Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir is a CGI superhero anime that is both infuriating for its romance and formidable for its heart-stopping action. Its premise focuses on Marinette Dupain-Cheng and Adrien Agreste, Parisian teenagers given the ability to transform into superheroes Ladybug and Cat Noir respectively, as well as the responsibility of protecting Paris from daily threat.
While Miraculous Ladybug remains unmatched for its distinctive approach and creative spin on the classic superhero tale, there are some anime that bare a resemblance in terms of underlying themes. For those months between seasons where Miraculous is on hiatus, or simply to broaden your range of superhero series, here are five suggestions of great anime to enjoy in the meantime.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the main protagonist Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating the Fire Lord Ozai and ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation. Avatar gained an impressive following from its three-year duration; critics and audiences alike praised it for its originality and engaging fantasy aspects. When it debuted, it was rated the best animated television series in its demographic.
Although Avatar was originally released on Nickelodeon and intended for a younger audience, it features some decidedly adult themes, including female empowerment, genocide, imperialism and philosophical questions regarding destiny and free will. Miraculous Ladybug touches on these themes -- though perhaps not as seriously -- and both are respected and admired for different reasons.
All three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender are available on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, the Nick website, and Paramount+.
To the surprise of some, Sailor Moon actually classifies as a "magical girl" series as opposed to action, fantasy, etc. For that reason, it suits the basic concept of Miraculous Ladybug fairly well, given that Marinette/Ladybug can also be considered a "magical girl."
At the beginning of Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino, aka Sailor Moon, lives a humdrum life but is destined for greatness. Usagi is an average student who constantly scores low on her tests, but her ordinary routine changes for the better when she saves a cat with a crescent moon on its head from danger. The cat, named Luna, later reveals their meeting was not an accident: Usagi is destined to become Sailor Moon, a planetary guardian with the power to protect the Earth.
Sailor Moon's primary message is most certainly “girl power,” and within that ambiguous phrase lies the importance of friendship. Miraculous would not be complete without its roster of heroes, all of whom are the closest of friends -- whether they know it or not. All 46 episodes of Sailor Moon can be streamed via Hulu.
Tiger & Bunny
Released in 2011, Tiger & Bunny is a superhero anime set in the fictional location Stern Bild City, where those with special abilities are called "NEXT," and can choose to use their powers for good or evil. Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, known as "Wild Tiger," is a veteran superhero whose abilities have dwindled, mostly due to his uncooperative nature with other heroes. A uniquely organized group of NEXT appear regularly on Hero TV, where they chase down evildoers and earn Hero Points in the hopes of becoming the next "King of Heroes."
Kotetsu is paired up with a brand new hero who identifies by his real name — Barnaby Brooks Jr. Barnaby, nicknamed "Bunny," quickly makes it clear that the two could not be more different, but Tiger and Bunny must learn to work together to face the looming threats within Stern Bild.
For its electrifying action and excellent use of the "hero vs villain" trope, Tiger & Bunny is an ideal substitute for those months during Miraculous Ladybug's hiatus, or even as another anime to enjoy on the side. Tiger & Bunny's 25 episodes can be enjoyed on Hulu and Netflix.
A familiar pattern begins to emerge with Date-A-Live: another seemingly average high school student, Shidou Itsuka, is called to action when an imminent spatial quake threatens the safety of Tengu City. He rushes to save it, only to be caught in the resulting eruption.
Shidou discovers a mysterious girl at its source who is revealed to be a "Spirit," an otherworldly entity whose appearance triggers a spatial quake. More focused on romance rather than action, Date-A-Live perfectly balances excitement and drama. Miraculous Ladybug's underlying themes denote an attraction between Marinette and Adrien, wherein their superhero lives clash with their civilian ones. Both shows have that ideal blend of action-packed adventure and heartwarming devotion.
With only 12 episodes, Date-A-Live is short and sweet, but its short run is deceiving and still provides the utmost enjoyment. All episodes can be streamed via Hulu, Crunchyroll and Funimation.
Solely listed as a drama anime, Charlotte explores the supernatural lives of "average" teenagers. Yuu Otosaka is seemingly just another charming and intelligent teenager, but with a secret — he has the ability to slip into people's minds and fully control their body for five seconds at a time.
Nao Tomori catches Yuu using his power and persuades him and his sister Ayumi to transfer to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for students with supernatural abilities. Yuu is forced to join the student council and together, they seek out adolescents who abuse their powers.
Formidable challenges bring Yuu closer to the shocking truth that his own abilities might be more powerful than he could have imagined. Despite Miraculous Ladybug lacking in the supernatural department, the central themes of discovering the extent of one's powers and relying on self-control and perseverance are exceptionally clear.
Charlotte runs for 13 episodes, all of which can be enjoyed on Hulu and Crunchyroll.