It’s not been long since the previous release and we are already treated to Part 4, and with it we are into the penultimate batch of episodes before rounding out Black Clover’s second season. We are immediately thrust into the action with the conclusion of the Royal Knights selection tournament and its explosive final match, but with only a few episodes in this set, we will have to see if it provides enough to stand on its own and not just provide the foundation for the concluding episodes.
Typically, I would wait until later in a review to discuss the animation, but as mentioned, this set begins with the grand finale, the Royal Knights Arc, and with it the animation is appropriately kicked up a notch straight out the gate. As always, the production of the series is in the hands of Studio Pierrot, a veteran studio behind many of the most successful long running shonen anime, such as Bleach and Naruto. Episode 84 is another animation spectacle for the show but in a very different manner to the previous, much hyped Episode 63. While Episode 63 was made up of a collection of heavily varied and expressive animation styles, pulled from a variety of contributing animators, both from within the studio itself and a selection of talent from outside, Episode 83 is much more consistent in style. Series Director Tatsuya Yoshihara, expressed before its release that this episode was one to look forward to, and it is evident why. For a studio that often struggles with maintaining a consistent level of quality in its animation, episodes like this are a reminder of the incredible talent the studio has waiting in the wings, when given the time and freedom to really express that ability. I won’t spoil any of the details of the final or the tournament so far but the visuals and the battle itself really give this short tournament arc an excellent conclusion, particularly when the conflict itself was only a few panels in the source material.
Part 4 is relatively short in comparison to previous sets (7 Episodes). With the Royal Knights Arc concluded, we move onto the next major story for the series, the Reincarnation Arc. This is the largest arc in the manga to date and with the number of episodes required, it will surely span across seasons when there is little left of this season. After the tournament final, we have a couple of flashback episodes once again, exploring the relationship between the Black Bulls captain, Yami Sukehiro, and William Vangeance, leader of the Golden Dawn Magic Knights squad. Though this has become fairly common for the series and is also a step back in terms of progressing the series’ main plot, it is a good look into two of the series’ most interesting characters.
After the opening episodes, the overarching narrative is addressed with the Royal Knights being assembled and their mission to directly combat the main antagonists, The Eye of The Midnight Sun, is put into motion. It moves swiftly through the assembling of the Royal Knights, with this task force immediately mobilised and on the offensive against this major threat. Unfortunately, as quickly as it starts, it’s derailed with a sudden shift to a separate story involving the supporting cast of the Black Bulls. It isn’t a poor story and it introduces an interesting new character to the Black Bulls roster, but the timing of it left me resenting the story to a degree as it feels uncomfortably inserted into the series during a major event in the plot. The pacing of this short span of episodes sadly feels very staggered because of the various shifts in direction.
These part releases have had a fairly inconsistent number of episodes per set. The season is being released across 5 parts with a total of 51 episodes, however, this release only consists of 7 of those (Episodes 84-90). For a set that is priced roughly at the same cost as the others, it is a little disappointing to get 4 episodes less than the last release, but at least it means we will be getting a large number with the final part. With that said, as with each release, there are a good number of special features included: Black Clover: The Magic Knights Captains, commentaries for Episodes 87 and 89, Inside the Episode for Episodes 84, 87, and 90, along with textless opening and ending songs. Included is an additional OVA that originally debuted at Jump Festa 2018. The All Magic Knights Thanksgiving, is a filler episode where the Magic Knights Squad Captains are involved in a quiz that was originally aired right after Episode 60. No major events take place in the episode but if you are a fan of the comedy along the lines of the Clover Clips sketches found in the series, this might be of interest. The set also comes with a digital copy if purchased on Blu-ray which is a welcome addition and an option I hope Funimation continues with going forward.
Unfortunately, there is no new opening with these episodes. It continues to be “JUSTadICE” by Seiko Omori, which I discussed in my review of Part 3. Though, due to a staggered change between the opening and closing themes, we are given a new closing theme, “Against All Gods” by M-Flo. A typically slow close for the series, with some really interesting synths included and a good pairing of female vocals with some rap. Usually Black Clover’s openings are much more memorable than the closing songs but this one stands out as rather unique among the series music. Still subdued but quietly effective.
Due to the low number of episodes and the transition between major arcs, Black Clover Season 2 Part 4 unfortunately suffers as a result. It is a shame, particularly since the first episode is such a strong showing for the series with some excellent animation on display, with the following episodes of the set mostly feeling like table setting for the big attack on The Eye of The Midnight Sun base that is only just introduced. Looking forward, the concluding part to the season is full of promise and will hopefully give a satisfying close to Season 2, but these episodes have suffered in setting it up.