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Cat Noir

Miraculous Ladybug
by yo go re

Nothing says "Halloween" like a black cat! ...I'm sure that's the last reference we'll make to that this month.

Despite how everyone refers to it, technically the show is not called "Miraculous Ladybug": its proper title is Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. And since we've already reviewed Ladybug, so now it's the kitty cat's turn.

Under Cat Noir's mask lies a strong and confident Adrien, who has the freedom to be everything he wants to be! With the power of Cataclysm, Cat Noir has the ability to charge up and bring chaotic defeat to any villain in his path. Enamored by Ladybug, Cat Noir spends much of his superhero time trying to make a good impression on her. Unfortunately, the demands of villain fighting often get in the way of his love for Ladybug.

The first time I ever heard of Miraculous Ladybug was when Bandai brought their toys to Toy Fair, and, having no context for the characters, thought Cat Noir might be a villain. (I also thought he might be a girl, so at least my track record for predictions about the character was consistent? Consistently wrong, but still consistent.) In some reality I might have been right, though: before production began on the cartoon, creator Thomas Astruc drew a series of covers for an imaginary comic, and when Le Chat Noir appeared there, he certainly seemed extra sinister.

Cat Noir (other characters get their names translated, but since there's already a Black Cat out there, he remains at least partially French) wears a black leather suit with fully sculpted piping around the shoulders and forearms, zippered pockets, and extra pads on the wrists and ankles. A pair of cat ears poke out of his hair, and he wears a mask that doesn't seem like it would do much to conceal his identity. He wears his belt like a tail trailing behind him, and there's a large golden bell hanging from his collar.

Obviously there's not a lot of color to worry about on this figure: below the neck, he's just molded in color, with paint for his bell and that's it. His face is humanish and his hair yellow, making for a spot of contrast against all the black. His eyes are bright green, to make him look more feline - even Catwoman, Cat Noir's obvious sartorial inspiration, still has human eyes. Why, though, is this toy's face so decidedly orange? Like, it's not pink, it's not even tan; it's not a color a human would be unless they were eating nothing but carrots and getting weekly spray tans. It looks really out of place.

Cat Noir is officially 1.65 meters tall (5'4"), 15 centimeters taller than Ladybug. Fittingly, his figure is a little bit taller than the Ladybug toy, which is pleasantly unexpected! His ears almost reach the 5¼" mark. He has a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, tiny tiny double-hinged elbows, a swivel waist, balljointed hips, double-hinged knees, and swivel/​hinge ankles. That's pretty good for a budget line toy! He does not include his signature weapon, an infinitely expanding silver staff, but his tail is a separate piece that plugs into the figure's back. The Cataclysm power allows Cat Noir to destroy anything he touches; if you want to duplicate him activating the power, look for the Tamashii effects "Energy Impact" or "Energy Aura" in black.

Cat Noir's personality is the laid-back, jokey, flirt. He doesn't seem to take anything seriously, but that's all just an act: he's playing a part, acting a certain way because he thinks it's the way to act. He does care, he does take things seriously, and even if he acts silly, he's absolutely dedicated to Ladybug. Throughout Season 4, Ladybug keeps trying to push him away, to keep him distant, convinced she has to do everything herself because she doesn't trust him; and when that leads to a nearly ultimate disaster, he doesn't say "I told you so, this is your fault," he says "it's okay, this is bad, let's get back up and fight it. Together." He presents as distracted and flippant, but having fun doing something serious doesn't mean you're not doing it right.

-- 10/02/22

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