Black Clover Season 1, Part 1 REVIEW

Black Clover Season 1, Part 1 REVIEW

0 comments 📅21 August 2018, 12:32



Black Clover sees animation studio Pierrot channelling Spinal Tap and turning everything up to eleven. The show takes the traditional shōnen genre trope of the plucky young hero gifted with untapped potential vying to become the very best against the odds, and condenses it down until it’s a flaming fastball screaming straight towards your face.

Our protagonist, hot-blooded orphan Asta, has zero magical potential in a world where magic is everything and grimoires can make or break your social stature. Fellow orphan Yuna is the opposite; a quiet, well-mannered magical prodigy. But when he defends Yuna from a thief, Asta is gifted the legendary five-leaf clover grimoire, granting him powerful anti-magic abilities and turning him into a force to be reckoned with. Together, the friendly rivals set out to achieve the same goal – winning the coveted title of Wizard King.

Before they can start climbing the wizarding ranks, however, Asta and Yuna have to pass their entrance exam to become magical knights. And like any good shōnen show, there’s a group – the Black Bulls, in this case – ready to take our heroes into the fold, toughen them up with highly unorthodox training methods and embroil them in various shenanigans. It’s by-the-numbers fare for the most part, although Black Clover’s pacing is breakneck enough to leave you reeling.

The animation and art style is consistent and perfectly acceptable, but it’s the English dub that grabbed our attention, with main character Asta less screechy than his Japanese counterpart and Ian Sinclair stealing the show as delinquent magical knight Magna Swing. Compared to other anime actioners, Black Clover’s opening episodes didn’t really wow us, though, with fight scenes tending more towards One Punch Man-esque brevity than the exhilarating magical showdowns we were hoping for. The comedy doesn’t quite hit the mark either, with an over-reliance on visual gags.

Which is not to say that Black Clover is a bad show, by any means; it just lacks the strong opener that fans of the genre might expect. Despite snagging numerous elements from shōnen staples such as Naruto, Fairy Tail and My Hero Academia, it doesn’t quite tap into what makes those series so watchable. For a series hyped to be the big hit of its generation, Black Clover’s debut instalment is distinctly underwhelming. We highly recommend the English dub over the Japanese original for first-time viewers, however, as it really helps sells the show’s more light-hearted approach.

Reviewed by Owen Chan.

Release: Out Now
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Format: DVD & Blu-ray Combo Pack
Age Rating: 12

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