Black Clover Manga Volume 1: Recap and Review

Black Clover Volume 1

Viz Title: The Boy’s Vow

Release date: June 7th, 2016 (US)

Pages: 192


I’ve been pushing off reading the Black Clover manga for years now. It wasn’t until I read the review of Black Clover chapter 279 by Demon God Tadd; I read some of the latest chapters and decided that I should read the series from the beginning. This is important not just to know what’s going on, but also to appreciate the stakes. My initial apprehension with this series was the uncanny similarities that it has with Naruto. Most fans know what I’m talking about (it’s obvious), however, after reading the first volume (Chapters 1-7) I noticed some subtle but important differences.

The series opens with the “Boy’s Vow.” The Magic Emperor defeats a demon that was attacking humankind. Asta dreams of becoming the Magic Emperor, the leader and strongest of Clover Kingdom’s Magic Knights. Asta is like Naruto. He dreams of becoming the leader of the town he’s ostracized in. An orphan like Naruto, Asta is doubted by the villagers and is compared unfavorably to Yuno. This recreates the dynamic between Sasuke and Naruto.

Where Black Clover departs from Naruto

However, here’s where I think Black Clover becomes different from Naruto. Yuno shares Asta’s dream from the beginning instead of towards the end of the series like Sasuke. They cursed Naruto with too much power from an evil source “the nine-tails” and they curse Asta with no magic. Asta compensates for this limit by working out, gaining strength, speed, and stamina. Despite Yuno being rude and condescending towards Asta, he has respect for him. When Yuno is attacked by Revchi Salik, he stands up for Asta’s reputation when Salik calls him a loser. When Asta’s grimoire appears, Yuno is ecstatic. He knew Asta was worthy. This is only the first volume, but the friendship between Asta and Yuno is already superior to Sasuke and Naruto.

It’s too soon to determine if Noelle Silver will become the main female character in this series. If she is, then she’s the biggest difference between Naruto and Black Clover. I’ve explained many times my fondness for Sakura, however, she is poorly written and underpowered. Noelle seems to have the opposite problem: she has too much magic power and no control. Burden by the pressure of her royal family, she is determined to show them how wrong they were to reject her. Asta is impressed and they bond quickly. In chapter 7, Noelle cannot hit the enemy. She doubts she belongs and is prepared to leave. However, when a little girl begs her to save them, she strengthens her resolve. She learns to control her magic and releases a torrent of water magic, Water Creation Magic: Sea Dragon’s Lair.

The Black Bulls and Magic Systems

Asta and Noelle are the newest recruits to the Black Bulls. A group of misfit Magic Knights, known for their “destructive behavior”, and regarded as “the worst squad of the organization.” They’re one of the nine squads of the Clover Kingdom. Squads perform missions throughout the Kingdom and follow the orders of the Magic Emperor. The Bulls are led by Yami Sukehiro, an intimidating, rude, and violent man. He threatens to “kill” Asta for bumping into him. The rest of the squad isn’t familiar yet. We get some information about them. Vanessa Enotecha is a lush that was disowned by a well off family, Lakk Boltia smiles a lot and seems to enjoy violence, Gosche Adrei was a prisoner and loves his sister. Charmy Babinettson loves to cook and eat, Gray is a master of disguise magic. Together they make a unique bunch.

Magic and power systems are important in the shonen series. The magic system in Black Clover hasn’t been explained yet. All characters have magic (except Asta), when the children become 15 years old firefly dandelions fill the air signaling that the Grimoire Acceptance Ceremony is beginning. The crowd of teens receives their grimoires. The grimoire is the primary source of magic in the Black Clover universe.

They contain the “written record for all of a user’s spells.” As the user learns spells and grows, the grimoire develops along with them. So far the typical elements like wind, water, and ice have been used. Other types of magic are displayed, summon magic used by Revchi Salik, Tree magic used by William Vangeance, Cotton Creation Magic used by Charmy, and Disguise magic. It seems like Black Clover is going to go beyond the normal magic types and get a little weird about it. I like that.

