by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 156 of
Black Clover ?
With episode 156, the training continues, only this time with Yami getting his own share of it. Until the 18:20 mark of the episode, that single sentence adequately sums up what happens in the episode. What happens after that is, by far, the more interesting part.
Rather than dwell on lengthy segments of training with each of the Spirit Guardians, the first part mostly focuses on Gaja's training of Asta and Yami training with Mereoleona (whom Yami refers to amusingly as “Sisleona”). In the former case, Luck and Magna seem to have been completely forgotten about, as they are not mentioned at all when the Spirit Guardians have their debrief with the Queen at the end of the segment. Magna being overlooked is understandable, since he did not have enough mana to handle the new techniques, but Luck was very promising last episode, so skipping him seems odd.
On the Asta front, Asta recalls a trick he used much earlier (I've lost track of when) where he borrowed some of Noelle's mand through his Demon-Dwelling Sword. This becomes the impetus for a probable new attack method: channel his anti-magic into that sword and then use it to fling out an anti-magic blade as a ranged attack. Asta has, to this point, been what RPG gamers would call a pure melee type, so his biggest combat weakness has always been his lack of offensive effectiveness at range and his reliance on allies to get him into range. Mastering this ranged blade attack would both change that and break the balancing factor on anti-magic: it's always localized. But Asta would not be a standard shonen action hero if he did not eventually learn a trick like this.
Rather than learning a new attack, Yami's training is all about learning to get the hang of the Mana Zone gimmick that Mereoleona has mastered. The inability to get airborne without his broom has been Yami's weakness so far, and the Mana Zone helps him get past that, but it's also about being able to master the environment around him and, perhaps, set up a long-range attack without the kind of help that the elf Charla gave him during the defeat of Clover Kingdom's devil. He also, apparently, knows how to handle Mereoleona. Was her disappointment at the end that she didn't get to fight more, or that she hadn't been able to overwhelm Yami like she had everyone else?
On the whole, though, the bulk of the episode is pretty meh, with the action scenes showing far from the series' best animation effort. The last few minutes is by far the most significant part, however, and rescues the episode: the first actual look inside the Spade Kingdom. Now we know that the Spade King has some rebels that must be dealt with, that they are planning an invasion themselves (which both the Heart Queen and Wizard King suspected), and also that something dastardly is being planned by loading imprisoned people into buildings/machines. The Spade King also gets formally introduced, as does Ralph, the rebel who got away, whom I suspect we'll be seeing more of soon. Since he's also going into the strong mana zone, might he come across the Devil Believers?
The most important bit out of that is that preparation for war are not a one-sided affair, though the Spade King having a diagram similar to that used by the Eye of the Midnight Sun (which is itself based on the Jewish Kabbalah, by the way) is ominous. Does that mean that the Spade King has a particular objective in mind? And will the Clover/Heart alliance be ready on time?
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