Miraculous™ Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir premiered Sunday December 6th and though I had a sneak peek at the pilot I still sat down with my kids, 5 yr-old son and 9-yr-old daughter, to watch it and get their reaction. I still had my same concerns, one’s that I mentioned in the earlier piece (Miraculous™ is Coming to American Audiences!), but I still wanted to see what their take would be.
The entire 22 minute episode passed with little comment but both kids stayed glued to the set. Afterwards I asked very plainly if they’d liked the show. I got two very enthusiastic yeas. My kids aren’t really fans of anime, Pokémon, Yo-kai Watch, Doraemon, don’t really make it into their viewing schedules. So knowing that ZAG Heroes has put together a show that is heavily influenced by anime why were my kids so enthralled?
Two very valid reasons, both of which are my reason for my “this show will do well” title.
First the characterizations. This show follows the same formula as almost every popular live action show on children’s television these days. The main character is female, upbeat, intelligent, pretty, and a self proclaimed member of the uncool class. Examples include; Ali from Austin and Ali, Maya from Girl Meets World, Bella from Bella and the Bulldogs, and on the male side Henry from Henry Danger. All of these shows (Miraculous included) share the best friend who totally believes in the main character and is always available to give sage advice. Almost all of these shows, to varying degrees, employ the unrequited love plot device, most notably Austin and Ali (season one) and Girl Meets World. The only difference? The over-the-top emoting on Miraculous, the anime influence.
But how does this explain my 5-yr-old son? He does not enjoy those shows, in fact they make him nuts. That brings the second point, amazing action. Miraculous is written almost identically to a normal teen sitcom down to the story beats. But instead of using only the standard drama and comedy turns to move the story Miraculous employs action movie beats as well. So instead of a tween comedy-drama we get an animated tween super-hero tv show.
I still have issues. There isn’t a realistic body-type on this show, racial representation is pretty much ignored, and Marinette’s obsession with her crush, Adrien/Cat Noir, borders on just plain silly. But these aren’t problems I don’t see in almost every sitcom on Nick and Disney already. At least Marinette is a part time superhero. They give her those great moments like in episode two (Mr Pigeon) when she stops pursuing the thing she needs to win the competition and says “Paris needs me!” and changes into Ladybug so she can fight the bad guy. That is definitely the type of television I’d like my kids to watch.
Miraculous™ Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir airs on Nickelodeon Sundays at 12 noon, check your local listings and the Nickelodeon website for more info.