by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 93 of
Black Clover ?
I made the foolish assumption that last week's spectacle was all we were going to get as far as crazy battle animation goes, but this week's episode kicks off with even crazier stuff as the Wizard King, a.k.a. Julius Novachrono, continues his fight with Licht and the two of them fly around the royal capital with some of the gnarliest choreography I've seen from any show of recent memory. They knew this was an important episode to knock out of the park, and it shows.
Tragically, my decidedly less foolish assumption was that the Wizard King was going to die and that's what this week's episode is about. We see several new sides to the man as we learn more about his motivation as a leader. Underneath the laid back attitude, he demonstrates a surprising amount of anger at the system he's a part of. His contempt for nobles who laugh at peasants isn't in line with his demeanor, but it shows us how much effort and care he put into his job in an attempt to right the ship. The recurring theme of rich people guffawing at peasants is getting a little too cartoonish at this point, though it helps connects the Wizard King's experiences to Zora's father, a character I was mostly ready to forget about.
To add some minutia to the Julius' characterization, we discover the nature of his grimoire. It doesn't have a cover like a proper book, and instead floats in the sky like a paper lantern made of spinning pages. It has no beginning or end, and definitely no classification. With powerful magic and no distinguishing features, Julius came to believe his actions and path in life defined him, thus he developed the philosophy of merit that he tries so hard to instill in Asta and Yuno. I really like the idea of a character who's chill with having no discernible "purpose" in life. He just is what he is, even if Licht comes to the conclusion that his opponent is a force of nature put on this planet by fate for the sole purpose of stopping him.
The big dramatic conclusion comes when Licht tries to use a powerful spell to kill the entire population of the royal capital, raining light arrows down on everybody that the Wizard King can only stop with his time magic if he leaves himself open for attack. It's a game of chicken that Licht wins. The citizens are saved but the King is impaled through the chest by Licht's blade. I'm interested in where the story goes from here, especially since Yami arrives on the scene just in time to see his friend die. Yami being the only one to witness the end of this battle has a personal weight to it beyond instigating another fight. Perhaps Yami is destined to become the next Wizard King before Asta?
This is a turning point for Black Clover, signaling that a massive change in the status quo is about to begin. It's a really nice episode that hits the right emotional beats, but the presentation is notably strong as well. Beyond the cool fighting there's a ton being done with atmosphere and lighting. I already talked last week about how cool Licht's attacks looked in this regard, but this week's final scene in particular really stood out to me. It trades the monochromatic afternoon sky for a more colorful clash of yellow and blue to denote the sun finally setting. Good story material is being met with good execution this week.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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