Well… at least they got that out of the way pretty quick.
Y’know. I would provide a spoiler warning, but Black Clover is so paint-by-numbers at the moment, that pretty much anything I say was already a foregone conclusion.
So we’re jumped straight into a flashback episode, then. This is the episode dedicated to expanding upon Asta and Yuno’s friendship. The episode begins on a retread of what we just saw in the previous episode. In fact, a particularly long one, all things considered. Then we’re immediately dropped into “10 years earlier.”
Now, the first and easiest thing to call bull on would be the timeline. According to the first episode, Asta and Yuno are 15 in the present. So there’s no way they’re 5 in that flashback. The way they’re drawn, and how they speak? 10. 8 at the absolute minimum. But that really is just a nitpick because the episode’s otherwise pretty difficult to say anything about.
Asta’s persistence with marrying the Sister, even when he was a child, is intended to be funny. And her repeatedly rebuffing him is amusing. Though it’s really only funny because of her delivery. Otherwise, the bit would just be kind of annoying. Not to mention it isn’t exactly like we’ve not seen this before. Overzealous Shounen protagonist pining for a girl the entire audience knows he can’t have? Gee, it’s uncanny how familiar that sounds.
The scene revolving around the event that led to Asta and Yuno swearing an oath of rivalry was okay. It was used to, of course, serve as a catalyst for Yuno’s developing a spine, and to show Asta’s unyielding force of will. I wouldn’t expect it to be the most stunning scene ever, though a fair amount of what actually goes on is happening off-screen, with the audience stuck staring at Yuno’s face. Doing some cutaways would probably have served the scene a little better in the long run. But even so, it’s nothing new, so not being able to see it isn’t really causing us to miss out on much.
Thankfully, the flashback nature of the episode meant we were spared Asta’s yelling, for the most part. Oh, he still yells. Don’t mistake that for a minute. Just young Asta’s yelling is somehow more palatable than teen Asta’s yelling. A sentence that sounds far more backwards than I thought possible.
All of this comes down to the scene were teen Asta finally gets his moment and beats down the punk from the last episode… in one shot. It’s… kind of anticlimactic, really. It’s nicely animated, doing that thing where they’ll just not color it and animated the line arts/sketches. That’s perfectly fine, though I think it was a little off to me because of how I’m typically accustomed to seeing it. Usually, it accompanies an attack that involves light. A Kamehameha Wave, for example. All Asta did was swing a sword. And on what few occasions I can recall of it being used without a beam of light or an explosion, it was used in an exceptionally epic finishing blow. The scenes earned that effect. I can’t really say this scene did. It seemed like it was just trying to be more epic than it was.
All in all, the episode was just… fine. Nothing at all to write home about. Perhaps it’ll start to really show some promise in the next episode, seeing as that’s when the actual plot is apparently looking to begin. This was essentially just more setup. Not great, not awful, just very middle of the road. There isn’t much to talk about, honestly. I watched the majority of it with a completely straight face. I don’t imagine it blowing anyone away, but I’ll give it another episode to start actually going somewhere.
Also: “Never giving up is my magic!” Oh really, now? You know, the more I think about it… holy crap, this is what would happen if Little Witch Academia were a Shonen ._.
Yeah. Think I’m gonna go watch that, now. At least it was consistently funny and beautiful.
Black Clover is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Tuesdays at 6:25am PDT