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Because this is a season review, there will be spoilers. Do not read if you want to avoid them.
The fact that I have to discuss spoilers in this review when I managed to completely avoid them reviewing Season 1 is telling of the show's commitment to improving itself. The characters do make progress during this season, and in interesting ways. Marinette/LB continues to develop as a leader both in and outside the mask, Adrien/Chat gathers up the courage to tell Ladybug his true feelings, and Hawk Moth not only gets a sympathetic backstory, he actually becomes a credible threat in several episodes. And beyond the main trio, we also have development for Alya, Nino, and Chloe as they become better people and take on their own heroic identities, the supporting cast is becoming better defined, and we got some of Master Fu's backstory. With all of that, you'd think this would be a great second season and an incredible improvement over the first.
Unfortunately, that isn't quite the case. The show became smarter, but only in some areas. The school plots continue to be rather hokey, and Chloe remains awful. In fact, it seems like the Reset Button was rather abused when it came to her development up until the end of the season. It didn't help that her 'tragic backstory' turned out to be having an even worse Mom who completely ignores her. And as for Adrien's confession to Ladybug, while it's good that LB at least knows Chat is into her, it doesn't actually go anywhere.
The ultimate problem with this season is that while it's trying to become more sophisticated, it's approach is rather scattershot. Certain elements are improved, but the show doesn't seem to realize that it's still very cheesy. The result is a tonal whiplash that often took me out of the moment. With Season 1 it felt like the cheesier elements were easier to swallow because the show was simply a cheesy romp and nothing more. Now that it's trying to be more than that it's struggling with how to accomplish that goal.
That being said, the show has taken a few major steps forward. The animation has received a noticeable buff from Season 1, Marinette is now capable of holding conversations with Adrien and even managed to kiss him on the cheek, and the villains have really increased in threat level.
That last one in particular is significant because by and large, the villains of Season 1 were not threatening. The heroes had a couple of near-misses, but for the most part their victory was never in doubt. In contrast, this season opens with a highly effective plan on Gabriel/Hawk Moth's part. He realizes that with the tome missing it's only a matter of time before someone realizes his identity, so he makes an akuma, gives up his Miraculous, and lets himself be akumatized. Even if he fails to capture the Miraculous, he's ensured that no one will believe he's Hawk Moth. Either way, he wins. Then he tops that with an absolutely brilliant plan in the season finale. My only problem with that one is that it felt so epic in scope that it probably would've been better as either the series finale or at the very least the end of his story arc. Combine that with several of the regular Akumas this season managing to come only a hairsbreadth away from victory, and the villains really stepped up their game.
Overall, this season is objectively an improvement over the first one. However, most of the series fundamental flaws are still there, and the improvements make them even more obvious in contrast. The show is getting better, but it's also getting harder to watch without cringing. Hopefully Season 3 will be able to find a better way to continue to raise the show's sophistication while still allowing its core appeal to remain.
There’s no way to talk about the first season of this series without acknowledging one simple fact: this show loves its formula. This is not a criticism, merely an observation. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, I don’t consider a show being formulaic to be a flaw in and of itself. It’s how the formula is handled and played with that is good or bad. The question shouldn’t be “Does this show have a formula?”, the question should be “How does this show use its formula?”. And the answer to that question is it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
One of the benefits is that it’s easy to jump into this show from any episode and get an idea of what you’ll see for the rest of it. If you immediately decide you don’t like what you see, then you don’t need to waste your time. If you’re on the fence, a couple more episodes should help you decide pretty easily. Another good point is that the show does a decent job of using the formula to develop the characters in the supporting cast. They may not be the most unique characters, but they’re an endearing group that grows on you as the season goes on. The formula also allows the show time to emphasize one of its greatest strengths: the action. When it comes to CGI superhero shows, this one is easily the best when it comes to animating fluid and dynamic action sequences. It also tops anything the recent Marvel cartoons have put out. The people on this show know exactly how to make fights visually captivating.
And now for the cons of the formula. While the formula does benefit the supporting cast, the Akumas can be pretty forgettable, especially the one-off ones. Some of them are at least buoyed up by having funny powersets, like M. Pigeon, but often they’re rather bland. As for the main villain, Hawk Moth does not have a good showing this season. He doesn’t feel like a genuine threat, given that LB and CN are constantly beating his minions without too much trouble. The lack of development for him just compounds the issue. The formula also keeps the show from truly exploring the story beats it was trying to set up. There’s small hints at a larger picture, but nothing major until the very end of the season. The show seems uninterested in moving things forward up until it’s already too late. It doesn’t help that the heroes secret identity angle feels like something left over from a 90s to early 2000s superhero cartoon.
So what are my final thoughts? Overall, the endearing cast and beautiful animation make up for the weak villain and plodding narrative. It’s not a great season by any means, but it’s fun and cute.
I want to like Miraculous Ladybug. I really do. In some ways, I do like it. The animation is superb for a 3D Western cartoon, the character designs are neat, the music is good if a little poppy, and the localization is good without being cringeworthy or resorting to really bad jokes or puns (and what jokes/puns they DO use really work well with the show's tone). Plus, it's a magical girl show! What's there to not like?
Unfortunately, I hate to admit this, but it needs to be acknowledged: Miraculous Ladybug has problems. Serious problems.
Something like this could have been a masterpiece. But as it is, it's extremely flawed. Anyone who's not Marinette or Adrien are completely one-note, one-dimensional, and never develop throughout the series. None of them really grow as people, and that gives us almost no reason to care about any of them or their plights.
