Trigger Warning: Mention of Sexual Violence
A couple of people kept asking me this on tumblr so I decided to write an article about it!
We all know that unpleasant reaction of Casca when she saw Guts. But why did she do this? What exactly made her remember the terrible memories from the eclipse? Was she afraid to see her lover turn into a monster as well, or was it something else completely? We will dig into her mind and figure it out.
First, let’s take a look what happens right after she woke up.
After she collected herself, the first thing she does is to thank both Farnese and Schierke. Consider for a moment: If she does so already to Farnese and Schierke, what would she do to Guts, given that Casca is emotionally invested in him, given the things she has done for her, and done to her…?
She is recalling some of her memories. Note how so far, she exclusively remembers the events before they released Griffith from his cell.
As Farnese and Schierke exchange looks, we see Casca’s heart in thorns in the background. Her pain she is subconsciously pushing away is exactly why she doesn’t remember yet!
Then Farnese asks her whether she remembers Guts and we get this legendary smile of her:
Note how she is blushing and has tears in her eyes. This means that Casca’s memory of Guts is rather positive, it appears like she is both slightly embarrassed and touched when Farny brings him up.
Also note this shenanigan with Ivalera. I sometimes have the feeling she is actually providing lots of foreshadowing, masked as comic relief:
When Dannan gives her the elven dress, Casca looks pretty flabbergasted and is humbly insisting that she is a merc. This is still the old Casca we know!
Also note what happens in this panel. Casca considers her a merc. Dannan insists that she is not. Looking at this it seems like a possible way to heal for Casca: namely that she views herself as a woman (at Guts’ side?!) rather than a merc, a tool for Griffith.
As she walks towards Guts she notices how the memories come back to her. Again, note how these memories revolve from BEFORE Griffith’s rescue.
What is also interesting and very important to note: Starting from the memory of Guts leaving the hawks, she does not see Guts’ face in any of the memory bubbles.
Now guess what: because Casca DOES NOT remember his face, she wanted to see him, as if she wanted to verify he is still the same, unharmed person she used to know.
Then as Casca gets closer to Guts, something about his appearance triggers her.
Turns out it is Guts’ face, possibly his missing eye, that made her remember that Griffith is no longer the person she knows. And because Guts is now scarred and on the brink of losing his humanity just like Griffith was back then, it triggered her. It appears like she wanted to see Guts hoping he is still unharmed, that he is still the same. Because she remembered this, she was also reminded that her dream to be Griffith’s sword was in fact utterly destroyed. Along her pride and dignity, at that.
The reinforce this idea, we can examine the Golden Age as we will see very similar patterns here: Every time Griffith’s health is involved, Casca will get anxious to the point she starts shaking. And she does so for the same reasons too! The interesting part what is triggering her is deeply connected to the reason why her mind shattered in the first place.
I’ve written a tumblr post about this issue a while ago that is deeply related and relevant here, so let’s take a look:
If we look at the waterfall scene when Guts returned to the Hawks, we may get some perspective of Casca’s attitude towards having a dream and working towards it:
“Griffith had to MAKE himself strong!! But Griffith isn’t a God! A person’s heart can’t be sustained by ideals and dreams alone!! You!! Made Griffith weak! He’s of no use without you!”
Casca was STRONG for her leader and stood by him. Now imagine: The one you appreciated (and unconsciously loved) just left you, then because Griffith slept with the Princess, the Hawks ended up being chased down as criminals for an entire year, an entire year of no sleep and no rest, constantly on alert. And then in the end, what did Griffith do to her? He sacrificed the Hawks, the band that was dear to her. She saw both Judeau and Pippin die when they were trying to save her. Eventually Griffith raped her in front of the man she loved. All the hardship she endured BECAUSE of Griffith who betrayed her.
And that is why she broke, and that is also why she screamed on seeing Guts. Seeing Guts, Casca remembered all this. Seeing his missing eye may have triggered how she was raped, and how she told him not to look at her. It was already bad enough that she was being violated by Femto, but the fact someone she loved was watching helplessly and hurting himself doing so only adds salt to these already terrible wounds. Poor Casca 😦
Most interestingly, as I type this out, I have not looked at the passage of dreams yet, but then I found this page, which seems to support all of this:
You see all the symbols and visualizations for what I just described! Note the eye of Femto representing the rape, note all the bodies that stand for the slaughtering of the Hawks, note the fact Judeau and Pippin are there; and Guts, who just cut his arm off trying to save Casca. What is most fascinating that you can make those assumptions without Miura making it obvious like in this page, by just examining what he has already written in previous chapters!
However, despite of how traumatic the Eclipse may have been, let’s not underestimate Casca’s iron will and strength; and let’s not forget that she woke up in the best way and setting possible, surrounded by friends and astral beings willed to help her.
I hope Miura gives her the character arc she deserves, and I think he will.