With the appearance of the Black Bulls’ Vice Captain, Nacht Faust plans the counter-attack against the Dark Triad with the sole focus of making Asta their ultimate warrior. How will Nacht prepare them to take on the Dark Triad in two days if the Magic Knights couldn’t do it with their training that lasted for six months? This is our full review of Black Clover Episode 169.
“The Devil-Binding Ritual” covered Chapters 265-267 of the manga with a section by section anime adaptation. Spoilers ahead!
Here’s what you’ve missed from the previous episode:
Asta gets his injuries treated and recovers from his battle against Dante Zogratis
Julius Novachrono gathers the Squad Captains to discuss the aftermath of the battles against the Dark Triad
Nacht Faust appears and reveals his undercover spy work at the Spade Kingdom
The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Noelle Silva is seen waking up to the sight of the Eye of the Midnight Sun
You can check out the full review of the previous episode here.
Work Hard; Work Smart
Prior to the start of the Spade Kingdom Arc, Black Clover went on a number of filler episodes to highlight the six-month preparation for the battles against the Dark Triad. However, as seen in the previous episodes, the expected outcome from all that training did not come into fruition; for the first round at least. Even though the Black Bulls duo of Yami Sukehiro and Asta knocked out Dante Zogratis, and the other Magic Knights being able to fight toe-to-toe against the Dark Disciples, those came at a hefty price as their opponents successfully captured Yami, William Vangeance, and even Princess Loropechika.
The disappointing fact of the matter is all that preparation and hype for the Magic Knights’ “much improved” abilities all lead back to where it all started – training. They might not have much choice at this point in time but thankfully, Nacht Faust is here to propose a better strategy. This is where working hard vs. working smart comes in.
Contrary to common thinking, there are not a lot of second chances. One must always maximize every opportunity given and you do that by preparing properly. We will not discount the fact that the Magic Knights really tried their best to prepare and win but due to their limited knowledge about their opponents, they were caught off-guard. This is a classic example of just working hard. The characters aimlessly focused at improving their abilities without a proper strategy in place aside from taking the enemy head on. The Dark Triad, on the other hand, came prepared with a plan – attack in multiple points to spread out the line of defense and secure their objectives.
Every single one of us has different plans and dreams in life but the common denominator is everything is affected by time and none of us can control it. That’s why it’s important to properly assess the steps that we need to do in order for us to achieve our goals instead of senselessly doing something that does not contribute to reaching our targets. Otherwise, all we’re doing is wasting time.
Little to Root For
As a personal opinion, things get boring when a show displays a repetitive theme. This was certainly the case in this episode as it was a classic take on how heroes face a minor setback from defeat which leads them to prepare (again) to face and defeat the enemy.
There were only a couple of noteworthy things that gave a form of excitement and anticipation for the audience to look forward to the next episode. One involves a major character’s origin story and the other is a reunion with past characters. With the latter giving the impression of convenience as the author could not kill off major/supporting characters despite being overpowered by the enemy so they were given reinforcements.
If you’ll notice, most anime shows like Black Clover always keep their core cast intact. It becomes a repetitive adventure of fighting opponent after opponent while the protagonists just continue to get stronger with every defeat they face. This lessens the depth of the storytelling as the audience can always expect that the heroes will only bounce back. They may lose temporarily, but they will always win in the end.
That being said, the audience keeps getting engaged because of the shows multiple facets. There are still a lot more things that are unknown in the anime that revolves around the main characters and those are what fans look forward to. It would have made greater impact if some major characters faced an untimely demise instead of just being knocked out.
As the anime draws to its temporary break, it begins to plateau due to its repetitive theme of characters getting beaten at first but coming back stronger to win. Despite this, however, fans are able to stay engaged as the unknown facets of the show start to unravel to complete the entire Black Clover landscape.
Judging from this particular episode, it’s most likely that we may not see the conclusion of the battle against the Dark Triad in the upcoming episode.
The season finale of Black Clover, Episode 170 “The Faraway Future”, comes out on March 30, 2021 at 6:25PM (JST).
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
Since the six-month preparation was not enough for the Magic Knights to defeat the Dark Triad, they added two more days to prepare
Working smart is just as important as working hard; The latter focuses on improving ones abilities while the former is inclined to efficiency to get the desired outcome
The series starts to plateau as the repetitive theme of heroes being temporarily defeated but coming back stronger to win in the end becomes evident
A couple of noteworthy highlights revolve around the origin story of a major character and a reunion of past characters.
Official Anime Website: Black Clover
Official Anime Twitter: @blackclover_PR
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