I’m writing about Black Clover now! Woohoo!
For as many ways to describe or encapsulate Gauche as there are, I’d have to say Mirror Mage is the least interesting one. Because it would be inept, or arguably disingenuous, for anyone to ignore the subject of his one sided devotion – his little sister Marie. Though he is indeed strong, and in a way that favours inventive solutions over progressively spectacular displays of destructive capabilities, the knowledge that all his actions serve one solitary purpose leaves an unforgettably sour taste in my mouth.
But to be absolutely clear it’s not that the love he bears for his younger sibling is inherently wrong, only the ways in which this affection is both channeled and expressed. Perhaps no one has illustrated this better in the Black Clover universe than our boy Asta. The inclusion of Asta in an episode that is so clearly meant to be about Gauche is unquestionably a carefully weighted decision, as no one is more equipped to talk about family than the boy who adores the small village orphanage he was raised in.
Gauche being lured into buying presents that Marie likely wouldn’t care for is only the background to his surface level care. The true issues behind his indulgent attitude only really become apparent when Marie and Asta become acquainted. Unlike Gauche he’s legitimately invested in playing games with the kids, not to appease them or gain favour with Rebecca, but because he genuinely enjoys making them happy. Marie, like the other kids, is not just an object of fascination or an unapproachable construct. She is a regular little girl that likes fun and games. Asta is capable of recognizing this without even needing to think about it, and on top of that he is still able to admit that Marie is cute in a much healthier framework than Gauche.
From an outsider perspective it seems obvious, but because Gauche wishes to care for Marie without ever stopping to think about what would actually make her happy, it results in his own rejection (and likely so in many other cases). It stands to reason that hurting and otherwise scaring Marie’s new friends is not going to win her favour, and that’s if we only talk about the wrongness of his actions based on how Marie reacts, rather than how these are just inherently awful things to do.
Given the way these types of “sister complex” characters are written, I don’t exactly have high hopes that Gauche will experience any lasting change after the conclusion of this child abduction arc, but if anyone has the capacity to change him it would be Asta. Because if there’s one surprising thing I enjoy about Asta, it’s that he is much more level-headed than you expect him to be. He has the headstrong “I will beat you no matter what!” bravado of his contemporaries, a needed touch of sportive charm, but underlying all of those traits is still a young man who constantly considers how his actions will effect others. Nothing exemplifies this better than his vocalized defenses to Gauche’s accusations at the end of the episode.
“Kids say stuff like that all the time”
– In response to Marie’s marriage proclamation he shows awareness of the differences between how adults and children weigh the meaning of words without belittling them at the same time.
“Wouldn’t that make most people criminals?”
– In response to Gauche calling him a criminal for meeting Marie, instead of trying to launch a defense for himself he instead considers the implications that statement would bring onto other people.
“That’s not even your house!”
– After being blasted through the wall by Gauche’s magic, he is more concerned with the damage being done to Rebecca’s home than the beating he sustained.
“Rebecca! I’m so sorry!”
– Despite Gauche both initiating and perpetuating the fight, when accused of being responsible he immediately apologizes rather than reeling off excuses.
Remarkably an episode dedicated to condemning Gauche in turn became a really good illustration of why Asta is a great protagonist. I only hope that some of his behavior rubs off on the guy, because Marie being put in danger provides the perfect opportunity for a reevaluation of priorities and beliefs.
See you next week.
Thanks for reading!