by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 167 of
Black Clover ?
On the rare occasions when Black Clover's animation team follows Yami's directive and “surpasses its limits,” it can dish out some of the most spectacular action sequences to be seen in any shonen action series south of the first season of One Punch Man. Nowhere is that truer than during the climax of the Yami/Asta vs. Dante battle shown in this episode. It may well be remembered as one of the series' greatest action highlights.
And to be clear, the wonder of this fight – with devil-upgraded Asta and Yami fighting perfectly in sync against a giant, four-armed Dante – is not just in the peak animation effort, although that does, indeed, deserve a lot of plaudits. The choreography also matters a lot. Sometimes Black Clover is itself prone to standard shonen action tropes of characters just flying around smacking into each other in big fights, but the kind of careful planning and coordination of the moves here – where Yami will sometimes throw Asta either out of the way or towards the enemy and each seems to be supporting the other – truly dazzles. This is all the more so because, as complicated as the movements amongst all of the flying debris can get, the viewer can still easily follow the action. The moment where Yami just casually tosses Asta his katana after Asta's swords have been knocked away, all so that Asta can deliver the finishing blow, is a cheer-out-loud moment. It is absolutely criminal that it has taken this long for Asta and Yami to team up like this, given the results.
As satisfying as seeing at least one of the Dark Triad go down is, story meta demands that a main villain cannot be taken out of action so early in the story arc. I figured that either Vanica or Zenon would appear to salvage Dante and poach Yami, and the latter does, indeed, show up and oblige. Would Zenon have succeeded if both Yami and Asta were not wasted from their Zenon fight? Probably not, but who says that only the heroes get to take advantage of an enemy being weakened by fighting others? The one saving grace is that the rest of the Black Bulls were at least able to prevent Zenon from getting Asta as well, but things don't look good for the good guys now. But hey, the shadowy Black Bull looks like he is going to pop up in a prominent way next episode. . .
Surprisingly, the episode skipped its recap to play out its other front, leaving the opener about as deep into the episode as it ever gets. Even Noelle's valiant fight could not stop Vanica from absconding with Loropechika, who seems to be a bonus rather than a core part of the Dark Triad's plans. But hey, at least Tongue Guy is finally history, right? The Dark Triad is going to need a whole new posse of minions after this. (Though I suppose it does not matter, given that they intend to unleash a whole horde of demons.)
With the battles now concluded, the series has three episodes left to deal with some follow-up and clean-up before the series ends. I just cannot see it getting to any kind of proper stopping point, however, so I am expecting an Inuyasha-like ending.
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