Anime Review: Black Clover Season One Part 4

By Drew Hurley 27.08.2019

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Black Clover Season 1 Part 4 (UK Rating: 12)


The Black Clover releases are coming thick and fast, with these collections of around 12 episodes arriving on a regular basis. The previous collection saw the antagonist force of the Eye of the Midnight Sun finally bring the fight to the Clover Kingdom itself, with a group of dark mages assaulting various locations in the city. At first, the forces of the Magic Knights made short work of the attackers until a Midnight Sun officer Valtos takes apart one of the most powerful mages in the world. Now in the aftermath of the battle, those involved are receiving commendations and promotions, with the starring duo of Yuno and Asta beginning to rise in the ranks. Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this latest collection is available from August 18th.
 
When this new collection opens, it's another day off, and another shopping day for the Black Bulls. This time the sister-complex Gauche is off to visit her little sister, Marie. It's her birthday, and he's planning on spoiling her rotten. He's not the only one heading out to visit a lady, though. Asta gets himself a lift to the little town of Nairn to visit Rebecca; the girl he hit it off with at the mixer in the previous season. These two things seem separate, but it turns out Gauche's little sister is friends with Rebecca's younger siblings and when Gauche arrives she's clinging to Asta. Not good for Asta considering Gauche's insane jealousy.
 
After scrapping Asta off the floor from his beating from Gauche, the group spends some time together, but that evening soon turns to tragedy when a strange snow falls across the village. This snow is the magic of a nearby mage, a psychotic Pied Piper who is using it to hypnotise the children in the town and bring them to him. These children are being gathered up by slave traders, and they're stealing the children's magic. It's down to this unlikely duo to rescue the kids. It's a task that doesn't seem too difficult until a familiar face from the Eye of the Midnight Sun shows up.
 
The insane experimenter Sally, is the brains behind this operation and is overjoyed to see she has another chance at capturing Asta. It feels like the usual sort of setup where a villain from a previous story is returning for a bigger battle - but a bigger battle is an understatement. It's worth not spoiling here, but both sides of the Clover Kingdom and the Midnight Sun start sending in bigger and bigger guns as reinforcements. This huge throwdown makes up almost the entirety of this season, giving some new characters and some of the major characters previously introduced a chance to run wild with their magic.

 
The remaining episodes after the battle concludes serve to set up the next big arcs of the series. The Magic Knight Captains are all gathered together to try and root out a traitor along with trying to extract some essential intel from the members of the Eye of the Midnight Sun that have been captured. During all this, the Wizard King is able to establish what is next in the Clover Kingdom's enemies' plans. The Eye of the Midnight Sun is planning to collect magic stones from dangerous places around the world. The first of which is identified as the underwater temple and, of course, the Black Bulls are trusted and tasked to head off on this beach adventure.
 
The previous collection's review mentioned the lack of Sakuga, and while it's still an issue for much of the big fights here - far too much focus is placed on still frames with just special effects flying around the characters - far too many shooting different coloured lasers at each other. That being said, as the fight begins to reach its crescendo, it has the odd moment. It's such a shame, as the Manga has shown how great these battles could look.
 
On the bonus feature front, the usual items are on hand that have been seen in each of the previous collections. There's a special feature entitled "Inside Studio J - New J City," again looking into the team who produce the English dub. In addition, there are two more episode commentary tracks with this team, along with the usual highlight compilations of all of the episodes in this collection, more Clover Clips, and the clean opening and closing.
 
6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

It's getting better, Asta is being less obnoxious, the fights are starting to get better, the story is finally developing - but, it's not there yet. Manga readers know there's something more here than the generic run-of-the-mill battle shonen that's a dime a dozen, yet the anime adaptation is stumbling behind. The glimpses of promise seen in this latest instalment will hopefully continue to grow, and the next story arc gives plenty of opportunity for growth.

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