The Black Bull kids go up against Fana and her endless hatred. Can they bring down Salamander, her great spirit? 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 not frequent, but sometimes a protagonist will attempt to be genre-savvy, and get soundly denied. People who think they’re being smart often poke fun at how shonen action series just jump right into the battle without realizing they could possibly have avoided the fight altogether if they’d just had a conversation. Well, Asta tried, and nearly ate a fireball to his face for his trouble. It does go a long way towards setting Asta up as someone you could see becoming the Wizard King, though. He’s not here to fight for the sake of fighting–he knows protecting people occasionally necessitates it, but doesn’t relish the requirement. He’s not aiming to find the strongest opponents–he doesn’t even recognize his other rival Leopold (who will become very relevant in the next arc), he just wants to help people and make a more fair world.
Asta’s also smart enough to recognize Fana’s similarity to her former mage friend Mars, thanks to her ability to wield not only Salamander, the spirit of flame, but to use offensive diamond magic as well. He’s come a long way from the idiot we met at the start of the series. Nonetheless, since this is a show about people punching each other, Fana ignores his attempt to understand her pain and continues attacking, incinerating the forest with a barrage of flame attacks.
2. Fortunately for the viewers though, we’re given a flashback into Fana’s past–or at least, what she believes is her past. We learn a bit more about what Licht was talking about with his “the powerful have always been hated for their strength” spiel from the Midnight Sun arc. At one point, there was another race of beings–elves, with unique powers and a special connection to mana–who lived separately from humans. But one human discovered them, and attempted to get along with them. From the looks of things, he even married one of their number, and from their union sprang a child they believed would unite both human and elf.
Then everything changed when the Fire Nation humans attacked. At least, we assume it’s the humans–they claim no one else really knew where they were, so it’s assumed the humans rained down arrows of light until the elves were all but exterminated. There’s likely a lot more to this story, but the bigger question is…if the elves are all dead, where did Vetto, Fana, and Raia come from? And if Fana’s an elf, why does she have the same abilities as Mars?
3. Black Clover creator Yuki Tabata described Noelle as less of a supporting cast member and more of a secondary protagonist, and the more we watch her develop the more sense that makes. She displays some of the same levels of growth as Asta, both in terms of strength and combat ability and as a character. Earlier this arc, she managed to put her nervousness in confront people aside to convince the Queen to help her friend/comrade/crush, Asta.
This episode, after attempting to douse the flames of Fana’s Salamander spirit, she realizes the only way to stop her is to go directly to the source. She joins the battle just as Finral, Vanessa, and Asta seem outmatched by Fana’s flame spells, as they become so powerful they burn Vanessa’s threads and affect Finral’s ability to cast spatial magic. Noelle’s still pretty terrible with attack spells, but she still has one hope: the water dragon spell she first cast on Vetto in the Seabed Temple arc. She hesitates for just a moment, remembering the way her family always considered her a failure and briefly letting it affect her, until Asta’s obnoxiously loud cheers encourage her enough to ignore what her family thought and have faith in the friends she’s made in the Black Bulls. The spell proves just as powerful here as it did there, tearing through the Salamander dragon despite Fana’s attempts to shield it with her diamond magic.
4. Most of this episode sees Asta talk about how he’ll have no choice but to use his “special move” to defeat Fana. They build it up so long you realize eventually it has to be something stupid, and it is–his plan is to fly through the air rapidly and strike Fana’s dragon with his swords. When he finally reveals it, both Finral and Vanessa call it a stupid strategy that he can’t even do without their help, and you might wonder if he even realized that. But then you realize of course he did, because Asta has trusted every member of the Black Bulls implicitly almost from the very beginning. He just naturally figured they’d know what to do, just like he knew Noelle would be able to take out Fana’s spirit dragon. It’s the exact kind of absurd, yet refreshing, kind of idealism you watch shows like this for.
5. Next Episode: Well, Fana’s down…for now. But what about those guys from the Diamond Kingdom? And shouldn’t someone tell Mars the girl he thinks he murdered is still alive?
Black Clover is available for streaming on Funimation.