Black Clover
Episode 6

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Black Clover ?

I always understood the comparisons to Naruto, but when Black Clover first debuted, there was a lot of talk about it being in the vein of Fairy Tail as well, which perplexed me. Obviously they have the wizard theme in common, but that's more of an aesthetic skin as opposed to the central appeal of the series. The more desaturated art style along with the focus on a rivalry made it pretty distinct in my mind, but as of episode six, Asta is now part of a "guild" with its own pre-established group of colorful faces, so I'm starting to see how it could lean more in that direction.

The Black Bulls look to be the central family of the series, and we're introduced to a load of new characters who cover a range of archetypes like the delinquent, the skimpily dressed drunk lady, and Gluttony from FMA. The little sister enthusiast is a bit alarming, however. Will we eventually find comfort in these strange characters as we bond with them over the years? Only time will tell.

Now that we're exiting the Magic Knight exams, it's necessary for us to get a feel for what fights are going to look like in this series. Asta's smackdown of the snobby guy a few episodes back was satisfying, but it also means we have yet to see his lack of magic be an obstacle for him in combat, since his big black sword seems to be playing by an entirely different set of rules. Everybody who witnesses what he's capable of comes away surprised, but only momentarily. I'm interested in seeing the supporting cast's reaction to the five-leaf clover graduate from just "oh that's neat", so we can start playing with the dynamics that a unique power naturally creates.

This episode features Asta's initiation into the Black Bulls, as improvised by Magna Swing, the shades-wearing, funky-haired delinquent of the squad. The show demonstrates one new thing Asta didn't know his sword could do, which is deflect magic with even the flat side of the blade. He doesn't have to rely on cutting like he had gotten used to, so his sword is just an all-purpose anti-magic device. Again, the chillness that everybody maintains as they gently fawn over this never-before-seen power is a bit strange to me. I assume that we're eventually going to learn that anti-magic is The Worst Thing Ever so it can be especially ironic that our hero uses it, but for now it's not a big deal. The episode is ultimately very mild as a result.

We're being thrust into a strange new world where my blossoming interest in the series freezes briefly, as I wait to learn if I will like these new characters or not. The designs are solid and the personalities are familiar, but not so much so that I'm going to declare anything with confidence. The Magic Exams had the show on my good side, finding that groove in my brain that easily responds to these shonen shenanigans, and now it's time to see if the show can keep that lenient enthusiasm going. As is often the case with these kinds of series, it's going to be a few episodes before we get a grasp on any kind of trajectory.

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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