by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 57 of
Black Clover ?
So the main reason we had to jump back in time and get to know Fanzell and his gang is because he and his wife are the people Noelle and Finral have gone to for advice on how to fix Asta's arms. Domina is from the Witch's Forest, and if there's anybody who knows how to lift an ancient curse, it will be the Queen of the Witches. The audience has been taken on quite the odd route to this point, because Vanessa is also from the Witch's Forest, and she's already heading there independent of the rest of the group. I'm not yet sure why we've had to rope in all these extra characters for this upcoming arc.
At first glance, the Witch's Forest is probably the most appealing of the settings we've seen so far. It's an isolated country separate from the primary kingdoms, and it consists entirely of women. An all-female country isn't a new concept in the world of fiction, but this location does offer a much more fantastical take on the forested areas we've seen in Black Clover so far. Everything's generally much bigger and greener, and there's a sense of deliberate anachronism between the normal-looking lives of the locals and the Miyazaki-esque landscape that they reside in. I really like this place aesthetically, and I hope we're not just passing by it as nothing more than a momentary backdrop.
Now that we've left the suffocating realm of flashback land, the story is moving impressively fast. Vanessa is confronting the evil Witch Queen—a.k.a her mother, so there's an abusive/possessive parent theme going on there—while an infiltration subplot goes on with Asta, Fanzell, and company. Asta arrives just as the Witch Queen is defeating Vanessa and forcing her to stay in the Witch's Forest forever (if you'll remember during the Vetto fight, we saw flashbacks of Vanessa living in a cage), but then that fight gets interrupted by the Eye of the Midnight Sun arriving. No matter what happens in this series, it seems that it's always going to find its way back to the Midnight Sun.
So far this looks to be a much more cohesive escalation of stakes than when Vetto showed up in the Underwater Temple, but the briskness of events is getting to me somewhat. I like this setting a lot and I wish we could stop to smell the roses a little more than we have. The Witch Queen seems like an intimidating villain, but now she's at risk of being co-opted by the Midnight Sun, so I don't know if I'm bound to get my fill of any of my favorite elements here. All the pieces of the story thankfully seem to be pointing in the same direction, which is not always guaranteed with this show, but we're still early in this new arc, so I'm holding my breath.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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