Real Name: Jalil Kubdel
Root Cause of Transformation: Mr. Kubdel (His Father)
Item of Transformation: Scarab Amulet
Primary Goal: To Prove His Theory/To Resurrect His Wife
Now I’ll be fair here and warn the lot of you here and now that this particular villain has earned more than a few bits of soapboxing from me and, for the most part, they are all justifiable. That having been said, let’s get the root cause of Jalil Kubdel’s transformation out of the way.
He’s an idiot.
No. I am not being mean, nor am I trying to simplify his character. He is well and truly an idiot though how much of one depends on whether you subscribe to the original French version or the English one. Either way, as an employee at the Louvre Museum, Jalil’s main passion/specialization is anything and everything to do with Ancient Egypt and is particularly good at translating hieroglyphics.
So good in fact that his common sense goes flying out the window when he translates a scroll that, supposedly, is a means of resurrecting the dead and tries to prove to his father, his boss no less, by trying to grab an ancient scepter and trying to do the spell right then and there.
I… I just… Where do I even start? Alright, let’s go with the plainly obvious almost-crime here. He nearly touched an Ancient Egyptian artifact and, had he succeeded in grabbing it, would have treated it like it was some sort of magical wand. Admittedly, and rather stupidly, said scepter was merely sitting on a display podium with absolutely no other means of stopping anyone from grabbing it but the point still stands! As his father proclaims, at best the two of them would lose their jobs at the museum and at worst… Well, can you say international incident?
To the fantastical side of things… I’ll admit, and I’m sure a great many of you already know or can surmise, I am an avid fan of modern fantasy, ancient myth, and all manners of lore across the ages particularly those focusing on dragons.
Were I in a position to prove their existence to be actual fact instead of myth I would do my absolute best to do so but not without finding out all possible risks because something so utterly earth shattering can very well make such a phrase a reality. In Jalil’s case, I cannot count the number of times I have seen the resurrection of the dead proving to be too high a cost to fulfill.
Admittedly, there may be some hidden motive on the lad’s part, but his reasoning is never stated even when he is ultimately akumatized by Papillon. In point of fact, depending on whether you subscribe to the English or French variation of the show, Jalil’s degree of stupidity is either increased by a significant margin… or Papillon’s degree of power is raised even further.
In the English version, Pharoah, as Papillon so names the transformed Jalil, believes himself to be Tutankhamen and he wants to utilize the papyrus’ spell of resurrection to bring his dead wife, Nefertiti, to life as she had died shortly before he did.
Alright, let me just put this soapbox into place and… Point of order, Tutankhamen’s wife was not Nefertiti, it was Ankhesenamun. Nefertiti was the first wife of his father, Akhenaten. Secondly, Tutankhamen died at the age of eighteen whereas his wife, and half-sister might I add, died at the tender age of twenty-six.
In the French version however, Pharoah actually believes himself to be Akhenaten and is trying to resurrect Nefertiti whom died before him. This is actually true though the exact dates are unfortunately lost to time. This then leads to a rather disturbing possibility that Papillon can, inadvertently, call forth spirits of the departed to empower his victims as Pharoah, either version, recognizes Ladybug as the one whom stopped his first attempt at the spell several millennia ago.
A spell that requires a living sacrifice and exactly one hundred mummies no less, though the mummies themselves seem to act more as channels/servants for the spell, it’s still undeniably creepy.
As Pharaoh, Jalil is able to call upon the gods of Ancient Egypt and (steps back onto soapbox) here is where Jalil proves wholly that he is an incredibly stupid historian of Ancient Egyptian myths.
By calling upon Thoth, his mask transforms into the face of a baboon and he can create bubbles of altered time, specifically slowed down. Problem is that Thoth, whilst known for having baboon traits on occasion, is more commonly associated with an ibis but, more specifically, is known as the God of Knowledge, Measurements, and Magic. The only, and I do mean only, connection he has to the manipulation of time in any way is the bet he had won with the moon god Khonsu that resulted in an additional five days being added to the calendar.
Calling upon Sekhmet turns his mask into the visage of a lioness and Pharoah’s already formidable strength increases. This… is somewhat plausible as Sekhmet is a goddess of war and fire, both incredibly powerful forces, but the real nugget comes from her name, which means “the (one who is) powerful.”
Calling upon Anubis turns his mask into a jackal’s whose gaze shoots forth golden beams of light that instantly turn anyone they hit into a mummy. Anubis is the god of funerary rituals and is one of the chief judges of the dead so it’s not that much of a stretch but for pity’s sake why is it always mummies with anything and everything to do with ancient Egypt? There are more worrying things than a type of undead who, for the most part, can be dealt with by way of fire you know.
Lastly, by calling for Horus’ wings, Pharoah’s mask becomes that of a falcon and he gains the power of flight. Problem is while Horus is a god of the sky and of kingship, he has never, not once, been depicted with wings save for when he has been depicted fully as a falcon. Still, I’ll give him credit for calling on the god whose dominion includes the entirety of the sky…
Overall, Pharoah is an incredibly dangerous akumatized victim of Papillon and easily resides amongst the top tier. Never mind the possibility that he is either delusional to the point of insanity or is in fact inhabited by the spirit of a long departed ancient king, it is the wide and incredibly diverse abilities that Pharaoh possesses that makes him a deadly force to be reckoned with. After all, we see him only call upon four of the countless gods of Ancient Egypt and believe you me, there are several more whose invocation could very well have done in Ladybug and Chat Noir with ease.