ep:1x18

On Ladybug and Chat Noir’s partnership

Some minor episode 17 & 18 spoilers.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism of episode 18 of Miraculous Ladybug in the tags today as compared to ep 17 - specifically, the irony (or failure) of the series seemingly reversing its opinion on the partnership of Chat Noir and Ladybug against Hawkmoth.

But I don’t think that these episodes contradict.  Just because Ladybug can (and does) save the day herself doesn’t devalue Chat Noir or make Chat Noir’s partnership less valuable to Ladybug.

Firstly: Ladybug has always been portrayed as completely capable on her own.  This is not a new development! In Copycat there’s a memorable line where Copycat complains that he’s better than Chat, and Ladybug - stealing Chat’s baton back from Copycat - announces, ‘but I’m better than both of you!’ She’s more of a strategist - she has to be to use the Lucky Charm - and Chat Noir tends to follow her lead in akuma fights.  Ladybug is the only one with the power to cleanse akuma and fix akuma-caused damage.  Chat Noir tends to run interference while she takes the action that will save the day.

However, Ladybug and Chat Noir both consider themselves to have a partnership.  Episode 17 was all about how they choose to work together.  Despite the fact that Ladybug doesn’t seem to be willing or able to save Chat when Antibug uses him as bait against Ladybug, he’s still unwavering in his faith in her, and later Ladybug announces proudly that they’re a team.  The importance of Ladybug saying that they are a team is actually enhanced by the fact that she can save the day on her own.  She CHOOSES to rely on Chat Noir. 

The series has also taken pains throughout to show that they work well together and that Ladybug does rely on Chat whenever he’s there. She depends on Chat to keep the akuma busy while she figures out how to use her Lucky Charm.   Ladybug listens to Chat Noir’s advice. She can give him directions and knows he’ll understand and follow her lead instantly; they work seamlessly together in team fights and discuss strategy.

And Chat does a lot of amazing things himself! There’s an episode where he spends the majority of the episode holding off an entire army of knights all by himself, mostly by fencing with his baton.  He has night vision and rescues Ladybug from Stormy Weather, and takes Marinette to a safe place (so she can transform, little does he know) versus the Gamer.  It’s true he often goes down first, but that’s because he’s almost always distracting the enemy while Ladybug figures out how to use her Lucky Charm.  He rescues Ladybug from having her Miraculous stolen several times and from taking fatal hits at least twice if not more.  Just because Ladybug is stronger doesn’t mean Chat is useless.

One of the great things about Miraculous Ladybug is that Ladybug is allowed to be a shining heroine all on her own.  (This is rare for a female superhero; in most hero universes at least one man is as strong or stronger than any female heroines.) And the fact she doesn’t absolutely need Chat Noir means that she works with him because she likes to!  As much as she shuts down his flirting and finds him ridiculous, she wants his company. Ladybug has chosen Chat Noir out of her own free will, not because she’d fail without him.

In conclusion: It’s super romantic to hear characters say ‘I need you, I’d die without you, you are necessary to my existence.’  But there is a different, more mature romance in a person who is complete in themselves choosing to include another person in their life.  This is the delight of Ladybug and Chat Noir’s partnership, and why even though ep 18 was about how Ladybug can do everything herself, she’s still a team with the all-important Chat Noir.

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