Dec 5, 2017
DensetsuNoJack (All reviews)
I'm not sure if this is a review as much as it is a rant. If you're still interested in reading what I have to say after being told this, thank you. Thank you for reading. Gratitude is one hell of a virtue, and cultivating virtues should be a part of learning how to live in a civilized society. Patience... other great virtue, but extremely overlooked in MAL. People seem eager to "being opinionated", which is not the same as "being knowledgeable". "Knowledge" is pretty much subjective when you're watching an anime, though. Evidently, it helps to know a few things about Japanese contemporary culture/history when you're watching something like Gintama, which is full of small fast jabs and complex relevant references alike... but Black Clover? Not so much. So that leaves us with "opinionated".

After this short introduction, which we'll go back to later on, let me begin with something that should be conspicuously clear from the very beginning: Black Clover is mostly a fast paced battle shounen (especially the manga, since the anime seems to be stretching some parts to slow it down a notch... which, in my opinion, might be actually a nice thing in the long run).

Set in a fantasy world, where magic is everything, our protagonist is a boy named Asta, who, as far as we know, might be the only person in that place who can't use magic. At all. His dream? Becoming the "magic emperor", which seems like an impossible task for several reasons:

a) He's an orphan, raised by a church in a village situated in the outskirts of the kingdom of Clover (we progressively get to know exactly what that means).
b) The "magic emperor" is the most important person in the kingdom, apart from the king himself, and having that position means you're the most powerful mage in the whole country.
c) Did I already say Asta can't use magic?
d) At all?

This story is pretty simple, and it uses a great deal of anime tropes, something that many other reviewers have spoken about, stressed, underlined, discussed extensively, etc. Going back to the introduction, it's all about "having an opinion". I would even go as far as saying that their assessment focuses almost solely on the "lack of originality", which baffles me. Perhaps Black Clover is, ostensibly, a story that follows the formula popularized by other famous shounen like Naruto, Bleach or Fairy Tail. There's no subtlety in the premise, characters, world-building, and plot development. Again, this is an unpretentious battle manga, which people who like the genre might find enjoyable. It's not a masterpiece, by any means, but it's pretty solid, and it has its own merits. So, please, keep all the pretentiousness and elitist fanfare to yourself when you're watching something like Black Clover. If you take a couple of minutes browsing its background, you should know pretty well this is not artsy, clever, philosophical... nor it tries to be. But original? Let me ask again, originality? In 2017? Let alone in shounen? Good luck with that. Good luck finding the "1 in 1000" anime, the one that brings something completely new or fresh to the table, and stick with it. Maybe it's Inuyashiki this year... but someone who watches Black Clover might not necessarily like Inuyashiki. Which is perfectly fine as they bring pleasure to different palates. Enjoyment *should* be a big priority when watching anime, because this is mostly a hobby for the majority of us, and hobbies are all about leisure. Putting yourself through a chore, that gives you no enjoyment, in a field that tends to serve entertainment, is called masochism. Pure, uncut, raw masochism.

However, I must say, Black Clover does have some flaws, even if you like the genre. Firstly, and as I mentioned before, this adaption slightly differs from the manga. In the future, it might be seen as a good thing, since there are parts of the story where the author clearly lacks refinement in the way he puts together the story arcs, and even in how he structures the character development. Sometimes it feels way too forced, or even clunky. Hopefully the anime will make things smoother. Nevertheless, the first few episodes were too uneventful, and they might be a bad way to introduce someone to Black Clover, since they stretched the events a bit too much. The introduction of the Black Bulls and the subsequent arcs that follow this rowdy group of mages is where Black Clover begins to shine.

You might also be put off by Asta's voice acting, and... I guess most people are. The seiyuu's pitch is particularly annoying, and I just hope he improves... it's his first gig, so he has a lot of room to grow. As of now, he's got a long, long way to go, and easily wins "Worst VA Performance" of all time, as far as I'm concerned. I can't remember someone having such an unpleasant voice doing such an high-profile role... so there's that.

All things considered, if you like this genre, you'll probably like Black Clover. Give it time, have some patience. Many characters have nice backgrounds, the art and animation seem decent comparing to the average shounen, and the action is pretty cool. Overall, it's not mind-blowing, but it's pleasurable. Don't expect it to be as good as One Piece or HxH and you'll probably find yourself enjoying BC.