Black Clover is a story about Noelle Silva.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a story about Asta and his quest to become the Wizard King. But Black Clover isn’t just The Asta Show. Rather, just as Asta gains more power and notoriety in the Clover Kingdom, so does Noelle. And while Asta’s unshakeable faith in human goodness and his determination often make up the boulders that the waves of characters crash into, Noelle goes through a fairly intricate arc that makes her just as interesting as everyone’s favorite grey-haired loud boy.
They join the Black Bulls on the same day, Noelle becoming part of the team because the Silver Eagle squad, a group led by her own family members, wants nothing to do with her. Meanwhile, Asta joins because Captain Yami is the only one that will have the scrappy kid, sensing potential where others do not. They are both outcasts, but Noelle doesn’t believe that she is. She’s from a noble family, and so joining the Black Bulls and being put alongside … Asta is disgraceful to her. Asta, though, has been an outcast his entire life, a poor orphan who just wants to impress Sister Lily, get stronger, and maybe eat some taters if you’ve got some lying around.
And though we learn more about her troubled relationship with her family later on, one thing about Noelle is made clear immediately: She cannot control her borderline terrifying powers. It’s why her family has nearly disowned her. They find her lack of control over her magic to be deadly and some even believe that she was the reason for her own mother’s death, as she died giving birth to Noelle. And they’re right about one thing — she doesn’t have a great handle on her magic. While training, she accidentally envelops herself in a giant, torrenting sphere of water, forcing Asta to be thrown in and save her.
This gives Noelle’s character arc two separate lines — she will learn to harness her magic in a way that is 1) useful, and 2) doesn’t threaten to kill her when she implements it. And she will also learn how to not only tolerate being a member of the Black Bulls but realize that the ugly classism that her siblings hold dear is wrong-headed and cruel. It’s soon revealed after, though, that she might need to get a ticket for the “The poor and downtrodden should be treated with respect and empathy” train sooner rather than later because she develops a major crush on Asta that she can barely conceal.
I know this sounds like a Lady and the Tramp situation — a trope that’s been in fiction for hundreds of years. And in anime, you don’t have to look far for more examples of someone longing for the strong, aloof main hero. But what helps it feel more complete and not just like a blushing woman checking off the “unrequited romance” box is the fact that it represents something a little greater than infatuation. Through Asta, Noelle learns how to connect with people in an unguarded way, one unblemished by her years raised in a hateful, distant family. She learns to love people in general and to accept them and embrace them despite their social standings.
And as she frees herself from a discriminatory way of thinking, her magic progression actually becomes more measured and accurate, to the point that it terrifies her brother Solid when they clash. But even scarier to him is the confidence that she’s developed, that she wouldn’t back away or lose her grip on her magic when her family tries to bully her into submission. She becomes an extremely competent member of the Black Bulls, no longer simply royalty but a knight and a fighter.
One of the reasons that I love Black Clover is because it never leaves us wondering where a character went, why they have such a sudden leap in power, or why they’re acting a certain way. It’s a series that values nurturing its cast — particularly the members of the Black Bulls who are some of my favorite misfits in all of anime. And Noelle is perhaps the coolest example of them all. She is Black Clover‘s strengths incarnate and the best of her family.
Asta may want to become Wizard King, but Noelle will change the world.
What is your favorite Noelle moment from Black Clover? Let me know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a Senior Staff Writer for Crunchyroll. Follow him on Twitter!
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