Oh yeah. Yuno was a part of this, wasn’t he?
This pair of episodes should have taken place far earlier. Instead, we’re about a fourth of the way through this series, and we’re getting our first real look into Yuno’s activities with the Magic Knights. And this pair of episodes is genuinely all right. Nothing amazing. You see all the twists and turns coming from a mile away, but it does its job, provides a little more depth of character to Yuno’s group (at least more than the walking punchlines that comprise Asta’s) and tells a complete story. It also teases more of the plot to come, and it’s generally just a step forward in production, storytelling quality, and everything that really matters.
The biggest issue is just that, for many people, this is going to be a case of “too little too late.” That generally isn’t the attitude I’ll have for something unless it’s already nearing the end and hasn’t shown any signs of improvement. Black Clover does still have plenty of time to make up for its shortcomings. It’s evident that the show’s sense of humor is more or less locked in. A lot of which is represented by cheap and repetitive gags that aren’t funny. But there is the occasional joke that genuinely works. Most of them revolve around Noelle’s rather snarky responses to… well… everything, but that’s likely because I’m a fairly sarcastic person. It just appeals to me. The point is that the humor isn’t really going to be the show’s main selling point. The action hasn’t really gone there yet either, but I do also feel the need to remind people that Dragon Ball Z is a continuation of Dragon Ball, and when you compare them side-by-side, or even Dragon Ball Super, for that matter… there is no comparison. So only 13 episodes into a 50-something-episode Shounen that’ll probably spawn one or more sequels and maybe a time skip or two… I’m not expecting the action to be anything other than adequate.
The show’s strength, at this point, is going to have to be its ability to give us variety. It will have to really go all-in on showing us all kinds of unique powers from one wizard to the next. And how Asta, Yuno, and Noelle will be overcoming them. We’ve seen bits of variation already, and while nothing we’ve seen so far has been especially impressive, some of the spells have been pretty neat to see.
The plot sees Yuno personally requested to tag along on an escort mission for the rich kid he beat at the exam. That sentence, alone, tells you exactly how this scenario is going to play out. They eventually stop by the village where he and Asta grew up, things get dicey, etcetera. But in that instance what happens with the action? Yuno takes it upon himself to resolve the situation despite orders to let it be. And each person he has to fight winds up causing him to do things a bit differently with his magic. They’re very subtle differences, but it shows baby steps towards the power progression I’m speaking of. He still mostly relies on creating little mini-tornados. But each use is different from the last in some way that allows him to overcome his opponent. Nothing terribly interesting, but it shows a bit of the direction I’m hoping things will take.
As for the remainder of the episode, it was fine. I like Yuno’s party, for what it matters. Klaus (I wish it was that Klaus) is a stuck-up noble with a pole up his arse, but he’s not a complete tool. Mimosa is… well, we know an unsurprising amount of nothing about her. But her magic, which involves plants, actually seems pretty cool. We’re still not sure what all she can accomplish in a combat scenario, yet, but we know she’s definitely the team’s support/utility member… though that does make me wonder if people can get into the higher Knight Squads even with minimal combat applications. Food for thought. Aside from that, though, she seems nice enough. The token “cute/girly girl” character, I guess. There’s also an admittedly funny bit in the church where Yuno asks how much money Asta is sending back to the church from his own paychecks. And there’s a moment with Sister Lily that was pretty amusing, once everything settled down.
All in all, the episode was perfectly serviceable. Nothing amazing, but a relatively enjoyable two-parter that teases future developments, gives us a look at some neat powers, and even shows us a little bit of the Wizard King. I wish the episode had come sooner, but I’m liking where we’re at and hope this’ll finally mark the point where this series picks up the pace. It’s an improvement. Not a big one. It won’t blow any minds, but it’s an episode I’d Recommend in the context of what the show’s given us so far. But if you’re more interested in a show that’s been more consistent in its quality, check out EvilBob’s recaps of Mahoutsukai no Yome.
Or, if you think Black Clover might finally be winning you over, it’s Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Tuesdays at 6:25am EST