One day, while aimlessly browsing the Internet, I came across an image of a cat-like boy and a girl in a ladybug costume. As a fan of cartoons and anime, I decided to look into it, resulting in becoming a full-fledged member of a fandom within minutes, purchasing a red suit on Amazon for my Ladybug cosplay, and completely fangirling over the two main characters. This show is known as Miraculous: The Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, a new superhero cartoon that’s demanding the attention of viewer’s all around the world.
As many modern cartoons have disappointed, I was pleased to discover that Nickelodeon‘s new cartoon series offers an amazing experience that filled my heart with happiness after The Legend of Korra ended a year ago, and it became an instant favorite after watching the first episode. But what makes Miraculous Ladybug so great?
Here are the top ten reasons why Miraculous Ladybug is the best new cartoon:
10. Miraculous was originally going to be an anime by Toei Animation
It’s not often that shows switch from 2D to 3D or vice versa, but Miraculous Ladybug was originally planned to be a 2D anime series. The video above showcases a preview of what the series was initially going to look like, featuring vibrant character designs and amazing hand-drawn style. However, the developers most likely decided to make the switch to appeal to Western audiences, as well as the unfortunate downfall of the popularity of 2D animation. Simply planning to be an anime does not mean a series is automatically better than other shows, but this three-minute video managed to generate a lot of hype online, swiftly creating a fanbase.
The awesome style, the presentation of the characters, and an interesting superhero story premise have grabbed the attention of anime-lovers and cartoon-viewers alike. Toei Animation, one of the most influential anime studios, was the studio behind the animation in this video. Luckily, despite the change, they’re still using 3D animation. It’s important to note that even though it is 3D, it still looks fantastic. A side note: for fans of anime, an OVA for Miraculous: The Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir was recently confirmed!
9. Despite the switch to CGI, it’s still anime inspired (in a good way)
As noted before, simply being an anime-inspired toon doesn’t automatically make something great, as many anime tropes have been used one too many times. Miraculous Ladybug, however, is inspired in a great way, especially in the “magical girl” department. Each episode, both Cat Noir and Ladybug have lengthy transformation sequences that can be seen in anime such as Sailor Moon and Madoka Magica. They never feel too long and are fun to see. Small aspects that anime fans can appreciate are the Kwami (creatures) resembling the chibi art style, Marinette’s shoujo-like crush on Adrien, a beginning theme song, anime art that sometimes will appear in notebooks or in scenes, and ending cards. Although it is in CGI, several aspects of anime still are present in the show.
8. The new series is a collaborative, worldwide effort
Shows, especially cartoons, often release in one country and are released much later worldwide after a lengthy localization process. However, Miraculous is a collaborative effort, co-produced by Zagtoons in France, Toei Animation in Japan (**Thanks to Lurkerella for the correction), Method Animation, and SAMG Animation. After its series announcement, it was soon revealed that it would not only be premiering in France and South Korea, but many different channels such as Nickelodeon and Disney worldwide by 2016. This was a great move, especially since the English dub was only released three months after the initial premiere. The series became accessible through many outlets, creating a connected, worldwide fanbase. In fact, there is already a ton of Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction out there.
7. The show has a diversified cast
The series features a great cast of characters who are diverse, with different races, body types, and gender. Marinette is a great female protagonist. Unfortunately, there are not enough female main heroes in shows, but Marinette takes center stage as one of the main protagonists. She’s very well-written and a great role model for younger viewers (and even adults) to look up to and relate with. Other characters come from multiple ethnic backgrounds, such as Marinette and her best friend Ayla. The show is also set in France, exposing the culture of Paris to the viewers. Sure, life in France could be explored a bit more in the series, but it is refreshing to see a different setting than what many of us are used to.
6. The “akuma”/evil kwami add a new element to the story
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An akuma in Japanese culture and folklore refers to an “evil” spirit. The way the akuma work in Miraculous Ladybug is very interesting. The main villain, Hawkmoth, sends out “kwami butterflies” to people who have just experienced a hardship in their life. It’s interesting to see an outside force giving villains powers rather than the origin of powers not being explained or antagonists appearing out of nowhere. This leads to the next point.