Yuki Tabata’s Art Style

I’ve said many times before that I’m a bit of an art snob. If I don’t like the art style, I won’t read the manga. I sure I’m missing out on some good manga series, but I can’t enjoy them if I don’t like the art style. I like Black Clover’s art. Usually, I’m at a loss for words when describing WHY I like a particular art style. Black Clovers characters all look different, even when related like Noelle and her siblings. I think the linework and detail are well done. Yuki Tabata’s use of shadow is dramatic. He renders motion well when depicting action and fluid magic.

In my experience, manga art only gets better. I look forward to it. Overall, Black Clover shares many similarities with Naruto specifically and the typical shonen series. I thought this would be an issue. I was wrong. Asta may not differ from Naruto, but his relationships with Yuno seems more positive than Naruto’s with Sasuke. Noelle promises to be a more sophisticated and powerful female character than Sakura was (at least early on). I hope she doesn’t end up falling behind Yuno and Asta. At worst, Black Clover is typical for a shonen series, but I think it might have some surprises. If not, that’s fine too.

Read Black Clover Volume 1: Viz

Elsie rescues Eden Zero, Asta and Yami face Dante, and Gigantomachia rampages

Eden Zero – Chapter 103: Clash of the Cosmos

Shiki and the members of Eden Zero are still bewildered over Ziggy’s heel turn. Ziggy threatens them with death, the orders Captain Connor to “sink the ship.” After hesitating, he begins his assault. The members of Eden Zero prepare for impact. However, Eden One’s ether cannon penetrates their shields with ease. Shiki finally gives the crew orders to attack. Captain Connor uses small bee battle drones and the Eden Zero responds with unmanned fighters. However, one of the four dark stars Wizard uses his Divine Lightning to destroy them. 

The crew and the Eden Zero are now in the range of the main cannon. With the armor down to 40% and energy levels decreasing the crew panic. Suddenly, the bee drones begin exploding. To everyone’s surprise, Elise and her ship the Skull Fairy appear. With Elise providing a distract, Witch Regret uses the opportunity to dodge the blast. Fearing doing battle with Elise, Ziggy orders Captain Conner to withdraw. As Eden One leaves, Elise tells Shiki that she’s one her way to talk about Ziggy. 

The biggest concern of Shiki is his mindset. Always viewing humans and robots as fundamentally good, it was always going to be difficult for him to understand that his grandfather was evil. Would he be able to command his crew to safety and make difficult decisions? So far it seems that he’s at least will to protect them from harm. It clear that Ziggy and his crew will become a problem for the future as none of the Eden Zero crew is strong enough to handle them yet. I wonder what Elise will say. 


Asta with his right devil arm in Chapter 258.
Asta with his right devil arm

Black Clover – Chapter 258: A Captain’s Duty

Asta and Yami attack Dante. As they approach him, Dante attempts to block them with a large piece of Earth. The duo has no trouble cutting through the rumble. Yami severs Dante’s arm, meanwhile, Asta attacks. However, Dante quickly counters, leaving Yami to kick Asta out of harm’s way. Dante regenerates his arm while Asta charges at him once more. This time Dante teleports away. Predicting his trajectory, Yami attacks him with the spell Death Thrust. This blows a hole in Dante, however, he quickly restores himself. He lands a hit on Asta, who recovers and charges again with Yami at his side. 

With Asta’s anti-magic, Yami believes that all they need to do is have Asta hit Dante. Asta laments his weakness compared to Yami. He feels helpless, decrying his six months of training as “worthless.” Dante, on the other hand, is excited, noting that “everything they do if an offering to his pleasure.” Asta calls out to the devil within. He asks the devil to “lend him some power,” and the devil agrees on the condition that he can take a part of Asta’s body. As Dante launches his Gravity Singularity spell, Asta dispels it, with the devil has taken over his right arm. 

Asta’s deal with the devil seems likely to become an even larger issue. I wonder if their relationship will function as the one between Naruto and Kurama. At first, there was hostility and even psychical harm, even though Kurama lived inside Naruto. It appears that the dynamic between Asta and the devil inside him is similar. Furthermore, is the sacrificed body part permanently lost, or is the devil take over temporary. Asta’s desperation could lead him into making more deals with the devil and it could cost him too much. 


