Episodes 2 & 3 of ‘Black Clover’ have come and gone and, quite honestly, there is not much to talk about just yet. It is a popular phenomenon in manga-to-anime adaptations where the anime tends to take longer than expected to progress the main story, giving more time for character development and to fluff the plot a bit, whereas, in the manga, it is a lot easier to move the story along from panel to panel. So, let us jump right into my impressions and concerns about these last two episodes.
Episode #2: Impressions
The second episode in the series picks up with Asta fighting an ex-magic knight in order to save his best friend, Yuno. In typical shounen fashion, we are treated to an episode-long flashback of Asta and Yuno when they were kids, showing us what they like back then and how they came to be the way that they are now. Not much has changed for Asta. He is still a loud-mouthed, confident, and energetic kid who dreams big, while Yuno is the polar opposite of his current self; He was shy and quiet, a bit of crybaby that never stood up for himself.
Yuno is tasked with delivering a letter to a man in town one day by the father of the church. So, the young boy sets out to deliver the message. When he completes his task, he sees that night has fallen as snow falls from the sky, so he rushes home. Meanwhile, a man who was kicked out of a bar for drinking and not paying is watching Yuno, hoping that he can steal the jewel hanging from his neck and sell it for cash. I will not spoil what the jewel is or where it came from for the sake of those who have not started reading the manga yet, but it is very important to Yuno.
Suddenly, the boy bumps into the man who then proceeds to beat up Yuno in an attempt to take his jewel. Meanwhile, back at the church, everyone is wondering what is taking Yuno so long to return. So Asta sets out to find his friend, only to stumble upon the man pounding him into the ground. Asta quickly jumps in to defend him and to take the jewel back. No matter how many times the man would beat Asta, he just kept on coming back, not stopping until the jewel was relinquished. After seeing how tenacious Asta was, the drunk thief backs off and drops the jewel. Seeing what Asta did for him made Yuno vow to get stronger, never cry again, and become the Wizard King. It was on that night that the two boys vowed to be rivals and always protect each other. Fast forward to present day, and Asta suddenly obtains his grimoire, one holding a black five leaf clover on the cover. He uses the power of the book to summon a mighty sword and defeats the magic knight to free Yuno.
The main problem with this progression is that it could have all been covered in the first episode of the anime. With the series only having a limited episode run for its first season, it would make sense to speed things up for the audience, getting into the meat of the story more quickly. I think a lot of fans had the same complaint after watching episode 2.
Episode #3: Impressions
This week’s episode was more of the same, slow progression filler, giving us glimpses of Asta and Yuno training for the Magic Knights Exam taking place in the capitol in 6 months, so there is not a lot to talk about or give my impressions on.
I really liked how, no matter how much people said Asta should just quit because he was going to fail the exam, he just kept working his butt off during his training, always staying positive and believing in himself. You could see that strength rubbing off on the gifted Yuno while they trained separately. Whenever one thought to stop for the day, the other popped in their head and so they continued pushing themselves to get ahead of one another, never wanting to lose or fall behind.
Even while walking home from a hard day of training, they became competitive and race the entire way back. I have always enjoyed the dynamic of a good rivalry in anime. It makes you see that the characters are people you can relate to, it makes them real in a sense. At the end of the episode, the two leave the village and make the long journey to the capitol together, competing the whole way. As they reach their destination, the promise of adventure and tough challenges await in the next episode.
I believe that in episode 4, the narrative should speed up a bit because we will be introduced to a lot of important characters. Personally, I am excited to see one particular character from the manga make her anime debut, so next week should prove to be a great episode. The exam begins and the anime is sure to take off from there, calming the nerves of some fans.
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Thank you for reading and I’ll see you back here next week, anime lovers!じゃあね!