Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir (Manga) Volume 3 Review

Marinette and Adrien – or Ladybug and Cat Noir – have been superheroes of Paris for a while now and have done a great job of thwarting Hawkmoth’s evil plans! But how did their superhero journey begin? Find out in the latest volume of the manga adaptation of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir!

As you can tell from the opening paragraph, this book contains the episodes Origins Part 1 and 2 from Season 1 (or just named Stoneheart in the manga) and both episodes cover the whole book. This means that we get a very close adaptation of the original episodes, with some minor adjustments in dialogue as well as some content changed. For example, Origins Part 1 opened with a quick backstory of the Miracle Box and how Hawkmoth decided to become…well, Hawkmoth. In the original series, we didn’t know Gabriel was Hawkmoth at that point, but in the manga version the cat is already out of the bag, and yet we do not get this quick explanation of the box or see Gabriel deciding to pick up the Butterfly Miraculous. This is a shame as it would have been nice to see how he decided to take the powers without the series needing to hide his identity. There is an in-story reason for it however; it’s because the manga opens instead with present day Marinette looking back on how she first became Ladybug. It’s a quick way to lead into the backstory, but also starts to fall apart quickly because the manga – as it’s faithful to the original episode – also covers how Adrien became Cat Noir, and she doesn’t know his identity – oh well!

From then on the book follows the episode faithfully, from the saving of Master Fu for both our heroes, to messing up their first Akuma mission together, to Marinette reigniting her confidence to becoming the heroine we know and love today. In terms of how the manga keeps it similar, there are some strong panels in this book. I really loved how they show both Adrien and Marinette opening their kwamis for the first time; in the animated series it’s via split screen, with them speaking and opening the boxes in sync, showing their connection before they even began their journey. In the manga it’s a double-page spread, with one side being Adrien and the other Marinette, so we get that synchronicity in page form, and nothing is lost in the new adaptation. This is only slightly ruined with one random page of Master Fu reassuring his kwami that he made the right choices in our heroes, only to go right back to the dual pages of our heroes talking to their kwamis for the first time. It’s an odd choice and could have been avoided if that random page could have been moved to the end of the section.

I’m also impressed with how the manga keeps the action flowing but also easy to follow on the page too; Stoneheart looks very detailed and menacing in this book, but seeing Ladybug swing her yoyo all over the place and across the city to stop him is still satisfying and does the show justice too. The ‘Ladybug’ view (where she sees spots over bits she needs to defeat the villain) is a little hard to make out in this version, but forgivable considering it’s in black and white.

In terms of changes to the story, there’s very little: mostly dialogue changes and tiny additional panels or micro expressions added. For example, I liked it when Chloe decides to let Marinette have her seat in class, because her new seat allows her to appreciate Adrien’s profile – it’s a small addition but it’s the exact thing Chloe would do, and it plays into her shallowness.

The art continues to be a fun, cutesy style that’s a nice blend of the 3D animation but paying homage to the 2D original style the show was originally pitched in. I do think that some of the side characters’ designs look a little rushed however; Ivan looks okay, if a little squashed, but Chloe’s dad and the police officer don’t look right, compared to their 3D counterparts. Alethea and Athena Nibley continue to translate the book well, with a few nice translation notes at the end, but if you’re a stickler for dialogue, you may not like that a few liberties are taken in the second half of the book, as a lot of it doesn’t match fully what’s in the show.

The three volumes of the Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir manga are a fun ride, and definitely a collector’s item for all Ladybug fans out there. I’m a little concerned however that the end of the book advertises an upcoming fourth volume, but according to fan sites, there have been no new chapters released since 2022…will we get a new volume of the manga version? Only the holder of the Bunny Miraculous will know for sure. Until then, is this worth picking up? I would say yes, if you like Miraculous, and want a quick reminder of the first season without watching it; it’s a good substitute.

Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK. 

8 / 10


By day, I work in the television industry. By night, I'm a writer for Anime UK News. Twitter: @lilithdarkstorm

More posts from darkstorm...