By Dustin Cabeal
First and foremost, you should read Black Clover vol. 7. I read it before this volume, but I don’t want to combo my review and would rather just jump to eight to stay caught up on the series with my reviews. It’s good stuff though, and worth reading, it would have scored high too.
In the previous volume, the Black Bulls went on a secret mission for the Wizard King. We got a beach moment from the team which hit all the trope boxes before shuttling them down to an ocean society in which they were put in a game for the magic stone. That all came to a crashing halt when the Beast guy Vetto from the Eye of the Midnight Sun crashes the party. Now, the rules of the game have changed as it’s the underwater people teaming up with the Black Bulls to take down the Eye of the Midnight Sun.
What is absolutely fantastic about this story is right on the back cover. “Despair vs. Hope”. Vetto is a fantastic villain because he is tougher than the people they previously faced in volume 6, which is insane because they were extremely tough then and Yumi was with them during the battle. This time, Yumi and the Priest are trapped due to spatial magic and forced just to watch. Yumi gives a great speech though and tells them all that if they don’t surpass their limits that they’ll all die and that anyone that dies will be killed by him. It’s a double negative, but it suits his personality.
Asta is a giant fucking beacon of hope. I would say that he’s just awe inspiring in that he basically shouldn’t fit in this world. He should be successful, but he manages to find a way. Vetto even tells him, “You’re the type of guy that thinks if you keep trying it’ll all work out.” The thing is, at first that was true, but now Asta continues to bring along the rest of the Black Bulls on his crazy journey making it more than just Asta. Asta alone would eventually hit a wall he couldn’t overcome as he kind of does against Vetto, but then he teams up with two unlikely characters and they do so much more together. At one point his fucking arms are broken, and he keeps going, but only because the two other teammates keep going with him.
At times, the inspiration he draws out of the characters seems cheesy. I’m sure that’s the number one complaint of some readers, that it’s just not believable. I would argue that Yuki Tabata has done an amazing job developing Asta into the character that can easily inspire and bring that out of them. He’s a natural born leader, and while that’s not established in the story yet, we see the ground work for it, and it’s incredible. That and I would much rather have his quick inspiration than tedious drawn out character moments in which we wait for them to find inspiration eventually. Asta’s hope is also infectious because I feel it every time I read this story, which is a huge compliment to Tabata’s writing.
Tabata is delivering some impressive volumes of this story and making it all look too easy. He’s really found his stride. If you gave up after the first volume because it was too much like all the other Shonen stories like Naruto and such, then try it again. That and everything that makes people like those stories are present here but in Tabata’s style. I just hope that Tabata doesn’t slow his pace and keeps the story moving along as it has been.
I’ve become spoiled on Tabata’s art style. It wasn’t a look I was drawn to at first, but now I can’t get enough of it. The character designs are what do it for me as they look like the Japanese style, but at the same time have a worldly feel to them. There are influences from Europe and America all over the designs and the world which helps make the story feel a lot bigger. The art work doesn’t get enough credit.
The action continues to be impressive and is particularly great in this volume. Vetto’s attacks are quick and deflating, which matches the character’s personality. The rest of the team, surpass their limits and produce some incredible sequences illustrated by Tabata.
As far as manga series that have the potential to go on forever, Black Clover is the best I’ve read. I would instantly drop any other long running series in favor of reading more Black Clover. This formula is clicking in all the right places and producing some incredible storylines and wonderful characters. Simply put, I can’t get enough of Black Clover.
Black Clover vol. 8
Writer/Artist: Yuki Tabata
Publisher: Viz Media