By Dustin Cabeal
Well, I’ve put off reviewing this for far too long, and some of my initial excitement has been lost to time, which is a shame because whatever I would have originally written would have been filled with joy. Probably for the best, but I will say that if I were going to do a wrestling chant for this volume, it would be “Holy Shit, Holy Shit, Holy Shit” and so on and so on until my voice gave out.
A lot happens in this volume. It reminded me a bit of Twin Star Exorcists in which they don’t waste any time with the reveals, and the buildup to the big bad guy is quick. It’s like Shonen on speed, instead of the slow burn endless battle format that the genre is known for typically. It’s almost as if new creators are taking the format, trimming it and planning for the long term better so that they don’t have to introduce a pink version of the same villain that was just fought and defeated.
At any rate, the battle with the mud dude is wrapped up, and there are some twists and turns that are great, but then suddenly, the battle gets a lot bigger when the leader of the Eye of the Midnight Sun shows up and starts beating ass. It becomes obvious that everyone in the Midnight Sun has broken empathy and it’s the only thing I found annoying about them as antagonists. It’s fairly common in Japanese storytelling, but it’s essentially when the villain is defeated, they’re friend shows up and says, “How dare you hurt my friend, I’m going to have to kill you know because of it.” It’s broken empathy because they’re a villain and only feel empathy for their own people and not the others that they’re inflicting pain upon as well. It’s something that is honestly annoying and one-dimensional, but hopefully, there will be more development to the villains in the future. For an intro, it works.
The other awesome thing we see in this volume is the leader of the Black Bulls fighting. He shows up and pushes Asta to surpass his limits, right there on the battlefield while he’s feeling maxed out. He too looks to surpass his limits on the battlefield as they take on the leader and more of their cronies that continue to show up. It’s a fight you think will be cut short because in a typical manga it would be. This would be the tease of all these characters fighting, and someone would make the call to illogically retreat and “fight another day,” but instead it’s a logical fight. Logically in the sense that when you have the advantage, you don’t run. You don’t wait until more of your plan is complete, you just take out your obstacles when you can, and that was brilliant because it meant that we got to see a lot of battles that maybe we would have waited to see. Now, we can see a bigger and better version later on when the sides meet again.
What stood out to me about this volume was how easily it flowed. It hits its stride and never stops. The battle feels like it just keeps going on and on, which in this case was a great thing because again, typically when this fight occurs in a Shonen story, it’s just a quick bullshit tease. Instead, I kind of wondered if we had reached the point of the first big character death. The writing was very intense, but the dialogue fits the flow and felt natural. Sure, there’s some exposition, but it worked quite well and gave a bit of a breather in the story so that it wasn’t all just fighting.
The artwork continues to be some of my favorite. I love the eyes with the three stars in it. The comedy continues to hit all the right chords when needed and never dominates. The action is easy to follow, looks wonderful and has superb detail. Again, the fight is pretty damn epic, and when this manga finally releases this year as an anime, I expect this to be the season finale, which is weird since it feels like a bump on the road. It’s quite small compared to the big picture that the story is aiming at overall.
If you’re looking for a very Shonen style of story, then you can’t go wrong with Black Clover. If you’d like it to have a Shonen with a modern twist and that doesn’t waste so much time, well then you really can’t go wrong with Black Clover. This series is relatively new, but it’s already leaving a huge mark on the industry. Don’t write it off just because everyone wants to be the Wizard King. If you met the dude, you’d probably want to be him too.
Black Clover vol. 6
Creator: Yuki Tabata
Publisher: Viz Media