5. Unique “villains” deviate from the typical archetypes/stereotypes
Villains, aside from Hawkmoth, are not aliens from a distant world or creatures that you might find in fantasy or sci-fi novels. They are everyday people, sometimes even friends of Ladybug and Cat Noir. An akuma is sent out to someone who is vulnerable, dealing with a conflict, or seeking revenge. With this, they let the akuma grant them powers to better their situation, usually resulting in chaotic situations in the city. This is a very interesting element that deviates from common villain stereotypes. Many times, the people influenced by the akuma are not “evil” on their own, they are simply taken advantage of. Hawkmoth likes to manipulate his subjects in exchange for them to obtain Ladybug and Cat Noir’s “miraculous.” It’s not really clear at this point why he needs them, or the origin of his and the protagonist’s powers, but it’s definitely a unique plot element. The way the creators implemented the villains results in excellent writing and character development.
4. Awesome fight scenes
Great villains bring great fighting scenes, which are excellently choreographed and fun to watch. Since each antagonist for the episode has a unique power (usually based on their personality) there are epic and unique battle scenes in which Ladybug and Cat Noir must work together using teamwork and their magical accessory. Enemies like Stormy Weather above use the environment and their related conflict to fight. In her case, she lost in a “weather girl” contest, resulting in her conducting her own report and altering the weather around her. Ladybug and Cat Noir also have unique abilities that aid them in their fight against the “akuma.” Cat Noir develops cat-like senses, reflexes, and even night vision. He wields a staff and has a powerful attack called Cataclysm that can damage enemies. Ladybug, on the other hand, uses her magical yoyo to swing from place to place, as well as a weapon. In this form, she is very strong and observant, especially with her lucky charm power that gives her an object to aid her when she’s in a pinch.
3. Miraculous can be (and IS) enjoyed by all ages, despite being targeted towards a younger audience.
One thing I noticed while looking up Ladybug and Cat Noir cosplays is that much of the fandom consists of young adults, which is pretty amazing when Miraculous is targeted towards a younger crowd. Cartoons that attract a wide audience are very well-written, as they achieve a certain appeal that can be liked by anyone who may be interested. Admittedly, there are some lines of dialogue in the series that are more “childish,” but they’re few and far between. Even with these lines and the “who needs adults?” episode (which was actually done rather well), it still manages to capture attention for a wide variety of fans. 90’s Nickelodeon is a prime example of having cartoons that appealed to both adults and children, and it’s time we bring that back through shows like Korra and Miraculous.
2. Great writing and voice acting.
Although it is mentioned several times before this, Miraculous tells a fantastic tale of two covert superheroes, each with their own unique character and personality. This cartoon is an amazing blend of genres, from action to superhero, comedy, and romance. All of these elements are integrated very well into the narrative and there is never a dull moment. The English dub is very well done with top voices actors bringing the characters to life. Adrien and Marinette’s voices are done especially well, which is definitely a plus since the entire plot focuses on them. Speaking of the two main characters, the best thing about this series is…
1. Ladybug, Cat Noir, and their relationship.
Not only do Ladybug/Marinette and Cat Noir/Adrien stand out as the protagonists, they each have their own personalities and alter egos. The chemistry between both of them being one of the many highlights in the series. Marinette is a kind girl who is interested in fashion design, having a massive crush on Adrien, a rich boy from class who is well-liked but reserved. Little do they know that they fight together on a daily basis as their alter egos, Ladybug and Cat Noir. Both of their characters by themselves are very interesting, especially in contrast with their superhero counterparts. When she turns into Ladybug, Marinette is much more confident in herself. When Adrien transforms into Cat Noir, his personality change is more drastic, becoming more outgoing, flirty, and cocky. The romantic subplot becomes even more interesting when Cat Noir develops a crush on Ladybug, who she does not know is Adrien and brushes off his flirty behavior. This makes for a great twist and many fans wishing they would discover their true identities as soon as possible. Either way, the interactions between them are absolutely adorable to watch, making them one of the best duos I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. Even without the romantic subplot, they are both great choices for leads.
Where to watch:
If you live in the USA, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir premieres each Sunday at 12pm ET. It is also available to watch on Nick’s website here, and season 1 is available on Amazon and iTunes.