We last left our little group, the Black Bulls, in the middle of their mission to save a small peasant town on the outskirts of the kingdom. While they survive the battle and save the day, they also realize that something bigger is going on when their enemies commit suicide to avoid being interrogated.
Shortly after, we’re introduced to another bit of the Black Clover world: dungeons. Like something straight out of an open-world RPG, periodically dungeons are uncovered. These ancient ruins are known to be filled with traps, as well as great riches and powers. Normal people tend to be afraid of them, leaving the spoils to the Magic Knights. Whoever reaches the treasure hall first claims the dungeon. I’m a little less into this concept in a manga, where it’s a little awkward to pull off. Random dungeons just seem so video game-y. The explanation for these places is fairly throwaway – something you might picture an NPC telling you in the beginning of Skyrim.
Asta, Noelle, and Luck are sent off to the dungeon as representatives of the Black Bulls. There, they come across Yuno in a group sent by Golden Dawn – and some presumed evildoers. While Luck gets caught up in a battle with a smoke-wielding wizard, Yuno and Golden Dawn are attacked by a mysterious boy with jewels embedded in his forehead. One of the group realizes he must belong to the Diamond Kingdom, which is rumoured to have created a deadly competition dedicated to creating ruthless child warriors with amplified magic. Yuno’s magic doesn’t seem to touch him, but can Asta save the day?
I like shonen manga. Sometimes even bad shonen, depending on how enjoyable it is. So far, Black Clover isn’t really bad – it’s actually kind of fun. But it also is by no means exceptional. Asta is your typical happy-go-lucky, “you can do it!,” cool but not really cool underdog who obviously will become a badass hero eventually. He’s already caught the eye of the most powerful guy in the world, and his new teammates are also kind of underdogs but with amazing powers and potential waiting to be unleashed. Meanwhile his best friend Yuno is calm, composed, and powerful – a match that would be odd if we hadn’t already come to expect this sort of thing.
In two volumes so far, there’s been very little plot happening – many of the pages are taken up by fast-moving fight scenes. Of course, this is promising if they turn it into an anime. There are also some potentially great plotlines set up. The group who attacked the town – who sent them? What mission is so great that they would end their lives rather than be caught? Yuno and Asta have also caught the attention of some very powerful people, whose motives aren’t clear yet.
I also may have been ruined for art by titles like Forget Me Not and Princess Jellyfish, but the art of Black Clover is nice, but not incredible. The characters are very simply lined and shaded, and the majority of the backgrounds are either nonexistent or very simple. Of course, art is kind of the icing on the cupcake, so while it’s not outstandingly impressive, it’s fine enough.
There’s not enough of Black Clover yet for me to decide if it’s a series I’ll stick with until the end, but I do think I’ll keep reading for now. It’s a fast-paced, action-oriented series with a good edge of humour. If you’re a fan of series such as Naruto, check it out.
Black Clover volume 3 comes out October 4th!