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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir is a superhero story about two high school classmates who moonlight as masked crusaders protecting Paris from the evil schemes of their villainous nemesis. The content is mostly innocuous; action sequences don't last long, and the heroes often rely more on their smarts than on their brawn to restore justice. Cat Noir isn't shy about his crush on Ladybug, which is a sweet example of young love. On the other hand, a spoiled teen's overt attempts to turn the head of her handsome classmate make her seem desperate. This show's Paris setting lets kids see some of the sights and sounds of the city, including the Eiffel Tower and the resident fashion industry.
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What's the story?
MIRACULOUS: TALES OF LADYBUG AND CAT NOIR is set in Paris, where a villain named Hawk Moth (voiced by Keith Silverstein) is spreading conflict by dispatching evil minions called akuma to turn everyday citizens into supervillains themselves. Classmates-by-day Marinette (Christina Vee) and Adrien (Bryce Papenbrook) use their kwami (sprite-like helpers) to transform into the masked heroes Ladybug and Cat Noir, respectively. Together they work to thwart Hawk Moth's schemes and restore peace to the city, all without revealing their true identities to their friends and families ... or to each other.
Is it any good?
Ladybug and Cat Noir make a charming crime-fighting duo, but their relationship easily eclipses the show's action in entertainment value. As with most alterego setups, you have to forgive the characters' naivety about each other's true identities, accepting that merely an eye mask and some cat ears really can render Marinette and Adrien unrecognizable to each other. Once you get past that, it's fun to watch their relationship develop, and it's interesting to note the differences in how it does when they're incognito versus when they're not.
But that's just half of the story. When they're not fighting bad guys in Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, Marinette and Adrien are typical tweens facing typical tween troubles -- keeping up with school, making friends, and dealing with difficult peers such as pretentious, spoiled Chloe (Selah Victor), whose devious actions usually wind up elevating patient, kind Marinette's standing in her classmates' eyes. Overall, the message to kids is that being a bully doesn't pay off, and if you want people to like you, it's best to just be yourself (except when you have to be an anonymous superhero, of course). Not a bad takeaway from an entertaining hero tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Do Ladybug and Cat Noir make a good team in Miraculous? How is their relationship different when they're in costume as opposed to when they're not?
Kids: Can you relate to Marinette's issues with self-confidence? Why does she feel less inhibited when she is Ladybug than when she's herself?
This superhero story is unusual in that it's set in a real place. Do you like how the show incorporates actual Paris landmarks? Does the realistic setting change the nature of the fantasy superhero content?
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