***Minor Spoiler Review***
What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Black Clover episode 158, “The Beginning of Hope and Despair”! With the conclusion of “Five-Leaf Clover” a couple weeks back, the anticipation had become that much more greater to see what this next arc has in store for us. Will they really be able to get strong enough at the end of their training? Who knew at that point. Though right now was the moment for this creative team to show us that this Spade Arc was worth the months of filler, and worthy of living up to the hype created by the manga readers.
And truth be told, they so far have lived up to the expectations we had for this arc. With most series, they would probably take that first episode to ease into what’s about to unfold. Though that would have entirely been the wrong move from this creative team. There was no time to waste on another episode that would make us wait. So it made a big difference that from the moment this episode began, they were ready to just jump right into it. There was only about a minute of talking, and somehow that was the most talking you were going to get out of this episode at once. It was all taking action from there. Something which I didn’t mind because us anime viewers got a good idea quickly of how powerful these magic knights had become.
They showed a little something from everyone, though it was Asta in particular who they let run wild. It was exhilarating to see what would come from him springing into action and holding little back. I was shocked that somehow he managed to find a way to travel like the others, in his own way of course. He even found a way to fight at the distance he was struggling with during the episode previous. Let’s not even overlook the intelligence he now has to take advantage of what makes each sword special. Though overall, you just had to be amazed with the amount of power he is now packing with those swords.
Now through said scene with Asta, we also came to better understand the situation which the innocents from the Spade Kingdom endure. It was one thing to see the way they were living before, though it was another thing to see how they were being used to quite literally fuel this war. This added so much depth and stakes to this war brewing. Mainly because we are now also seeing the terror of war in general. You can enjoy your battles, but true storytelling exists when you take war from every perspective possible.
From there, we were able to get a taste of what fruits the others were able to bare from their training. They didn’t show too much, but just enough to get us all excited. Instead most of that effort went towards addressing their growth as individuals. That much stood out to me most since there were some who really needed to get into a different mindset moving forward. Noelle needed to humble herself just a bit more, Finral needed to be more courageous, Leopold needed to have more confidence in his power and skill. These things matter when much more in on the line than ever before.
Beyond this, there was obviously going to be the first introduction of the Dark Triad. This was handled just right because everyone walked away with a bit more of a grasp of what they are dealing with between the scale of the Triad’s power, and the difference in their personalities.
All that said and done, and of course we have a new opening to address for the new arc. That didn’t disappoint one bit. I loved the music, the animation for it was spectacular as usual. I was thrilled that they nailed a memorable opener again, and have achieved doing this in succession. I mean I was so taken back even by that first part where you see Asta stepping into view and realizing just how much muscle the guy has packed on to boost his power.
In the end, Black Clover “The Beginning of Hope and Despair” was everything you could have wanted at the start of this story. All the waiting we did to get to this new arc was worth it. We know the action can only get better from here, we know the animation is going to be fire, and that there’s a lot of growth to discover over the course of the next few weeks.