by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 75 of
Black Clover ?
Last week ended with an introduction to Kirsch Vermillion, Mimosa's older brother. Kirsch is a sparkly pretty boy who's obsessed with his own looks, much to the annoyance of the rest of the cast. Nervous smiles and cartoon sweat drops aren't enough to communicate our heroes' frustration with him; we get some good exacerbated terror as they try to understand how a person could become such a raging narcissist. I found Kirsch's conversation with Asta interesting, where he's balking at the thought of a person willfully developing their muscles, thinking the human body should be beautiful without putting effort into it. The show has touched on this idea before, where muscles are uncommon in a world dominated by magic so people tend to find them ugly (except for the girls who are all over Asta and Yami, they're ready for this bold new future). I think that's an effective bit of fantasy world-building. It makes sense that magic doing all the work for us would change how people view that mythical concept of "working out", and it provides a new context for an expectation that's otherwise normal in our world.
Between Solid, Kirsch, and Langris, we've got a concurrent stream of crappy brothers stinking up the Royal Knights exams. It'a fairly clear that this is going to result in our scrappy underdogs going face-to-face with their much more successful siblings, which could either end in satisfying victory or painful humiliation. I'm sure we'll get a mixture of both sides of the emotional coin, but for now these sibling rivalries will have to wait until the tournament moves forward. In the meantime, these beginning matches are testing my patience something fierce. They're all very one-sided in the sense that we get to see the important characters teaming up to trounce no-name goons. This episode covers three of these battles, (a Magna/Kirsch/Sol team, a Finral/Leopold/Hamon team, and a Langris/Sekke/Some Random Girl team) so at least we're not pretending these fights are more than demonstration matches, but they are painfully boring nonetheless.
The production values are bottoming out considerably. This isn't the kind of thing I'd normally nitpick, but there's at least one scene where Kirsch is talking and the lip flap animation is a canyon away from the actual dialogue. Straight up, it's like the picture and audio are taking turns. The action continues to be as flat as ever, and I'm familiar enough with long-running shonen to know that a quality dip usually means a quality spike is forthcoming, but it's still tough to sit through fight scenes like this. These episodes don't seem like they're too important in the grand scheme, so Pierrot is probably putting their efforts elsewhere, but at the same time, these are the kind of episodes that would really benefit from more pizzazz. Please give me a reason to look at the screen!
Black Clover is going through the motions right now. Clearly there's a ton of character work being set up for later, but right now the show is coasting on its themes of class and family without adding to them in any meaningful way. The beginning of this tournament has been dishearteningly dry. It's the kind of situation that would probably be more tolerable in manga form, where you can control the pace yourself, but going in blind with only a vague idea of what's in store for me has not been doing this show any favors. I need a little more gas in this tank.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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