5 Point Discussions – Black Clover 23: “The Crimson Lion King”

by Sage Ashford

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1. There’s a good bit of filler in this episode centered around introducing the King of the Clover Kingdom, Augustus. This is something that takes several dozen more chapters to get to in the manga, but here we go. If we needed any more proof Clover Kingdom wasn’t really the meritocracy it claims to be where the most talented, strongest person is made King, we get it here. The Wizard King just runs the army, and only equals the Clover Kingdom’s true King when it comes to military affairs. The real King is just a spoiled man who spends his days laid up with women and places his own life above everyone else’s. As you might imagine, he gets pretty ticked when the Wizard King isn’t around to protect him from this attack.

2. Here’s a character we had forgotten about! If you’ll remember, Yami told Charmy she couldn’t join Asta and Noelle on their trip to Clover Kingdom’s capital city because she only wanted to eat all the food. ….Well naturally, she tagged along anyway, and hid under tables to munch on as much of the buffet as she could. She makes a re-appearance this episode when she runs into a really passionate chef, who hasn’t stopped cooking even though the Magic Knights aren’t actually there to eat his main dish.

Charmy pops up to beg for the opportunity to chomp the thing down, and the Chef is moved by her passion and desire to eat and continues to cook. This scene is silly, but it matters a bit later.  Plus there’s a SaltBae reference here that provides at least a decent chuckle.

3. Asta finally reaches his limit battling against Rades. Covered in curses because he was trying to protect a young girl, he doesn’t stand a chance against Rades’ second zombie. Fortunately, Fuegoleon pops up and incinerates it with ease. Fuegoleon really is the best of the current Captains, as he praises Asta for his efforts and offers advice on how Asta should try and conduct himself if he wants to continue getting stronger and achieve his goal.

He also asks Rades who he is, and because shonen always has time for some exposition, we get an answer. As expected, Rades is a former Magic Knight, who joined up with the Purple Orcas (a squadron writer Yuki Tabata clearly made up and added later) but was kicked out not long afterwards. They learned what his magical abilities were, and because they were so creeped out they just had him removed from the guild.  Again, because Clover Kingdom’s military meritocracy is a joke, no one stands up for Rades. He’s just a stupid commoner, and gets kicked out.

This leads directly into the fight between Rades and Fuegoleon. The two show off some even more powerful techniques, with Rades displaying his fourth summoned zombie–a barrier user that can also fire off bullet arrows. Meanwhile, Fuegoleon summons a massive flame lion, covering himself in his own shield until he spots a split second weakened defense he can exploit to obliterate Rades’ last zombie.  It’s an easy battle for him, and shows off the sheer difference between his powers and Asta’s, because he finishes up without a single scratch.

4. The Captains managed to  successfully take out all the left over zombies off-screen, because apparently they ran out of time animating Fuegoleon’s awesome elemental lion. It all seems too easy though, especially since someone’s watching their efforts from afar and cackling about how it’s all going according to their plan. Well. This arc’s got much more to go.

5. Next Episode: The battle between Rades and Fuegoleon continues, just as someone else makes their intentions to attack the Clover Kingdom plain. But with the Captains having conquered the zombie army, what else could possibly pose a threat?

I’m quite frustrated that they decided to start relying on filler again. This week’s episode was bad enough for having a lot of still scenes and not much in the way of proper animation, but to add on irrelevant filler?  What are we screwing about with the pacing down for?

Black Clover is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu.