The Ladybug Links
By: Justin Cummings
So I finally finished watching Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, and I must say, I loved it. I’m just as hyped now for season two as everyone else, but at first it was hard to explain why. After all, the show was very formulaic, and very different from other big shows now such as Gravity Falls and Steven Universe. When trying to compare Ladybug to other shows I assumed the biggest comparison would be Power Rangers, but I was wrong. Sure, there are connections to Power Rangers (which I will make), but the biggest comparison I can make is to Code Lyoko. In fact, I’ve begun referring to Ladybug as Lyoko 2.0. So the purpose of this article is to show all the connections I felt between Ladybug, Power Rangers, and Code Lyoko, but sprinkled in will be my overall thoughts about the show.
The most obvious connection between Ladybug and Power Rangers is the one I picked up before I started watching, but really it’s more of a connection between Ladybug and the entire magical girl trope. The main characters use special items to transform, or morph as the Power Rangers would say, then they fight whatever random monster the villain came up with that episode. So the two shows have the same episode progression, no big deal, tons of shows use that formula. I had to dig deeper; I had to prove that there truly was a connection between Power Rangers and Ladybug, and boy did I find one.
Ladybug and Power Rangers
The first link is in the theme song. The music, including the theme song, of Ladybug, was done by the same person who did the theme songs for the Neo-Saban seasons of Power Rangers, which is everything from Power Rangers Samurai up to now. Now would be a great time then to talk about the Ladybug theme song, simply put it’s awesome. It’s catchy, it’s upbeat, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Many of the best cartoons have either instrumental openings or narrations, but Ladybug has possibly one of the best lyrical openings.
The other link I found between Power Rangers and Ladybug was buried a little bit deeper, but I’d say is even cooler. Ladybug was originally supposed to be an anime, and we have proof. Back in 2012 a pv leaked: basically a three minute music video setting up the premise of the show. Some things were retooled, but looking at this video it’s very obviously Ladybug. The video was coproduced by Zagtoon, who made the full Ladybug series, and Toei Animation. Toei Animation is of course behind some incredible anime like One Piece, but more important is their parent company, Toei Studios. Toei Studies, as you may recall from Robo-Retro part one, created Super Sentai, the series where we get the footage from for Power Rangers. As cool as these connections are, there’s a reason I refer to Ladybug as Lyoko 2.0.
Ladybug and Code Lyoko
For those who don’t know, Code Lyoko was a French show that ran from 2003 to 2007. It was done in a mix of 2D animation and CGI, and was affectionately referred to as a Franime, or French anime. The first reason I started comparing the two is of course their country of origin. It’s hard not to compare the two as they’re two of the biggest cartoons to come out of France. As I kept watching Ladybug though, I noticed more and more similarities, to the point it was uncanny. On Code Lyoko, at the end of each episode, they launch a return to the past which undoes everything caused by the monster: sound familiar? Ladybug does a similar reset button in every episode, except time isn’t turned back. In addition, the main characters of Code Lyoko never met X.A.N.A, the main villain, only its monsters. As of now, Ladybug and Cat Noir have never actually met Hawkmoth. See what I mean about it being uncanny? Now I’ll admit, as much as I like Ladybug, it’s a lot of filler. Sure we meet some great supporting characters, but very little progression happens until the season finale. Go watch Code Lyoko; the first episode explains nothing about how the Lyoko Warriors formed, it just throws us right in, like Ladybug. The first season is mostly filler, up until the last two episodes, and then seasons two through four are much more plot focused. Code Lyoko even has a two part prequel episode where everything is explained, that didn’t air till much later.
This is why I’m not worried about Ladybug, I think it’s following the same pacing as Code Lyoko, which means we have a lot to look forward to. So why are the two shows so similar? Well, once again, the same guy did the theme song, but that’s not enough to justify this much similarity. I dug a little deeper, and found the best connection yet. Thomas Astruc, creator of Ladybug, was a storyboard artist on season one of Code Lyoko. That seals the deal, Ladybug is the spiritual successor of Code Lyoko, and that’s probably the highest compliment I can give. I truly believe Ladybug will continue to get better, and if I’m right, then it already has a very solid base. I can’t wait to talk more about this show, but I encourage all of you to find your own connections, and always dig deeper.