The official website for the Black Clover anime series has confirmed that the Episode 133 release date was delayed due to production issues caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Crunchyroll and other streaming services have now confirmed that Black Clover’s return to broadcasting is scheduled for July 7, 2020.
Initially, Weekly Shonen Jump magazine had indicated that the delay would continue until at least mid-June 2020, although anime news leakers claimed early on that Black Clover Episode 133 was coming out in Summer 2020.
In addition, the release schedule for new manga chapters was also impacted since new Black Clover manga chapters, including Black Clover 254, are also being delayed.
Black Clover Episode 132: The Lion Awakens (or Black Clover Season 3 Episode 30) was released as scheduled on April 28, 2020.
However, starting on May 5, 2020, the first episode of the series began to rerun on Japanese TV stations instead of Black Clover Episode 133 (or Black Clover Season 3 Episode 31).
The Black Clover English dub has also been delayed by the coronavirus since mid-March 2020. FUNimation began dubbing again and the English Black Clover Episode 124 was released on April 26, 2020.
However, the English Black Clover Episode 125 will be delayed based on FUNimation’s schedule. It wasn’t until June 2020 that new dubbed episodes began releasing.
Earlier this year, the Black Clover Production Committee stated that the official website and Twitter accounts will be updated once the decision is made.
“We have continued to produce animation with a system that puts the safety and infection prevention of the cast, staff, and other parties as the top priority. Due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection, the broadcasting and distribution of Episode 133 is postponed. Therefore, we will rebroadcast the first episode of the series starting in May. Once the broadcast date and time for Episode 133 are decided, we will announce it again on this site.”
At the time, anime news leaker Spytrue noted that Weekly Shonen Jump magazine had confirmed that Black Clover re-runs will be broadcast through at least June 9, 2020. The magazine also warned that the re-runs “may continue for a longer period.”
On June 12, 2020, Spytrue also claimed that “Black Clover [is] coming back this Summer”. Two days later, Spytrue claimed that the “Black Clover anime will be back starting” July 7, 2020. A week later, this information was eventually confirmed by official sources, including Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.
As a comparison, Food Wars! Season 5 Episode 3 was similarly delayed starting in mid-April 2020. Eventually, it was announced that the anime would return in July, with the entire fifth season being rebroadcast from the beginning.
The Black Clover anime suffered from a similarly long delay. But what would that mean for the anime series going into the future?
Updated June 22, 2020: Black Clover 133 release date confirmed!
Updated June 15, 2020: Added Spytrue’s exact date. Added Black Clover 254 delay info to manga section.
Updated June 12, 2020: Spytrue rumor claims a summer 2020 continuation.
Updated May 15, 2020: Added Food Wars! Season 5 comparison. Added the latest news on Japan’s state of emergency.
Updated May 7, 2020: Added clarification about June from Weekly Shonen Jump via Spytrue.
Updated May 6, 2020: Added extension of Japan’s national emergency.
What it means if Black Clover Season 3 is delayed for an entire season
Assuming delays are less than two months, Black Clover Episode 153 — the third season’s ending — is still expected to air in the fall of 2020. However, any delays in the production of the third season will, of course, impact the Black Clover Season 4 release date, which could be pushed back into 2021.
On one hand, anime fans will lament the delays, but on the other hand, it’s possible that a large delay could help the anime, overall. Black Clover Season 3 is slowly catching up with the manga series since Episode 129 adapted all the way up through Chapter 228 out of 248.
As such, animation Studio Pierrot created Episode 123 and 124 as filler episodes. Episodes 130 through 133 are likely the beginning of one of several filler arcs that will fill the time skip in the manga’s timeline.
Based on its rapid pacing, the anime series may need to take a break before Black Clover Season 4. So, a large delay in anime production could help prevent an anime hiatus, although that eventuality depends on whether the manga suffers as many delays.
Black Clover Chapter 254 release date delayed
The story for the anime series is based on the Black Clover manga by Yuki Tabata. Published in Weekly Shonen Jump since 2015, Black Clover Volume 24 (which includes up through Chapter 239) released on April 3, 2020.
Starting in April 2020, the manga series began going on short, one-week breaks due to the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the Black Clover Chapter 248 release date was delayed until April 26, 2020.
Similarly, the next chapter included a one-week hiatus. The Black Clover Chapter 249 release date is scheduled for May 11, 2020.
New chapters continued to be delayed. The Black Clover 254 release date is being delayed a week and it’s currently set for June 21, 2020.
So far, there has not been an announcement as to whether or not the Black Clover 255 release date will also be delayed by a week.
Even if the Black Clover Chapter 255 release date is delayed, the silver lining is that new chapters have been released semi-frequently on an almost biweekly basis. Hopefully, that publishing schedule will limit the time the anime will spend on filler arcs and broadcasting breaks.
Summer 2020 and Spring 2020 anime schedules suffer from coronavirus
In April 2020, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a national state of emergency, which was supposed to end on May 6, 2020. But in the first week of May, NHK reported that Japan’s state of emergency was expanded until May 31, 2020.
On May 26, 2020, the Japanese Prime Minister announced that they were lifting the state of emergency all of the prefectures around Japan. Unfortunately, Tokyo and the areas near it maintained a state of emergency for the longest amount of time.
Anime studios’ schedules have suffered from cascading effects due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the mitigation efforts by all nations. Studio Pierrot is located in Tokyo, which has struggled to contain the viral spread.
Many studios outsource parts of the production process to contractors located in China and South Korea. Sometimes compositing is outsourced entirely, and these companies handle multiple projects at the same time.
Industry insiders claim it’s taking about double the time to create new episodes and three times as long to produce dubbed versions of episodes.
The Black Clover anime is just one of several major anime that has suffered delays. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime Season 2, Slime Diaries Season 1, The Seven Deadly Sins Season 4, Haikyuu!! Season 4, Pokemon Journeys: The Series, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Season 3, The Quintessential Quintuplets Season 2, The Promised Neverland Season 2, Food Wars! Season 5, Re: ZERO Season 2, Sword Art Online: Alicization Final Season, and No Guns Life Part 2 have all been pushed back to later dates.
The few anime which are not being delayed had production schedules where the episodes were completed before the pandemic swept the world. Included in this shortlist is the Tower Of God anime, Trigger’s BNA (Brand New Animal), My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, and Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 2/Part 2.