By Dustin Cabeal
It’s a complicated feeling every time I read a new volume of Black Clover. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forget that terrible anime adaptation which depicts Asta as a screaming idiot that never stops yelling his shrill, annoying voice. Yet, when I pick up a new volume of the manga, I’m instantly reminded why this is an incredible series that continues to buck the trends of other manga.
Asta’s broken, and cursed arms could have easily been a two-year journey in the manga. I’ll go ahead and spoil it and say that he’s cured in this volume. The price is yet to be seen, but it just goes to show that Yuki Tabata doesn’t care to draw out the story needlessly. Asta wakes up to find the Black Bulls headquarters empty. Asta overhears Noelle and Finral talking about how everyone is looking for a cure for his arms. Because Asta is Asta, he says nothing and begins working out his legs. This guy, you could hug him his dedication is so thick.
Vanessa heads back to the land of the witches, which is also where Noelle and Finral end up after picking up three people they helped escape the Diamond Kingdom. Eventually, everyone ends up in front of the head witch, who doesn’t give a shit about Asta, but wants Vanessa back so her perfect plan for the future can move forward. We also learn that Vanessa left the witches coven because of the Black Bulls leader, though it remains unknown if it was romantic or just inspirational. It seems more like the latter.
The search and confrontation with the head witch is broken up when the Third Eye and the Diamond Kingdom attack the witches, each with their own goal. The attack forces the head witch to use the Black Bulls, thus curing Asta’s arms and “making them better,” which everyone instantly finds gross.
There’s just enough of Asta’s over the top motivation to be delightful this volume. It was getting to the point that he was inspiring people almost too much and too easily, but now it’s just the right amount of talk and action. He just goes to work fighting as he does, but we’re able to see Noelle and Vanessa do more. In particular, Noelle is now on another level. She still lacks some confidence, and there may even be something haunting her, but with Asta nearby, she’s now always able to break through.
This isn’t the most robust volume, but it’s a great in-between. It also starts yet another battle, but never does it feel overwhelming or too soon. The quick fights that Yuki Tabata includes break the mold of typical shonen stories because it’s less about the individual fight and more about the overall fighting. We see characters again; they change, they fight again, it’s more realistic in that sense instead of every fight being the last. It means that the bad guys will show up again, leave and fight another day. Obviously, that’s not always the case, sometimes, like in the last volume, people die. But in this volume, Mars returns.
The artwork continues to be superb. The humor stands out in this series. A lot of times when a creator doing a shonen includes humor they go for cheap chibi’s, and that’s fun sometimes, but it’s overkill in the industry. Tabata instead goes for star eyes and other goofy things which work with the world, rather than pulling you away from the story and art. The action is excellent, Asta trying to cut off his arms is great. There is a lot of fantastic panels and pages making Black Clover one of the best Viz mangas currently being published.
I just wish that fucking anime was better. I would love to see some of the action in this manga illustrated, but you’d need a different approach to the anime altogether. Oh well, at least the manga continues to be amazing and simply, one of the best I’ve read.
Black Clover vol. 10
Story and Art by: Yuki Tabata
Publisher: Viz Media