Black Clover
Episode 148

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 148 of
Black Clover ?

Shonen action series are notorious for using things like boilerplate intros, lengthy recaps, and even end-of-episode comical bits in order to stretch their content out over more episodes. Indeed, Black Clover has been guilty of all of those on a regular basis, some as recently as last episode. Thus it came as no small surprise when this episode not only skipped an intro custom-made for its current arc but also continued its storytelling through the closing credits; if the series has ever done that before, I cannot recall. It was unquestionably the correct move to do, as that extra minute and a half allowed one final, important loose end to be tied up. That sense of completeness is why I am ready to label the Devil Banisher arc the series' best to date, despite (or perhaps because of?) how atypical it is.

Also surprisingly, the weakest part of the episode is its one action component. The battle, fought primarily between the captains and the elemental creature, felt like it was inserted in there just to have some action, as any of the Black Bulls or especially captains fighting the Devil Banishers would have been counterproductive. Sure, it allowed the captains to show off a bit, and Asta to show one final time where his priorities are (protecting people over recovering his grimoire), but the battle is just a sidelight to the effort to peaceably dissuade the Devil Banishers and their followers. Trying to talk it out was smart on both sides, as it would have been a battle that neither could have won.

That each of the captains spoke for the cause of a peaceful resolution is also important. Yami's words can carry some weight because he is an outsider and foreigner, and thus had his turn at being the subject of prejudice. William's words carry weight because he showed the birthmarks which caused him to be ostracized. Nozel and Fuegoleon cannot claim any such victimhood, but the fact that nobles from two of the highest royal houses are promising to work to correct inequities presents hope that the nobles can be taken seriously. (How much either will be able to do is another matter, but you have to at least start with good intentions.) Definitely not the kind of hope the people were looking for, but they probably have a better chance of coming out ahead this way.

Rightly, the Devil Believers don't get off with just a “go back home” missive from Damnatio. Whatever their motives, they did kill people. Banishment – without their hostages or Asta's grimoire – is the best they could hope for here, and Damnatio not ordering them killed is an acknowledgement that broader injustices led to this. The most interesting part of this, however, is Daza's final ruminations, where we see the full truth of what happened when her house was destroyed: she basically left her husband and mother to die rather than continue to try to rescue them. It was her way of breaking free of all of the belittling she had suffered. This is very definitely a moral grey area, but using that action as her impetus is what hardened her. That suggests that she was the one taking the lead between her and Bow from that point on, rather than Bow taking the lead (as had been implied so far).

Will we see the Devil Believers again? Them all perishing in the strong magic zone seems too cruel, so I suspect that Daza (at the very least) will reappear down the road. I also hope the writing does not forget about the pledges made here, even with the Heart Kingdom looking like it's going to be involved again starting next episode. This whole arc is just too meaty to be casually set aside.

Rating:

Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and FUNimation.


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