Miraculous Ladybug: children’s show or more?

Jadon Khor, Editor-in-Chief


   The fourth season of the hit tv show, Miraculous Ladybug, premiered on April 11 in France for domestic viewing, though the U.S. will have to wait until the summer to see it on streaming services. But while speculation in the U.S. grows over the spoilers leaking from across the Atlantic, few Zoom interviews from the cast have revealed a key narrative in the fourth season: many of the episodes will be like Chat Blanc.

   But what is Chat Blanc? It is the penultimate episode of the third season of Miraculous Ladybug where the main character, Adrian Agreste is known as Cat Noir, becomes akumatized, the show’s version of possession through supervillainous intent. 

   In this episode, the audience is faced with a Ladybug, the titular main character, out of her depths as she faces an alternate future in which Cat Noir exposes his secret identity to Ladybug in order to win her love. Plot complexity aside, the emotional trauma of Chat Blanc must be understood to comprehend the upcoming season. And there is no emotional trauma that must be better understood than that of Adrian Agreste. 

   Adrian grows up with a distant father and a mother who recently went missing. Sheltered at home, he escapes the confines of his life to become Cat Noir and fights supervillains at night. At his side, Ladybug, whose secret identity is Marinette Dupain-Cheng. While this children’s tv show dynamic seems to be a series-long hair-grasping moment of almost realization of one another’s identities, there is a deeper psychological play at hand. 

   Looking first at Ladybug and Cat Noir’s dynamic versus Marinette and Adrian’s, the superhero personas experience life-threatening trauma after trauma. Cat Noir’s love for Ladybug seems to arise out of shared experiences of threatening harm instead of the normative love and support the average human receives in their daily lives. For Cat Noir, Ladybug serves as the fantasized version of escape for Cat Noir, being that Adrian uses Cat Noir as his own personal escape from a sheltered life. 

   As the show continues, Cat Noir only grows deeper and deeper in love with Ladybug so far as to continue suggesting exposing one another’s secret identities to each other. The dangers of falling in love under pressure magnify the Cat Noir and Ladybug dynamic so much to the point that in Chat Blanc their love for each other leads to the end of the world. 

   With Marinette and Adrian’s dynamic, the opposite is true. Marinette becomes romantically obsessed with Adrian to the point of stalker-ish behaviors and obsessive self-intrusions into his personal life. While the love she has for Adrian first seems to arise out of genuine youthful love and interest, it quickly deepens into an unhealthy dynamic, one of which Adrian is not even consciously aware of. 

   Through Chat Blanc these relationship-oriented dynamics cause a whirlwind of emotional highs and lows for the two main characters as they try to live in a world where each knows of the other’s love for them, unhealthy love. 

   These contrasting dynamics are why Chat Blanc was such an emotional episode for fans, it was the colliding event of a particle accelerator.