When it comes to brotherhood stories, Black Clover has big shoes to fill. With predecessors like Rin and Yukio from Ao no Exorcist, Ed and Al from Fullmetal Alchemist, and my personal favorites, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru from InuYasha, Black Clover needs to work three times as hard to bring us something new and relevant.
Yes, yes. Black Clover frontmen Asta and Yuno aren’t actually related. That’s true. But they were both abandoned as infants in the same monastery (a la Ao no Exorcist).
Disclaimer: I have not read the manga or watched the movie. I’m solely going off of the anime here.
This anime, similar to Boku no Hero Academia, responds to the familiar trope of “only select humans have powers” by giving us a world in which everyone can do magic. With this basic premise in mind, Black Clover focuses on mages and grimoires (fancy books that amplify the owners’ magical powers).
The first episode centers around 15-year-olds Asta and Yuno as they attend the Grimoire-granting ceremony. In this world, the rich are predisposed to become high-ranking mages, immediately placing our protagonists at a disadvantage. So far, so cliché.
Asta is introduced as a short, hyperactive underdog. His voice is raspy and annoying, and his intentions, while good, are often off-putting. Our first look at Asta shows him pestering a nun in training by asking for her hand in marriage.
The day is saved by friend/brother Yuno, who is obviously severely attractive and 100% tsundere. As cliché as this part is, my weakness is tall, dark, and brooding. So I guess I have no objections to this.
The rivalry becomes strongest when, at the ceremony, Yuno receives the legendary four-leaf clover grimoire. Meanwhile, Asta receives…well, nothing. In response to the people’s awe, Yuno claims he will become the next Wizard King (the most coveted position in all the Clover Kingdom).
Anyways, so people laugh at Asta, a creepy dude is chilling in the background, and Yuno walks out of that place with all the quiet sass he can muster.
Outside, two preppy kids who probably shop at the not sale section of J Crew, jump Yuno because they’re insecure and blah, blah, blah. Yuno, of course, easily blocks their attack. But Creepy Dude From Before TM makes a comeback, releasing chains and laughing like a maniac.
So this ugly-ass dude goes on and on about his identity as if any of us care. (We know the drill. You’re an intro villain that’ll pop up at a later date just to piss us off once more). In essence, Former Magic Knight Revchi is here to steal the four-leaf clover grimoire to make some clandestine dough.
Yuno points out that the grimoire can only be used by whoever it chose (which was Yuno, duh). But Revchi informs him that there are nerds in the world willing to pay exuberant amounts of money to get their hands on relics like his grimoire.
As he has Yuno wrapped in chains, he notices his pendant (the same one that can be seen resting next to a baby Yuno in the first picture). He notes it is probably worth good money, but he doesn’t seem to know what it actually is. Alas, the pendant will remain one of the many cliché secrets of this shonen.
Finally, a confused Asta shows up to “save the day,” finding himself awkwardly facing the wrong villain. (No, Asta. We are not fighting prepsters today).
At first, Asta (who like Deku has no powers and trains physically to make up for it) attacks Revchi. He successfully avoids his first attacks, but is caught and badly hit soon after.
There’s a moment where all seems to be lost, Revchi is calling him a loser and telling him he has no magic in his body (because his chains ~can tell~), and Asta is ready to call it quits.
Right at that second, Yuno calls out to Asta, defends him and proclaims him his rival. This fires up Asta causing his grimoire to finally show up. And what do you know? Homeboy has a five-leaf clover grimoire. Which means what? That he’s a demon.
Oh, you’ve heard that one before? Me too. In Ao no Exorcist where the protagonists are LITERALLY THE SPAWNS OF SATAN.
Will I continue to recap Black Clover?
Maybe, maybe not. I will continue to watch it because all things considered, brilliance can occur right next to the line of cliché. The characters are interesting, even if right now they’re a little too trope-y for anyone’s taste. The animation is alright and the art has its moments.
It’s a little above average, which means it has the potential to go either north or south with it. Only time will tell.