For the sake of healing their teammate’s arms, Noelle and Finral head into the Witches’ Forest, a strange location full of mages so powerful they’ve formed their own sovereign kingdom. 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. In a world that’s already full of mages, it’s a little shocking to have “witches” at all, considering they’re usually just women who are ostracized for not blindly conforming to societal norms. From what we learn from Domina, a former denizen of the Witches Forest, in the world of Black Clover their place amongst things is…just a little different. Basically Anime Themyscira, the forest consists entirely women who are potent mages specializing in curses and summoning familiars, and any men that have wandered close often find themselves transformed into humiliating insects and “flushed down toilets”. Yikes.
Speaking of: this episode has multiple references to Sekke having run into some of the witches while they’d left the forest. He’d offered them gifts and to take them out on dates, but they all find his “heavy breathing” disgusting. The playboys in this universe are awful, but at least with Sekke I understand why: all of his luck is devoted to keeping things from getting worse for him. He hits on witches and avoids being turned into a stinkbug or something equally horrible. He has a direct run-in with one of the most dangerous members of the Eye of the Midnight Sun and manages to be one of the only mages not to die or get beaten unconscious. As usual, being comic relief is better protection than even being the protagonist.
Domina explains that both she and Vanessa are considered criminals, because no witch is ever meant to just outright leave their society. Worse, Vanessa was considered the personal property of the Queen, meaning she’s in considerably more danger in trying to return. Nonetheless, when the story gets back to her, we find her confronting the Queen and attempting to learn how to undo curses, promising herself to the Queen again if she does.
2. After grabbing Asta (and finding a way to shut him up), the group heads directly for the Witches’ Forest. But there’s an added wrinkle: the Queen’s magic permeates the entire area, allowing her to detect any use or even presence of magic. Of course Asta’s fine, but since the rest of them are “magic” knights, they’re stuck. AT least, they are until the “Magic Item Artisan” Domina displays her new invention, the Vanishawl! A suspiciously coincidental item to have made before heading into the Forest, the Vanishawl allows one to turn completely invisible, hiding their presence and magical energy. She’s so proud of it she does a full commercial with it, even listing the price…before remembering they’re there to repay a debt and offering them to the group for free.
This was a great comedic moment to give us a brief break from a serious situation, but what was even greater was Noelle offering to pay for it, but just tossing the first bag of gold she had at Domina without realizing she was vastly overpaying. Despite Noelle’s constant character growth, one aspect of the character which hasn’t changed at all is her inability to judge how much things cost. As a royal, she doesn’t seem to know (or care) about how money works.
3. While Asta and the group are able to sneak into the Forest using the Vanishawls, it can’t ever be that easy. The shawl the boys are using gets ripped away by a tree branch, and the Forest’s natural security–adorable golems that shoot not so adorable fireballs–and they’re forced into making a mad dash to the Queen’s castle.
They arrive just in time to find Vanessa at the feet of the Queen, laid low after having tried to bargain with her former mistress. It’s not an especially strong look for her, but Asta steps in to protect his big sister–and gets snatched up by the Queen’s army of bats. Some distraction courtesy of the group helps get Asta free, but the Queen shows them a vision of their future in her crystal ball–because someone in a magic universe has to be clairvoyant–displaying their utter, imminent defeat and failure to save Vanessa. Y’know, unless a variable arrives…
4. Does the Midnight Sun have nothing else to do? Their spies spot Asta and the others heading into Witches’ Forest, and instead of staying focused on their real plan, a large group of them (including another member of the Third Eye, Fana the Hateful) head into the Forest. Fana wants revenge, but what’s the goal for the rest of them? Surely their plan is large enough for them not to waste time trying to “take revenge” until after they’ve gotten what they wanted, right? What if they wind up getting stomped, and another sizable portion of their army gets wiped out? How many times can that happen before they don’t even have enough people left to achieve their goals?
Still, this saves the group from having to fight the Queen, who most likely would’ve laid the lot of them out.
5. Next Episode: While the group no longer has to fight against the Queen, it’s still out of the frying pan and into the fryer, as now they have to face an entire army! Honestly this group isn’t exactly geared for fighting–Finral’s a support mage, Noelle just learned attack magic, Asta’s arms are broke, and Vanessa got the crap kicked out of her confronting the Queen. We’re pretty much relying entirely on Fanzell’s group. But even if they were all at their best, it’s unlikely any of them would be ready for Fana, a woman stronger than a Magic Knight Captain!
Black Clover is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
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