SPEAK OF THE DEVIL!
At long last, the action is finally starting to pick-up! With the most recent episode of Black Clover entitled “Zenon’s Power”, we get our first glimpse of Yuno and the Golden Dawn’s “improved” power after half a year’s preparation as well as the faceoff between Captain Vangeance and the first member of the Dark Triad, Zenon Zogratis. Episode 161 covered Chapters 236 – 239 of the manga.
Tread lightly, spoilers ahead!
Ralph, the messenger from the Spade Kingdom, shows Yuno his past and reveals his true identity as well as the origin of the Dark Triad
Zenon Zogratis, along with his minions, makes his first appearance to attack the base of the Golden Dawn
Captain Vangeance attempts to hold the fort against Zenon’s Bone Magic.
A Refreshing Take on Battle Sequences
As a squad that is very well-regarded and known as the best in the Clover Kingdom, the audience expected the Golden Dawn to deliver and hold some form of credible defense especially when they are being attacked in their own base. It was a bloodbath at the expense of the squad but from a storyline perspective, the show was able to establish how the magic power of mages are exponentially amplified by the Devil's power.
As a reference from the previous review, even if this battle took place, it still felt like a part of the opening act that allowed the antagonists to spell the difference between the powers of people possessed by the devil and the regular magic knights. While it definitely delivered in this regard, the sequence of events still brought intense action from the main characters and it was refreshing to see that heroes are not always victorious. Needless to say, there’s still a lot more action to come so hold that thought!
Another noteworthy sequence was the screen time given to the supporting cast that allowed them to showcase their analytical skills and combat abilities in the presence of such a powerful enemy. We’ve seen it too many times when the main heroes/villains always just overpower their enemies with little brain effort so it was nice to see some form of tactical analysis, especially from the supporting cast, in their approach against the enemy.
Animation Merits & Demerits
This particular episode displayed some questionable decisions in terms of design and animation but also some very noteworthy ones. We’ll focus in on Yuno’s Spirit Dive form and the way the characters show emotion through the animation.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but that green glow whenever Yuno does his spirit dive isn’t really executed well to the point that it becomes a bit of an eyesore. People understand that the color scheme behind this is the depiction of the Elves’ power combined with Yuno’s magic attribute and the Wind Spirit Sylph. However, it lacks contrast and just appears way too bright in sequences that it was shown. What’s worse is we’re only seeing half of it. What happens when Yuno is capable of doing this 100%?!
For better context, take Asta’s black/devil form for example. Half of his body may be covered in black but it’s also accentuated by red neon highlights. Something to that effect. Check out the side-by-side comparison above of Yuno's Green Glow vs. Asta's Black, Gray and Neon Red.
Despite this, however, Studio Pierrot displayed its prowess in conveying the characters’ emotions very well. It’s always impressive when animation studios do this in a really good way as it allows the audience to be better engaged and be more immersed in the show. Most of those emotions came from Yuno as he showed how he went through an emotional rollercoaster in this episode.
Overall, the episode was able to deliver some great battle sequences whilst some were a bit anti-climactic which can also be said about the manga chapters. As the show dives deeper into the Spade Kingdom Arc, the audience gets more excited as new characters reveal their devil powers and especially because of how much it’s related to the show’s main protagonist – Asta.
Black Clover Episode 162 “The Great War Breaks Out” comes out on February 2, 2021 at 6:25PM (JST). Expect to see more devils!
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
The episode gave a refreshing take on the battle scenes as it allowed the supporting characters to shine in combat and giving heroes a taste of defeat
Yuno's green glow during Spirit Dive causes a bit of an eyesore compared to Asta's black/devil form
Studio Pierrot showed it's prowess in conveying emotions through Yuno.
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