Black Clover Upgrades Dark Aspect of Deku and All Might’s Relationship


Warning! Spoilers ahead for Black Clover!

Yūki Tabata’s Black Clover takes an intriguing dynamic in My Hero Academia where Deku repeats All Might’s worst mistake to the next level.

In one of My Hero Academia‘s darker moments, Deku feels the same pressure as All Might once did from wielding One For All and even reacts similarly. All Might had a tendency of burdening himself with his status as the number-one hero alone, which inevitably culminated in his retirement. All Might famously chose to fight All For One by himself on two separate occasions, and although he won each time in stunning fashion, the altercations eventually led to him losing his power. For Deku, the young hero takes his role as All Might’s successor to heart in chapter 319 and makes the same choice as his predecessor by leaving the safety of U.A. High to face All For One alone. He did, after all, inherit All Might’s One For All, so Deku believed that only he could defeat the villain.

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Meanwhile, Black Clover has been utilizing this dynamic since chapter 204. But the strongest moment occurs in chapter 296 during the rematch against the fan-favorite character Noelle Silva and the Megicula-possessed Vanica. This battle is essentially a continuation of the fight between Noelle’s mother Acier and Vanica all those years ago. Vanica, a glutton for powerful adversaries, realizes this when contending with Noelle and realizes she’s only felt this excited once before – during her confrontation with Acier. Vanica remembers that Acier had fatally stabbed her and that the devil Megicula convinced her to run, so the possessed Dark Triad member tries to recreate the confrontation as much as possible – and, ironically, Noelle runs Vanica through in a similar fashion. During an earlier altercation between Vanica and Noelle, Vanica even replicates what happened in the past herself another way by remembering that Acier became more powerful after she captured Acier’s child, so the devil-possessed enemy emulates the experience by kidnapping the Heart Kingdom’s princess and ruler Lolopechka – and it works.

There are many subtler examples of this throughout Black Clover, including the fact that the discrimination that Black Bulls member Grey originally experiences is a repeat of what happened to Nero 500 years ago. In chapter 204, a flashback reveals that Nero was originally a noble who became a slave because society viewed her magic as worthless. But then her master, the soon-to-be first Wizard King Lemiel Silvamillion Clover, realizes her power’s true potential – which ends up saving his life, allowing him to help Asta and his friends half a millennium later. In the present day, Grey was originally cast aside just because she could only transform. However, Yami, being the lover of rejects that he is, takes her under his wing.

What all of these examples share is that a character from the present day repeats a tragic event perpetrated by someone important to them from an earlier generation. In My Hero Academia, Deku chooses to make the same mistakes as All Might did by shouldering the burden of One For All alone. However, Deku has friends who save him from this darkness while All Might didn’t, creating a more positive outcome as a result. Black Clover‘s version of this is much darker as Vanica successfully bates Noelle into resorting to extreme violence just like Noelle’s own mother, in what the manga is now depicting as a mistake. Other events in Black Clover concerning characters who are by no means connected explore this dynamic further through the lens of another Black Clover theme: Bigotry. Fans might be enthralled by Deku and All Might’s unique relationship in My Hero Academia, but Black Clover is darkening and expanding upon this chemistry in ways that few shonen attempt.

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