Asta and Yuno were abandoned at the same church on the same day. Raised together as children, they came to know of the "Wizard King"—a title given to the strongest mage in the kingdom—and promised that they would compete against each other for the position of the next Wizard King. However, as they grew up, the stark difference between them became evident. While Yuno is able to wield magic with amazing power and control, Asta cannot use magic at all and desperately tries to awaken his powers by training physically.
When they reach the age of 15, Yuno is bestowed a spectacular Grimoire with a four-leaf clover, while Asta receives nothing. However, soon after, Yuno is attacked by a person named Lebuty, whose main purpose is to obtain Yuno's Grimoire. Asta tries to fight Lebuty, but he is outmatched. Though without hope and on the brink of defeat, he finds the strength to continue when he hears Yuno's voice. Unleashing his inner emotions in a rage, Asta receives a five-leaf clover Grimoire, a "Black Clover" giving him enough power to defeat Lebuty. A few days later, the two friends head out into the world, both seeking the same goal—to become the Wizard King!
before i begin this review i want to make something clear. Black clover is full of clichés and so many similarities to other anime, but is that really a reason to hate it ? Even with the clichés and similarities it still has it's own vibe.
What makes it enjoyable, i'm gonna make this as short as possible. ( ignoring the similarities and clichés )
Story : 8
A world of magic and a boy named Asta who is magicless and wants to become the hero that once saved humankind, the wizard king, this is the road he's taking to achieve his dream along with his rival Yuno
a talented boy that have the same dream. Well, sounds very interesting.
Art : 8
The animation is so good, the characters, abilities, fights, etc...
Sound : 8
The background music fits the style of the anime, and the abilities and stuff, even though Asta screams alot, that's his nature, he's annoying, and you can't blame the voice actor because he had no choice but to sound like that and he's new to the domain... maybe that's gonna get good in time.
Character : 8
The characters are awesome, especially Asta and Yuno, Asta is a hardworker and doesn't give up and Yuno is talented but is a hardworker too, and both of them are trying their best to achieve their goals. they're not your typical rivals, Asta wants to catch up to Yuno because he's talented and Yuno doesn't look down on Asta just because he's talentless, they hold each other in great regard... and so much more interesting characters.
Enjoyment : 8
I find this series really enjoyable, the action, the characters, the development... you can feel that vibe, it's own vibe.
Overall : 8
i love shounen animes, i'm a big fan of them, but let me tell you this. as you watch one piece as one piece, and naruto as naruto, and bleach as bleach, and fairy tail as fairy tail, and many animes as those many animes, try to watch black clover as black clover. It's not the best out there, yeah we know it, and it's your typical shounen anime don't get your expectations too high, but, ignore the possibilities that it's a rip-off and the similarities ( not that it's bad though ) and watch it, and you'll see, you will enjoy it, it's really good.
This review is going to be short as possible and try to explain why this anime is fucking horrible.
I don't even need to break down in different sections to explain how bad this anime is. The story is pretty much your run down the mill trying to be achieve high status so people can praise him. It's similar on how Naruto wants to be Hokage while Asta trying to be the wizard king. The fucking story is bland and it's literally FAR from original. Unlike Naruto, Asta is fucking pitifully annoying always running around and screaming like a maniac at least 100 times in
every episode. Also get's a pretty much OP sword which him cuts magic and pretty much win everything. It's poorly executed even for a Shounen anime. It tries so hard to mask and act like it's Naruto but just x100 shitty version of it. Flashbacks in like almost every episode which tries to give character development but literally actually do the opposite rending the character looks bland and useless. The voice acting for Asta is dreadful. It's trying so hard to be Naruto and TRYING so hard to appeal to the younger audience fans. There's nothing special or even unique in the characters. They're all BLAND BLAND BLAND BLAND. I did not enjoy one second of this anime, I honestly thought this series will shine some light through the Shounen genre just like Academia did but this is probably one of the worst Shounen series there is. People who rates this garbage 7 to 10 is people who blindly watching it, a child, literally barely watches any anime, or don't care about plots but OP main hero that wins everything.
