Was there ever a series that you initially hated, but then grew on you as you viewed it more? Well, that was the case for me with the series that I’m going to be talking about. Black Clover is a manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Tabata and since 2015, has been serialized in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump. In 2017, it received an anime adaptation produced by Pierrot, the same studio who animated Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto, Bleach, and Tokyo Ghoul. Initially, the reception to the first episode was… not so good. I’ll explain why later. This is Black Clover.
In a world of magic, two orphans named Asta and Yuno were raised in a church outside of the Clover Kingdom they both desire to be the Wizard King. While Yuno is exceptionally gifted with wind magic, Asta is one of the few people in the world who can’t use magic. After receiving their grimoires, both of them join Magic Knight squads and make one step towards their goal. An obvious thing about Black Clover is its lack of originality. This shares some of the same elements as Naruto and Fairy Tail. I know there’s not a lot of original ideas in storytelling and Black Clover is a CLEAR example of that. Everything it has to offer, you’ve seen it in a ton of other shonen shows.
Damn near all of the characters in Black Clover are shonen stereotypes turned to 11. I won’t go over all of them, so let’s talk about our main character, Asta, who has no magic abilities, but makes up for it with his physical prowess and the use of anti-magic from his grimoire, which can cancel out and deflect magic. Oh, boy. Asta. When I first saw the series, this character annoyed the ever-loving shit out of me with his constant screaming. Someone actually made a compilation video of this dude screaming and this was all in the first episode alone.
That shit turned me off from watching the rest of the series and I imagine that this is one of the main reasons why some people don’t like it. Asta is not the only shonen MC to scream a lot, but his is the most shrill of them all. Jesus Christ. I will say that as the series progresses, he doesn’t scream AS much as he did and it’s not as annoying as it was. It’s like the director told the voice actor to dial it back a bit. Plus, I started finding Asta to be endearing, almost to the same level as Naruto. Even though he’s a loudmouth idiot who’s often underestimated, the dude never gives up. There’s a moment in the series where after a battle, both of his arms are so broken that he was told he could never use them again. Where you think he’ll get all depressed about it, he soldiers on and is like, “I’m not giving up.” Like I said, it’s kind of endearing and that determination draws other characters to him. While Asta has similarities to Naruto, Yuno is no Sasuke. Nothing about Yuno suggests that he’s gonna go down a dark road and his rivalry with Asta is much more friendlier than Naruto and Sasuke’s. Asta joins the Black Bulls, which is considered the worst Magic Knight squad in the Clover Kingdom because it’s full of misfits and outcasts. Two of the best characters in the Black Bulls outside of Asta is Yami, the take-no-shit badass captain, and Noelle, a tsundere princess who can’t control her magic abilities and is outcasted by her older siblings.
Like I said before, there’s not a lot of originality in Black Clover as it hits all of the shonen tropes that we’ve seen. That explains why the beginning of the series was honestly bad. But after that, strangely enough, it actually gets better. Maybe it’s because the show knows it’s cliched and it revels in it full-stop, making it enjoyable in the end. Also, I like the fact that the fights utilize more strategy and teamwork. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy watching battles where there’s more strategy that’s more than just punching and energy beams. I just wish that all of those fights were given great animation because the animation in Black Clover is inconsistent as fuck. Sometimes, it looks great, other times, it looks cheap, like they put as little effort into the animation as possible. It’s funny that a good chunk of my criticisms of this series could also apply to Naruto, which is one of my favorite anime series. If anything, Black Clover feels more like Naruto than My Hero Academia. If there’s another reason to watch Black Clover, it’s for the opening songs. Dude, those opening songs are fucking hype, especially the third, fourth, and fifth ones. The ending songs are pretty good, too.
And that was Black Clover. Man, it was tough getting into the series initially and it has a lot of flaws like a basic-ass story, one-dimensional characters, inconsistent animation, and uneven pacing. This has the ingredients to make a bad anime series. Yet if you get past the beginning of the series, which is slow as fuck thanks to Pierrot adding in filler and stretching the story out, it’s kind of entertaining. Also, it is hilarious. Many episodes had me dying from laughter. I don’t know if I could recommend this series to everyone. Some people will be so turned off by its flaws that they won’t like this series. It’s currently airing on Crunchyroll and Funimation if you’re curious to check it out. Honestly, I’d recommend reading the manga since it’s MUCH better than the anime and shit gets real. Next time, I’ll be catching up on The Promised Neverland and give you my thoughts on that series.