Anime Review: Black Clover Season One Part 2

By Drew Hurley 22.07.2019

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Black Clover Season One Part 2 (UK Rating: PG)

Cubed3 covered the first part of this first season of Black Clover back in October of last year. One of the hottest new Shonen Jump anime finally getting its anime adaptation. In this fantasy world, children take part in a special ceremony upon reaching puberty, where they are granted a magical grimoire. Many of these budding mages then embark on a pilgrimage to their capital city, in hopes of joining the magical guilds there and fighting for their lord, in hopes of one day becoming the next Wizard King. This is the story of two such children, two young orphans, who each receive very special grimoire. Now coming from Manga Entertainment and not Sony, this second part of season one is available from June 3rd.
Because of the considerable break between releases as the UK distributor changed, a more comprehensive summary is fitting here. The two orphans in question are Asta and Yuno. Both are stuffed to bursting with Shonen hero traits. Yuno is a genius for the ages and one who just happens to receive a legendary four leaf clover book, the same as the legendary Wizard King. Asta meanwhile is completely without talent, yet during his ceremony, he receives a creepy, dark book, one emblazoned with a five leaf clover. The first part of the season saw the pair come into their own with their powers. They travel to the capital of Clover Kingdom and take part in the Magic Knight Exam. A series of challenges set up to allow mages to face off against each other and win themselves a place in the groups of Magic Knights, showcasing many aspects of magical power - something that puts Asta at somewhat of a disadvantage as he doesn't actually have any magic! His grimoire is the antithesis of magic: it gives him the ability to summon a long black sword which can slice through any and all magic. Yuno meanwhile, is tearing up the competition. A genius of wind magic, he's breaking records and catching the attention of every Magic Guild in attendance.
Guilds are able to offer positions to each mage at the end of the contest and, Yuno manages to guarantee bids from every group in attendance. Considering his goal to become the Wizard King, he fittingly signs up with the most powerful guild, the Golden Dawn. Asta meanwhile is not so lucky. Despite his impressive moments, his lack of any basic magic ability makes him unattractive to potential recruiters. For a while, it seems Asta will end up guild-less, his dream over, until a guild of troublemakers, oddballs, and misfits sees promise in the little headcase, the Black Bulls. Thus the little pair of protagonists has a path set out before it, a very different path, but one with the same goal. Asta finds while his new guild is filled with unconventional mages - they're weirdos, but they're good people, and surprisingly powerful. While Yuno discovers that the blue-blooded elites of the Golden Dawn are less than friendly to the new boy from the sticks who just happens to outmatch them all.
The first part concluded with Asta completing his first mission with two of his fellow Black Bulls, Noelle, and Magna and this new collection picks up immediately after, with the trio receiving a hero's welcome when they return to the Black Bulls headquarters. Their first mission went well, and now they are getting paid. It's time for some R&R and it gives a new character in the Bulls a chance to take centre stage, her name is Vanessa Enoteca. Considering the magical setting she's right at home, a classic fantasy witch. Pointy hat, cape, broom, half-naked, alcoholic. Maybe some of those aren't classic witch…
Asta gets to deal with a thief in town, but it's a brief interlude. This isn't Asta's time to shine. He takes a backseat, while the Sasuke of the show, Yuno, gets himself an escort quest. Salim Hapshaa, the royal Yuno defeated in the Magic Knights Entrance exam, has requested him specifically to lead him across the country. It's a strange request considering how much he said he hates Yuno, yet now he's playing friendly?

Both of these mini arcs are used to craft a path for both heroes to reunite. The episodes are entitled the 'Wizard King Saw,' and they're quite literal. The "Wizard King Saw" what Asta and Yuno accomplished, and when a dungeon appears on the border to the Diamond Kingdom, he decides to send his new promising Knights on a dangerous mission to test their stuff. Both the Black Bulls and the Golden Dawn are tasked with investigating the dungeon, with these juniors requested specifically for the expedition. Not solo, though, of course. Asta is joined by a wonderful new character in Luck, the 'Cherry Berserker.' Luck is a constantly cheerful young boy that loves to fight - to a quite psychotic degree. His power is absurdly high, and his lightning magic is enough to give Guild Captains a run for their money if only he could concentrate his power.
Meanwhile, Yuna finally gets some personalities in his guildmates. First up is one Mimosa Vermillion, cousin to Noelle, and part of the legendary Vermillion family. A seemingly friendly girl, but one that believes in the toxic and insular systems within the society of black clover. Then there's Klaus Lunettes, a character seemingly made of tropes. He's a snotty, intelligent, arrogant superior to Yuno, with the required glasses to constantly slide back up his nose, and a snide, condescending voice. A solid supporting cast is essential in a shonen. Dragon Ball wouldn't be the same without Piccolo and Vegeta. Naruto would be less without Gaara and Kakashi. One Piece is unimaginable without Nami and Sanji… or Chopper… or Brook or Franky, or Robin or… any of them really. So seeing the extended cast grow with some interesting characters is promising for the future of the series, and there are a few in this collection. Some hinted antagonist or anti-heroes from the Diamond Kingdom, the wonderful Luck, and a few more. This Dungeon Exploration arc is the beginning of the second arc in Black Clover, and the one sets up numerous threads that will be used throughout the rest of the series.
Being a weekly shonen based on a relatively new franchise, it suffers from some very familiar issues. First up is the pacing. It doesn't want to catch up to the manga. Otherwise, the series is going to have to delay itself with drawn-out fillers. This results in the series having to have repeated scenes and unnecessary recaps that cost the pacing terribly. These wonderfully promising series are often given the kiss of death on their anime adaptations, by getting it so early, and not giving the manga enough time to breathe, and enough time to produce enough content to get through. The other familiar issue is the introduction in this part of some dodgy looking, low quality CGI.
On the bonus feature front, there are two episode commentaries on the first disk, along with some bonus features on the second disk that consist of. Inside the New Studio: an almost 20-minute long feature where the cast talk about their new studio and the series; Inside the Episode: highlights of each episode along with some short videos of the VAs filming their lines bundled together, with overlaid social media reactions splashed over the action; and, finally, Clover Clips Special Edition: six Minutes of the comedy stylings that act as an epilogue to each episode. These are some brand new mini, comedic shorts.
Rated 6 out of 10


The manga has really shown itself to be a worthy contender to one of the two empty thrones of the big three. Yet, this anime is still stumbling somewhat. It's really disappointing to compare it against fellow challenger for the throne My Hero Academia, whose anime has been knocking it out of the park time and time again. Asta's obnoxious personality is much magnified in the anime, which is certainly a factor, as is the lower quality production. But, this part improves on the first at least, and manga readers will know this is where the series really begins to pick up, so hopefully, part 3 will do the source material justice.

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