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1. While Mars recovers from being smacked by Asta’s new sword, we get another flash back to his past in the Diamond Kingdom. As it turns out, while he was in the prison that doubled as a training area, he had one single friend. A young girl named Fana who encouraged him not to give up, and to protect the people. They promised to go see the world together once they were finally let out. Unfortunately, the childrens’ final test to be allowed to escape was to kill one another, and the last remaining mage would be allowed to leave.
This is easily the most inefficient way of creating a star mage I’ve ever heard of. Clover Kingdom has a farcical meritocracy and even that’s better than this. You could easily have had tournaments that aren’t deadly, or allowed the final five to live and boosted their strength with the others, or anything else that doesn’t involve killing kids you’ve already spent so much money training. No wonder the Diamond Kingdom is suffering.
Anyway, at the end of the tournament only two people are left: Fana and Mars. At the last moment, Fana tries to kill him and he attacks her out of reflex, but it turns out to be an elaborate ruse. She forced him into attacking because she believed he would have the best chance outside. Meanwhile, the officials watching decide to infuse Mars with Fana’s flame recovery abilities to boost his abilities even higher.
2. As Mimosa’s healing Asta, Mars regains consciousness and decides to end Asta once and for all. He’s insulted at Asta’s strength, but more importantly he’s insulted at being challenged by someone who hasn’t suffered loss. Just as he finds himself about to kill Asta, Yuno breaks free of his bonds…but doesn’t have the means to save Asta in time.
Fortunately, at the last second, we finally discover exactly what happened when Yuno touched that strange scroll a few episodes ago. What looks like an adorable wind sylph pops out of his book. We don’t know why she chose Yuno, but she immediately assesses the situation and uses her power to obliterate Mars’ weapon and armor, saving everyone.
3. Just as Mars is defeated the dungeon begins to fall apart. Asta begs them to save Mars, but they don’t even have time enough for that. Worse, they don’t know how to escape…but fortunately Luck remembers the way out. He’s not exactly the smartest bulb on the branch, but it looks like he’s got some kind of eidetic memory abilties?
The bigger story, though, is that Lotus and the rest of the Diamond Kingdom mages make it out as well. And though Golden Dawn and the Black Bulls got the only magic powers in the tomb…Lotus and the others manage to abscond with a sizable amount of treasure….
AND still save Mars! Somehow, both sides of this managed to escape with a victory. It makes sense all things considered, as the people of Diamond Kingdom don’t even seem to be bad people like that. Just hungry. Mars even has a change of heart, thanking Lotus for saving him and deciding to lead a happier life from now on. I WONDER IF THAT MEANS WE’LL SEE HIM AGAIN LATER. Honestly? Probably not. We’re on episode 19 and chapter 20, they’d have to burn through material at a pace that makes JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure look slow to even get to chapter 75 or so by the end of this series’ run.
4. My favorite moment of the episode, though, is right here. Though it’s played for laughs, this is the first sign of Asta and Yuno’s actions gradually breaking down social stratification that’s been a major part of the Clover Kingdom. This is the first real time a noble’s acknowledged a commoner as worthy of being in the place that they are.
Yeah, there’s Noelle, but she’s different in that she had already lost her social standing amongst the other nobles before she started to respect commoners. The other nobles recognized that she wasn’t like them, because she had to work to attain power.
Klaus, on the other hand, is a model noble citizen. His magic power is off the charts, he joined the Magic Knights and was immediately welcomed into the top ranked group of the Golden Dawn. If he chose, he could have remained ensconced in his bubble where the Clover Kingdom was perfect and nobles had power because they deserved it, while commoners were weak because that was their lot in life. But after seeing Yuno and Asta risk their bodies for their comrades and the Kingdom, he’s finally come to realize that they deserve their place just as much as anyone else.
5. Next Episode: Having finished their assignment, the groups make their return to their bases. But Asta and Noelle are granted the right to meet the Wizard King! Surely this meeting is going to fantastically…right?
It’s been ages since we’ve seen the leaders of the other guilds. It’s been so long, and they made such a small impression that I would imagine most viewers don’t even remember them, but next week expect them all to come back in full force and make themselves known. Still, don’t expect them to be likable.
It’s a little too late to pull people into this anime if they were already pushed away by the last few episodes, but over the next few episodes we should see something of a turning point with respect to the expansion of the lore and character introductions. The villains up til now have all been kinda boring, but that all changes from here. Look forward to it.
Black Clover is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.