5 Point Discussions – Black Clover 44: “The Pointlessly Direct Fireball And The Wild Lightning”
by Sage Ashford
The Black Bulls are up against the Eye of the Midnight Sun! Can Luck and Magna overcome the overwhelming power of Vetto the Despair? 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. The episode starts off with a brief interlude of the Golden Dawn, then gradually seguing over to the other Magic Knight we’ve gotten to know so well, Sekke, the arrogant royal who thought being a Magic Knight would be easy until he got a reality check courtesy of Asta…then his boss…then the actual missions. His life since his introduction has been a series of “you thought this would be easy?” moments after another, and apparently this episode is no exception. He starts off snoozing peacefully under a mountain of sand only to wake up to an entire cadre of Magic Knights getting effortlessly wrecked by Vetto the Despair.
As far as bloodless beatdowns go, this one’s pretty impressive–everything’s just random dudes flying several feet into the air, crashing back into the beach until Vetto’s the only one standing amidst their unconscious bodies. It’s a terrifying scene, and underscores his ridiculous title: he’s so powerful the only thing you can do in front of him is despair. That’s what Sekke does, as apparently all of these guys were senior Magic Knights, and it didn’t even seem to matter.
2. I always prefer when they just give the overpowered member of a shonen anime series something to do or someone to fight instead of just making excuses, and that applies here as well. Instead of Yami throwing down with someone, he’s trapped with the High Priest thanks to one of Vetto’s spatial distortion magic. He gets to give an “inspiring” (by his standards) speech, but he’s otherwise out of action. It’s obvious “why” they’re doing it, but I honestly would’ve preferred if there had just been another opponent there for him to fight while the rest of the entire Black Bull squadron faced off against Vetto.
3. In the midst of what should be fairly serious circumstances, Asta and Kiato get to lighten the mood a bit while on their way to the battle. Asta asks how Kiato is able to partially conceal his ki, and Kiato explains that he places himself under a trance so his moves are partially unknown even to him, helping him conceal his movements. Black Clover came up with Ultra Instinct first, I guess. Immediately Asta tries to imitate the same technique, but unfortunately doesn’t experience much success–he just gets off a good One Punch Man impression. But with this series you never know–this first time might be pure comedy, but then somehow he might wind up beating Vetto precisely because of Kiato’s advice.
4. Luck and Magna have the dubious honor of being the first guild members to get to fight Vetto, and while that happens we get some backstory on the two characters. They’ve always been kind of prickly towards one another, but the Black Bulls are a family before they’re anything else, so it’s always been more friendly than anything else. Still, this episode gives that some context, explaining how the two felt when they first met each other and chronicling Luck’s jokester history with the first friend he ever made. In the end, they both acknowledge how much they mean to one another in a way that’s simultaneously sweet and really relevant if you’re keeping current with the manga at the moment.
5. Ultimately, neither Luck or Magna is really strong enough to fight Vetto. The Third Eye established themselves as powerful enough to overcome Magic Knight Captains, and these two aren’t nearly that strong. Worse, they were getting trounced by the mage they came across in the middle of last episode and Vetto dispatches him with two attacks. There’s no world in which the two of them can win, but they are Stubborn Side Characters so they’re able to stay in the game much longer than expected.
We actually get a pretty solid fight scene this episode with Luck and Magna playing off one another’s strengths–Luck keeping Vetto distracted with his speed and attack power, while Magna attacks with his fire baseballs from long range. Ultimately, the two decide to combine their attacks together in a brief moment where Vetto’s guard appears to be down in the hopes of nailing him with a combination lightning-flame attack. Now, I’m not a betting man, but if I were I’d imagine this is where the whole “despair” thing comes up, and next episode the smoke clears only for Vetto to reveal he didn’t take any damage from them at all, making them realize their efforts were pointless. But on the bright side, Asta’s able to step in now…
Black Clover is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.