Yuno has been in the focus of the story for quite some time now. He is one of the select few knights who have the ability to win against the fearsome Dark Triad. His desire for vengeance (uh, pun intended, I suppose?) fuels his will to defeat the enemies even more.
In particular, his enmity lies with the ice-cold killer, Zenon Zogratis. There is no doubt that the Yuno vs. Zenon fight is a work of art; the previous few chapters have revealed a lot of power-ups and stories. We’ve been on an emotional high for sure.
As the battle draws nearer to a terrific close, we see many parallels and conflicts between the two as well. In this article, we delve into exactly that to see how Yuno and Zenon’s fight was a great matchup.
Yuno’s losses against the Dark Triad
Before we start going into the more intricate details, it is worth looking at the bigger picture. I am sure you might have taken a step back after reading one of the latest chapters to ask why Yuno was in the spotlight so heavily. Why is he getting this article?
The answer is not because he is the deuteragonist of Black Clover, certainly not. It is because Yuno is one of the biggest victims of the Dark Triad’s atrocities, and that too, twice.
His family, the Grinberryalls, were all slain at the Zogratis siblings’ hands. Not only did they take away Yuno’s loving family from him, but also the kingdom he was destined to lead someday. If that wasn’t enough, Zenon waltzed into the base of the strongest magic squad and massacred most of it to bits.
With firm resolve, Yuno decided to avenge his squad. He trained, even letting go of his ego to some extent by asking Langris to help him. But it was all in vain, for Yuno was unable to hold a candle to Zenon alone.
Langris’s every bit of strength and beyond, too, could not help Yuno either; the Vice-Captain of Golden Dawn was an utter failure despite having Clover Kingdom’s strongest spatial mage on his side.
But you very well know all this too. Why did are we discussing obvious facts here? Well, to substantiate my statement that the Dark Triad took three critical things from Yuno: family, friends, and pride.
When we think in retrospect, Yuno’s character is made of these three things. Foster family, or not, he holds family in high regard. Despite being a person of few words, the Golden Dawn (albeit with a little resistance at first) accepted and admired him as one of them.
And pride? There are several instances to prove how prideful Yuno is, and not in a bad way either. He knows what he is capable of, and he hates losing in that aspect. It also explains why he saw himself worthy enough to be Golden Dawn’s Vice-Captain.
However, Zenon crushed that pride Yuno had in himself, even reducing him to tears – a sort of promise he had not broken in years. The tears were natural and painful because Yuno was also questioning what he was if not all that he had lost.
The battle Yuno had to win was against himself and the choices he had made. The battle was to win for himself, all he had lost, and all he had gained.
It becomes clear why Yuno HAD to have these past few chapters of development: to come face-to-face with the worst reality. And it was not going to be easy either; his opponent was also another him, or more like the other side of the coin—just another Yuno with different choices.
Prodigies of magic
Why were Yuno and Zenon similar? The parallels between them begin with their black hair and their seemingly ‘sidekick’ status. Technically, yes. Keeping that aside, though, we go back to their childhoods.
Both Yuno and Zenon received plenty of praise for being geniuses of magic since childhood.
Despite being an orphan in the boonies (HA), Yuno had powerful Wind Magic that only grew leaps and bounds. He had great control over his magic, too, to complement his massive mana reserves.
Just as the village had expected, Yuno even got a four-leaf grimoire at the ceremony, signifying how powerful he was. Shortly thereafter, he also found the Wind Spirit, Sylph. His magical feats before and in Golden Dawn are mind-blowing.
But when we look at Zenon, we see that his story is not that different either. He had a unique type of magic, Bone Magic, for which he had to face ridicule. However, a little support ensured that Zenon became a prodigy with his magic.
Yuno’s eligibility as a Spirit host is also a parallel to how Zenon was the best suited for being a Devil host. Both of them might have been a bit delicate earlier, but their excellent magic skills supported their huge dreams. Their resolve and determination are indeed commendable too.
