Black Clover
Episodes 28-29

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 28 of
Black Clover ?

How would you rate episode 29 of
Black Clover ?

After taking a week off, I assumed that I'd have two episodes of Black Clover to digest, which I was honestly looking forward to, but to my dismay the second episode in this batch is yet another clip show. So functionally, I've only got one episode to review! Guess I can't complain about my timing.

Episode 28 has the makings of a filler episode (it's not), by virtue of not moving the plot forward and instead focusing on throwing the characters into a wacky sitcom scenario. Finral, the ladies' man of the Black Bulls, has organized a mixer with some local women, dragging Asta and Luck along with him since they seemed like they'd be the least intense company and therefore least likely to scare the girls away. In practice, this proves to be true by only the tiniest margin.

As a comedy episode, this one is kind of great. Asta and Luck being obviously unfit for their environment allows for plenty of great jokes, and they're bouncing right off the girls who churn out lots of deadpan humor as a result. Shonen tends to be more fun when its most colorful cast members are forced to contrast with the more normal world around them. This trio of girls does their best to keep the conversation going, and there are brief glimmers of hope that the guys' better qualities will start to shine, but it's all inevitably upended by some joke about how violent and socially clueless they are. My favorite joke is when the girls are almost impressed by Asta's story about fighting at the Royal Capital, but then he shows off his battle wounds and they're so gross that the show has to digitally blur them out. The pacing and energy is generally good, ensuring that humor can come from around any corner.

Eventually, everyone else at the mixer starts to hit it off, leaving Asta alone with the redhead Rebecca, who goes from being the coldest in the group to really opening up once the two of them are chatting about what it's like to have younger siblings. As the episode transitions from funny to sweet, it's all blushing girls and talk over what a great guy Asta is. There's kind of no way that this series can sell Asta as a potential love interest to at least three girls, but if you can swallow Black Clover's unrelenting approach to romance, I think it comes off well this week. There's also Noelle spying on the whole thing and acting jealous, just in case you weren't sure this show was going to triple down on that element.

It's a real bummer that episode 29 is a recap, because that's the kind of thing that forces you to acknowledge these shows as products designed to fill time slots first and foremost. Black Clover now has a higher episode count than most anime these days, and yet so little has actually happened. There's some new content in the framing devices for the clips, but beyond learning about Gordon's alarmingly creepy diary about Asta, there's not much worth checking out.

We're beginning a new cour, which likely means a new arc is on the horizon. For now, I think it's worth mentioning that the new opening, 'Black Rover' by Vickeblanca, might be the series' best one yet. The song's cool, but the visuals are shockingly beautiful, full of movement and neat ideas that I think would have me coming back to this show if I was a teenager watching this. It's not like I don't enjoy most of this show's cast and world-building, so there's always going to be chances to keep me invested moving forward even if the story is moving slow. I don't know enough about what's coming to say that I'm entirely excited to find out what's next, but as usual the show can offer some harmless fun while we wait to find out.

Rating: B

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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