By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Shout! Factory and ZAG Toon has formed an alliance with many other partners, such as TOEI and Disney Channel EMEA, to bring the French-Korean CGI-animated action adventure comedy series, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, to further broadcasting platforms. On May 3, 2016 will be the Shout! Factory Kids home video release of the first seven episodes of 26 for those who do not yet have access to it on television.
This program plays on Nickelodeon (USA), TF1 (France), ABC (Australia), EBS (Korea) and it will soon hit other markets such as Tele-Quebec (Canada), Gloob (Brazil), TVNZ (New Zealand), Proximus TV (Belgium), RTS (Switzerland) and LRT (Lithuania). The series is a fun watch, reminiscent in style to series like Sailor Moon. The anime influence is very noticeable. The main heroine, Marinette Dupain-Cheng is rather like Usagi Tsukino. Both are well-meaning and spirited (if not clumsy) individuals. Alya is Marinette’s best-friend and she’s not aware of her besties’ superhero identity. The humour between the two are great, and the costumes are inspired by the designs introduced in PIXAR’s The Incredibles.
The family oriented story-telling approach is to teach good values to its intended audience of youths to empower them. While Marinette is head-over heels infatuated with Adrien in their daily hijinks while attending Collège Françoise Dupont, Alya does her best to help get the two together. However, when they transform into their super-hero selves, Ladybug and Cat Noir, this girl is more confident in dealing with this boy and their interactions are less clichéd. True to the comic book genre, they are unaware of each other’s secret identities, which makes for plenty of amusing gags.
The Parisian world should be safe with them saving the day by catching Akuma (butterflies instilled with the evil essence of a mysterious villain, Hawk Moth). With only half the series aired, not every detail is given to reveal his world-conquering goals. Much of the series involves this secret foe sending out his little minions abroad from his secret lair to infect humans and seducing them to do harm. When rescued from this possession, the people are a little worse for wear.
Moth wants Ladybug’s Miraculous, a jewel she wears, so he can gain the powers of the little spirit who follows her around. When the sprite inhabits the object, the wearer gains its power.
Some history of how long these items and homunculi have existed is revealed in the seventh episode, “The Pharaoh,” where Tikki (the name of Marienette’s spirit guide) is revealed to have served countless young girls for 5,000 years. There was once such a hero in Egyptian times, and Marinette is just the latest in the long-line of people to inherit the title. All the problems the tween faces is reminiscent to even Buffy, Vampire Slayer, but the series never gets that overly dramatic with establishing its world.
Flagg is Adrien’s little soldier (enabling this young male model to become Cat Noir) and this lazy spirit is more interested in where his next meal is instead of worrying about the greater problems arising.
Seven Miraculous are known to exist, and there could be more. Eventually, more detail as to what kind of world is out there will be revealed in later seasons. Thomas Astruc is the series creator of this saga and he announced three seasons will exist. He worked on W.I.T.C.H. as a storyboard artist and on Totally Spies! as a storyboard supervisor. The character development style is very consistent for those who have seen these earlier works. He enjoys developing stories with strong female leads and for this series, it has a good future when it takes North America by storm!
Select episodes are available online on Nickelodeon to view.