This anime is fucking horrible. People who rates any higher than even a 3 should honestly feel bad. Please don't tell me either to read the manga. I already did and it's just as bad as the anime. Bland story, Art looks horrible, Horrible voice actors, and garbage character developments. 1/10 Trash. Just pure trash.
Let me preface this pre-review by saying this, I am in love with this series, but for all the wrong reasons. Black Clover, or, Black Clover as the gringos say, is the sophomore effort of mangaka Yuuki Tabata, and it is a far cry from his debut work, Hungry Joker. Hungry Joker had the unfortunate fate of being axed by the higher-ups at WSJ, thus is the fate of most new kids on the block who don't have a proper sense of what they are doing or are given little time to spread their wings.
I'm not attempting to white-knight Hungry Joker or anything, but the politics at WSJ are as murky as the Academy Awards Committee. While it wasn't exactly a Dostoyevsky or Hemmingway, Hungry Joker on a conceptual level at least had a fun gimmick to play around with. Couple that with some pretty unique character models and a good sense of panel-work, it easily had the potential to grow into something much greater than it ever did.
I imagine Tabata's frame of mind when conjuring up the idea for his follow-up was one of both pragmatism and...a cheeky disregard for creativity. Black Clover is one of the most creatively bankrupt series I have ever had the pleasure of watching or reading. I am utterly convinced that Tabata wrote this as a cheeky retaliation/statement against the higher-ups at WSJ, and no amount of rationalizing or fanboying can change that perception for me. Black Clover is terrible, it's like the shonen equivalent of The Room except it gets away with convincing people that it's good. The only thing Black Clover is good at is highlighting how by-the-numbers this style of series can get.
Briefly touching on the technicals of this series, the voice acting is god awful. Asta's voice actor has one setting and one setting only, although that has been covered ad nauseam. He makes Junko Takeuchi's work as Naruto seem warm and inviting like Morgan Freeman. It is probably the only time watching a series that it actually elicited a physical reaction from me. Although, as a small caveat, if you attempt to watch this series from the perspective of someone knowing what they are signing up for, the subbed version adds an extra layer of grease to this disgustingly satisfying sandwich. I.e. if you want the genuine Black Clover experience, the voice acting is like icing on that cake.
The animation is in a middling ground of both extremes. It can be good when it wants to and it can also skimp on its budget when it needs to. I feel that Tabata's art style wasn't properly translated from panel to screen. I have conflicting feelings on the animation though. Had the source material been in more capable hands like Bones or Madhouse, I feel that it could've been leaning more towards "beautiful spectacle" territory as opposed to "beautifully terrible". So despite my compliments to Tabata's art style, the mediocre animation mostly serves to its benefit.
Now that the technicals are out of the way, I feel I shouldn't even have to harp all that much on the story and characters. If you've watched Naruto, if you've watched Fairy Tail, if you have even a basic knowledge of writing propensities when it comes to shonen and fantasy, you've already gotten a taste of Black Clover. The story is bereft of shallow gimmicks and instead opts to stuff itself full of cliches and archetypes. The overarching storyline and subplots all have parallels to other works and the characters all have doppelgangers floating around in some other manga.
So why the 10? Honestly, I'm not even really sure myself. They say that there are certain series that require you to take a step back or a dumbed-down open mind to enjoy. I don't even really feel either of those things are required to watch and enjoy Black Clover. I've seen what it looks like when it earnestly feels like Tabata is trying, and he has a lot of genuinely good qualities to the way he draws and writes his manga. In fact, I have no doubt that this series has the potential to grow into something greater than the sum of its parts considering that it hasn't been given the axe at this stage. Black Clover was not a labor of love or a passion project, that is apparent to me. From my perspective, Black Clover is a frustrated and rebellious statement on the current status of shonen manga and the politics that goes into publication. Because honestly, it takes a real genius to write something this stupid. Or perhaps I'm just reading too much into it?
Whatever the case may be, Black Clover is my ultimate guilty pleasure and I wave that 10 with pride.
