Black Clover – Episode 20 Review (Flash Anime-tion)
Eh. A perfectly serviceable episode.
There really isn’t a lot to say, here. The episode plays out more or less exactly as you might expect, following a big fight. It’s a cooldown episode that starts us back with the Black Bulls, once again running us through all of their usual gimmicks and… I hesitate to even call them running gags because these seem to be the only gags they have at all. But I digress.
Following that, Asta and Noelle are sent to the capital. Alone. As you can guess, this is a fact that registers to Noelle. And while I’d ordinarily roll my eyes at how transparent she is, this episode does at least seem to actually finally nudge that whole subplot along by forcing her to confront the idea that she has a crush on the idiot. However, I will admit that the scene got a laugh out of me. Remember Mimosa? Noelle’s airheaded cousin, and the white mage of the troupe? Well, now she has a crush on him too. And while they’re talking about it, Noelle starts to put together her own feelings on the subject. They both squee, vaguely realizing they’re in love, but the fact that their reasons for squee are completely different (Mimosa elated, Noelle horrified) is genuinely funny. Now if only they could manage to be at least that clever with the rest of the “humor” in this show.
After that they meet the Wizard King and… well… nothing to report, really. I do like the guy. His character being sort of a magic nerd is really kind of a nice little twist. Often times characters of that stature who are quirky are just vaguely weird without any real explanation. This guy’s weirdness is tied to his geeking out over magic. I liked him. What I didn’t care for to any great extent was the horribly overlong “decoration ceremony,” which only served to introduce a bunch more pompous nobles. One or two of them amused me in their responses to receiving their rewards. But the scene otherwise should’ve been much shorter. And it helped none that it led into an absolutely trite scene of these nobles ridiculing literally all of them. Asta is amusingly used to it and doesn’t care. But they also rip on Yuno, Klaus, Mimosa, and of course, Noelle. Who, by the way, they take a step further by having her own brother pour a drink over her head. I get that the scene is supposed to be unpleasant. But it’s just groan-inducing and I doubt that’s the effect they were going for.
As expected, Asta stands up to them all. Because of course he does. He starts his usual schtick and gets shut up by someone using sand magic. But then he uses his sword to nullify it and finish what he’s saying. And to its credit, I do at least like how this bit was handled. The way he reassures Noelle, asserts himself over an entire room of mages very likely better than him (at least their numbers would be enough to challenge the king of the one-shots) and forces them to listen. It’s even surprisingly well animated. And I particularly like how the scene aptly summed up his entire drive as a character. He wants to become the Wizard King so he can prove that anyone can be great, and therefore shut up anyone who says otherwise. It’s as simple as that. And it’s an admirable stance.
Look, it’s easy to rag on Asta. His voice is still annoying and his personality is a thinly veiled checklist of popular Shounen protagonist tropes. There’s not even an effort made to hide this. But, at this point, harping on those things is, frankly, just as boring and uncreative as the show, itself, is criticized for being. I prefer to focus on the specific things I think it manages to do well or poorly, rather than the net summarization of the show’s general overarching flaws.
That said, the show’s basically fluff. We know this by now. So can it at least manage to be decent fluff? Well, yes. This episode, in particular, was an apt little bit of Easy Viewing. A few chuckles, a competently handled scene at the end, there, a handful of eye-rolls, and yet another episode where Asta actually isn’t all that grating. The atmosphere of the episode is fairly laidback, so it’s not quite “fun” enough to constitute as Junk Food for me. But it does its job and manages to be relatively entertaining in doing so. If you wanna give it a watch, go right ahead. Or check out something arguably more engaging with our latest review of Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san.
If you do wanna stick with Black Clover, then it’s Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Tuesdays at 6:25am EST. That’s all I’ve got for ya here. As always, thanks for reading, folks. Keep up the awesome.