The show itself basically has zero story other than Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World. That's it. What makes this worse is that the whole series is episodic in nature, and there is NOTHING progressing the story in any way. All of the episodes are basically glorified filler. They're all the same: Hawkmoth turns someone into an Akuma, the heroes fight for 80% of the episode and purify them, the end! Not only that, the fights take up 80% of the episodes, leaving little time for characters to just be normal. It's like the show is afraid to get out of its comfort zone, or that any slice-of-life at all will lose the kids' attention. Come on, writers. Kids are better than this. Stop insulting their intelligence.
Hawkmoth is in particular a completely inept villain. He doesn't do anything except corrupt people and never leaves the Eiffel Tower! He doesn't even fight the heroes himself! Why does he even want their miraculouses anyway? Why does he want so much power? And no, don't say to take over the world, because we all know that's a horse's corpse that has been rotting media since the dawn of time. He's not threatening or intimidating, and just sits around in the tower like a shut-in. That's NOT how to write a good villain, writers! In fact, the show itself doesn't explain why Marinette and Adrien even deserve their powers, let alone Master Fu's role in this and why he picked them in the first place.
So...yeah, honestly, I don't think Miraculous Ladybug deserves the popularity it gets. It's not groundbreaking, nor is it different from other shows of its kind. It could have been great, but all of its flaws completely hold it back. I guess had network execs not forced Astruc to sanitize it from the ideas presented by the original 2D pilot, it could have been great in its own right. As it is, it's just not for me. I think LoliRock is a better Western magical girl show that isn't afraid to do what Ladybug is afraid to do. But if you like it, that's okay! The show's not perfect, but that doesn't mean it's bad. But its flaws do hold it back from being something truly great.
After a first season with both good and bad points all around, season 2 is starting to really pick up the slack, and has overall managed to be much better than the previous season. Yes, I know how early that it to say, what with three episodes, but there is no denying that those three episodes have been fantastic, advancing the plot and character development and growth.
While it still has flaws here and there, season 2 is off to a very promising start. The Collector has to be one of my favorite episodes so far, Despair Bear gave Chloe some much needed growth, and Prime Queen gave us a good look at Ladybug and Cat Noir's relationship. Hopefully, it will keep getting better and better.
Miraculous Ladybug is nothing new. A Magical Girl with transformation, Fairy Companion, victims of the day with various aesops, identity mishaps, and so on. There isn't any deconstructions here, nor complex plots, or anything groundbreaking. So why watch this show?
Because it's a lot of fun. Cat Noir and Ladybug are goofy, likable leads with endearing personalities and powers. Cat/Adrien's entropy and decay is especially unusual. Being voiced by Bryce Papenbrook and Cristina Vee doesn't hurt, both bring a lot of energy to their performances.
Marinette is a quirky, likable ditz trying to balance her schoolwork, missions as Ladybug, and her dream of fashion designing and her crush on Adrien. The cat himself isn't half bad a guy either. He may be a model with a wealthy father, but the show makes clear that outside of school, he has no time for himself or friends, who only feels happy in his Noir persona. Their interactions are quite sweet, most of all in their crime-solving banter.
Both the main heroine's bishoujo antics and the frenetic action that takes up a hefty chunk of screentime are a lot of fun. If the villain and plot setup don't grab you in every episode, odds are good that the action setpieces and creative powers on display will. It's a lighthearted action show first, and the staff know what you've come here to see.
The animation is great for tv cg with good models, backgrounds of Paris, and especially particle effects in fights. The main theme and transformation bgm are catchy. Suffice it to say that if nothing else, critics can't deny the presentation is excellent.
The villains can be a mixed bag, but are usually varied from episode to episode that it's worth watching just to see what comes next. Some are downright silly from the Bubbler who, traps adults in bubbles, to a guy who's power is...controlling pigeons to cover the city in poop. Then you get some of the hammier types like a weather girl with forecast puns, an Egyptologist kid who thinks he's a Pharoah, and an honest to goodness robocop homage.
And occasionally you get interesting characters like the Evillustrator, who's reasonable with anyone other than his target of revenge, and tries not to hurt anyone with his Art Attacker powers for understandable if misguided reasons. Or Sabrina, one of the more sympathetic Betas to the Alpha Bitch I've seen in a while, who's surprisingly likable.
Above all, the creator seems to love the genre. It wares its Sailor Moon and comicbook influences on its sleeves, and that's not a bad thing. It's brimming with enthusiasm in a lot of superhero cliches, but does it well enough that you'll be entertained. You've seen it before, and odds are you will again, but here you get the feeling that the predictability isn't out of bad writing, but more like a trusted brand of candy. It's sweet while it lasts, and despite yourself, hard not to try just one more. It's good, clean and solid fun, and sometimes, that's enough.
Woo that title is long but Miraculous Ladybug really grasp the main point that the main protagonist is a badass girl that can kick villain ass like a soccer ball.
Marinette is the main girl who is Adorkable but as Ladybug (her alter ego) she is a badass. Most animated action series usually have a guy as the main badass or if a girl is the main protagonist she usually the "damsel in distress" or the male protagonists do all of her dirty work (ex. Yona of Dawn). You also can't forget the fact if a girl is the main heroine it usually has her filled with girly attacks like "Love attack!" *attacks villain with a mass of heart. (Ex. Winx has something along those lines)
In Miraculous Ladybug, Ladybug uses inventive ways to use her power "Lucky Charm" (which creates random objects) to take down her villains. Most times when she needs to corner the villain or counter the villains attacks she uses her yo-yo (made out of indestructium).
If you like badass heroines I strongly suggest this series. If you don't like badass heroines there are many other great qualities about this series, like the comedy, romance, and the numerous heartwarming moments. Marinette is just A-DORK-ABLE!!
(But seriously who doesn't like a badass heroine?)
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