With the previous episode's shocking ending, The Dark Triad has successfully secured their objectives in capturing Yami Sukehiro and William Vangeance. In Episode 168’s review, we’ll be discussing the aftermath of the battles against the Spade Kingdom’s Devil-Possessed, the true identity of the spy from the Clover Kingdom, and the Magic Knights’ counter-attack.
“The Stirrings of the Strongest” covered Chapters 261-264 of the manga and the animation stayed true to its source material for this episode.
Here’s what you’ve missed from the previous episode:
Asta made a deal with his devil causing his arm to turn black in exchange for the Devil’s Power
The Black Bulls duo of Asta and Yami successfully knocked out Dante Zogratis
Zenon Zogratis appeared out of nowhere, captured Yami Sukehiro and retrieved the unconscious Dante
You can check out the full review of the previous episode here.
The Dark Triad successfully executed their plans in attacking both the Clover and Heart Kingdoms in order to secure their objectives: Yami Sukehiro and William Vangeance. Both of which are key components for the Tree of Qliphoth, a magic channel that will allow all devils from the underworld to enter the human realm.
In the aftermath of those battles, the episode revolved around how low the morale is for the Magic Knights and depicted different faces of defeat and uselessness. At the center of it all were Asta and Yuno as they realize their lack of strength rooting from their inability to save their respective captains. Their moments of weakness allowed the audience to further appreciate their most human side as it separates Asta from his usual cheerful and hopeful self and Yuno from his usual calm and cool demeanor.
On the other hand, the episode also served as a recap of new information revealed in previous episodes such as Gray’s surprising new abilities. Something to watch out for in the succeeding episodes. Let’s also not forget Vanessa Enoteca as she was also revealed by Dante as a mage in the arcane stage.
The Spy’s True Identity
We got our first glimpse of the alleged spy in Episode 165 “Water Crusade” and the true identity of that character has been revealed in this episode. What made this character more intriguing, apart from his uncanny appearance, is his similarity with Asta and his affiliation with the Black Bulls.
In addition, the episode was able to peel multiple layers of the said character. But we personally hope that his appearance is justified. It seems to appear as a matter of convenience for the protagonists to just receive a vital character for victory without any backstory whatsoever. It would have made sense if there was a prior sighting of him during his only visit at the Black Bulls’ base or any mention of him for that matter. If that were the case, his appearance in the current arc would have made it feel like it all comes full-circle instead of just injecting him out of nowhere.
The episode ends on a high note as the Magic Knights plan their counter-attack. This successfully built up the audience’s anticipation for the next episode but the ending scene took it up a notch as it brought up a surprising reunion with past characters that seemed to be major reinforcements for our heroes – a great cliffhanger to say the least.
Interesting things are about to come in the next episode as the Magic Knights prepare for their final battle against the Dark Triad. How will Asta become stronger and control his Devil Powers? And how will the past characters come into play?
Black Clover Episode 169, “The Devil-Binding Ritual”, airs on March 23, 2021 at 6:25PM (JST).
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
The aftermath of the battles against the Dark Triad revolved around the low morale surrounding the Magic Knights with Asta and Yuno at its center.
The true identity of the Spy from the Clover Kingdom was revealed; But his appearance seems questionable as no indications were made about the said character in past episodes apart from the current arc.
The episode ends on a high note as the Magic Knights plan their counter-attack but the cliffhanger ending took it up a notch as it revealed a surprising reunion with old characters.
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