by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 24 of
Black Clover ?
Whenever I feel compelled to say "this seems to be wrapping up now", it's just a moment of humility waiting to happen. Since the fight with Rades appeared to be wrapping up last week, I just assumed that was all there was to it. But what's a shonen arc without a false climax or twelve?
While Rades was acting out of his own personal desire for revenge, he may not have been the sole entity in this attack on the royal capitol. As he's tied up and facing defeat, a voice speaks to him remotely, implying that he's a part of a larger group serving an unknown master. Since Rades's solo mission was a failure, a few new figures enter the fray to clean up after him, and the vast majority of the Magic Knights get teleported outside the capitol by a mysterious portal that appears to gobble them up. Yuno is one of the few Knights to avoid this, so his job is to fend off the black-coated witch woman who arrives to harm the citizens.
The climax of this episode, with Yuno being deprived of all his senses by the witch's magic but then summoning a new power, manages to be decently satisfying. I think part of the appeal of aloof shonen heroes is that they're trying to offer new perspectives to people with aspirations of self-growth. It's possible that something a normal person might find discouraging, like feeling you don't truly have agency over your own talents or not meeting the expectations of those around you, could be small hurdles for someone else who has a more specific goal. As Yuno is fading under his opponent's spell, he's thinking about these things and comes to the realization that he cares about those problems significantly less than he cares about beating Asta to Wizard King status. In this moment, he's able to sense mana to compensate for his lack of sense and unleash a giant new attack. The wind spirit gifted him that Four-Leaf Clover for a reason, and he can accept it as long as his rivalry with Asta is his ultimate goal.
Again, this is a pretty common development for the genre, and I don't think Black Clover elevates it into something new, but it's going to keep going for that message whether we like it or not. I don't think this example with Yuno is anything special, but I like it more than some other attempts in the show. We have a similar moment toward the beginning of the episode where Fuegoleon is confronting Rades, and even though the conversation around Rades's misdeeds has been pretty clear, Asta still has to butt in and give his opinions as well. Last week's episode was pretty good at making sure the Kingdom's mistreatment of Rades was part of the equation, but this week really goes hard on him for not taking it on the chin better, so the messaging starts to grow thin. Rades turned to evil because he wasn't enough of a shonen protagonist, basically.
The episode ends with Fuegoleon also getting caught in the teleporting spatial magic, except in his case he ends up in an empty void, ready to meet a mysterious figure. The royal capitol arc doesn't seem to be over yet, and while I do find the larger scope of Rades's organization interesting, the continued action isn't going to wow people any time soon. As usual with this arc, I can see the purpose and function of the story, but there's nothing massively cathartic on the horizon either. Unless things are about to get absolutely crazy, I'm ready for a change of scenery sooner rather than later. This is an episode for the Yuno fans, and Black Clover otherwise continues to march along just doing its thing.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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