by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 168 of
Black Clover ?
After the epic battles which spanned the last several episodes and shook up the status quo of both the Heart and Clover Kingdoms, a downtime episode to deal with the aftermath was fully predictable. That this would be the time that the mysterious Shadow Guy, who was spying in the Spade Kingdom, would pop up again and get involved, was also predictable. What wasn't was how, exactly, he fits into the picture.
Shadow Guy's name is Nacht, and it turns out that he is actually the Vice-Captain of the Black Bulls. I have long thought it odd that the Black Bulls seemed to be alone among the Magic Knight squads in not having a sub-leader, but apparently that was never true. He's just been undercover on a mission in the Spade Kingdom the whole time, and apparently, he never liked Yami anyway. This begs the question about why Yami did not mention him before, beyond the vague reference about “other members” way back in episode 6, although, knowing Yami, it is entirely possible that Yami just forgot about him since he has not been around in a long time. Even more importantly, he is devil-possessed himself, and by one potent enough that he can command enough to intimidate even a room of captains. Clearly he is more proficient with his devil than Asta is, so he can provide the training or techniques that Asta needs to fully draw on his devil's power. As for his personality? Beyond putting a lot of emphasis on hating or liking things, there isn't much to it yet.
By comparison, the latest edition of the captain's meeting does not accomplish much beyond bringing everyone up to speed and laying out the time frame that the effort to stop the Dark Triad must operate under. This clarifies that they have about ten days total to save William and Yami and prevent the gates to the underworld from opening, but it also reveals a new ultimate boss: the unsubtly-named devil Lucifero. The other significant event here is that Yuno's true heritage becomes common knowledge (at least to the captains and Julius, anyway), though my impression is that, beyond the initial startle factor, it will not have much immediate impact on the story beyond explaining to Nozel why Yuno seemed to have royal-level magic despite being a commoner. (Asta certainly does not seem to be fazed much, either.) This is also possibly Yuno's most loquacious moment in the entire series.
The episode also throws out two additional hooks which might lead to bigger things. One is the suggestion by the doctor that Grey's true magic may not be transformation; that might just be one aspect of a broader power, since what she did to save Gauche went way beyond normal healing. This is not a mystery that I expect to see addressed within the remaining couple of episodes, however. On another front, Noelle awakens to find herself in the company of the ex-elves, who are finally now popping up for the first time since episode 120. What they are doing in the Heart Kingdom is the big mystery here, but it looks like that will at least partially be addressed left episode.
Only two episodes are left, so at this point I am expecting the series to end with everyone set to go on the invasion of the Spade Kingdom. But we'll see if the series has any final tricks up its sleeve.
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