My Hero Academia – Chapter 278: Disaster Walker

Gigantomachia continues to rampage while carrying the other villains on his back. Mt. Lady tries valiantly to stop him but is bulldozed by the hulking figure. Earphone Jack realizes that he’s heading towards them. Meanwhile, Geten, Cementoss, Re-Destro, and Edgeshot are involved in a melee. Re-Destro stops the other heroes from advancing, as the villain move forward to begin their “revolution.” Kamui Woods and Midnight swing through the trees to reach Gigantomachia’s face. However, they are interrupted by Dabi, who dowses them with his blue flame. 

Midnight crashes to the ground after being hit with debris from Mr. Compress. Hoping to put him to sleep Midnight think of Creati. She informs Creati that she needs to put Gigantomachia to sleep with an anesthetic, despite doing so being illegal. Creati comes up with a plan, using Earphone Jack and Tentacole’s Quirk to determine Gigantomachia’s location, she hands her friends an anesthetic. They prepare to face the oncoming enemies. 

It seems implausible that this plan will work. If the heroes can’t stop Gigantomachia from moving then how will the get him to consume the anesthetic. Maybe it’s airborne and he’ll inhale it? I don’t think Mineta’s Quirk could work on him, and Creati seemed to have used too much of her power. Mt. Lady seems like she could at least delay him, but so far he’s tossed her around like a ragdoll. Gigantomachia doesn’t appear to be a direct threat, but that may be part of the problem. If he’s not distracted by fighting them, then he’s free to focus on reaching Tomura. I can’t see him being stopped, but maybe slowing him is all they will need. 

My Hero Academia Chapter 277: Recap and Review

Favorite One Piece Characters, The God of High School and Why Black Clover is the best

The Strawhat Crew

Who’s your favorite One Piece character?

In early April, Rose over at Wretched and Divine listed her favorite One Piece characters. The majority of her list won’t be surprised by the Luffy, Zoro, Ace, Law, and Usopp making the lists. What might surprise you is that a number of villains make the cut. Personally, I disagree with her choice of Buggy. I find him to be so annoying and constantly falling ass-backward into success is getting old. Rose acknowledges that characters like Caesar Clown aren’t “good” but she likes his laugh. You guys should check it out.

My favorite One Piece character is Whitebeard.

The God of High School

I have been taking a break from episode reviews this season (except now I will review Tower of God), but the summer season is coming up in July. Fire Force and Haikyuu!: To the Top will return at some point in the season, but the new series I’m interested in is The God of High School. I appear that Crunchyroll has decided to use manhwa as source material for “original” anime. With Tower of God seemingly a hit, I think the God of High School could be the next one.

Based on the web manhwa by Yongje Park, the series focuses on Jin Mo-Ri a martial artist from Seoul, Korea. He’s invited to join a Martial Arts tournament called “The God of High School” sponsored by a shady corporation (aren’t they all). The prize, a wish-fulfillment by the corporation. Participants fight utilizing what is called “Borrowed Power.” This power is “mystical energy granted by supernatural entities.” The trailer alone got me excited and I rarely watch martial arts anime. I’m excited for this series.

Should I finally give Black Clover another chance

Years ago I decided to start watching Black Clover. I didn’t like it. The animation was fine, but having just read the ending of Fairy Tale, the series felt derivative. Asta isn’t that different from Naruto, Natsu, and the Goku’s of the anime world. Dreager1 believes that “Black Clover was mixing together a lot of ideas from older titles like Naruto and giving them a new spin. Make no mistake though, Black Clover had a great start right from the jump.”

I’ve been considering getting back into the series, but not sure I should read the manga or watch the anime. That said I have seen many of the fights in the anime and enjoyed them. One draw that I think is pulling me is Noelle. While anime is better with female characters, it could still be better. According to Dreager1, “Clover still stands on its own though by giving Noelle quite a few super forms keeping her in league with Yuno and Asta.” While like most anime she apparently is still weaker than her male counterparts, it seems like she pulls her own.

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