Noelle’s new groove. Or something.
Well, this was reasonably satisfying. It’s Asta versus Rades (the name of the arc villain, which you only learn if you watch through the episode’s Petit Clover segment, for some reason). After impressively showing up at the last second, in true Shonen Protagonist fashion, to save a little girl, the battle begins. Meanwhile, the other Magic Knights are fighting through the hordes of zombies attacking the city, broken into their groups from before. In particular, Noelle goes with the Lions to find Asta. Because of course she did. She wouldn’t be a good romantic foil if she didn’t, now would she?
The episode primarily serves as a showcase of exactly what I’ve been saying the entire time. It lets us see a bunch of different kinds of magic on display from both Rades and the various knights. But in true Black Clover form, they managed to screw it up. There just aren’t many that stand out. A tower of glass? Well, that just looks ominously similar to Mars’s tower of diamond from the previous arc. Water bullets? Nothing amazing there. Even Noelle can do that. Though hers are more like water cannonballs. And, oh look, an oldie but a goodie – Yuno conjures up a few tornadoes. Good times. Heck, two members of the group basically copy each other by summoning golems. The only difference is that one’s made of sand and the other’s made of… dirt or something. She just calls it “Earth.” Make of that whatever you wish. The only one here that stands out is the captain of the Lions, Mimosa’s cousin from before. One of his spells is this cool sunbeam thing. But he seems to otherwise just use fire like the younger one who considers Asta a rival.
Rades actually compares rather well in that regard. We get to see that not only can he summon ordinary zombies, but slasher villain-esque super zombies with names and unique abilities. And that… is honestly freakishly cool. Probably wasted on his character Hey, all I said last time was that he’s more entertaining than Mars. Not that he was an especially good villain. His motivation is literally that he wants attention and praise. That’s it. Pardon me if I don’t find him particularly compelling outside of the cool magic.
Despite all of that, there are two key takeaways from this episode. Asta is progressively proving himself to be a pretty good hero and Noelle’s character development is only stagnant in regards to the (un)romantic subplot. Throughout the episode, Asta defends this random little girl with his life. And when it looks like he’s about to lose ground, Noelle steps in, compelled by the words of the Lions’ captain. Honestly, it was a good moment for her. Drawing the parallel between herself and Asta regarding his getting stronger despite everything and stepping in to help was a nice little nudge for her character, especially after the previous few episodes. Noelle has consistently been one of the best things about this show (keep in mind – low bar) since her introduction, if only because she’s one of maybe two characters with an actual character arc.
But in order for that character arc to really go anywhere, what she’s going to have to do next is confront her siblings. I don’t care if she sways them or not, but to really showcase this growth, she at least needs to stand up to them and tell them to back off. Regardless of whether or not this yields favorable results. It’d be an empowering moment, which she really needs. Because at this point she’s been almost useless, only really helping at all during the battle against that ice guy from last season, then immediately proving to be virtually useless one story arc ago.
All in all, the episode was Harmless. I think, at this point, the series has stabilized a bit. It’s still nothing great. But there are little spots of good work being done in the storytelling department. Character development is occurring. And while there’s still barely a plot at all, we know how I feel about that by now. There’s some occasionally good animation, some really cool magic, it’s overall just turned into something decent. Maybe not worth it if you have seen other, arguably better Shonen Battle Anime. But definitely far from awful, at this point. But if you’re looking for something with a bit more punch, go check out our reviews of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card.
Or, if you’d like to stick with this one, then Black Clover is 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.