Last week I talked about Gauche, and how it was Asta who defined what the appropriate boundaries should be between siblings. Towards the end I speculated that the conflict in episode 31 would provide ample opportunity for Gauche to reevaluate his mindset for the sake of saving Marie.
Now that we have the chance to check up on that theory, well, it’s not really good news for Gauche. Our worst nightmare was realized when he came riding in to save the day, magic laser mirrors in tow. It was a fun spectacle but unfortunately lacking in any introspection. As a viewer it’s just a little too hard to stomach the whole ‘I’m going to have nosebleeds over my little sister while she literally flees for her life’. I won’t dig too deep into the issue though, partly because I covered all the main points in the last post, but also because I find this episode really interesting for its magic relevant lore implications.
As we find out, the evil bad guys of this side story are actually carrying out a plan which involves zapping all the mana out of the children they abducted. The fact that it’s possible to permanently steal away a persons mana is a huge threat that will likely extend beyond the confines of this isolated incident. It already has me wondering whether Asta had his mana taken away from him at an early age, rather than simply being born without the capacity as we’ve been led to believe. If so, could there be a way for him to restore his innate/latent power?
While I don’t imagine it will be the focus of the story for a long time, I would be very surprised if this plot point wasn’t returned to at a later stage. I certainly never expected Asta to spend the entire Black Clover series without mana, but the pathway to his awakening never seemed too clear before now. Not only can magic be negated (or rather, temporarily muted) but it can also be taken, carried, stored and utilized beyond the confines of the tomes.
I understand the appeal of Asta as a character without magic (it’s a really engaging trait!) but I welcome any sort of respite from the now repetitive – “Ha! This kid has no magic!” –> proceeds to get decimated – progression that the story has followed so far. That said, it can come in the form of reputation rather than the complete casting away of his main selling point. Something like “That’s him! The manaless demon! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES” (slight exaggeration), would be a great change of pace following on from this snowville arc. This is especially relevant since the importance of the ranking system was expanded upon before and after the city assault. I’m just saying, it would be a great route to take…
Though I previously mentioned Asta’s newfound maturity, it is still just that – newfound, as Sister Theresa was clearly more level-headed than anyone else this episode. He’s learning fast from his superiors, but I think there are ways in which this is still at odds with his shounen protagonist sword-swinging attitude. It’s hard to buy Asta’s speech about staying calm during tense situations when he’s giving the psycho eyes as soon as the action starts. Progress comes in stages, so I’m just happy there are any wizard king-ly aspects to talk about with regards to Asta.
This is also an episode in which Noelle and Rebecca sit on the sidelines. Though I think it’s fine for them to take the backseat for now, I would like to see them become more involved soon, given that they are more than capable of helping out based on what we know about them. I’m just hyper conscious of the implicit messages that get sent when you have a bunch of women rely on men to solve their problems. Sister Theresa is something of a counterpoint to this, but I still don’t think it’s a coincidence that her role was based around the passive and ‘maternal’ acts of healing and comforting the children.
Speaking of Noelle, she continues to have ~objectively~ the best reactions. The more aggressively she pursues Asta, the more she seems to run into the “Buh-ha!” guy, which makes for an amazing bit of comedic causality. I never tire of seeing her shut him down. I’m extra happy that the time she spends with Rebecca is largely free of bitterness and competition. I’m aware that the petit clover sketches are not technically cannon, but the one between them in the after credits scene was really touching in the sense that they communicated from a position of respect. I only hope that Noelle grows beyond her
relationship obsession with Asta, because she really does deserve a front line spot in the series.
While I’ll never be able to fully accept the disappointment that is Gauche, I think this arc is really shaping up to be a good one. There is clearly a lot of shady of stuff going on behind the scenes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘evil’ collecting mana is connected to the attack on the capital. That’s super exciting.
Thanks for reading!