Black Clover
Episode 101

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 101 of
Black Clover ?

I suppose now is as good a time as ever to try and understand what the deal is with Asta's swords. The two that he's been wielding throughout the series appeared to him through his grimoire, however I do recall a character once mentioning that they resembled Licht's original weapons. A third sword got introduced to the mix with Licht's revival, and in last week's episode swords changed hands a few times in the midst of battle. So let's see if I've got this right: Asta's been using the demon-slayer and the demon-dweller swords. Licht brought in the demon-destroyer sword, took Asta's demon-dweller, but then left the demon-destroyer inside Asta's grimoire as a trade? The confusion isn't helped by how the swords change between black and white depending on who's holding them.

After a great climactic battle, it seems Licht has ultimately won the fight. He doesn't appear to harbor any ill-will against Asta or Yuno (evident by how he respects Asta's ownership of his old grimoire), as he and Raia simply exit the scene to take care of other matters while our heroes dust themselves off. Asta and Yuno regroup with the remaining Royal Knights and we're left to figure out how to defend against the elves in the wake of our momentary defeat. The immediate plan is to return to the Royal Capital and count on the possibility of bringing more allies back for the same reasons Yuno was able to maintain his original personality.

After getting the gang back together, our heroes split up again rather quickly. On the way to the capital Asta and Yuno see their home village of Hage being attacked below and have no choice but to help out. There are a number of potentially interesting ideas here that I don't think are given the build-up they deserve. In figuring out which characters need to stick with the main group, Nozel is pretty firm about Noelle staying by his side, acknowledging her as a royal. So while Asta and Yuno are breaking off to have a full circle moment back in Hage, Noelle appears to be on the verge of getting closure with her family.

The Hage subplot is so far looking pretty thin. They've got a one-off villain trying to exterminate the villagers,who bravely stand up for themselves and hold the attack off long enough for Asta and Yuno to appear and amaze their old friends. As a cool fist-pump moment, it arrives a little sudden this fresh off of the Licht fight. Within the span of a single episode we coming down from the high of a great "Hell yeah!" team-up, to getting another "Hell yeah!" team-up by the end of the episode, except now we've moved to a wildly different part of the world and our delight is under very different circumstances. More than anything this battle feels like an excuse to enjoy Asta and Yuno fighting side-by-side in their strongest forms while we still have the chance.

After a hundred episodes, I had nearly forgotten how this story had even started. Asta and Yuno have been swept away on so many adventures independent of each other that their origins as peasants stopped feeling relevant. This episode has some sweetness to it—seeing them from the villagers' perspective definitely makes the two of them feel more grown up than we're used to—but the scenario is too contrived to completely hit the mark. The Hage villagers might as well be filler characters with how much space they take up in my heart, so this detour has its work cut out for it going into next week. I get the impression this episode is meant to be a moment of relief after the recent spectacle, but the few moments of intrigue and tenderness don't completely save it from being rather boring.

Rating:

Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw


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