Black Clover
Episode 121

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 121 of
Black Clover ?

Episode 121 surprised me a bit. After concluding the series' biggest arc, I had expected at least an episode of frivolous downtime before getting into the next serious business. While the tone in the first part of the episode is, indeed, lighter, the episode actually wastes little time introducing the most immediate major issue facing the Clover Kingdom: who's going to get blamed for all of this mess.

This point doesn't come up often in anime (especially shonen action anime), but unfortunately it's a fact of life in the real world whenever any major calamity happens. Someone has to take the blame, and something like a devil – which only a few people got to see – being the root cause is simply not going to suffice. Because Asta has a devil in his grimoire, he makes a convenient scapegoat, even though he's maybe the single biggest hero of the day. But again, few people witnessed that, and none of them had any real standing in the current Clover Kingdom. The possessed Magic Knights are the other natural targets; that they were not acting by their will does not matter, as they were seen perpetrating offenses against the public. The Magic Knights themselves understand that, but how much of that will the commoners and nobles buy, even if prejudices of station were not figured in?

That seems to be the direction that the immediate plot elements are headed, with Asta and Secré being tricked into appearing before the Magic Parliament, a tier of government that has apparently always been around but never mentioned before. I've always thought that Asta having a devil was going to leave him vulnerable to something like this at some point, and Secré's horns from doing the forbidden magic were a sure sign of trouble as well, though the nobles in Parliament knowing nothing about her doesn't put her quite as much at risk. Ironically, the matter is coming down to a nearly-literal devil's bargain: either Asta takes the fall, or the possessed Magic Knights do. Going after Marie for the first target is a dirty play, but as one of the possessed that makes her a viable target. And now that the reconstituted Wizard King isn't powerful enough to keep them in check, the Parliament has much freer ability to act. When they're as hard-core prejudiced as this episode shows, that's troublesome.

Aside from getting that plot rolling, the episode also offers other fresh setting details. The Diamond Kingdom's forces have previously been encountered on a couple of occasions, and it makes sense that the Heart Kingdom and Spade Kingdom also exist (in keeping with the four suits in a standard deck of cards). However, this is, I believe, either the first time at all that they have been mentioned or else the first time that any details have been revealed about them. Maybe that means that they will finally be involved in upcoming plotlines? The current ruling Kira family is also brought into the picture, with the curiously-named Damnatio Kira (really, did anyone in Japan realize exactly what they were naming him?) being introduced as a potential recurring threat. The revelation that others may have the cursed horns indicative of dealings with devils is also interesting and will no doubt come up again in the future.

Beyond that, the other neat touch is the way that the artifact that Lumiere and Secré were making in the flashbacks – and had to dispense with when the business with the attack on elves went down – has popped up again in the current timeline: as the receptacle that allowed Julius to reconstitute himself at a younger age. The moment when Secré reflects on this – and especially realizes that Julius actually named it after her family name – is somewhat touching, even with some of the other foolishness going on in the scene where Asta, Noelle, Secré, and Mimosa are talking to Yami and the young version of Julius. That's an interesting assembly which may be indicative of future missions, perhaps?

However things turn out there, the series has wasted no time on establishing a future direction (it hasn't even returned to recaps or Petit Clover segments), and that's appreciable.

Rating:

Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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