The battle between Julius and Licht continues, with signs of their fight starting to become apparent to the townsfolk. Marx spots this and collects himself to call the other Magic Knight Captains about getting their as soon as possible. But it might not be needed, as Julius continues gaining a considerable lead over Licht with his time magic. In his desperation, Licht looks for Julius’ grimoire, only to find it floating above them and without a cover, showing its limitless potential. So, he uses a last ditch effort by unleashing several thousand light blades over the skies of the capital, forcing Julius to use just about all of his power to reverse them. However, this provides Licht the opportunity to strike a fatal blow against him. Yami arrives moments too late and plans to face Licht himself.
The death of the mentor/major authority figure is a pivotal milestone in not just shonen manga, but most stories, usually to mark the end of the second act. Like in many examples, the use of it in this genre is to show a shift to darker, more chaotic period in the story. A quintessential example of this would be Naruto’s death of the Third Hokage, which showed how that character was not only linked to many other important characters (including his predecessors who he was fighting) but also how much of an important establishment that the Hokage position was. A more recent example comes from My Hero Academia with All Might’s final battle against All For One, which while it wasn’t a literal death, marked the end of his career as a hero and shed more light on his predecessors and how his role would be truly being passed to Deku.
With those examples in mind, Julius’ fight with Licht really pales in comparison. Julius has always been a pretty enigmatic figure in regards to his background and goals, and this didn’t do much to make up for that (and it seems we still don’t even in the manga at the time of this writing). He holds a similar goal to Asta as showing that commoners shouldn’t be discriminated against (which hasn’t seemed to go anywhere since that sentiment is still rampant), but we still don’t have much a grasp on what got him to be this way in the first place. Julius has been the mentor for pretty much everyone in the show on the good side up until now, but we have yet to find out anything about who taught him to be the man he is today. So, that ends up undercutting his sacrifice a bit when he’s just a capital G good guy for the sake of filling that role, while Licht has his own motivation issues which hamper his own potential as a character.
Though I will say this is probably the best animated Black Clover has been in awhile, which would make sense seeing as this is meant to be such a momentous fight. And considering that this show is not exactly known for its well composed visuals, I guess this episode rose to the occasion in terms of how good an episode like this should look. It’s just a shame that we can’t expect much more than that.