When Black Clover, produced by Pierrot and directed by Tatsuya Yoshihara, first began airing in the Autumn 2017 season, I originally decided not to pick it up. I did watch the first episode because I love shōnen anime, but then I got serious Naruto vibes, and found that it was something I may return to later, when I could focus on it some more. Upon seeing that the series was running through the Winter 2018 season, and that there were going to be 51 episodes total, a few days ago I returned to Black Clover with eager expectations. Unfortunately for me, it has been a horrible and frustrating experience so far.
Black Clover revolves around two orphaned kids, Asta and Yuno. Ever since he was little, Asta has dreamt of becoming the Wizard King. One evening after Asta saved Yuno from getting beaten up and mugged, Yuno also decided that he wanted to be the Wizard King so that he could protect the people he loved. Since then, those two have excitedly decided to be rivals. When they become teenagers, and are assigned magical grimoires, Asta does not receive one because it is discovered that he has no mana or magical capabilities. While Yuno discovers that he is very unique and special in that regard. Feeling crushed, Asta falls into a pit of melancholy until circumstances help jolt him out of his funk, and his passions are reignited with more vehemence. He works even harder to obtain his dreams of becoming the Wizard King, with Yuno right beside him.
After sitting down and watching the first six episodes, my biggest impression thus far is that Asta is really fucking loud. He is always yelling, whether he is excited, or angry. He has no volume control whatsoever. With a gratingly, obnoxious personality this becomes one of the most difficult things to sit through. The more I watched, the more I thought of Naruto when he was a kid. He was always out to prove something to someone, and because he inwardly felt so insecure about himself, the best way to do that was to be loud and proud. It can be endearing in certain circumstances, but a continuous flow of it can be extremely off-putting. Suffice to say, I do not like our protagonist… at all.
Another issue that I have is that there has been very little to almost no plot progression at all. I have watched six episodes and in those two and a half hours, everything that occurs could easily have happened in half the time. It is one twenty-four-minute chunk after another of our MC working out and shouting, with minor inconsequential bickering with other characters. My brain tuned out around episode four because I was so excruciatingly bored. The series is scheduled to be 51-episodes long, and to be perfectly blunt, I have no idea how it will survive that length. The writing is painfully underdeveloped with a skin-and-bones, one-dimensional plot line. Not usually the material for a series spanning four seasons.
I know what you may say, “This is shōnen, and shōnen shows usually have a slow start to them.” But even a shōnen allows for some kind of progression within the first 13-episode season. I spoke to another blogger, who has seen up to the current episode count, and she relayed that another eight episodes still does not do much for the series in terms of storytelling and development.
Studio Pierrot has great virtual cinematography, and I tend to really enjoy the stuff they put out. This was another reason for my picking up Black Clover this season. They stick to simple and crisp designs that really knows how to make bright, vivid colours pop, especially during action sequences. I am glad that this much at least still stands true. While the narrative itself is poor, the animation is very pleasant to watch. Nonetheless, it is completely wasted on Black Clover as even fantastic animation is not enough to validate a viewing.
Overall, I feel wholeheartedly disappointed with Black Clover. My heart is telling me to drop it, but my mind is convinced that I should not give up quite yet. So… I am undecided, but leaning towards the drop verdict. As it stands, if you have not picked up Black Clover yet, do not. Save yourself.
You can watch Black Clover on CrunchyRoll on Tuesday mornings.