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Saturday
Apr292017

Graphic Description Manga Review: BLACK CLOVER (Script)

Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: A young orphan boy who’s an outcast in his village but with a optimistic and energetic spirit, strong will, works hard to be the leader of his village(Magic Emperor(hokage)).  As his story continues he’ll go on adventures make friends and get stronger along the way.  While also possessing a dark and mysterious power.  Of course I’m talking about “NARUTO” no oh, uh, I mean “BLACK CLOVER”?

 

Naruto ended it’s run on Nov. 10, 2014.  Black Clover began it’s run Feb. 16, 2015 nearly 3 months later.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Okay, okay before I go into the controversy that initially surrounded the series I’ll take a look at the series itself.  Black Clover takes place in a world that has several magical kingdoms(ninja villages) that’s protected by mages aka magic knights(shinobi).

 

CHARACTERS(the ones of any merit anyway):

Asta: The main character.  Follows the orphaned but a “bit dim but good natured, possessing a strong sense of justice” personality type.  Even after training for years he doesn’t have any magical ability.  But he does have a good physique.  That has to count for something right.  In order to protect everyone he cares about he wants to become a magic knight and then the magic emperor(Just like Naruto wanted to become a shinobi and then hokage).  When he does get his grimoire he realizes he has anti-magic.  He can cancel out any magic.  He eventual hooks up with the most ruckus of the magical guildes in the Clover Kingdom FAIRY TAIL!!!  Uh no I mean BLACK BULL.

 

MAGIC EMPEROR: A good natured but extremely powerful mage who is the head of the Clover Kingdoms mages.  He has a bit of a silly personality especially when he see’s magic or a type of magic he’s never seen before.

 

YUNO: Fellow orphan with Asta and also wants to become the Magic Emperor and is a rival/friend of Asta.  

 

NOELLE SILVA: The resident Tsundere.  Comes from a royal family but because she can’t control her magic very well her family treats her like crap.  She still puts on a superior front whenever their not around though.  Also she’s in love with Asta.

 

VANESSA ENOTECA: Black Bulls resident laid back drunk.  Also a witch we learn later on. May have a crush on Black Bulls leader Yami Sukehiro.  

 

CHARMY PAPITTOSON: Uses cotton magic.  Eats and sleeps mostly.  Has a ravenous appetite. Mostly the comic relief.

 

FINRAL ROULACASE: Uses teleportation magic. A wannabe womanizer.  A bit of a wimp but he tries hard in the end.

 

GAUCHE ADOREI: Scary looking and has a possible baby sister fetish.  Uses mirror magic.

 

 

PRO:

 

Nice art style and fun characters.  The writing moves at a brisk pace so you don’t have long drawn out story arcs.  A usual arc is about 2-3 months which equals to about 1 volume.  The character types of the main cast is enjoyable and they do receive character development as the story arcs goes on.  Art wise the level of detail of the surroundings and effects can be astounding and it’s even more impressive considering this a weekly action fantasy series.  Only a few characters suffer from the same face different body disease(and in one case it makes sense because both characters are related).  The character designs for the villains are top notch as well.

 

CON:

Well this is going to sound weird but the acceleration of story and characters.  One in particular.  Before I get into that I want to tackle the whole copying Naruto thing briefly.  Yeah I see it at least when it started it was beat by beat following Naruto but since after about around chapter 10 it has become it’s own animal.  But the main problem I’ve have with this series is everything seems to be happening to fast or too easy.  In Japanese manga aimed at the *Shounen* age group typically to be successful you have to follow the adage of “friendship, effort & victory”.  Basically the Shonen Jump motto.  Not all series follow that example Death Note which had effort and victory and not friendship(or it had a real vague and odd version of it anyway).  Over the course of 100-106 chapters Asta was able to befriend and gain the respect of his rival(that actually happened by the end of chapter one) has at least 3 love interests by chapter 38 (and has someone else who wants his body for reasons!). Defeating the main villains of a given arc without any learned skills or talent.  Gaining the respect and friendship of characters who were showing disrespect to him within only a few issues time.  Learning new techniques seemingly just by luck.  Him succeeding without going thru the struggle is the biggest issue.  Within the 1st 106 chapters Goku had faced defeat by Master Roshi, Tao Pai Pai and the Red Ribbon Army before beating said army.  Luffy was still getting his crew together and just barely escaped death by be-heading, and in fights with Don Krieg and Arlong.  Ichigo was unable to get vengeance on his mother’s killer and was still licking his wounds from his first major defeat as well and trying to control his new hollow powers while he and his friends try to save Rukia.  Okay one final example is Naruto was still in the Chunin Exams learning new skills and bit by bit earning the respect of the people around him.  I’m not saying that the author of Black Clover should stretch out the story and only drop little dollops of development along the way you can lose reader investment that way but you can also lose it if there isn’t any tension.  

 

Okay so that’s the problem but why did the author go in this direction.  While I haven’t seen any interviews with him discussing this I have a idea on why but in order to do that we need to look at his previous series “HUNGRY JOKER”.   It was an action series that ran in 2012 and follows a scientist and his assistant trying to figure out the secret about a glowing corpse and a black apple.  It was canceled after 24 chapters.  I thought it was a fun series but the readers in Japan probably couldn’t get their mind around the concept and after it took awhile to get going they gave up on it.  It’s purely conjecture but I figure the author Tabata Yuuki probably felt that he couldn’t take his time to build with his next series so he accellarated the pace of the Black Clover.  By doing that however it hurt the development of the story and characters.  

 

RECOMMEND: YES

 

Despite my issues with the series I do enjoy it.  Over the last couple arcs some of the supporting cast have started to be focused on more.  The villains of the series do seem like they will be a legitimate threat in the future and their eerie appearances so far does make me interested in them and their overall goal.  Plus with the introduction of the Clover King and the fact that we know that their are other Kingdoms in this world this could become a great series of epic proportions.  Based on “Hungry Joker” and earlier chapters of Black Clover it’s obvious the author is highly imaginative.  He just needs to slow down the pace and show the heroes and main character especially growth under a normal pace.  This comic is receiving a anime in a few months so more people will be start reading it.  Manga don’t get an anime for being a failure.  The series has likable characters great art and a fun concept.

 

The comic available in print or digital from VIZ Media.  

 

MISC stuff:

 

Grimoires - magic items in many cases books magic users use to cast spells.

Magic Knights

Magic Knights ranks

1. Magic Emperor  

2. Grand Magic Knight  

3. Senior Magic Knight  

4. Intermediate Magic Knight  

5. Junior Magic Knight

 

The 9 Squads(of the Clover Kingdom):

Golden Dawn - William Vengeance

Silver Eagle - Nozel Silva

Crimson Lion - Fuegoreon Vermillion

Blue Rose - Charlotte Roselei

Coral Peacock - Dorothy Ansoit

Misty Blue Deer - Lil Bowamoltie

Green Mantis - Jack the Ripper

Violet Orca - Gueldre Poizot

Black Bull - Yami Sukehiro

 

MUSIC USED:

“Through the Eyes of a T.V. Nation” by Toomandandy

Torn Jeans

Memorial

Jaracanda

Daydream

 

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