Moreover, Yuno is loved by mana, more so emphasized by how he has some interesting ancestors, it seems. In a similar way, it appears that Zenon is also loved by negative mana to be able to use the devil’s power better than his siblings.
Zenon was also the one who managed to beat an entire squad with ease. Even Dante had to suffer at the hands of a few Black Bulls members, but Zenon thrashed the strongest of the Golden Dawn nearly on his own.
He also became the last boss in an unexpected way – being the last one from the trio, standing his ground until the end. The same goes for Yuno as well, he only had Langris to help him out, but he kept fighting.
Their power-ups and incredible fight only strengthen how powerful these mages are and how they rival each other in terms of magical prowess.
The anchors of their lives changed them
Moving onto another aspect of their lives, their anchors. For both Yuno and Zenon, a person in their life changed them and their outlook multifold.
In the first chapter itself, the beautiful friendship-cum-rivalry of Asta and Yuno greets us. Asta, without having magic, represented a level of strength Yuno aspired to have. It was mental strength for the most part, and courage to take a step towards a goal.
A promise between children wouldn’t go far; even Asta thought that Yuno had forgotten it. However, that was not the case. This promise was like a lifeline for Yuno (and Asta) and something that defined him.
Even in his weakest moment in the recent chapters, Yuno went back to the same promise. It gave him the strength to acknowledge his shortcomings, but also not give up so soon. There was more to him that made him Asta’s rival, after all.
The same goes for Zenon; Allen was to Zenon what Asta was for Yuno. When everyone around him bullied and ridiculed him, Allen was the one to console Zenon. He was different, but in a good way – that is what Allen showed him.
Just like Asta dreamt of becoming the Wizard King, Allen also dreamt of becoming the Commander-In-Chief of the mage defense force. It gave the lost Zenon a goal in his life to work hard for, even against all the negative comments thrown at him.
Let alone Asta and Allen’s dreams, even their smiles look so damn similar. Is it a theory we are smelling here?
Given how similar the dynamics between Allen-Zenon and Asta-Yuno were, there is another trajectory (or the opposite) we can think of. There is a high chance that Yuno or Zenon could’ve turned into each other (well, not exactly, but metaphorically) depending on Asta and Allen.
This fact makes the ordeal scarier and even more emotional. In a way, Allen was Zenon’s savior but circumstances (and a bad decision. perhaps?) shook up Zenon’s world. It turned him on to the darker path, one that he had wanted to move away from.
On the other hand, Asta’s presence at every step of the way supported Yuno. Even if Yuno looks calm and collected at all times, he is still a little boy at heart. He is still the crybaby from the day Asta saved him, but with aspirations. Asta had even proposed that both of them should treat their future comrades as family.
It is evident that coming across Asta and Allen was a significant event in the lives of Yuno and Zenon.
What could have happened? We don’t know that. But there is surely only a thin line between these pairs of young boys that separated them from each other. Speaking of which, the Yuno vs. Zenon fight also concerned the next topic.
Conflict between morals: Psychopathy vs. Humanism
Getting into the more complex side of things, we have to discuss how Tabata coded morals and ethics into the Yuno vs. Zenon fight (and the Dark Triad as a whole). Dark Triad and Light Triad are two phenomena from psychology, and we can see that Asta, Yuno, and Noelle serve as the Light Triad here.
The Dark Triad, obviously, deals with the darker or unlikeable side of human personality. To be specific, the triad is made of three qualities: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. We all have these to some extent, but some lean more towards one.
On the other hand, the Light Triad is sort of a counter-argument that presents three traits that humans should have predominantly. The Light Triad has these to counter the Dark Triad: faith in humanity, Kantianism, and humanism. Further reading: here and here!
Talking about Yuno and Zenon, one can associate them with humanism and psychopathy, largely.
