Black Clover
Episode 77

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 77 of
Black Clover ?

We've got two new matches on the docket this week, the first of which features Luck and Klaus on a team together. Notably, Luck has upgraded some of his spells and Klaus has been doing some push-ups after Asta inspired him. There's not much to say about this one, but it's over quick. The most important fight this week is clearly Noelle and Yuno's team-up, which features way more substance than any of the other tournament matches so far. You have Noelle and Yuno bickering, Noelle's sibling rivalry coming to a head, and Yuno facing off against one of his own Golden Dawn comrades.

Noelle and Yuno's dynamic is pretty straightforward. They have the same royal/peasant relationship that Noelle has with Asta, except Yuno is skilled with magic, which makes Noelle feel even more inadequate. This isn't a source of conflict for the episode so much as an anchor to make the moment that cements Yuno's trust in Noelle even more meaningful. Yuno's strong enough that he probably could have taken the other team's crystal by himself, but Noelle wants to fight her brother and thus the tournament has an opportunity to reach emotional stakes beyond just winning and losing.

Honestly, that alone would have been enough story momentum for me. The tournament has been on auto-pilot until this point, so any emotional weight would have been refreshing, but there's also a more significant attempt to flesh out the side character participating in this fight. Yuno's opponent is Alecdora, a fellow Golden Dawn member who resents him for the preferential treatment he receives from their captain, William Vangeance. We get a flashback highlighting why Alecdora looks up to William so much—a little story about how William saved his life once and reminded him of a painting he saw as a child—and this gives us some added texture to the cult of personality that's been forming around William. However, Yuno could not be less impressed by Alecdora's jealous pity party.

Both Noelle and Yuno's victories this week have some punchy thematic work going for them. Noelle's fight is about how she doesn't need her siblings' acknowledgement anymore, since she's now been acknowledged by much cooler people like the Vermillions and the Black Bulls. Approval is one of those weird things where you might know that you shouldn't seek it from certain people, but it's hard to move on from that cycle until something better comes along. Truly, the power of friendship is the only constant in life. Yuno's victory is equally savage, but considerably less sweet. Alecdora believes he's more deserving of William's attention because he's working to make William's dream come true, to which Yuno replies, "I don't know anything about other people's dreams. The only dream I see is my own." That's so cold! Hopefully that pragmatism at least spares him from William's Voldemort-y side.

This is closer to what I expected from a Black Clover tournament arc, where the character work gets to be front and center. The animation is still keeping things chill, though it's not a drawback this week like it has been in the past, and there's a surprising amount of focus being put on the ancillary characters. I don't know if we'll see much of Alecdora or En Ringard, but the show went out of its way to fill us in on what they're fighting for, just to make the episode feel a little more dense. There's a good mix of humor, tragic backstories, and big uplifting speeches—just enough to deliver an entertaining episode.

Rating:

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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