Black Clover
Episode 163

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 163 of
Black Clover ?

This episode is named after Yami's feature fight against Dante. While it is absolutely a battle worthy of an episode title designation, such a title falsely gives the impression that it is the predominant part of the episode. In fact, Yami's activity only makes up about a third, with the rest split between Grey's backstory and what is transpiring in the Heart Kingdom. Nothing here is a trivial detail, either.

The episode starts with Grey. Her flashback now leaves Charmy as the only Black Bull whose background has not been explored in detail, and it also explains a lot of things about the way she acts now. Her situation apes Cinderella's so much that it almost feels like a joke at first, but it does explain why Grey is so unconfident in her true appearance; most people would be if they got belittled and treated as ugly to that degree. That Grey was both saved and given a major confidence boost by Gauche, of all people, at a pivotal point in her life (even if it was unintentional on his part) also explain some faint hints ever since Grey revealed her true form that she might regard Gauche more positively than anyone else. Petit Clover further implies that she might even be attracted to him, which honestly is not a stretch but probably even more ill-fated than Noelle and Mimosa's interest in Asta; Gauche is just as oblivious and just as firmly has his heart focused elsewhere.

This is also important for setting up Grey's big power-up. The series has dropped hints before that her transformation magic is immensely more powerful and versatile than she has shown so far, and like with Noelle before her, only confidence issues have been holding her back. Being able to use her transformation magic to heal wounds is one thing, and a natural extension of that class of magic, but being able to disintegrate the sword which skewered Gauche and almost instantly heal a fatal wound all in the same spell makes her quite possibly the most powerful healer in the whole kingdom, if not the whole continent. Even if she can only use it on trauma, it still makes her every bit as much of a trump card for the Black Bulls as Vanessa is because of Rouge. That she drew Dante's attention is no wonder.

Dante has to deal with Yami first, however. In the rare times that Yami has fully gotten in on the action, he has been able to kick serious butt, but this is easily one of his most dynamic fights to date. He doesn't feel at all at a disadvantage against Dante; while Dante is probably stronger, Yami is Dante's worst match-up out of all of the Magic Knight Squad Captains, as he can nullify Dante's main strength. Since Dark Magic has been shown in the past to be nearly as capable as anti-magic at interfering with otherworldly powers, Yami can also launch a strong enough counterattack to more than just scratch Dante, and he at worst matches Jack as the most seasoned melee combatant of all of the Captains. Dante obviously wasn't taken out by that Iai Slash, but is it enough to make him retreat? The Next Episode preview suggests that he will be hanging around at least long enough to exchange words.

The final front is in the Heart Kingdom, where even the Spirit Guardians are in trouble against Vanica's forces. This is Luck's opportunity to shine with his new power upgrades, and he doesn't waste it. Luck has always been low on my list of favorite characters in the series, but he does have his moments, and this is one of them. Effectively turning into a living lightning bolt to get by a variable-toughness defense is a neat trick, and I don't think Luck would have had it any other way than being this difficult a challenge.

I like what I am seeing of the Spade Kingdom War so far. Keep it up, guys!

Rating:

Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and FUNimation.


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