Are there many shounen clichés here? Yes. Is it a groundbreaking anime that will have the anime elitists praising the very ground the characters walk on? No. Is it still a fun, comedic, action-adventure/magical-fantasy and enjoyable shounen? Yes. I give this anime a 7, good on the MAL scale, because it is. It's not trash like some other reviewers are claiming here.
To start, I will respond to the haters: Personally I don't think that cliches are all that bad if done right. There is a reason that cliches, or as we call them in the business "genre stereotypes" exist,
and that reason is because they work, they are enjoyable, and people generally like them when done right, and Black Clover does it right. It is true that it's nice to see something break the mold from time to time, but without a mold to break in the first place, then nothing would be ground breaking. In this way, not everything is meant to push the boundaries of the anime elitist's groupthink (ironic I know), some things are simply meant to be fun, easy, enjoyable, and follow our expectations. Again, there is nothing wrong with a "mold" a "cliche" or "genre stereotypes" when done right and Black Clover does indeed do them right, so far. And finally TO BE CLEAR! In my reviews, I never judge an anime by another anime, I never compare the anime I am reviewing to other anime, and I immediately disregard ANY REVIEW that does so. Period. I always judge an anime on it's own merits as I see them. Anything less, to me, would be disrespecting the time, energy, and effort that the creators put into creating a TV show to entertain us, as well as disrespecting you, the reader, as you are looking for a review on THIS anime and not a list of my favorites, as you can check out my profile for that should you so choose. To put it quite simply, you, the reader, deserve an impartial analysis of this anime based only on this anime, and not how it compare to others.
Minor spoilers ahead, nothing anime breaking, all receive a "(spoiler)" warning before it.
Story 7, good: Interesting world and magic mechanics. I am eager to see how it plays out given the backstory about the wizard king destroying the demons and how it resolves itself with the fact that Asta (one of the protagonists) utilizes a demonic grimoire.
Art 7, good: Nothing really more to say here, it's pretty standard for a 2017 shounen.
Sound 7, good: Enjoyable opening and closing songs. The foley sounds are well done, and voice acting is good. Regardless of what the haters say I find Asta's voice and antics amusing rather than annoying (though this is just opinion, cannot be objectively verified, and thus everyone is entitled to their own. So I hold nothing against those who do find it annoying). Asta is a good counter point to his more serious brother/rival which brings us to. . .
Character 7, good: Unlike what the hater elitists are saying, there is character development in this show, and the characters have a good motivation for doing what they are doing. The only reason that some don't like it is because it's been done before, but that doesn't make something bad. There is nothing wrong with a good underdog story when done right, and when you realize that they (Asta and his brother Yuno, the two protagonists) are not simply fighting for themselves, but fighting for their class of people (the poor peasants vs the rich nobles) their character motivations are very clear. I really do think that the reason the elitist haters hate this is because they are comparing Black Clover to other animes instead of on its own merits, because this character motivation is a very honorable one that makes sense given where our heros Asta and Yuno come from and the world they find themselves in. In other words, the world, story, and characters are all internally consistent which is exactly what you want to see in any work of fiction. You see, there is a reason that the underdog story and fighting for others is a genre stereotype. It's because people like it. The final character (and third protagonist) we will talk about is Noelle. Her story is different and interesting (minor spoiler), as she is a noble who (presumably) chose to join the worst/lowest of the magic knights squads. Unlike Asta and Yuno, her character and backstory is not completely revealed yet, but it appears that she too has something to prove, untapped potential, and may just end up developing into a noble who is worthy of the title unlike so many other nobles in this series, who seem to be just horrible.
Enjoyment 8, Very good: I give the enjoyment an 8 because all of these other good factors come together to craft a story that I can't wait to see the next installment of in the coming weeks.
Overall 7: No, this anime isn't going to be a game changer, win any awards or be the next thing that the anime elitists get together at their social meet ups and sniff each others farts over (south park reference there for all you normies), but it is a fine addition to the shounen genre and if you like magic action adventure comedy fantasy shounens that are light and don't try to hard to be something that they're not, then you will likely enjoy Black Clover as I am.