by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 141 of
Black Clover ?
This episode features the debut of both a new opener and a new closer. Of the two, closer “A Walk” is the lesser entry, though more by comparison to the opener than because anything is wrong with it. Asta's seiyuu, Gakuto Kajiwara, does more than just a competent job singing it; he had some singing performances in ACTORS: Songs Connection last year, and I could easily see him nabbing further roles of that nature and/or anime theme songs based on the performance here. However, the music is more generic J-rock and the visuals not as sharp or dynamic. Opener “Eien ni Hikare” (Everlasting Shine) by Korean boy band TXT (which makes its anime debut with this song) matches it on vocals and exceeds it on both song quality and especially visual presentation. It features so many neat shots and little details that you may have to watch it more than once to catch everything, and it's beautifully-colored and well-animated, too. It is easily the best-looking Black Clover opener to date and all-around one of the best openers so far this year from any series, one which I could see myself watching every episode.
The episode content itself gives Yuno his first substantial appearance since episode 131 and his first focus episode in quite a bit longer than that. Actually, saying that the Golden Dawn as a whole is the focus would probably be more accurate, as while Yuno does get attention, he is hardly the only one. The plot for the episode is quite straightforward: over the course of a succession of missions, the Golden Dawn comes to terms with some internal tensions and demonstrates that they can also grow both as individuals and as a squad despite the arrogance typically inherent in being a member. This involves character advancement across the board.
This is not the first episode that Captain Vangeance has been shown without his mask, but here it has at least as much impact as the first time, as it seems to signify advancement by the squad as a whole. Langris's behavior is almost a shocker; he has clearly been humbled by being possessed by the elves and his confrontations with his brother Finral, and his suggestion that Yuno could make a good subleader may be the first time he has been shown volunteering that someone from peasant background is worthy of anything. However, Alecdora, the sand magic user who has rarely seen much attention before, gets the biggest development. William is trying to bring out his leadership qualities by putting him in charge of these missions, and although he is still antagonistic towards Yuno at first, he has grown to accept Yuno as a valuable contributor by the end. Yuno isn't left out of this, either, as a flashback to comments made by Asta in his youth, combined with the growing inclusiveness of him in the camaraderie of the other members, help him to finally start accepting the Golden Dawn as family. For the normally taciturn Yuno, this is a major development.
The first mini-mission brings up the “blast from the past” guest appearance for the episode: Saussy Village, the one that Magnus, Asta, and Noelle saved from Eye of the Midnight Sun terrorists way back in episodes 8-10. The way Yuno softens when talking to the village children is a treat, and his considerate approach in looking for the source of the boars' fire and aggressiveness shows that, unlike Asta, he isn't all brawn. The second mission, with the dungeon, is more generic fare, though it does demonstrate the Golden Dawn members working effectively in concert, something that I don't believe that they have been shown doing before above the Yuno/Klaus/Mimosa level; even when they were as Kiten before (episodes 50-52), they mostly fought individually. Sadly, there was no clear indication if this was actually connected to the Spade Kingdom or not.
In all, the story accomplishes its plot points without being heavy-handed or sappy, and delivers some decent action sequences as well. It is an important step forward for a squad that will likely be second only to the Black Bulls in importance when the time to fight the Spade Kingdom arrives.
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