Black Clover Chapter 217 Review by Belserion
Chapter Title: The Scales of Justice
The chapter begins with Asta and Secre standing outside of the Magic Parliament Court House. It appears that they were invited there to give their testimony about what happened in the war. Asta is nervous because he remembers what Julius said about him possibly dying, but he thinks he can make them understand if he just talks to them. He plans on explaining about the elves, the devil and how the reincarnations got undone but Secre warns him that his position is shaky and tells him not to get careless. As the two enter the courthouse, shackles are placed on them much to Asta's shock. Members of the parliament surround them from the stands murmuring about the two. Damnatio appears and introduces himself as the chairman of the magic Parliament and as such intends to pass judgment on Asta of the Black Bulls. Asta accuses them of treating him like a criminal and realizes that him and Secre have been set up.
King Augustus proclaims that he knew Asta was no good even though he made him a Royal Knight. Damnatio introduces Asta as being from the church in the village of Hage at the edge of the Forsaken Realm, a peasant without parents and has no detectable magic. The nobles are disgusted by this and begin calling him names. Damnatio moves on to Secre, saying the Kingdom has no record of her birth and that her horns are proof that she used forbidden magic. He tells those assembled that they claim the cause of the disturbance was a devil who ensnared the Magic Knights. Asta tries to jump in and explain what the devil did but he's ignored amidst the murmuring of the nobles who don't think they can trust the word of a vulgar peasant despite him being Black Bull, a group they still seem to hold in disdain. Secre looks on at the spectacle and realizes that despite all of Julius's hard work there is still prejudice and discrimination, and even worse, the parliament is filled with the judgmental persons instead of those willing to listen and understand.
Damnatio approaches Asta and tells him that from the beginning the trial only had two possible outcomes, either Asta would be convicted as a devil or the possessed Magic Knights would pay for their sins. He goes on to outline Asta's character stating he knows Asta won't abandon anyone, that he's simple, impulsive and easily dealt with. He puts forth the options on the scale, a single peasant (Asta) or the cornerstone of the kingdom's defense (Magic Knights), and states that it's obvious which way the scales would tip. He asks Asta where the Devil is and Asta tries once again to explain that they defeated it and that Nero worked a long time to help achieve this, but Damnatio cuts him off and claims everyone there suspects them of being the ones truly in communication with the devil. Asta denies this and begins to tell them that the devil in his grimoire is different but Secre quickly silences him before he can make things worse for himself. Damnatio tells them if there is no Devil then they would just have to pass judgement on everyone, in order, and tells the guards to bring "her" in. This person turns out to be Marie in shackles, much to Asta and Secre's shock.
Damnatio introduces Marie Adlai as a ruined noble who now lives in a church for orphans. Her older brother is an exconvict. During the war her eye magic caused harm to both Magic Knights and citizens, a feat no doubt motivated by the grudge she's held against the nobility. Asta angrily tells Damnatio to stop making things up and defends Marie saying she didn't do any of those things on purpose. Damnatio surprisingly agrees with Asta and says that if a devil does exist then no doubt she was manipulated, but without proof of that, all that exists is her undeniable crime so she must be judged in the name of justice. Marie makes a terrified attempt to defend herself but Damnatio cuts her off and calls her evil. She's found guilty and the guards prepare to execute her. Asta furiously transforms into his half devil form and blocks Marie from their attacks. He angrily tells Damnatio that he now understands how he operates and Asta will not acknowledge his justice. Damnatio, unlike the disgusted nobles looking at Asta in fear, calmly tells Asta that they won't even attempt to reach an understanding with a devil.
Chapter Rating: 8/10
I had mixed feelings about this chapter. First let's be clear that this whole "trial" was nothing but a circus with Damnatio as the ringmaster. I don't think he even cared about the other nobles in the courthouse, in fact, I don't even know why they were there other than to volunteer a random irrelevant opinion. The whole thing was a farce. Damnatio even admitted that it was all formality because he expected Asta to give himself up when it came down to him or the Magic Knights formerly possessed. Asta would never choose himself.
Damnatio claims to have been starting in order when he brought out Marie, but I doubt it. He chose her because she was a sweet, young, scared girl, not to mention the sister of Asta's Black Bull comrade. All the elements to trigger Asta's protective streak. That being said, it was well played. Part of the reason I had mixed feelings about the chapter was because of the obvious emotional manipulation taking place in what's supposed to be the highest level of justice. I was annoyed, angry and disgusted while reading the chapter and I honestly think that's what Tabata was going for. The fact that Asta kept mentioning "the" devil but Damnatio says "a" devil just showed he didn't care about the one that was defeated, any devil would do, but preferably Asta's. Now he's gotten what he wanted, Asta revealing himself to the nobles who already hate him and defying them by rejecting their shambles of a justice system. He might as well have declared war.
I can't predict where this will go. Other royals like House Silva and House Vermilion can back up what Asta was saying but now that Asta has revealed himself I doubt it will help since these nobles of House Kira are a hive mind of prejudice. Damnatio's grudge seems to be personal so there might be a backstory there. I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles Asta in this form since he showed no fear.
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