Black Clover
Episode 166

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 166 of
Black Clover ?

Going at least as far back as the days of Dragon Ball Z, one of the hoariest of all long-running shonen action traditions has been the Drawn-Out Boss Battle™️, one where both the good guys and the bad guys keep pulling out ever-increasing levels of power, and seeming reversals happen multiple times per episode. While Black Clover hasn't used this as heavily as some franchises, with most of its key battles resolved in an episode or two at most, it hasn't been above using it, either. Here it is continuing an even grander tradition, in the spirit of titles like Bleach and Naruto: having two drawn-out battles at the same time!

The series has two ongoing battles right now that could define the course of the developing war with the Spade Kingdom: on the Heart Kingdom front and on the Clover Kingdom front. Both feature Dark Triad members who maxed out their capabilities by the end of the episode, and both are now looking at running into their fourth episode of action. (Technically, only the Tongue Guy, and not Vanica, was even partly active on the Heart Kingdom front in episode 165, but I'll still count it as the beginning of the fight.) Neither is showing much sign of being resolved quickly, either, though the Heart Kingdom scenario is arguably more teetering on the edge of calamity at the end of the episode. Both show multiple twists this episode, some good for the good guys, some not.

On the Heart Kingdom front, Vanica turns out to be the one pulling something out of her ass, with her escaping Nero's sealing only because she had a partial protection against it up at the start. Megicula emerges, Undine is down, Nero is wrapped up, Mimosa still has tongue issues, and Loropechika is close to being incapacitated. That just leaves Noelle as a hindrance. But this is the strongest and feistiest Noelle we've yet seen, and even without Loropechika and Undine's support she was still able to at least slightly injure the fully-empowered Vanica. The chips are certainly stacked against the good guys in that one, but maybe things aren't settled there yet.

On the Clover Kingdom front, Yami gives one hell of a show in his battle against Dante. He may have seemed to be going all-out last episode, but that was just the preliminaries. This is the most bad-ass that Yami has ever looked, as he goes toe-to-toe with a foe that even Julius at full power might not have been able to handle. His new techniques would wipe the floor with just about anyone else that didn't have a seemingly infinitely-regenerating body, but I must admit that the visual of Dante with most of his body blown away is pretty cool. The obvious solution here is to get Asta back in the fight; neither could handle Dante alone, but two fighters against him who can actually hurt him and it's a whole new ballgame. That the episode piddled around until Yami's request for help finally causes him to override his injuries (because that's just how shonen action stories work) was a bit annoying, however.

As much as I'm getting sarcastic about all of this, though, the fights still have enough cool factor going for them to make how much they're being stretched out tolerable. With the series only having four episodes left, though, I have to wonder how much time is going to be left to deal with anything else if these battles take up another full episode or two.


Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and FUNimation.

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