Miraculous is Headed to Shanghai this Week!

25 May

shanghaiBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Family Channel
May 24, 2021

Disney Channel
May 28, 2021 

Spoiler Alert

The Miraculous World Tour specials are broadcasting in North America! To be specific, The Legend of Ladydragon (or simply Miraculous Shanghai) will soon air in the USA. This French produced CGI film about a teenage heroine out to prevent Hawk Moth‘s plans for world domination (and find a cure to his comatose wife) has developed over the years. These standalone pieces reveal that these young heroes are not alone. The friends they make soon become allies, and it helps show just how many supers are living around the planet.

The first one is a stronger tale. It shows New York’s team of protectors (partially inspired by DC Comics Justice Society of America) are trying to train a new generation. It’s difficult to live up to everything the elders have established. Neither is knowing the adage Spider-Man made famous: “With great power there must also come great responsibility.” These particular themes make this introductory episode strong.

The second special received a quiet premiere back in April, and repeated on Victoria Day, a regional holiday in Canada. Marinette Dupain-Cheng is in Shanghai, visiting her uncle who is about to celebrate his birthday. However, being the klutz she regularly is, gets robbed and cannot find her way around while doing an errand. She befriends Fei, a teenage street urchin. She’s forced to steal and sell the items to a pawnbroker who promises to reveal who burned down her home, and killed her father, a master of Kung Fu.

Second Shanghai Special Trailer Released – Miraculous Ladybug News

I particularly enjoyed how this tale keeps to the spirit of when this series first started. She and Fei are nearly twins at a casual glance, and be polar opposites ala Liv and Maddie. The similarities is because of the same CGI assets used. A difference is with Fei’s hairstyle and sharper chin line. Ladydragon (Fei’s superheroine name) is very much like Vixen from the DC Universe. She has eight animals that she can transform into, each representing a virtue of Confucianism and having a sprite, a Renling, to represent each of them. Even her familiar sports the same colours as Tikki.

Not enough time is spent to explain what each animal–the eagle, snake, monkey, tiger, bear, horse or mantis–represents. The dragon was tough for Fei to achieve, and that exposition about her knowing what justice truly means is important. As she isn’t quite up to heroic snuff yet, Ladybug and Cat Noir have to stop more than just one baddie. 

This special also shows that even magical guardians can be vulnerable to Hawk Moth’s akumatization. I’d love to see more of these wild attempts, since these beings can resist this guy’s programming. The chaos left behind is a first; when Ladybug and Cat Noir aren’t around, someone has to do damage control! 

More specials are slated to air this year and next, and they are more likely to reveal the many heroes who use a Miraculous to gain their special abilities. There’s only a handful of supers who aren’t, and I’m sure not everyone needs magic to impress or be super. This episode is sly in how it imparts this message to youths.

Shanghai Special Miraculous Ladybug Release Date and Preview - OtakuKart

When this special shows that even some akumatized individuals don’t have to obey this Grand Moth Tarkin, there’s promise for the series to keep on going. It became stale with its formulaic approach to dealing with this villain’s many Frankenstein’s monster creations every week. The teenage Joanie Loves Chachi tale can wear thin after two seasons. To further their relationship in these specials is what this franchise needs. Plus, we also learn what extremes Cat Noir must endure before he decides it’s time to stop being a hero. The New York episode shows him in over his head.

The chances are good for the various teams introduced in these specials to meet up to take down this master villain once and for all. While his desire for absolute power and to change the past motivates him, I still think about what his demeanor was like prior to events, the discovery of the Miraculous book and taking on that spirit who isn’t evil by nature. His approach to finding a cure is driven by wanting a quick solution rather than a well thought out means to awaken his wife. She fell into this coma because the amulet she used was damaged. It required magic to restore it, but it was too late to use a similar technique on this woman. 

The conclusion of the series wouldn’t be surprising if all it takes is Moth truly renouncing his Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ways for this family to reunite. It was done once, but I believe he didn’t have the right motivation. If the backstory says anything, I believe he owned a Miraculous too. Both him and his wife were heroes once. However, whoever they fought, and the damage wrought on the Peacock stone and his insistence to still use it (it wasn’t her choice) caused him to crack too. If he is to change, I can see a tear of remorse landing on a charged lepidopteron as he admits to how his evil started to his comatose wife. Since it’s a heart-felt apology, when the butterfly and kiss lands on her cheek, that’s when she’ll awaken.

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