by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 82 of
Black Clover ?
How would you rate episode 83 of
Black Clover ?
It looks like all the shows I'm reviewing these days have been itching for a good filler break, and Black Clover is no exception. Episode 82 is a spin-off/clip show hybrid that sees Charmy wandering off and eating a hallucinogenic mushroom that causes her to imagine a collection of 'Petite Clover' shorts—the little chibi-fied vignettes the show plays after the credits. I don't usually stick around for these shorts when an episode wraps, but from what I could tell there's a mixture of new and old material presented here. Either way, these shorts are the textbook definition of empty calories, and I don't have much to say about them. I tried to pick out a favorite or two, but twenty minutes makes for a lot of shorts and they get mind-numbing real quick.
The following episode brings us back to the main story with the finale between Asta and Langris's teams. Langris gets more entertaining the more emotional he gets, stripping himself of all pretense as he brags about his royal upbringing and natural born talent. Basically, he's saying, "Tell me I'm special! Please, it's all I've got!" This gets a response out of Asta, who concedes that Langris really is amazingly powerful, but then suggests that he's still effing up by not respecting his peers in the Magic Knights. This is probably one of Asta's strongest shonen speeches yet, as he sounds grounded and confident in what he has to say. It barely sounds like he's trying to sway Langris with an argument at all. It's more of a level-headed declaration explaining why Langris needs to be stopped, and a brief aside of mourning for his wasted abilities.
From there, Asta and Langris explode in an all-out war and both teams' crystals break simultaneously. This is another example where the series' snappy pacing (excluding general padding/filler) makes Black Clover frustrating for me. The climax of this fight feels like the end of a second act as opposed to a third, and the emotional impact is muted as a result. It's a shame because the pieces in play this time around are so cool. I really like Zora's scene at the end, where he's condescendingly giving everybody advice on how they could have fought better (only three out of the six characters mattered to the fight itself, so some of his comments are a reach), but then he finishes by giving himself advice about trusting other people more. You assume he's being rude, but by the end he's mostly just dunking on himself.
The tournament got rearranged so Asta and Langirs could fight, and then that fight ended in a draw, so all of the original bracket match-ups are on a new trajectory. The rest of the episode swiftly knocks out the next two battles and establishes that the final match will see Yuno and Noelle's team facing off with Rill Boismortier. I don't know what to expect moving forward, since the most emotional rivalries have been covered and the forthcoming match is more of a formality now. This episode manages to deliver well on its emotional fervor, bringing out the best in its principal characters. However, its true potential has been choked out by the arc's exceptionally loose story structure. Using the tournament as a thinly-veiled excuse to make whichever characters fight would have been perfectly fine, but I don't know if we're even accomplishing that much. This tournament had to get bent completely out of shape in order for its best drama to happen, and what's left are a number of peripheral matches that are difficult to care about.
Black Clover is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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