The official website for the Black Clover anime series has confirmed that the Episode 133 release date will be delayed due to production issues caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. So far, Weekly Shonen Jump magazine has indicated that the delay will continue until at least mid-June 2020.
In addition, the release schedule for new manga chapters was also impacted since new Black Clover manga chapters, including Black Clover 249, are also being delayed.
Weekly Shonen Jump revealed that Black Clover Episode 132: The Lion Awakens (or Black Clover Season 3 Episode 30) will still be released as scheduled on April 28, 2020.
However, starting on May 5, 2020, the first episode of the series will be 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.
Unfortunately, the Black Clover Episode 133 release date is currently unknown. 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.”
Anime news leaker Spytrue noted that Weekly Shonen Jump magazine has confirmed that Black Clover re-runs will be broadcast through at least June 9, 2020. But that does not necessarily mean that Black Clover Episode 133 will broadcast on June 16, 2020, since the magazine also states that the re-runs “may continue for a longer period.”
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 or later,” which seems to imply there could be more delays.
Therefore, it’s possible the Black Clover anime could announce a similarly long delay. But what would that mean for the anime series going into the future?
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 249 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. The Black Clover Chapter 248 release date was delayed until April 26, 2020.
Similarly, the next chapter will include a one-week hiatus. The Black Clover Chapter 249 release date is scheduled for May 11, 2020.
So far, there has not been an announcement as to whether or not the Black Clover 250 release date will also be delayed by a week. Even if the Black Clover Chapter 250 release date is delayed, the silver lining is that new chapters are still being released biweekly. 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 14, 2020, the Japanese Prime Minister announced that they are lifting the state of emergency in 39 prefectures around Japan. Unfortunately, Tokyo and the areas near it are still maintaining a state of emergency.
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.
The Black Clover anime is just one of several major anime that has suffered delays. 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.
- Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 3 release date: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai?: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen Season 3 predictions - 26th May 2020
- The Seven Deadly Sins Season 4 release date delayed by COVID-19: Nanatsu no Taizai Season 4 likely in winter 2021? - 26th May 2020
- Haikyuu Season 4 Episode 14 release date: Coronavirus delays Haikyuu To The Top Part 2 - 22nd May 2020