by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 128 of
Black Clover ?
At first, episode 128 looked like it might follow a pattern similar to other recent episodes and kill a lot of time on follow-up from the elvish possession incident. And to a certain extent there was one prominent part of that still missing: Finral's resolution with his brother. After what happened during both the Royal Knights Selection Exam and the battle against the elf-possessed Langris, Finral needed to go and show his new resolve to his brother and show that he was finally going to get serious about trying to win the right to marry Finesse, and seeing him not back down this time was quite satisfying (and, I suspect, it also impressed Finesse). Seeing the Finral who used to hit on every female he met trying to control his tendencies so he can be loyal to Finesse is both welcome and amusing to watch.
However, the episode doesn't waste too much time getting to the main goal: sending a party of Magic Knights to the Heart Kingdom to investigate the big bundle of curses there. Given that getting into the Heart Kingdom is no easy task, the team sent – Finral, Asta, Noelle, and Mimosa – mostly makes sense; Mimosa has the “exchange student” connection and has been there before, Asta is at the heart of the matter, and Finral's magic makes him very useful. But Noelle? Glad to see her going, but the logic behind her presence is much thinner. (Nero also gets in because she remains in bird form the whole time.) Thankfully the episode also wastes little time on them actually getting there, with only a relatively brief moment for Noelle and Mimosa to make amusing facial expressions as they both try to sort out why they're miffed at the other's attention towards Asta. I know Noelle doesn't like to think that she has any interest in Asta, but I thought Mimosa, at least, sort of understood that Noelle was a potential romantic rival?
Whatever the case, the last third of the episode focuses on the potentially exciting new locale, and everything shown so far looks promising. The Diamond Kingdom didn't look and act too much different from Clover Kingdom, but Heart Kingdom seems a lot more sophisticated in its magic despite being more isolationist. The different physical setting where water is everywhere, the system of magical rankings, the whole country being under the Mana Zone of the Queen – all of it is different. (Okay, the last part resembles what the Witch Queen could do, but rulership in the Heart Kingdoms seems to be a line of succession rather than a single person living an abnormally long time.) This offers the possibility of exciting new battles, and Finral, Noelle, and Mimosa all show that they have learned their teamwork lessons well from working with Asta; Finral in particular impresses with the expanded range of uses for his magic. The notion that the group may have been allowed in because Asta's devil was needed for some reason is also interesting, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the person Asta is dropping in on at the end of the episode is the Queen. At the least a name is finally put to a couple of faces that have been appearing all along in the current opener and closer, and now we have also encountered the Great Water Spirit to go along with the Fire and Wind Spirits. So where's the Great Earth Spirit, then?
The way Nero is being used here is also interesting. Seems like the series is putting her back in bird form to be on standby until there's something for her to do, and that “something” comes near the end of this episode. That fits together with what the others are doing at the end to make for a dynamic finish to an episode which is definitely pointing the series in the right direction.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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