As the Black Bulls’ time to infiltrate the Underwater Temple draws closer, Noelle must finish her training to control her magic and carry the team underwater. Will she have enough time? 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. Once again we’re given another example of the incompetence of the Clover Kingdom, as the Wizard King tries to sneak away from a mountain of paperwork in order to go witness new types of magic. It’d be one thing if the actual King was remotely useful, but he spent the entire time his royal city was being attacked being fed food and lazily wondering why no one else was doing anything. For sure I can understand it if this was meant to be some type of reconnaissance to check out enemy mages, but it isn’t. He’s just a nerd who likes seeing unique new magic types, and too childish to actually get to work. But jeez, even Naruto knows when its time to do work.
I’m actually not even sure I’m mad at this–it logically shows why the Eye of the Midnight Sun is so frequently capable of embarrassing them. Other shows at least have their organizations pretend at being competent, only for the bad guys to show up and do what they want anyway. Here, it’s obvious: everyone got here through nepotism or a broken meritocratic system, and so it’s just idiots and madmen running the asylum.
2. The latest addition to the series, Kahono, is a class in “how to make a likable character in a single episode”. At the end of episode 41, Noelle and Asta find her singing while staring out at the sea, and this episode she realizes she’s being watched. Instead of being shy or mean, she immediately embraces them both and asks if they can be friends. Since Asta could make friends with anything breathing, he’s happy to have met someone new. But since Noelle is incapable of being honest with herself unless it involves yelling at herself for being awful with magic, she tries to pretend she doesn’t care about the first female friend she’s ever had. Tsundere-types deserve to wallow in loneliness.
Kahono’s special power is the ability to heal people through her singing, and demonstrates on Asta by singing his fatigue away. ….And then charges him for it, ’cause she’s smart and knows if you’re good at something you should always get paid for it. She reveals what she wants most is to become a magical idol singer, which Asta and Noelle don’t even know is a thing because they’re both slaves to a garbage military. Most people have hard to achieve dreams like this, but in Kahono’s case she might be on to something–charging people for a show where they walk away magically healed seems like one of the smartest usage of powers we’ve seen in this series.
3. What even is the point of Noelle’s family? Like, they lead the Silver Eagles but they’re literally an example of everything the enemies of the nation would want to tear down. They’re so elitist they can’t even find it in themselves to care about their own sister. It’s one thing to be upset that their mother died in childbirth, but they legit look down on her ’cause she’s not an ace at magic.
I could see if the brother was just a patriarchal jerk, but nope–the brother and sister take perverse pleasure in mocking a child for her lack of ability instead of just helping her. The only thing stopping me from rooting for the Midnight Sun is they attack innocents as well as royals.
4. I said this arc would develop Noelle more than anything before it, and here we are. She spends most of the episode trying to master her water cradle technique to carry the group safely down into the Underwater Temple, but can’t quite seem to hack it. Kahono tries to help her by advising her to think of happy memories to put her in a calm state of mind while she works, which results in her flashback to her two dorky, clone-like siblings mocking her.
It isn’t until Asta advises her to just let loose all of her magic at once–like she did at the start of the series–that she finally gets any traction. Even then, she’s still lacking the calm state of mind to pull it off, until the rest of the Black Bulls arrive and start cheering her on. While the group is incompetent as far as being an army, they’ve never failed to be a welcoming family to her or anyone who joins up, and it’s their faith in her which allows her magic to stabilize and turn into a brand new spell.
It’s rare that other characters outside the main get an entire training episode like this, but then the creator has always described Noelle as a deuteragonist who gets just as much focus as Asta. That hasn’t quite held up with these last two arcs, but it shines through clearly here, and will continue now that we’ve finally established enough of what the world looks like through Asta’s eyes.
5. Next Episode: If you get the chance, make sure to check out this week’s Petit Clover, a short featuring the manchild of Clover Kingdom, the Wizard King, discovering Kahono’s unique ability and being so charmed by it he hands over 10 million just to hear her sing…and instantly becomes a super-fan.
Anyway, the group is finally able to travel underwater just in time for the full moon! But what awaits them when they get underwater? Hopefully a little more than this week–though there’s nine episodes left and about 16 or so chapters remaining to this arc, they still need to wrap things up in a satisfying conclusion if we aren’t going to be back for the fall.
Black Clover is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.