5 Point Discussion – Black Clover Episode 3: “To the Royal Capital Of The Clover Kingdom!”

by Sage Ashford

Our heroes prepare to head to the capital of Clover Kingdom to pass the test to become magic knights!  But Asta has a surprising person trying to stop him!  Will he and Yuno manage to be approved by their village to take the test?  As always, if you’re enjoying this 5 Point Discussion, please remember to share it on Facebook and Twitter.  And hit me up @SageShinigami if you have any questions or comments.

1. The third episode starts off with a more dramatic retelling of the story from episode two’s flashback: a powerful demon attacking the country’s capital, with only one person capable of doing anything to stop it: a single wizard, boasting incredible magical powers. They bind and kill the demon and the rest of its army, and afterwards they’re honored for their service by being made head of the country’s military, and bestowing upon them the title of Wizard King.

Not only that, but in the wake of that tragedy, Clover Kingdom built up an army of capable mages with incredible magical powers in the form of nine different squads of Magic Knights, each of them working under the Wizard King’s command. One thing I have to give Black Clover is how different their regimented system is–Fairy Tail had something like it, but they were more friendly than anything else, and usually contracted by their city rather than literally being the which each guild exists. Naruto had the villages, but they were in a cold war with one another most of the series and rarely worked together except with ALL LIFE AS THEY KNEW IT was in danger. We’ll see more of this system’s ranks later on, and more specifically we’ll get into the different guilds and what they mean in the next episode or so.

2. Unlike last week, which used the manga as a bookend for a crunchy filler center, this week is just one completely filler sandwich. Now normally I can’t stand filler–it bothers me when they introduce major characters for an entire arc only for them to later disappear and never be referenced again, AND it bothers me when a normally serious show ditches it’s usual tone for an episode where it’s main characters learn to drive in a series where everyone relevant can fly at super speeds.

But this week’s Black Clover didn’t really get under my skin that much. It was only a single episode, but it was also logical stuff that probably would’ve been in the manga if they didn’t have to skip it for the sake of the pacing. Stuff like Asta and Yuno gaining greater experience with their powers isn’t necessary but provides a nice touch. Meanwhile, a slight change to the lore adds the neat idea that each city in the Clover Kingdom chooses who it sends for Magic Knight qualification tests, and after the candidates from Asta and Yuno’s village chickened out thanks to the events of the first episode, the town was left with no options other than these two. It wasn’t necessary, but it explains how an idiot with zero magical talent like Asta could’ve ever been allowed the chance to take the test in the first place.

3. Another thing they did that I liked was showing how Asta and Yuno leaving their orphanage would affect the people that still lived there. The father of the church that took Asta and Yuno in starts out doubtful of Asta’s abilities to the point that it seems pretty jerk-y at first, but then it’s revealed he simply doesn’t want all of his children to abandon him.

The same thing happens later on with one of the other children Nash, who follows Asta to his training grounds and tries to convince the teen that poor children like them simply don’t get to realize lofty dreams like the one Asta has. Asta immediately yells at him to convince him otherwise, but that scene is the one of the few downsides (besides Asta’s voice) to this week’s episode. They’re choosing to tell us the emotional arc rather than show it–the whole “poor people can be successful, you can do what you want even if you’re an orphan” stuff is a powerful message, but it can come off as cheesy if you don’t put a bit of work into it, and this just said it straight out.

4. Another thing they try to show off with this episode is the sheer difference in Asta and Yuno’s abilities, and in doing so reveal a key difference between most shows of the same type. Yuno works just as hard as Asta–things only seem to come easy to him because he puts in equally absurd amounts of work. While Yuno IS more talented than most, Asta’s not simply a bad magician who has to work hard to match up, he literally NO magical abilities–in this world, he’s the real anomaly.

As a result, it makes sense when Yuno is able to do everything Asta can with far less effort. They show them traveling to the capital in a cute little montage, and most of the perils and dangers that await them are easily dealt with by Yuno while Asta has trouble even catching fish, attempting to accomplish with strength what Yuno can with magic, and of course having to work several times harder.

5. Next Episode: The end of this episode seems to have begun an adorable little series where Black Clover characters explain how the lore works while in chibi form. This week focused on Grimoires, the magical books that have varying abilities and pages that users develop the longer they cast spells.

Speaking of spells, next week we’re introduced properly to the magic knight guilds, and hopefully we’ll also learn the guild(s) Asta and Yuno are going to join. Unfortunately, given the episode titles of the next few weeks there’s a strong chance each episode will only cover a single chapter, so we might need to get comfortable with glacial pacing for a good while.

Black Clover is available for streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.