by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 94 of
Black Clover ?
With the Wizard King on his final breath, a lot of big things are being set in motion. The bad guys have accomplished their primary goal and are getting ready to level up, while the heroes are spread between multiple locations without a whole lot of guidance to keep them sane. While consisting mostly of the aftermath from last week's surprising outcome, there's a healthy amount of really interesting stuff going on all at once in this episode as we shift gears.
For starters, we have the ongoing battle between Mereoleona and Raia. The winner of this fight is pretty clear (spoiler: it's the buff lion woman), but we still have to figure out where Raia ultimately stands with the audience. He's one of the villains who shares a tragic backstory with Licht, and yet his big fight results in him getting comically punked by Mereo over and over again before any further pathos can be uncovered. He's about to self-destruct in a last ditch effort before Asta pelts him in the face and shouts at him to value his own life more. It's shonen pep-talk time and Raia's bewildered expression in response is pure gold. He's baffled, wondering why this is how his big fight has to end. It's a little eye-rolling how Asta's position on all this fighting and vengeance is "can't we all just get along?", but at least the show knows that's a silly thing to say at a time like this. This is a fortunate instance where the hero not understanding the complicated history behind people's actions allows him to speak with more precision. All he needs to know is that people are angry. Anyone can relate to that.
Not that any of this is going to slow Licht down, as the Midnight Sun has succeeded in collecting all the magic stones on top of killing the Wizard King. The unique wrinkle here is how Licht speaks to the Midnight Sun members who are simple recruits, and not members of his mysterious forgotten race. Until now, he's acted as a messiah figure, motivating the likes of Sally, Valtos, and Rades to do his bidding. However, now that he has everything that he needs, Licht says what he really thinks, reprimanding the humans for their selfish actions. There's enough going on in this episode about the process of empathy and hatred to keep the conversation fresh. "You have no qualms about hurting others, although you are terribly sensitive to your own pain." I really like the back half of that sentence because it helps us keep the underlings' feelings in mind while also calling them out. Licht isn't in an especially great position to scold other people for wanting revenge, but his flunkies are caught between systemic injustice and their own pettiness. Perhaps Licht would have sympathized with them more if he wasn't Extremely Done™ with humans.
The cliffhanger comes as the magic stones let loose and bring out Licht's full magic potential, and in reaction to this something is going on with Yuno, as if he's being possessed in a manner similar to the Third Eye members. There's still a lot we don't know about Licht's people and how they work, but hopefully this leads to bigger stakes with Asta and Yuno fighting on different sides in a much more dramatic circumstance. It definitely feels like we're entering an endgame of sorts (I mean, as much as this can feel like a climax while the manga is still ongoing) and lately I've found myself enjoying what Black Clover has to offer. The story has felt more cohesive and focused than usual, so fingers crossed that we're setting the groundwork for bigger and better things to come.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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