Asta and Yami face off against two of the most powerful members of the Midnight Sun! Meanwhile Gauche has a big change of heart towards his fellow Black Bulls. 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. It’s fun to finally see multiple high level opponents cut loose against one another. Yami tests Asta’s mettle by seeing if he’s willing to fight Licht, but once Asta accepts he immediately kicks him out of the way because he’s fully aware the kid can’t keep up. Instead, we get a much better second round of Yami and Licht, where both decide to take things seriously.
This episode’s fight might easily be one of the strongest I’ve seen all year for anime–Yami starts showing off all his skills as a dark spell user, absorbing Licht’s best attacks and retaliating well enough to put Licht on the defense several times. Fortunately it feels like the animation had a sharp rise in quality, because the way these two flitted about the battle field, tearing into one another and destroying the cave around them was truly a sight to behold.
2. For the first time since this series started Yami starts acting like what you’d expect of a Captain. While watching Licht and Yami tearing it up, Asta finally realizes the gap between himself and Magic Knight Captains. You’d think he would’ve figured it out watching the Wizard King, but Julius handed out work so quick it was hard for it to set in just how good he really was. Here, Asta realizes he’s going to have to become more powerful than both of them to become the Wizard King, and do it without magic.
He nearly lets himself get swallowed up by the impossibility of his task, but Yami knocks some sense into him (literally) and from there he’s motivated enough to take on Valtos, the Midnight Sun’s teleporter. Using ki he manages to only take minor damage from the guy’s blows, even though he’s using his teleportation like funhouse mirrors to allow him to attack from every direction. Still, in yet another moment of combat genius from Asta, he figures out a way to finally put Valtos down: sensing Valtos’ ki, he jumps through one of the portals to appear on the other end…and knocks the guy clean out.
Remember back in the arc before this I complained about the directing in an episode and how it made an important blow from Asta lack the proper impact? Yeah, that’s not a problem here–Valtos gets rocked and it’s the most satisfying thing possible.
3. Gauche becomes a (semi)-decent person! After Finral manages to save Gauche, Theresa, and the children, some mages show up at Nean to heal both Gauche and Theresa. The entire time, Gauche is panicked at the idea of watching Theresa die, even if it’s couched in complaining that if she dies “Marie will be sad”. But women from the Crimson Lions are absurdly tough, and she has enough strength left to give away her remaining mana to Gauche and stay alive.
Finally, Gauche once again recalls something Yami told him when they met: protect what you want to protect, eventually someone will benefit from that. As all the children of the village ask Gauche to go back and help Asta, offering their own mana to help–he realizes the world doesn’t have to be a cold place and finally decides he has to go back and help.
4. …Turns out, Gauche having a change of heart was a key part of Yami’s Xanatos gambit plan to survive Licht. Despite dealing several damaging attacks against the mage, he finds himself stumped on how to stop Licht when he unveils his final, “ultimate” spell. He puts up a defense barrier, but he’s completely aware it won’t be enough–and Asta’s not strong enough to deflect a blast as powerful as Licht’s charged spell on his own.
Fortunately, Yami kind of expected Gauche would have a change of heart, and he arrives right on time, using his mirror magic to reflect the blast and leave Licht getting smacked with his own attack. I can’t recall the last time the head villain of a series got KO’d before the halfway point of a show, but here we are.
5. Next Episode: Despite having beaten Sally, and now Valtos and Licht, our heroes still aren’t done! The remaining members of the Midnight Sun make an appearance at the end of the episode, and they have every intention of getting revenge for what’s happened to their teammates. Do an exhausted Yami and Asta stand a chance even with Gauche and Finral there?
This show has really taken a step-up with this arc–everything from animation to actual story has turned it up several notches. Even the pacing has improved, making this arc’s adaptation better than the actual source material for once. Hopefully we can keep the same energy to the end of this show’s planned run in October.
Black Clover is available for streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.