Must See Anime for 2018: Black Clover?
On February 16, 2015, Yūki Tabata wrote and illustrated a new manga about magic, knights and spell books. All the while telling a story of a young boy abandoned at birth who aims to become the greatest wizard of his kingdom.
That series name is Black Clover
Despite the solid plot, many have criticized this manga and it’s anime counterpart as generic, boring or an endless cliché. It was also named one of the worst manga in 2016. In spite of the harsh criticism, the manga became a best seller with its first volume selling 38,128 copies, its second selling over 60,000 copies, its third over 80,000 copies, fourth over 90,000 copies, and fifth and sixth volume selling over 100,000 copies respectively. Collectively, as of May 2018 the manga has sold almost six millions of copies (with Black clover selling over 2 million in 2018 alone) and is placed in the top 10 best selling manga this year. Also, originally set out to be a 13-episode anime, Black Clover has over 51-episodes and it is has now been green-lit to continue pass episode 51.
The Black Clover anime just keeps surprising everyone by getting better and proving its haters wrong. Why is that? Well, this article is going to provide that answer. Let’s dive in the anime and see why Black Clover should be on your radar for 2018:
The series main character Asta is a peasant with no magical power, which is something unheard of in a world where magic is everything. Asta is short, loud and dense, but he is kind, thoughtful and very loyal to his friends and kingdom with a never give up attitude in every situation he faces. It is because of those traits some people compare him to your typical shonen hero like Naruto, Izuka, Natsu and many others. Asta has one goal he wants to achieve and can only achieve that goal with the help of his friends and similar to Goku and Naruto, Asta shows a lack of understanding for things but still works hard to protect those around him. These personality traits have brought controversy to the character because of the lack of originality on Asta. I would argue that Asta is not as generic as some people would think. For instance, most shonen heroes are usually overpowered with some kind of unfair ability that they or only a small number of characters in their respective story have at their beck and call. Examples include One Piece’s Devil Fruits and Naruto’s Tailed Beast. The only thing Asta has going for him is his physical strength and his Grimoire (Spell Books that allow characters to perform advance level magic spells) and the signature weapons used in Black Clover (basically the Zanpakuto of the series).
Since magic is everything in the Black Clover world, that means anything a person does without magic is unimpressive or unimportant. This is shown in the very first episode as characters are seen doing regular work such as chopping wood, gardening and starting fires with magic. This situation makes Asta more unique because he has to do everything without magic from transportation to doing chores to fighting. In addition, despite all his years of training his physical body ranks him as the second strongest person in the series, but he is still looked down because he can’t use magic. At least other shonen heroes like Ichigo, Izuka and Naruto are praised for their body development over the course of their series, but Asta instead has been called gross due to his chiseled body. Ironically, it is because of his physical strength followed by his lack of magic that allows him to wield his two swords: the Demon Slayer Sword, which allows Asta to negate and deflect any magic used against him and the Demon Dweller Sword, which absorbs all magic around him and allows him to increase the force and range of his attacks.
Asta’s rival Yuno is tall, handsome and intelligent; basically Asta’s exact opposite. In addition, Yuno is a prodigy with his signature wind magic and even owns the legendary four-leaf clover Grimoire. Also like Asta, Yuno’s goal is to become the Wizard King. Many probably think that this is Naruto and Sasuke all over again with the rivalry, but Asta and Yuno never had hatred for each other at all. In fact they always treated each other as equals and they both build on each other’s strength, by supporting each other in ways Naruto and Sasuke never did. In other words,, their rivalry is born from genuine love and support for each other.
The other characters in the series are other Magic Knights from the Nine Magic Knight squads and members of the Eye of the Midnight Sun. During the course of the series the knights experience corruption, friendship and a continuous loyalty to one’s country within the realm. The Nine Magic Knights captains all have various traits and personalities that help push the series further.
The signature weapons, Grimoires, are the primary source of power for Magic Knights and other sorcerers in the series. These Grimoires, used by the Magic Knights and other characters vary in magic and range from elemental manipulation (such as fire, water, earth and wind manipulation), to object manipulation (such as the usage of mirrors and chains) to more original powers such as transformation, permeation and soul corpse. Furthermore, the magic in Black Clover is broken down by magic types as well: there’s creation magic, restraining and reinforcement magic, even healing magic.
With that being said, Black Clover is on the road to being one of Shonen Jump’s big three for the Millennial generation. After all, an anime about magic isn’t new, but magic in all its forms ? There’s no limit to what the series can do. I do remember a series about elemental powers (cough-cough Avatar the last Airbender and the Legend of Korra). Black Clover is already showing signs of how universal it is regarding the use of magic and the series still hasn’t reach its 200th chapter yet.
Compared to My Hero Academia
Black Clover is a world where magic is everything and the more magic a person has the more their worth. Some have argued that it’s a ripoff of the world of My Hero Academia because in that world, Quirks play a huge role in their society and the type of quirk a person gets can determine what kind of profession a person can have (Hero or Villain). I disagree however, that both Academia and Clover are one in the same. In My Hero Academia, 80% of their world’s population has a quirk while 20 percent don’t therefore 1 in 5 people in their world doesn’t have a quirk, but in Black Clover, literally everyone has and can use some type of magic.
While quirks or the lack thereof in My Hero Academia doesn’t determine your contribution to society in Black Clover magic is everything and if your have it, You’re worthless!!!
In Black Clover, characters base their worth by how much magic a person has. Those with low magic power are treated like crap and Asta is the prime example. His lack of magic throughout the series has received so much criticism from everyone he’s developed an immunity from the comments. Saying that My Hero Academia and Black Clover environment are one in the same is like comparing night and day; for one world is supportive and comforting (My Hero) and the other is harsh and cruel (Black Clover).
While the plot at first may seem like your typical underdog story, (Asta wants to become the Wizard King, which is the strongest and most respected magic knight in the Clover Kingdom.) it expands much deeper. Placed within a medieval setting, there’s Nobles, Royals, Commoners and Peasants and they all engage in forms of discrimination. In this world, they will literally hate you based on your social status without ever trying to know you as a person. Personally, I believe the discrimination is probably one of Black Clover’s main selling points.
Now although the underdog story has been told before, is there anything wrong with retelling it under a new face to the next generation of manga readers and anime watchers?
For me the big three underdog series were Bleach, Naruto and One Piece, but times have changed. Bleach is finished, Naruto is now Boruto and One Piece is more then halfway over (additionally, it doesn’t have the same impact on manga readers like the first half of the series did). In my opinion Black Clover is definitely needed for a new generation of shonen fans. It can teach them about overcoming adversity, discrimination, and provide a lesson in that even the least impressive person on the team can achieve greatness.