for something more in season 2!  Regardless, even if we get more of the same, it’s certainly a series I’m going to be looking forward to!

 

Disclaimer: I do not claim to own any of the pictures or gifs that I’ve used here.  If anyone sees something they believe is theirs, then contact me, and I’ll take care of it ASAP!

 

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