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Recap / Miraculous Ladybug S01 E15 "The Gamer"

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Well, well, Marinette. Let's see who's victorious this time.
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Adrien is competing in a game competition, and Marinette wants to be his partner. She defeats the current champion, Max, without breaking a sweat. Hawk Moth proceeds to corrupt him to become the Gamer and enact revenge on Marinette.


Tropes:

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Marinette thinks that her parents are invasive of her privacy, when they offer snacks and mention to Adrien that Marinette talks of him constantly. Adrien, whose own father is neglectful, appreciates these gestures.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Cat Noir uses Dupain's "(Insert Name) style! Booyah!" gaming catchphrase after destroying Gamer's robot. No, Ladybug doesn't notice.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Done by both sides during mecha fight.
  • Colossus Climb: Ladybug run over the giant robots' arms to reach the head of The Gamer's and spray paint over its unique eye.
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  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Subverted; although Marinette has selfish reasons to want to compete, as Alya and Tikki point out to her, both Adrien and Max acknowledge that she is the best gamer the school has and thus should compete to represent their school’s team.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Adrien pulls Marinette away from The Gamer's shots the way Cat Noir did in "Stormy Weather". Marinette doesn't register this in the heat of the moment.
    • The diary and matching case Marinette made in "Darkblade" makes an appearance.
  • Creator Cameo: Thomas Astruc provided additional background voices in the original French dub of the episode.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In-universe, Marinette comes off as this, since the viewers already know she is a badass. Alya is convinced she'll lose on the spot with Max, but Marinette reveals that she not only knows how the game works, but also how to play as an expert.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Marinette versus Max when she competes for his spot.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Gamer's mecha has a single round eye on its pyramid-shaped head.
  • Deflector Shields: Both mechas use a variation to protect themselves at the beginning of the fight: Marinette and Cat Noir's is a forearm-monted energy shield, and The Gamer's mecha is surrounded by a full bubble.
  • Fictional Video Game: Ultimate Mecha Strike III. Looks like a typical Fighting Game with mechas.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause the episode while Marinette and Adrien are choosing their Ultimate Mecha Strike III fighters, you can see that the game's roster includes Palette Swaps of R2D2, Bender, Grendizer and The Iron Giant.
  • Genre Savvy: Marinette and Adrien since they know the game that the Gamer uses against them and how to retaliate.
  • Go for the Eye: When her Lucky Charm produces a can of spray paint, Marinette climbs onto the Gamer's robot and covers the eyepiece. When he retracts the lens to look outside, she grabs his glasses to purify the akuma.
  • Good Bad Bugs: In-Universe example, Games uses a "spawn point glitch" to recreate his robot.
  • Good Luck Charm: Marinette gives one to Adrien.
  • Graceful Loser: Max tries to be one when both Marinette and Adrien defeat him. In private he breaks down, and Hawk Moth corrupts him.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Max spent a year preparing for the gaming competition. Marinette, who plays with her dad as a hobby, defeats him in a few minutes.
  • Hidden Depths:
  • Hypocritical Humor: Chloé derides her classmates for devoting all their attention to a TV screen... then she and Sabrina immediately become engrossed in their smartphones.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Or rather Catoken, in obvious Shout-Out to Trope Namer.
  • Laser Blade: The heroes' mecha is equipped with one, activated by pulling out its cat-like tail.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Both mecha can deploy barrages of missiles.
  • Magic Feather: Marinette reveals to Adrien that she has a lucky bracelet that she wears while gaming, not related to her actual powers.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Ladybug and Cat Noir's mecha predictably looks like a ladybug spliced with a cat. It's also human-shaped and walks on two legs.
  • Most Gamers Are Male: Marinette is the only female gamer in the episode compared to Max, Adrien, Tom, Kim and Nino (last two are visible on scoreboard). Downplayed however, since most of Marinette's classmates show interest in the Tournament, with Alya even stressing to her that it's Serious Business. When Marinette volunteers, others are mostly surprised due to her very last second interest.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Marinette creates the akuma of the week out of her selfish desire to spend time with Adrien. She takes it to heart by the end and gives up her spot to Max, as he wants it far more than she does. Adrien in turn allows her to compete with Max, which nets them the win.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: The episode turns into a hybrid video game/giant mecha battle near the end, complete with Calling Your Attacks.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: The villain's mecha can split into separate blocks to avoid an attack before reconstituting itself. That makes it rather frustrating to fight for the heroes.
  • Rocket Punch: During the giant mecha battle at the climax, Ladybug and Chat Noir's robot pulls this off.
  • Save Scumming: After Cat Noir uses his Cataclysm to destroy the Gamer's robot, he reveals that he had "saved his game" by this point, and thus simply recreates the robot by reloading. At least the heroes gain their own mecha through this fleeting victory.
  • Serious Business: Alya drops the trope name when Marinette expresses a desire to compete in the video game tournament.
  • Shipper on Deck: Marinette's parents for Adrien and Marinette.
  • Shotoclone: The Humongous Mecha Ladybug and Catnoir use to fight against Gamer uses plenty of Hadouken, Shoryuken, and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: Look closely at how Max and Adrien hold their controllers compared to Marinette. How one holds a controller can have a pretty big impact on button mashing and reaction time, meaning she already was starting out with a competitive edge.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: One of Gamer's many moves.
  • Stealth Pun: Ladybug and Cat Noir using Ryu and Ken's moveset is quite appropriate, considering they're fighting an Akuma.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Inverted. Guilty about Max becoming the Gamer, Marinette insists on Max taking her spot in the competition since he wants it as much as she wants time alone with Adrien. Just as he's about to take her controller, Adrien gives up his spot so that Max can compete, because he knows that Marinette's skill should be recognized and will win the tournament for the school.
  • Tempting Fate: Tikki tries to calm down Marinette by saying she has time to clean her room, because "it's not like Adrien is going to show up this very minute". Cue doorbell.
  • This Is a Drill: One of Gamer's mecha attacks to to use a giant pyramid as a drill. It manages to break the shield on Ladybug and Cat's mecha.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tikki and Alya separately call out Marinette for competing for Max's spot after hearing how badly he wanted it, though Alya acknowledges that Marinette won by skill alone.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The Gamer needs to accumulate points and "level up" before his mecha can gain its ultimate form. Ladybug could have stopped him before he'd reach this step but they fail, forcing them into a full-blown mecha fight.

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