5 Point Discussions – Black Clover 14: “Dungeon”

by Sage Ashford

Asta and the others are given an assignment by the Wizard King! What old allies will they meet in the Dungeon? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. A little time economy for an episode of Black Clover. The average run time clocks in at 23:54, with the first minute and forty five seconds burned on the intro and summary of the story thus far. Another minute twenty-five seconds on the actual opening song. Then the last two minutes and forty five seconds are devoted to the (very cool) new end theme, the Petit Clover short, and the next episode preview. That leaves about eighteen minutes of actual show time…and this week, we lost a little over two minutes trying to come up with the name of the anti-magic bird inhabiting Asta’s crows nest hair style.

The bit is in the manga, but it’s a lot cuter there because it lasts one page total. Here it’s somehow become symbolic of how this show constantly fails to respect your time.

2. Feeding into my last point is this week’s introduction of something new into the world of Black Clover: dungeons. The group is assigned to explore a recently awakened dungeon in order to retrieve anything important or dangerous within.

Now, some of the reactions to this episode have involved calling it a rip-off of Magi. In reality, this is absurd; dungeons aren’t simply not Magi’s idea, and are actually a widespread trope that’s become ingrained into magic-focused television series and video games. I would’ve been surprised if it wasn’t here, actually. And the dungeons there vs. here don’t even work the same, having completely different rules and almost no similarities besides traps and looking like an MC Escher painting.

This is the unfortunate cost of developing a series that fails at breaking the mold at its beginnings, and worse still is so poorly paced that in three months of airtime it still hasn’t properly differentiated itself yet. Audience trust has been lost, and when that happens they start to make demands and raise standards in a way that wouldn’t have occurred in better circumstances.

3. This week we spotlight on another member of the Black Bulls, Luck Voltia. Like every member of the Black Bulls, Luck is actually quite talented but his personality is…well, garbage. He’s meant to be a veteran member and leading Asta and Noelle, but he spends most of the time in this episode knocking Asta into traps once he learns his power easily dispatches most traps in the place. Then once he notices a strong opponent he runs off in search of them, abandoning his friends in the dungeon alone. Once again, Asta and Noelle are forced to fend for themselves as new members of the team. However…

4. Asta and Noelle mistakenly activate a trap they can’t immediately dispatch and end up dealing with a surprisingly dangerous Man-Eating Plant. It captures Noelle first, but fortunately before Black Clover could turn into a hentai from the darkest corners of the internet, the plant gets sliced into tiny bits and a new group introduces themselves: Yuno, Klaus, and Mimosa.

I won’t lie, the way they presented this as it segued into the new ED was exciting, but I really wish the filler hadn’t shown the team already. The surprise at Yuno’s sudden reappearance in the manga was much greater, as you’d basically forgotten about him while getting caught up in the adventures of Asta and his new friends. Here we only saw him an episode prior, so the shock Asta experiences doesn’t quite carry over.

Still, this is where the manga starts to differentiate itself, so I’m excited for where things go after this.

5. Next Episode:  What does Luck find at the center of the dungeon? And what happens when the members of the best and the worst magic guilds meet?

From the look of things we should be speeding up the pace with these next three episodes; 15-17 seem to be promising  a quicker pace, but is it too late?  You tell me.

Black Clover is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.