Bandai Miraculous Ladybug Marinette Doll

Confession: I’ve been a fan of Miraculous Ladybug since well before it actually came out. I’ve been low-key following the project since the days where it was planned as a 2D, anime-esque series and getting increasingly excited about it up as its release neared. The show itself hasn’t disappointed me- it’s definitely corny and a bit repetitive at times, but to me that is part of the charm. It’s become one of my favorite– if not my absolute favorite– shows and I’ve been incredibly excited in anticipation of the doll line’s release.

(Also, as a side note, I’ve mainly been watching the French and Korean versions and do tend to use some of their terminology more frequently, so you may notice me not using the “official” English title and things.)

The dolls hit my local Target this week, so the wait is now over! I picked up the Marinette doll last night; they also had Chat Noir and Adrien and I’ll probably return for one or both of them later this week as I intend to own all four.

I’ll be honest- I haven’t been too impressed with most of the prototype and product photos for the dolls. I knew I would still buy them– for one thing, I want to support the series and as a doll collector there’s no way I’m going to pass up on official dolls of some of my favorite cartoon characters, and for another thing, I’ve done enough customizing to know I could fix a lot of the problems I had– but I thought the faces looked kind of bland in photos and was expecting to not be super pleased with them as-is. I was pleasantly surprised to find I like them far better in person than in the photos, but more on that later.

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I really like the packaging on these dolls. I like that it has the same hexagonal “texture” as Ladybug’s real costume. One of the first things I was struck by in person was the attention to detail put into these dolls’ clothing. They really made every effort to replicate all the details on Marinette’s outfit, from her pants pockets to her floral-print shirt to her polka-dotted jacket lining, and from what I saw of Adrien and Chat the same could be said for them.

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The side and back of her bock have more of the official character images. The back includes photos of the other dolls available,  and also includes this little gem that made me think whoever wrote the copy  hasn’t actually seen the show:

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Somehow I feel like being a 5000-year-old god, Tikki probably deserves a little more respect than to be called a “pet,” but I digress.

The packaging was not at all difficult to open. It had the typical perforated plastic tabs attaching to the the cardboard. A pleasant surprise for me was that all of the ties holding Marinette to the cardboard were plastic rather than metal or something tougher to get through, so careful scissor-work had her freed in no time.

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The backing card was a picture of Marinette’s room, and could probably make a nice backdrop for someone if they wanted to save it.

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There’s also this cute little cardboard Tikki that’s pretty much in scale with Marinette. I would have liked a vinyl or rubber Tikki a little more, as I probably won’t personally save the cardboard version, but it’s still good that they included her in some manner at least.

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Marinette comes with her outfit and shoes, and her pink school bag. No stand or brush were included.

As I was taking her out of the box, I noticed my first real disappointment- The entire back of her jacket was a velcro closure:

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That’s when I realized that her jacket and her shirt are not actually two separate pieces, but are a one-piece item. The polka-dot lining also doesn’t quite go all the way back to where the shirt connects to the jacket, so there is a small gap of unlined jacket that can become visible if you pose her just so.

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Her backpack, like her clothes, is quite well detailed. It’s all one color, but it does include the detailing of her embroidery “carved” into it. For reference, here’s the bag in the show:

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And here’s the doll-sized version:

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I think I might add some paint details to make it more accurate, but it’s still pretty nice-looking. It’s all one piece, doesn’t open, and feels rubbery.

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Because it has some flex to it, Marinette can easily wear her bag on her back like in the show.

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Marinette’s face-up is quite sweet, and I liked it far better in person than in pictures, as I said above. Her blushiness doesn’t photograph well, but she does have very visibly pink cheeks that I think are part of why I like her so much more. I like that they didn’t go overboard with her makeup and kept her look fairly natural. I do wonder why they gave her brown eyebrows instead a blue or black that would have matched both the character and the doll’s hair more accurately.I may still do some enhancements eventually, but I’m going to wait on having all the dolls before I make that decision.

