Is ‘Miraculous Ladybug’ Anime? | The Mary Sue


ladybug and cat noir in Miraculous

Good question. Pertinent to these post-modern times in which we live. It’s kind of like asking if the fire extinguisher hanging on the wall at the art museum is…also art? Some people would say “no,” and those people are pretentious. Some people would say “yes,” and those people are equally pretentious. Truth be told the “is it art?” (and if so “what kind?”) questions are age-old, and we’ve answered questions like this before. but Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir has now fallen under the gaze of our keen appraiser’s eye, so like we did with Avatar the Last Airbenderwe’re gonna deconstruct the #$%@ out of it.

Is it Anime? Or is it…CAKE?

It’s not cake. Don’t ask me how I know. It’s definitely not something I know because I tried to cut my television in half to eat it. Really. Why would I do that? Unrelated question: Does anyone want to give me a new television? I need one.

But moving on, is Miraculous Ladybug anime? Technical answer: no. As it stands, anime refers to animation that is specifically produced in Japan. Meanwhile, animation that borrows a visual aesthetic from anime is referred to as anime-influenced animation. According to this definition, Miraculous Ladybug counts as the latter because it was primarily produced in France. A Japanese studio did help co-produce it, but the project is not solely Japanese, so it doesn’t count. Anyway, that’s all well and good and very technical, case closed right?

But…is it closed?

Yawning Cat
(Photo by Loan on Unsplash)

Okay, here’s the thing, this might be heretical, but I think LOTS of things are anime. I think that videos of cats backflipping are anime, I think that insane dodgeball dodges are anime, I think that when I drop a glass cup in my kitchen late at night and catch it with Naruto level reflexes just before it shatters on the floor, that I’m anime. Anime is everywhere. Art imitates life imitates life imitates art imitates life. A well-dressed, taciturn, and all-around sexy guy pushing up his glasses before saying something intelligent is the most anime thing there is no matter where you are. Same thing as looking at a pretty girl and having your nose erupted in a geyser of blood because she’s just that cute. It’s anime. It’s all anime. And Miraculous is no exception.

My evidence for the jury/Closing arguments

I mean look at the show. It’s literally a magical girl anime. Like textbook. It’s about two teenagers (the most anime age) with super-powered alter egos (Persona anyone?) going around fighting evil butterflies called akumas (Devilmany’all) all the while struggling with their feelings toward each other. My God, like it was made in a lab. An anime lab. And eventually, they start recruiting their classmates to fight their enemies as well. Like, this is just Persona 5 and a million other animes. C’mon, friends, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. It’s like the thing about how you can’t call anything champagne unless it was made in the region of Champagne in France. I mean, sure, but…we’ve all seen the jokes.

It’s kind of like how anything can be punk rock in the right context. Like a hot dog isn’t punk rock, per se, but it’s delicious, it lifts your spirits, and you might get uncomfortable if you see how it was made. Yes, it’s not technically rock and roll because a hot dog can’t technically play guitar and Miraculous isn’t technically anime because it wasn’t technically made in Japan. but technically “technically” is also one of the most annoying words in the English language, and like its terrible cousin “well actually,” it’s a word used by pretentious know-it-alls who go into full anaphylactic shock when exposed to the concept of fun . Have I lost the thread? I don’t know, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, who knows if there even was a thread at all. what is thread? Answer that, huh, what’s a thread?

My point is: Don’t be like that, making everyone decide what is and isn’t anime. The world is your anime, let’s keep it that way.

(featured image credit: Zagtoon)

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