A new show on the rise in Korea, France, Canada, and the U.S. is Miraculous Ladybug. An animated show about a young Chinese-French ninth grade girl, Marinette, ML focuses on not only female-empowerment, but the city of Paris and its culture. It is a show with a target audience of children, but it also has resonated with many teens and even adults, though with a positive effect rather than a negative one.
Marinette is clumsy, sweet, and endearing. She’s a teenage girl with two loving, supportive parents who run a bakery. She wants to go into fashion, and her parents support her every interest. She has many friends in her class, and also a crush on a boy. The show makes her have a typical teenage life that kids can relate to, and separate her from their audience by making her a superheroine.
She doesn’t have super-strength, speed, invisibility, or the ability to fly – Ladybug has luck. She is witty, tough, and smart. Her special item is her “Lucky Charm,” which can become any number of odd objects to help save the day against villains.
Her superhero sidekick is Chat Noir, the epitome of concentrated bad luck. He is flirty, loves to make puns, and has a more-than-obvious crush on Ladybug. They work in sync together, and there is no “damsel in distress” with Ladybug. More often than not, she’s doing the saving!
The show makes their dynamic all the more interesting by making Chat Noir’s civilian identity none other than Marinette’s crush, Adrien. Part of the reason the show has such a wide audience is because the romance between the two characters is so infuriatingly adorable.
The main pull from young adult audiences is that there is a biracial, female, lead character, who is a also a cool superheroine. How many shows can hit those marks? This is a show many young girls can watch and say, “I can be strong like Ladybug, too!”
The effect of ML on young audiences across the globe is already so amazing. Kids watch the show for the comedy, the action, the heroics, the romance – it has a lot of different themes. The greatest thing I have seen from the show is that there is no “but you’re a girl” trope. Ladybug is seen as formidable and awe-inspiring by Parisians, not for her looks, but for her skill. It’s refreshing to see a show like this, and hopefully more are on their way!