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1. As mentioned in the recap for the previous episode, Asta works out that the elves obviously feel slighted for something that happened in the past. He tries to work out what that could be and how they could make amends, but unfortunately his brain shuts down for thinking too much. Asta’s never been known to be the smartest guy in the series, but there’s a better chance than not this arc is going to focus as much on shutting down the Midnight Sun as it is solving what happened in the past. That said, hopefully Asta starts to get it together mentally later on, because it’s terrifying to realize he’s definitely going to become Wizard King, which means he’ll be handling important matters in the country…while being completely idiotic. (Maybe Yuno would be better leading things?)
2. After gathering everyone together, Mereoleona decides to wait three days before attacking the Midnight Sun headquarters. It seems like a rather arbitrary condition, until she and Nozelle manage to catch a spy attempting to watch them through the shadows. This is the first time the Magic Knights have seemed like they remotely understood the idea of spycraft, as they’ve spent almost the entirety of the series on the defense against attacks from the Diamond Kingdom or the Midnight Sun. They’ve never been on the offense before now, but that’s probably what happens when you kick the Captain who was spying for the other side out and have competent people like Mereoleona handling things going forward.
3. Give Black Clover credit: it took them 88 episodes before they got to the point where they felt comfortable enough to do the classic, “collect a bunch of major protagonists, then split them up to fight several different groups of villains over a single arc” storyline that was so popular in 2000’s era shonen. Unfortunately, we are here now. The problem with these sort of arcs is they typically don’t know when to switch focus or stay on a specific character–breaking away in the middle of one major fight to zoom over to another destroys the flow of combat and can zap the fun out of the story. Still, maybe Tabata has a handle on this in a way others don’t.
4. Last episode built up a bit of pity for the Eye of the Midnight Sun, as we were reminded this is a group that was trampled down by (from what we know) the ruling class of the Clover Kingdom. They were erased from existence and even the history books, as no one even talks about the elves anymore. That’s a unique dynamic, but this isn’t really the show to have the lead characters actually be in the wrong, especially considering Asta being a Good Boy and rapidly becoming one of the best kids in shonen.
This episode offsets what we saw last ep by showing that the Midnight Sun are letting anyone in if they’re capable of helping them to satisfy their vendetta. It doesn’t matter if those people are thieves, war criminals, or serial killers who kidnap women to torture them out of a sick sense of superiority. That’s the scene the Royal Knights enter on, knocking out one of the Midnight Sun’s lower level members just before he could get particularly unseemly with a kidnapped Clover Kingdom woman.
5. Last episode we saw Nozelle Silva suddenly take an interest in fighting the Midnight Sun, even though aside from Mereoleona (appointed as Royal Knight Captain) and Rill (who just wants to meet strong people), none of the other Captains have seemed to care. The close of this episode reveals Nozelle’s reasoning, as it turns out both he and Fuegoleon had been rivals growing up, along the lines of Yami and Asta. They’re from neighboring rival houses that are pretty closely connected by blood, and they have literally opposite magic affinities, so them having a relationship isn’t surprising, but it is nice to see the royals care about anything other than unending condescension on people they view as “lesser”.
Black Clover is available for streaming on Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.