Humanism means valuing the dignity and worth of each individual. Please don’t be fooled by Yuno’s cool demeanor. He has shown on a number of occasions that he values who people are above what status they hold. Even a Spirit, something not even human, gets the same treatment from Yuno.
He challenged Langris without any inhibitions – both in thought and strength. One instance that always struck me was how he corrected Langris when he was ridiculing Asta and Finral as weak. Yuno even remembered Finral from Asta’s squad.
Moreover, Yuno’s flare of anger at the Dark Disciples laying Golden Dawn to waste also shows how he valued every member.
Coming to Zenon; his psychopathic tendencies are no guesswork. He has always been portrayed in such a manner, with the recent chapters only reinforcing the idea. Zenon barely displays any emotions, except when it is killing others – especially if they are strong.
He did not even show a hint of disturbance when he saw Dante in a horrible state after his fight with Yami and Asta either. Plus, the way he treated Yami and William like ragdolls – hanging them up in the air – goes to show how little he cares.
Zenon has also shown how poorly he thinks of people who can’t match up to him. He even went ahead to calls names to Langris and Finral who fought with all their might against a devil’s heart.
Moreover, unlike Vanica and Dante, Zenon does not involve his emotions in his fights. There is a stark difference between the selfishness of Vanica, the narcissism of Dante, and the brutality of Zenon. We come to know where it stems from too:
His emotions did nothing to save Allen. A devil’s overbearing power was enough for him to crumble and kill his best friend and rival. He decided that he does not need emotions to do what needs to be done.
Perhaps his psychopathy is also where his devastating strength comes from. We know that devils feed on negative emotions like hatred and anger, making it not too far of a stretch to say Zenon’s negativity bore into him. It is an endless cycle of more power and negativity.
There was quite some discussion of correctness in the Yuno vs. Zenon fight too:
Tug of war between right and wrong
The concept of correctness for Yuno and Zenon is miles apart because of their alignment. Hence, we can correlate their decisions with their personalities.
Zenon’s lack of remorse compounds his lack of empathy. He set off to fix and protect the Spade Kingdom, and most specifically, its citizens. However, his (and the Dark Triad’s) actions have caused nothing but pain to the citizens.
But while Zenon is caught up in his psychopathic traits, he cannot see how far he has fallen from his goals. The Dark Triad and Dark Disciples have terrorized, pained, exploited, and killed a bunch of Spade citizens.
Zenon still does keep chanting that all he does is for the Spade Kingdom, but I wonder if that is denial at some level. He feels no regret over his choices, either. It seems like Zenon is in too deep to accept the reality at this point.
His fight against Yuno is forcefully feeding the cruel reality into him, making him go frenzy to the point of a tragic deal with Beelzebub. This fact also turns the whole deal more heartbreaking because what will even remain of the Spade Kingdom after the battle, if the Dark Triad has already destroyed it themselves before it?
It seems that Zenon is running away from confronting himself and the path he must walk. He has taken too many bad decisions to fix them anymore. Yuno represents what Zenon could have been with completely different choices and that probably pains him. His cold and brutal personality might just be hiding what he truly feels.
Now, since ethics and stories are open to interpretation, for the most part, I associate Yuno with humanism and Zenon with psychopathy. You, as another reader and thinker, might find some other virtue or vice more closely related to the characters in the spotlight.
And that is completely fine. In fact, even better from a mangaka’s perspective. I think that inducing multidimensional thoughts is the greatest art, and if this clash made you ponder in different ways, then Tabata achieved it!
These were my opinions on how the Yuno vs. Zenon fight was a perfect setup. It involved not just the clash between choices but also morals. Yuno and Zenon are two sides of the same coin, separated by a thin line.
The most exciting part about their clash is that we, and even the characters perhaps, know that they both could’ve been the other guy had they taken different decisions in their life. Or maybe if they both had gotten different choices.
What do you think about Yuno and Zenon’s battle? Did you enjoy it? Let us know in the comments below. While you are at it, also read our article on why Noelle had to be the one to defeat Vanica, too!