by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 152 of
Black Clover ?
Episode 152 is not technically a recap episode, but it is about the next best thing to one. Close to a quarter of the episode's run time is taken up with recaps and flashbacks, most prominently a segment more than two minutes long coming right out of the opener. That means that more than 4½ minutes pass in the episode before any new content shows.
The saving grace is that the episode is structured to be conducive to all manner of flashbacks. Exactly one year has now passed since Asta and Yuno participated in the Magic Knight trials, and that means that the time has arrived for a new batch of potential recruits to be tested. For both of those two as well as Noelle, returning to the coliseum is a major nostalgia trip, albeit for wholly different reasons. For Asta and Yuno, this was their first opportunity to prove themselves before an audience, and thus the first major step that they took in their aspirations to become the Wizard King. Hence returning here is a reaffirmation of the commitment they made back in episode 2, which is something that the sprite still does not seem to fully understand despite having been around Yuno for quite a while now.
For Noelle, this is the place where her brother Nozel foisted her onto the Black Bulls rather than let her compete. At the time she very much had the impression of being rejected for her incompetence, and given the way Nozel behaved in that scene from episode 4, that is wholly understandable; the audience was certainly given that impression at the time. Hence this should be a much more bitter memory for her than for the other two. However, things have changed since then. Nozel's true feelings have been revealed, and in retrospect being assigned to the Black Bulls was the best thing that could have happened to Noelle. Though Nozel meant the assignment to keep Noelle out of danger, the people she had around grounded her and helped her realize that she did not have to regard herself as a failure, and the challenges she faced forced her to achieve her true potential. She can now stand by her brother in combat as well as be recognized and respected by him all because she became a Black Bull, and thus come that much closer to achieving the legacy of the mother she resembles so much. Even if Nozel's original intentions were not to produce such a result, this is exactly the right place and time for Noelle to sincerely thank Nozel for what he did that day.
That scene carries an episode that otherwise does not do much beyond reaffirming that, despite all that has happened, the Magic Knight squad captains can still carry on the annual tradition of sitting down to evaluate new talent. Somewhat disappointingly, the Black Bulls did not pick up a new member, but they have acquired Nero and the little-seen Zora since the last tryout, so that compensates. (Besides, at this point how eccentric would a character have to be to make the grade among them?) Hence this episode ultimately proves to be more about closure than moving the story forward, but it works well enough for that purpose.
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