Marinette’s hair is a lovely blue-black blend that I think does a very good job of matching the character’s hair. It’s quite soft, and rooted thickly enough that there’s no gaps in her pigtails anywhere. There’s not nearly as much product in it as some dolls seem to have– her pigtails have a waxiness to them, but her scalp seems soft and nice and none of it is stiff at all. I do think her pigtails are way too long compared to the in-show character– they actually remind me more of “Bridgette,” her counterpart from the 2D trailer, so there’s certainly that option for any customizers out there who like the 2D trailer– but I guess that makes sense for a toy as well. I will almost certainly be trimming them at the very least, and likely trying to style them more like Marinette’s poofy pigtails. I do like that they give her the little sideburns she has in the show:

Of course, while inspecting said sideburns, I also noticed my other big disappointment: Marinette has no earrings!

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If you’re not a fan of the show, Marinette’s earrings are the object that allows her to transform into Ladybug. It seems very odd to me that they didn’t give her at least painted-on earrings, but that will just be another thing I’ll fix myself.

Marinette’s body is decently proportioned for a fourteen-year-old girl, in my opinion. It’s not as curvy as some fashion dolls, and it also has a little bit of “meat” on it as is fitting for a girl who’s constantly doing acrobatics across the rooftops of Paris.

Her body has 11 points of articulation: the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees. Her hands do not detach (or if they do, they’re really tight in there and I was worried about breaking her. If it turns out they do detach I’ll be sure and update this post). EDIT: Turns our I was wrong, and the hands do detach and are just really tight.

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Let’s talk about arm articulation first:

 

Her shoulders have a fairly broad range of motion. They allow her to hold her arms almost vertically, and she can stick her arms straight out to the side as well as nearly straight forward, back, down, and anything in-between.

Her elbows are hinged with rotation, but don’t have quite the range of motion you see in some dolls. They can almost bend at a 90 degree angle, but not quite. Interestingly, they can also bend somewhat “out” as her left arm demonstrates above.

Unfortunately, her wrists only rotate rather than including hinged movement too. It’s still a far cry better than a lot of fashion dolls but it does limit her a bit- she can’t actually touch her head at all.

Marinette’s hip joints have some rotational ability and can swing out to the sides a bit. This is still somewhat limited, however; as you can see she can neither do a full side split or front split, although her front split is much closer.

Her knees bend to roughly 90 degrees.

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Her knees also have rotational movement- she can swing her leg inward and outward as far as you see pictured here.

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While a bit limited, her leg movement does allow her to sit modestly– her legs are not required to swing out to sit down. She can also cross her legs while sitting, allowing for some cute sitting poses.

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And much to my surprise, Marinette can actually stand on her own if you’re careful! Much credit to my roommate, who is apparently a goddess when it comes to getting dolls to stand– she was the first to get Poison Ivy to stand on her own as well. Marinette’s feet are nearly flat on their own and her shoes have a sturdy, flat bottom, so I think that contributes to her stability. I’ll have to test if the others can stand as well when I get my hands on them.

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Here’s Marinette in comparison to some other similarly-sized fashion dolls. Pictured left to right are a Hasbro Disney doll, Marinette, an Ever After High doll, and a DC Superhero Girls doll. As you can see, she falls in between the Disney and EAH dolls in height.

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Connie’s former Jasmine outfit looks quite nice on Marinette from the front, but is too tight to close in the back. (This means she’ll be way to big for Monster High or EAH clothes, too, as their dolls both appear to swim in the Disney Princess outfits.)

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Barbie clothes seem to be a perfect fit, though, which is nice because it means she can share clothes with Barbie, Pullip, J-doll, and any number of other similarly sized dolls.

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Overall I’m quite pleased with this doll. While the somewhat limited range of motion and the small corners cut on her clothing/earrings bother me a bit as a collector, they shouldn’t be any problem to a child interested in the show or dolls, and the amount of detail they did include made me quite happy, especially considering the price point. I seriously hope these dolls are successful enough that the line will later expand- I’d love to get Alya as a doll, especially, and any future Miraculous-holders we may meet would be great! I’ll update you when I’ve picked up some of the other dolls with any additional information that might arise.

UPDATE: I now have Chat Noir as well, and have done a small(ish) post on him and his additional details. Check it out here.

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