by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 62 of
Black Clover ?
The main battle might be over, but there's always got to be that One More Thing to put an arc over the top. It turns out that Ladros, Mars's partner in the Diamond Kingdom half of the fight, has emerged from the rubble to keep the conflict going. I enjoy developments like this because it means we can sweep any assumed story trajectory under the rug. It doesn't feel like we're trying to reach any contrived emotional beats anymore, which means the characters can feel like they're actually in control of the story's pace. Ladros is here to ruin everybody's day, and now it's up to our heroes to stop him from sabotaging our recently earned happy ending.
It certainly hasn't been uncommon for me to have a ton of issues with a Black Clover arc, and then it will gradually start to tie its concurrent elements together and reveal what it's been building up. It's still a hot mess getting there, but it does get there. The villains can finally play their intended role now that we got the heroes' obligatory character arcs out of the way. Ladros is all about scummy, ladder-climbing self-interest, so he doesn't really fight on behalf of the Diamond Kingdom so much as he just wants to be in charge of everything. As he uses his powers to eat and absorb other people's magic, the Witch Queen seems to recognize Asta's anti-magic and uses a spell to awaken a forthcoming demon transformation, but that's for next week's episode.
The theme this arc is hitting the hardest is the idea that your magic is for the benefit of helping other people, a lesson that Fanzell made sure to teach his students while he worked for the Diamond Kingdom, and there's a distinction between Mars, who eventually understood the lesson, and Ladros who didn't. (Hell, Ladros's entire power is built around taking from people.) On the slightly less vanilla end of the ideological spectrum, Asta manages to do a few unexpected things like chucking a sword at Ladros mid-monologue and bypassing the magic-absorbing shenanigans altogether, and then not falling for deceitful pleas for mercy afterward. To continue to draw comparisons to other popular shonen classics, this is like the opposite of when Goku let Raditz's tail go after just a tiny amount of begging.
This episode is merely a segue to the big transformation episode to come, but at the very least I think we're back on a track I can follow. All of the important pieces are starting to connect in a meaningful way, and it looks like we're finally in for another visually pretty episode after a long absence of them. I'm mostly interested in what role the Witch Queen is going to play from here, since she's still pretty sinister but right now it looks like she's mostly here to push the demon subplot forward. This episode on its own isn't nearly as exciting as what's to come, but at least the content is back to adequate.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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