The first round of the Royal Magic Knight Exam begins, with Asta and Mimosa having to face off against a deadly trio of royals…without the help of their third member! 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. This tournament kicks off with Asta and his group having the first battle of the tournament, against a trio of enemies so non-descript the episode title should’ve just been “How Asta Goes to the Second Round”. Of course, it can’t ever be that easy for the lead character. The Royal Magic Knight Exam is a game of capture the flag, where each team has to protect their own magic crystal while successfully destroying one’s own. It’s easy mode, since the crystal can be carried with them and be protected during combat, but it provides Knights with an opportunity to learn how to manage team work with fellow mages they wouldn’t normally work with due to belonging to different organizations.
But despite being a bunch of mages we’ve never heard of, the group puts some surprising teamwork on display in this episode. It’s cheating a bit on Tabata’s part; he created three guys belonging to three different groups and it just so happens their powers work perfectly together. One of them is able to spy on people from long distances, and the other two combine their stone and fire powers to create a stone ballista that fires flame arrows. The result is a trio who can snipe from afar, which isn’t a great match up for Asta’s close-range abilities, creating a unique challenge for a guy who’s best attributes involve stubborn tenacity rather than tactics.
2. On the one hand, it sucks that so many of the women in Black Clover are ultimately driven by a desire to impress men: Noelle, Charlotte, and Vanessa. But it does help that mostly they have their own goals as well: Noelle wants to shut her family up, Charlotte wants to continue being one of the most impressive women in the Magic Knights, and Vanessa mostly just wants to get drunk and live her life like she wants. Plus on the other hand, typically their desire winds up leading to them experiencing hella growth as characters.
We haven’t gotten a chance to focus on Mimosa in a while, but in that time she’s gone from constantly being flustered and being the third most important person on a three member squad to a fully capable soldier. She does most of the work this episode for her team, figuring out the enemy team’s strategy and thinking tactically enough to get Asta to maneuver around. She claims it’s out of a desire to stand at the same level as Asta, but honestly without her help they would’ve lost in minutes.
3. Man, it must suck to lose to someone that’s basically Magic Cyclone the person. Despite Asta and Mimosa’s best efforts, they get outplayed by their opponents, but their movement around the field trips a trap that paralyzes Asta. Emboldened, the other three mages attack…and get their spells redirected at twice the strength. “Zerx” pops up and reveals this was his plan all along, which is essentially the most absurd of Batman gambits. It’s revealed he’s a user of trap magic, which…okay, sure. But what were the odds that, on this massive field, someone would’ve run across the specific trap necessary to win them this round?
4. It took some maneuvering, but Tabata has properly turned “Zerx” into something of an unlikable character. With his look combined with his attitude towards royals and being somewhat talented in combat, he could’ve easily been almost “overly” cool. But instead he’s a total jerk, abandoning his teammates and making him do most of his work for him. He doesn’t even bother to tell them his abilities or plans, and it’s really only through dumb luck that they don’t get taken out within minutes. He’s so annoying even Mimosa, who’s normally impossible to fluster and just an all-around sweetheart, gets annoyed by how unhelpful he is. There’s a story behind it all, but we’re a ways off from learning what that is, so right now his only good trait is he doesn’t like royals–which just makes him a jerk who picks on jerks.
5. Speaking of Mimosa, this week we meet one of her siblings–her brother, Kirsch Vermillion. We don’t actually know much about him, save that he’s the partner of Magna and Sol…and that he’s really, really shiny. Judging from the few minutes we get here, like most royals he’s self-obsessed and believes far too much in his own power. It’s a familiar refrain with Tabata’s characters, but how they develop after meeting Asta and the Black Bulls is what you come to the series for. Is he going to be more like Klaus, who at this point doesn’t care about your background as long as you’re trying your best? Or is he going to be more like Noelle’s family in the Silver Eagles, who won’t acknowledge their little sister no matter how much work she puts in?
Black Clover is available for streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.