by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 119 of
Black Clover ?
Episode 119, appropriately (if also unexcitingly) titled “The Final Attack,” is not just the climax of the mega-arc about the elves; it is, in effect, the climax of the entire series to date. Most of what the series has been about since its inception, and all of its core storylines, come together in the final dramatic confrontation against the nameless devil who is the mastermind behind everything that has happened involving the elves. As climactic confrontations go, this one doesn't achieve legendary status, but it still acquits itself satisfyingly well.
This happens in part because this is an all-hands-on-deck team effort. There are no egos here, no needless grandstanding, just a bunch of very powerful people who quickly recognize the roles that they are best suited for in this conflict and don't hesitate to pursue them. This even applies to those, like Nozel, who have left the action because they recognize that any victory can't be a true one if they lose people in the process; while that is normally a menial role by shonen action standards, it is nonetheless a valuable one. It applies to Yami, who knows he can hurt the enemy but probably can't get to him in time, so he pushes his magic to the limit for a back-breaking ranged attack, or to Charla/Charlotte, who doesn't let emotions or prejudices stop her from recognizing that the best she can do is help set up Yami's shot. It applies to Lumiere and Licht, who recognize that their magic isn't as effective against Emo Devil as Yuno and Asta's, so they basically buff everyone else, or Patry, who sees the renewed bond between the two and decides he has to support it. It also applies to Secré, who naturally supports Asta because she's been watching him (while self-admittedly using him) for a long time and recognizes his ability and commitment, so she's actually the perfect person to give Asta a final push even if he doesn't realize it himself.
And of course it applies to Asta and Yuno. I have always been underwhelmed by Yuno as a character, and still am; he's just a limp personality compared to Asta, and easily the dullest of the recurring characters in the entire cast. However, he showed both in the much earlier fight against Licht and the earlier stages of the battle against Emo Devil that he understands perfectly well how to fight alongside Asta in a complementary fashion, and that is in full force here. It isn't just how he can use his wind powers to manipulate Asta into position, block out, or provide enough threat with his own attacks to Emo Devil, include that nifty new wind sword; Asta and Yuno feed off of each other like no other two characters in the series do. These last few episodes just reinforce that the series has missed some golden opportunities by so rarely having these two working together.
The actual course of the battle conforms to standard shonen action patterns for these affairs: an early strike which temporarily seems like it might have defeated the foe but instead brings on its final form, a reversal, and a seeming defeat of the heroes being interrupted by outside interference before the final strike successfully lands. The animation isn't one of the series' top-tier efforts (I'm guessing because the scene doesn't allow as much room for fluid, crazy maneuvering) but it is more robust than the series' base level, had some interesting effects at the end, and suitably dramatic musical support. The whole business with Emo Devil essentially turning into a humanoid form of what tabletop RPG players would call a gibbering mouther was also effective at casting him as a grand enemy, and the portrayal of Yami's strike was definitely a highlight.
With the episode ending with Emo Devil's destruction and a whole lot of things left hanging as a result, a whole episode or more of wrap-up and closure is going to be needed here. For now, though, let's just savor the climax.
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