Challenged by Mereoleona to make it to the top of a volcano, Asta must find a technique that surpasses his usual skills, or risk falling behind all his peers. 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. Even though it’s a bunch of gibberish, it’s nice when a writer thinks hard enough about a character’s transformation to explain how it works. At the end of last episode, Asta refused to be defined by Mereoleona’s expectations of him as a squirt with no magic, and resolved himself to reaching the top of the volcano, and the hot springs there. But trapped in a situation where muscles and being hard headed aren’t going to be useful, Asta’s forced to come up with a different plan of attack. After overheating himself trying to use his brain, he finally settles on trying to re-activate the “Black” energy form he used to defeat Ladros.
It takes him a while, but he realizes he can turn the ability to sense ki that he learned from Captain Yami inward, detecting that strange black energy within his sword, and drawing it into himself to reactivate the form. Tabata really could’ve come up with anything and it would’ve been fine, but I like that the usage of this power-up came from the lessons he’d learned in previous arcs from Magic Knight captains like Fuegoleon and his own Captain, Yami. Tabata could’ve easily done a time skip and when we saw Asta again he just knew how to use it, but the additional lore-building is always appreciated. Of course, since he only barely knows how to activate it, the second he turns it on it sends him flying off through the volcano range.
2. In an otherwise solid episode, this was a frustrating moment. Studio Pierrot has gone through some great and not-so-great moments with this series, but the biggest flaw the series has is it rarely elevates the material it’s using. Still learning to use his new powers, Asta is unable to control them properly, and this concentrated source of anti-magic winds up flying right at Mereoleona, the largest magic source in the area.
The camera closes in on her as she delivers the line above, cementing her as Mereoleona the Meme Queen, before she uses her incredible speed to appear behind Asta and punch him into the side of one of the volcanos. It gets the point across, but only that–there was a lot of room to make Mereoleona look (even more) awesome here–more impressive flames, a better camera angle–but they just settled with going for exactly what the manga did, because that’s what happens when you’re on a tight schedule and have to churn out episodes every week for two years straight.
3. Yuno’s cool guy character takes another hit this episode when Yami tries to get everyone to engage in a time-honored anime cliche. Once everyone reaches the hot springs, Charlotte’s subordinate Sol raises a wall to separate the women and the men. As Yami’s trying to get all the guys of the Crimson Lions to go peeping on the girls, saintly boy Yuno flatly denies them. Whether it’s because he’s too cool for it or he was raised by a priest and a nun, Yami’s not interested and nearly crushes his skull when he tries to be above it all. We rarely ever get moments like these, where characters are yanked out of type in such blatant fashion, so seeing it is actually pretty cute.
4. Mereoleona’s mentoring of Noelle continues this week, with her giving Noelle a goal to strive towards while they share some time together in the hot springs. Noelle asks Mereoleona what her mother Acier was like, and we learn despite their resemblance, the two of them have nothing in common on the battlefield. Acier was so powerful the best Mereoleona could ever do with her was come to a draw–she was an ace who excelled at everything, including a perfect, beautiful control of her magic. Comparatively, Noelle’s magic is wild and uncontrollable, and she’s a mess on the battlefield. Mereoleona encourages her, though; explaining it’s because of her flaws she must eventually learn to surpass her mother–which is pretty much the first time the anime has so blatantly given Noelle a clear cut thing to aim for.
5. As everyone (sans Yuno) tries to climb the wall to peep at the girls, Asta joins Yuno in being a pure boy…just for the wrong reason. He talks about how his heart belongs only to his Sister, which…okay. You figure most of them don’t know Asta’s history, so at best people are thinking he’s got a sister complex. But even for those who do, he’s basically saying he’s obsessed with a woman of the cloth. Either way, it sucks the wind out of the sails of the boys’ spirited attempts to commit crimes, fortunately.
And that’s that! Next episode begins the Royal Knights Training Arc, which is presumably not too far from where things will stop, otherwise we’re about to get…dicey.
Black Clover is available for streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.