Black Clover
Episode 65

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 65 of
Black Clover ?

As usual, a new cour means a new opening and ending! Kankaku Piero returns with the song 'Rakugaki Page.' The continued adventures of Black Clover's manga only exist in my peripheral vision, but there have been a few major characters that I've been waiting patiently to meet, and it looks liker their entrances are imminent if the new opening is any indication. It's an incredibly zestful and well-animated sequence, but it's also Very Anime to the degree that it has a hard time leaving an impression. Maybe it'll sink in better as we get further along in the coming arc.

Now for the episode itself. After all the doom and gloom she brought the past few weeks, it's comical how quickly the Witch Queen gets knocked down to her knees, says "I've seen the error of my ways," and then rewards the Black Bulls with the magic stone that they were(n't) looking for. If there's one consistent problem I have with this arc, it's that the varying sources of conflict and resolution feel unusually divorced from each other. Ladros is similarly turning over a new leaf in the wake of his defeat. Why? Because 'enemies to friends' is what other series do, I guess. It doesn't make much sense and it's definitely not satisfying.

What's at least a little satisfying is that we get a taste of long-overdue exposition on the origin of the Eye of the Midnight Sun, where the Witch Queen concludes that they must be connected to a long-dead tribe of elf people. The elves were responsible for the giant demon whose skull resides near Asta's home, and they were wiped out by humans hundreds of years ago. This would explain the Midnight Sun's vengeful mission, as well as help us connect the dots on where Asta's anti-magic swords come from. This feels like the most important info-dump yet, allowing us a much better look at the unfolding big picture story. The elves were responsible for performing forbidden magic, but they also appear to be the victims of genocide, so that twinge of sympathy we've been affording our villains is finally coming into focus.

From there, the episode is mostly just letting us cool off as we get back into the daily routine of the Black Bulls. We say goodbye to the arc's side characters, and then it's onto a bunch of gags where the other Bulls react to Asta's magically fixed arms. I like that the show went so far as to imply the other characters had their own arc-worthy adventures while trying to find a solution to Asta's curse that happened off-screen. Magna and Luck got the best joke where it sounds like they really went through something amazing and came out the other end as changed people, and then it's funny when it turns out to have been completely inconsequential. That's a great bit.

As a denouement to an overall weak story, this episode suffers from the arc's initial poor setup. The emotional core that would normally serve as a story's anchor has been upsettingly noncommittal for weeks now, so our bittersweet farewell with the supporting cast feels more vapid than touching. As a transition into a new arc, this episode fares a lot better since it gives us a chance to dwell on world-building, and we can now see the usual Black Bulls goofery from Vanessa's viewpoint and juxtapose it against her former life in the Witch's Forest. There are things to like here, but it's still emblematic of what I haven't been enjoying about this arc from the get-go.

Rating: C+

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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