5 Point Discussions – Black Clover 76: “Mage X”

by Sage Ashford

The mysterious Mr. X takes the field in the fifth round of the Royal Magic Knight Exams. 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. For the sixth round of the tournament, we’ve got two groups of no-name mages facing one another!  Or at least, it starts out that way. Generally tournaments always focus on the most important characters rather than the grunts, so that would be a nice change of pace…but of course that’s not what’s happening here.  One of the teams happens to have Rill Boismortier, Captain of the Azure Deer, on their side.  This should be totally illegal, but both the King and Wizard King give it the OK, and we’re off to the races.

This feels like total idiocy because the other team is obviously at a disadvantage, but it lines up with how Tabata’s portrayed this society so far. They claim to be a meritocracy, which is already nonsense because they have a ruling class which is gifted unfair opportunities over the “commoners”, but this pokes holes even in the idea of a meritocracy being the best way to rule. Rill’s place as a Captain isn’t because he’s a gifted tactical genius or a leader who galvanizes those around him–he’s the most powerful person available.  In that sense, he’s not any better than Finral’s brother, or Yuno, or any other gifted young mage.

2. After everyone gives this match the OK, we get a flashback to explain who Rill is and what his life was like before joining the Magic Knights. I said in last episode’s recap this arc focuses more on the struggles royal families have, and this episode delves further into that. When Rill initially got his grimoire, he became something of an enfant terrible–locked in his room, he spent every day testing the limits of his paint-based powers and wrecking the home his family lived in. He terrified his mother and her servants, and even other families felt sorry for them for having such an awful child.

It’s not until Walter, the family butler, manages to get past all of Rill’s destructive spells and gave Rill a good slap that he starts to come out of his own world. I’m not a big fan of how Japan romanticizes domestic servants and the gross class system that spawned it, but I do like how literally none of the royals try to reach out to help Rill.  Even his own mother wishes he was never born instead of actually trying to talk to her own son and tell him he’s being a spoiled brat. It keeps with what we’ve known up to now–none of them know how to react when anyone behaves outside of the existing, rigid social norms, and so they immediately try to excise those people. To his mother, Rill’s just a nuisance that she wishes had never happened…but to Walter, he just needs someone to try and connect with him and teach him to empathize with people.

3. As expected, with Rill being the only notable member of either team, his “side” wins in probably the easiest victory yet.  He rushes into a trap and starts panicking and crying at first, but it’s a ploy–the second the other team tries to attack him, he immediately counters with his own spells, which are absurd: his paint abilities allow him to instantly counter the attributes of any magic he’s facing. So even though no one’s technically supposed to have two kinds of magic, Rill counters ice with fire and fire with water and easily KOs two of the three mages on the other side. It’s one-sided and completely unfair since no other Captain is competing, but this entire thing is meant to see who’s going to face off against the Eye of the Midnight Sun, and you’d definitely want someone with this much power for that.

4. The sixth team up winds up being Klaus, Luck, and a new member of the Blue Rose: Puli Angel. This is the first member of the team we’ve seen besides Charlotte and Sol, which means their guild can finally escape the gimmick the show’s been relying on since their introduction. For what it’s worth, Puli doesn’t seem nearly as standoffish as Charlotte or as abrasive as Sol. She’s unsure about how well Luck and Klaus will perform, but having followed their adventures, it’s not hard to see how someone would worry about that. Still, they’re up against a group of no-names and Puli looks like she’s got some skills judging by the preview, so this is probably another foregone conclusion of a match.

It had to be a ton of work for Tabata to come up with so many different designs for all these matches, but it’s appreciated. Having established characters build up chemistry with one another through a “filler” round while introducing more new people is much better than pairing off the major characters and eliminating them before even letting them shine some.

5. Next Episode: Well, from the looks of things the next match is looking like a wash. The preview already has a flashback to Noelle’s sad past with her garbage brothers and sister, so we’ll likely get into that fairly early. Once again I’m rooting for Noelle harder than I was for Asta, as her family have done literally nothing to help you understand their side of their conflict with Noelle.

Black Clover is available for streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

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