It's FIGHT SCENE FRIDAY, y'all
Every once in a while, anime series will have what I like to call "be quiet, the grown-ups are talking" fights.
Now, I'm sure there's a name for this kind of combat that rolls off the tongue more smoothly, but "be quiet, the grown-ups are talking" fights occur when characters that are far stronger than the main protagonists get to throw down with one another. One example is All Might fighting All For One in Season 3 of My Hero Academia. Another is when Whitebeard absolutely demolishes Akainu in the Marineford arc of One Piece. All of these characters could break the lead heroes in half at the time, and in many cases the participants of these battles are who the lead characters aspire to be. Deku is primed to take All Might's role. And while I doubt Luffy wants to become the exact same kind of pirate as Whitebeard, becoming an extremely powerful dude who roams the sea and protects his territories with his "family" is definitely on his itinerary.
The same goes for the Wizard King Julius Novachrono taking on the leader of the Eye of the Midnight Sun Patry in Black Clover. Both of these characters are ridiculously strong, proven by the fact that trying to defeat Patry is something that multiple powerful people (sometimes in groups) have attempted so far. And Novachrono is the Wizard King, the position of the strongest magic user in the Clover Kingdom, and he seems to have exerted little to no effort in every prior tussle he's been in. So you have two characters who, while possibly not the absolute strongest characters in the universe, are outside the realm of any of the Magic Knights we've met so far.
And as I said before, these kinds of characters are often who the lead character idolizes. And Asta definitely thinks that Julius is cool as heck, along with wanting to, one day, take his job. But what does this mean for the fight scene? And what does it mean for the series as a whole?
Well, in all three fights that I've mentioned, the results are explosive. Patry's light magic cuts through parts of the castle like butter, his speed and power rocking their arena. Meanwhile, Julius, while remaining cool and pretty unfazed, fills the air with his Chrono Stasis orbs, capturing the light and the projectiles and rendering them useless against him.
Yet, despite the fact that one of the biggest monuments around is getting thrashed, the fight (and the other two) remain oddly personal. When All Might finally prevails, he seems to point at everyone on Earth, but is actually indicating to Deku that it's his time now. Whitebeard's power could destroy the world, but his rage is due to Ace's death. And though Julius dies while trying to stop the vengeful Patry from killing countless innocents, only Yami is there to hold him as he dies, two friends sharing in the last moments of one.
Fights like this are ceaselessly cool because they prove they re-adjust how we look at "power levels" in the franchise. There's nothing wrong with going through a more video game-esque route, where the main character is everyone's savior and whichever villain they are currently fighting is considered the strongest in the universe at the time and so the hero has to power themselves up to reach and defeat them. Dragon Ball usually goes this way, and it's provided us with some of the most memorable and intense fights in all of anime, ones where Goku pushes himself past the limits of pain and endurance to save his friends (and the world).
But in fights like Julius Novachrono vs Patry, the series' definition of "absolute" power isn't as attainable yet, and strength itself becomes more of a mystery and less something that you nab just by believing in yourself a little harder. It also just feels special in general, as when it's over, your POV will be returned to that of the main character and you'll be left wondering, "Will Asta ever reach that? And how?" The lead character is fallible, vulnerable, and very, very human. But here, if only for a few episodes, you get to see a clash of the gods.
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What is your favorite Black Clover fight? Let me know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a Senior Staff Writer for Crunchyroll. Follow him on Twitter!
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