Black Clover
Episode 53

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 53 of
Black Clover ?

Joining William Vangeance in the 'I don't trust him as far as I can throw him' camp is Langris Vaude, Finral's younger brother and the standing vice captain of the Golden Dawns. We got a glimpse of him in Finral's flashback while we were fighting Vetto, and he's got that snooty aristocrat thing going for him. Finral will likely never match his brother's successes, but between Asta vs. Yuno and Finral vs. Langris, the rivalry between the Black Bulls and the Golden Dawns broadens further.

However, there is a wrench thrown into the expected trajectory of the story, and it comes with William's long-awaited face reveal. He's been covering a giant scar on his face, one that is apparently incurable by magic, and he has a sad and sympathetic backstory of his own that's suspiciously similar to Yami's. William was rejected by the world around him for his scar, but the Wizard King saw greatness and took him in. Because his story is so similar to Yami's, you can't shake the idea that something fishy is up, but the show does a good job making you believe that everything we're learning is legit. Yami even remarks that William's Ki would have indicated if he was lying.

At this point the audience knows that something must be up between William and Licht, but there's a really good balancing act going on where the Golden Dawns could either be friendly rivals or straight-up villains. We came into this mini-arc looking to answer this big Licht-ian mystery, but we discover a very simple and understandable story instead. We're still blind as to who's good and who's evil here (doesn't help that the entire Diamond Kingdom has just been punked), but I feel like the story's hand is leading us well nonetheless. There's an answer to this question, today just isn't the day.

This isn't a packed episode by any means, it mostly consists of two long scenes between William's sob-story and our younger heroes finishing off one of the remaining Diamond generals. This fight with a Slime Magic-using general isn't nearly as exciting as Yuno's fight from last week, but it gets the job done and gives Finral a chance to at least verbally stand up to his brother. There's a nice juxtaposition between Yami 'facing off' against William and the teenage members of their respective squads developing relationships with each other elsewhere.

This is a good episode that manages to be calm and understated without losing the power of its developments. It's an important step in the relationship between the Black Bulls and the Golden Dawns, and the Diamond Kingdom's defeat marks an upcoming change in leadership that's sure to come into play on the horizon. While we leave this story arc with more questions than answers, it's sentimentality that's defeated us. A lot has changed in a short amount of time, and there's not much further to dig as things stand now.

Rating: B+

Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw

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