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

One Piece Manga Chapter 999: Recap and Review

Beasts All Stars King and Queen attack Marco in chapter 999 of One Piece.
Beasts All Stars King and Queen attack Marco

Chapter 999 – “The Sake I Brewed to Drink With You”

One Piece manga chapter 999, “The Sake I Brewed to Drink With You,” begins with a flashback of when Portgas D. Ace and his Spade Pirates crew came to Wano. Ace announces that he intended to “take the head of Kiado.” However, Kiado and his crew left on an expedition. Yamato tells Ace to leave, as the Whitebeard Pirate notices Yamato is wearing explosive cuffs. Ace and Yamato clash, while Ace asks Yamato why they allow “to chain their wrists, but their heart as well.” Yamato expresses the desire to have an adventure on the sea. Ace is impressed and they share a bottle of sake. Ace tells Yamato of the new pirates making names for themselves. He points out Cavendish, Eustass Kid, Trafalgar Law, Capone Bege, and of course Luffy, who’s a few years from starting his journey.

Yamato is explaining all this to Mononosuke and Shinobu in the present. I think Oda is using Ace to weave Yamato and Tama into the story more. With so many characters, we can forget some and their motivation. Ace was a beloved character for fans and of course Luffy. If he inspired characters like Yamato and Tama, then they will be endeared towards us. The connection with Ace gives us a reason to care about these characters. Elsewhere, Queen orders his men to stop Marco. Confused considering Marco helped save them from the disease Queen expose them to. The Beast Pirates are reluctant. Marco tells Brooke and Robin to head into the castle while he takes flight with Zoro. Marco flashes back to a time when the Whitebeard Pirates considered invading Wano. However, they feared the potential loss of life.

Big Mom and Kaido want the One Piece

In the present, King and Queen transform into their respective dinosaur forms. Queen tells Marco that “he can’t just assume he will fly straight past them.” King says that when “Oden’s son dies,” the battle “will end.” Queen tries to shoot Marco, but in his phoenix form the bullets simply passed through him. At the top of Skull Dome, Big Mom and Kiado wait for Luffy. Big Mom tells Kiado that he can kill all the Strawhat’s except for Nico Robin. Kaido reveals that he’s planning on dropping Onigashima on a castle in the Flower Capital. Kiado expects a lot of civilian deaths as a result, but he simply doesn’t care. Big Mom asks if the Road Poneglyph is in the Capital and Kiado rebuff her.

She responds by reminding him she gave him his Devil Fruit and he owes her. Oda not going to reveal too much until the historic 1000th One Piece chapter, but I think that’s the smart thing to do. I’m interested in seeing more of the past between Kaido and Big Mom. When Luffy arrives, I don’t think he can take on both Big Mom and Kiado, I wonder who will fight Big Mom, Zoro?

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

My Hero Academia Chapter 277: Recap and Review

Deku and Tomura Shigaraki clash

My Hero Academia Chapter 277 opens with Deku and Tomura Shigaraki clashing. With the Near High Ends nomu’s keeping the other heroes distracted, Deku knows that this is a pivotal moment as Tomura’s Quirks are erased. His greatest fear is losing his teacher Eraserhead. Speechless, Eraserhead remembers telling Deku that “he could never be a Hero with his power.” It was difficult to recall that Deku was often hindered by his Quirk and discounted for it. He’s mostly overcome that limitation and is now perceived as a hero of the highest order. Bakugo attacks with A.P. Machine-Gun. Tomura is unaffected, dismissing the attack as “cute fireworks.” Endeavor attacks as Deku is overwhelmed by Tomura’s strength. Endeavor asks where Shoto is. 

Shigaraki frees himself from his master

The absence of Shoto is curious. I’m not sure what it does for the story. Tomura seems to be powerful enough to handle all the heroes without his Quirks. Shoto will likely arrive when he’s needed the most, probably when Tomura gets his Quirks back. Regardless, Endeavor believes that Tomura is as “sturdy as All might.” Shigaraki pursues Deku, but he’s distracted by the voice of his Master. Talking to himself, Tomura declares that he’s going to surpass his Master and control himself. Suddenly, Gran Torino attacks. He tells Tomura to “quit trampling all over Shimura’s memory.” Tomura responds, “who?” Despite the biological relationship between Tomura and his grandmother, he’s not familiar with her. With her dying before his birth, he has no real relationship with her. 

