Biracial Diversity in Animation: Thomas Astruc Scores Big with Miraculous Ladybug

LadyBug.PosterThere’s nothing cooler than my daughter schooling me on what’s trending in her world. She’s an aspiring animator and video editor, and as a biracial teen, she takes note when other multiracial teens are represented prominently in those mainstream genres.

She gave me the heads up as Disney Animation released Big Hero 6 in 2014, with the first ever biracial lead character (Hiro Hamata) in a feature-length animated film. Big Hero 6 would go on to win the Academy award for Best Animated Film set against a backdrop of #OscarSoWhite controversy and lack of diversity within other major motion picture categories.  For young biracial teens like my daughter, it offered an opportunity to see a bit of themselves celebrated with the Academy’s highest honor – The Oscar.

Meanwhile in France, a female superhero had also come to life for french concept creator, Thomas Astruc. A (French/Chinese) teenage girl named Marinette Dupain-Cheng, also known as Ladybug, would lead the series. Top animation studios in three countries – South Korea, France and Japan worked together to co-produce, with Zagtoon and Method Animation participating from France, Toei Animation from Japan, and SAMG Animation from South Korea.

Lady Bug France

Image Credit: Zagtoon | METHOD | TOEI ANIMA

Set in modern day France, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir follows Marinette (Ladybug) and her classmate and super-crush Adrien Agreste (Cat Noir). Oblivious to each other’s true identities, the two work together to protect Paris from the villainous Hawk Moth, who covets and attempts to steal their powers by using his akumas, butterflies made of black energy, to influence and transform everyday citizens into supervillains…

The series first premiered in South Korea on September 1, 2015 on EBS under the title Lady Bug:

In France, it debuted on October 19 on TF1. In the United States, the series made its way over to Nickelodeon in December:

The concept for the show was originally targeting teens and young adults, but later retooled for a younger target audience when it failed to gain enough support from networks.

Even though stations may have felt the show belonged with younger viewers, teens and young adults are still creating their own edgier Miraculous remixes through social media on a daily basis:

South Korea is about to release new “origin” episodes for Miraculous Ladybug on March 1, and fans are concerned about spoilers ruining the story-line for viewers still catching up on the series in other countries. Astruc, referred to as Hawkdaddy by followers on social media addressed his take on the spoiler issue earlier this week. “Watch it however you want. I’m not the boss of you. But just think about your fellow miraculers who’d like to enjoy it the best way possible.”

As my notification feed lit up after posting my daughter’s clip (Yes, that’s hers), I quickly realized there was a far cooler and broader Miraculous movement underway which led me to a little homework of my own about this series. I love that! Many thanks to all the “Miraculers” for schooling me too!

And special thanks to Cami, for keeping me in her loop.

Curious to learn more? Check out these FAQs on the series by concept creator and director Thomas Astruc on Tumblr.



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