Vanessa and Finral work with Asta to fight against the unstoppable Vetto. Can an untested team work together to take down a monster more powerful than all of them combined? 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. Last episode, we saw a wrecked Asta, an inexperienced Finral, and a barely sober Vanessa take on a guy who’s more powerful than their Captain, and survive (barely) through some impressive teamwork. This episode, Vetto starts to catch on to their patterns and nearly kills them all. That’s not too surprising considering Vetto feels like a high level boss a beginner party is trying to cheese their way past for easy loot and XP. The group runs into three problems: One, as good as they are, they can’t land anything more than glancing blows on him. Two, their combo demands absolute perfect concentration, and even the slightest mistake would lead to Asta dying…and the rest of the team being massacred shortly afterwards. Lastly, they have limited magical powers while Vetto seems almost…artificially unlimited in his resources, which presumably will come into play later.
All three of these problems are combining to create a ticking clock for our heroes, made worse by Vetto reacting faster to their abilities. Gee, I wonder where the others are…
2. There’s probably a worst time to have a feast than when teammates are about to be murdered by a psychotic beast-man, but I can’t think of one. While Asta, Finral, and Vanessa battle against Vetto, Gauche, Grey, and Charmy are still trying to regain their magic energy. Grey and Charmy are both drained from doing…mostly nothing, while Gauche is exhausted from his fight earlier. So instead of rushing to help their comrades immediately, they sit around while Charmy cooks up some food–which is simultaneously absurd given what the other team’s going through, and somewhat logical since rushing in with no energy and no plan would probably get them killed.
If nothing else, you can’t fault the Midnight Sun’s plan–they took advantage of the general stupidity of the Black Bulls exhausting their magic fighting other chumps first, then divided and conquered perfectly. Presumably Vetto would’ve been much easier to take down if the entire group faced him at once–but instead everyone’s dragging themselves into the fight either with no battle experience like Finral, or they were already halfway beat to crap before things even started.
3. While Vanessa and Finral are helping, we get some backstory for them both, but I’m not sure Vanessa’s really makes sense. Vanessa reminisces about her time before joining the Black Bulls, and we learn that somewhere deep in the Clover Kingdom, a forest exists populated by witches. Vanessa grew up in an actual cage in that forest, the “beloved” toy of the Queen of Witches, dreaming of the day she could go beyond that forest and see what existed out in the world.
They never explain how she got free, but I’m stuck on how her backstory contrasts with what we know of her character. She spent years imprisoned, fantasizing about leaving to the point she created animals with her magic thread to talk with…only to join the Black Bulls and say, “Screw it, I’m just gonna get drunk all day at the base.” Did she just explore and realize the world sucked? …Actually, given what we know of Clover Kingdom that’s not outside of the realm of possibility.
4. On the other hand, Finral’s story is just sad. As a royal limited control over his spatial magic, no one ever thought to train him to increase his abilities. Worse, coming from a family of attack mages, he was shunned for being a non-violent person. Together, they lead to him being passed over for becoming head of the family, with his younger brother being chosen instead. Broken by these facts, he gave up and joined the Black Bulls, because this world seemingly has no purpose for anyone if they’re not any good at killing people.
Somehow, in the year 2018, Yuki Tabata has managed to create a sympathetic playboy. That stereotype is supposed to be dead, but after learning all this it’s almost become charming for Finral. In a world where magic is everything and training is (somehow) unheard of, Finral is disrespected both by his family and the Magic Knights. The only thing he has is he’s kinda cute and charismatic–who can blame him for wanting to do the only thing he’s ever been good at? He probably should’ve made that his career…though I guess Magic Gigolo probably isn’t a series you could serialize in Weekly Shonen Jump.
5. And for a second time this battle, the cavalry arrives again, only beat to hell after having torn through the remainder of the Midnight Sun’s forces. This gives the team an opportunity to shake up the strategy again—Gauche creates a bunch of smoke with his mirror blasts, Charmy destroys part of the cave to create some debris, and Grey transforms it all into copies of Asta, making it impossible for Vetto to figure out which is the real one. The whole thing results in the first real hit anyone’s scored on Vetto this entire arc. And yet, somehow it feels like things are still just beginning.
Black Clover is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.