Introducing my guiltiest pleasure… Miraculous Ladybug.
Miraculous Ladybug is an animated television show made for children aged 7+, which is evident in its family-friendly dialogue and cheesy, repetitive plot. However, the show, which has been airing since 2015, has seemed to reach beyond its target audience, capturing the hearts of teenagers and adults worldwide.
While this could be because of cute and exciting plotlines, or the general comfort that comes from watching children’s shows, there seems to be one unique element in Miraculous Ladybug that has undeniably kept teens and adults watching for eight years now: The Love Square.
To understand The Love Square, allow me to explain the basic premise of the show. It focuses on our schoolgirl protagonist, Marinette Dupain-Cheng. She opens the show’s theme song with the lines, “In the daytime, I’m Marinette. Just a normal girl, with a normal life. But there’s something about me that no one knows yet, because I have a secret.” This secret? She’s an undercover superhero, obviously.
When in costume and equipped with her powers thanks to her “miraculous” (a powerful charm that activates the superhero identity), Marinette goes by the name Ladybug, fighting crime in Paris with her charismatic partner in crime, Cat Noir. Ladybug and Cat Noir spend their days slipping away from their civilian lives into their secret superhero identities– which remain a secret to absolutely everyone, including each other. This sets up interesting obstacles for our two main characters, which leads us into the first dimension of The Love Square: Adrienette.
Marinette is head-over-heels in love with her supermodel classmate/friend, Adrien Agreste. Each episode, we see Marinette stumbling, gawking, and embarrassing herself (in a charming, yet pitiful way) in attempts to interact with Adrien. While this crush is sadly unreciprocated, Adrien considers Marinette a dear friend, and admires her for her goodheartedness and hilarious “quirks” (which is a nice way to frame her many humiliating moments). This relationship in the love square is very wholesome to watch, as it takes the shape of the typical school-crush trope and has us rooting for Marinette whenever Adrien is in the same vicinity as her. While Marinette attempts to get closer and closer to Adrien, she fails to see that she’s actually a lot closer to him than she thinks… (Do you see where this is going?!)
Cat Noir has been in love with Ladybug from their first day on the job. Constantly awed by her intelligence, strength, and quick wit, Cat Noir never misses out on the opportunity to flirt or fully confess his feelings to her. Often calling her by nicknames like “Milady” and “Bugaboo”, Cat Noir’s playful personality creates an entertaining dynamic between the two heroes, since Ladybug always remains unimpressed and disinterested by his romantic antics. That’s right, Ladybug does not return the same feelings for her kitty counterpart, too preoccupied by her all-consuming crush on Adrien. After being rejected countless times, Cat Noir respects Ladybug’s unreciprocated feelings but just can’t seem to shake off his love for her, even as Adrien. Nevertheless, Ladynoir is a fan-favourite in The Love Square because of the flirty banter between Ladybug and Cat Noir, and their soulmate-level teamwork they exhibit while fighting against evil. Additionally, the dramatic irony of Ladybug repeatedly turning away Cat Noir for his civilian identity creates a frustration that makes the viewing experience that much more entertaining.
We see less common interactions between Ladybug and Adrien, but whenever we do, it is certain to be a shy, yet awestruck one. Ladybug is forced to maintain her confident superhero persona and not stumble back into her regular clumsiness around her crush. This is a clear struggle, and she often slips up momentarily. Luckily, Adrien is too busy trying to act natural to notice. For both of them, it’s always a good day when they get to see their respective crushes, and being in the identity that is less frequented for their crush-interactions brings a challenge to how they might behave.
Lastly, in The Love Square, we have another fan-favourite relationship that is quite nuanced. Marinette and Cat Noir both know each other in ways that the other could never know, so when they interact it is with an unsaid and unexplainable (to each other) fondness. Both are open and honest with each other about things that are unspeakable between any other relationships in The Love Square. For example, Marinette and Cat Noir bond over unrequited love. They are able to be completely themselves with each other without any obstacles they usually have, namely Ladybug tiptoeing around Cat Noir’s feelings for her, or Marinette not being able to be herself around Adrien. Since each of them know and trust each other for their own secret reasons, the relationship between Marinette and Cat Noir seems to be one that each of them really values. Marichat adds a level of depth and transparency to The Love Square that is unseen elsewhere.
Where to Watch
If The Love Square has convinced you to give Miraculous Ladybug a shot, cat-ch seasons 1-3 on Netflix and seasons 1-4 on Disney+.
Adrienette. The Fanon Shipping Wiki. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2023, from https://thefanonshipping.fandom.com/wiki/Adrienette
crystal, M., Countrygirl4654, Mizba3e4l, Rosepetal07, LOV3I2GR8T, 6272, L., & Yoongibies. (n.d.). Ladrien Pics: Fandom. Miraculous Ladybug Wiki. Retrieved February 12, 2023, from https://miraculousladybug.fandom.com/f/p/4400000000000002003/r/4400000000000071632
Ladynoir moment? | day 66 | fandom. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2023, from https://miraculousladybug.fandom.com/f/p/4400000000000006474/r/4400000000000350873
Marichat. Miraculouscurry Wiki. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2023, from https://miraculouscurry.fandom.com/wiki/Marichat?file=Maricaht_ee.jpg
Miraculous: Tales of ladybug & cat noir. Miraculous Ladybug Wiki. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2023, from https://miraculousladybug.fandom.com/wiki/Miraculous:_Tales_of_Ladybug_%26_Cat_Noir