I would imagine that he will learn more about her later in the series. What effect that has is up in the air. Tomura makes a move towards Deku, however, Bakugo attacks with a huge blast. This leaves Tomura open for Endeavor to use his Super Move: Vanishing Fist. Tomura isn’t invincible in his current form. Without his healing Quirk, he can be harmed, but he’s durable. Elsewhere, at Gunga Mountain Villa, Mt. Lady battles Gigantomachia, who’s carrying Himiko, Dabi, Spinner, Mr. Compress, and Skeptic on his back. Mt. Lady struggles not to let him pass her. The heroes are up against it everywhere. If they can keep Gigantomachia and the others from leaving they might have a chance. As long as Deku is Tomura’s target I think he’s going to have a hard time winning. Ignoring the other heroes isn’t working and he needs to target Eraserhead more. He seems so arrogant that he probably doesn’t think he needs a strategy. 

Is Dabi Toya Todoroki?

My Hero Academia Chapter 275: Shigaraki verses Eraserhead

Eraserhead on the cover of My Hero Academia Chapter 275
Eraserhead on the cover of My Hero Academia Chapter 275

Searching for Deku

In Chapter 275 of My Hero Academia, as Tomura searches for Deku, he notes that Ragdoll’s Search Quirk came preloaded with Quirk uses that she recorded. This, of course, includes Deku as she obtained this information during the Training Camp Arc. Endeavor, while pursuing Tomura, is confused by Deku. When Tomura lands, Endeavor attacks him with a blast of fire. However, Tomura dodges and changes his direction. Overhearing the conversation, Tomura becomes frustrated with the fact that the heroes are communicating electronically. He uses an “Air Cannon” Quirk in conjunction with a “Radio Waves” Quirk, jamming all the communication. Before he does, Endeavor informs the other heroes that Tomura is heading southwest, and he has a Super Regeneration Quirk. 

Katsuki chases Deku

Deku questions why Katsuki is following. We know that Katsuki will never admit he’s trying to protect Deku. He responds that he’s the “only one who can make the people understand quickly enough is himself.” As someone privy to Deku and All Might’s secret, Katsuki feels responsible for helping Deku succeed. He also admits that he has a “score to settle with Tomura.” Bakugo has difficulty coming to terms with the reason for All Might’s retirement. Bakugo is unable or incapable to accept that getting caught wasn’t a sign of his weakness or the cause of All Might’s downfall. His guilt has followed him ever since. 

Shigaraki verses Eraserhead

Bakugo notices that Deku can use Full Cowl on average at about 30%, and he increases the output to 45% at the moment of impact. He releases that Deku always manages to surpass him, but he will not continue to allow that. I was initially concern whether Deku and Bakugo could handle Tomura. However, this conflict might not happen. Deku envisions both himself and Bakugo being disintegrated by Tomura. Suddenly, Gran Torino grabs the two of them. He notes that Tomura’s decay Quirk is so powerful that “merely touching the falling debris will ensure instant death.” Deku protests, but Gran Torino reminds him that other heroes can fight. 

Tomura gets ambushed

Ryukyu attacks Tomura with her claws. He grabs her claw, however, his Quirk doesn’t activate. Ryukyu knocks Tomura into the air. Eraserhead arrives, inspired by the death of Crust and his friend Oboro, he tells Tomura “not mess with his students.” So far in this arc, I’ve have obsessed over two things, who gets their Quirk erased and who dies. I going to guess that Eraserhead loses his Quirk and Gran Torino dies. 

Tomura doesn’t have many weaknesses at this point but Eraserhead’s Quirk is one of them. It would be strategically wise of him to “destroy” Eraserhead’s Quirk. However, I think Eri will rewind it at some point so it won’t be a major loss. Gran Torino, on the other hand, would be a perfect victim. He’s important enough to matter, he’s connected to All Might, and Deku, and he’s a member of the old guard. His death would be impactful, but also symbolize the end of an era. That said Tomura may get overwhelmed as he doesn’t seem very skillful without his Quirk. With multiple heroes attacking at once he might need to be rescued by Gigantomachia. 

My Hero Academia Chapter 274: Recap and Review