Last week, we saw the release of Kagamigami as part of the Jump Start program from Viz Media. Overall, it was an okay read. It wasn’t doing anything particularly new, but it wasn’t bad either.
This week brings us another new series from the Weekly Shonen Jump series: Black Cover. Helmed by Yusei Matsui, who is also behind Hungry Joker (never got translated over here), another series from a while back. So we have another person with previous manga experience, which could be a good sign. What is he bringing to the table with Black Clover? Is it good?
Black Clover #1 (Viz Media)
Translated By: Satsuki Yamashita
In some medieval time period (when and where is a little sketchy), humanity was nearly wiped out by demons. However, a young mage rose to the occasion and struck the wicked creatures down, earning the title of Wizard King and subsequently creating a legacy. Many generations later, there are still Wizard Kings, the most powerful mages of the world who go about protecting the lands from any and all evil forces. However, our story focuses on a little church in the countryside where the first King struck down the demon leader.
In the church resides two 15 year old orphans, Yuno and Asta. Yuno is a great magic user and shows incredible talent and potential. Asta on the other hand seems to have absolutely no talent or potential, unable to perform even the simplest form of magic (which is a big deal since everyone in the world seems to be able to use kind of magic). Still, that doesn’t get him down, as he claims that he’ll eventually rise to the challenge and become Wizard King over Yuno, who he considers his rival. However, he gets a big wakeup call on the day of Grimoires Awarding (a time when 15 years old receive magical books that’ll unlock more of their magic potential and show what kind of magic they’ll be able to use) that will change both he and Yuno’s lives going forward…
In those days, people used to compare book sizes instead of body parts to show off.
Where I see the most potential is in the world building; I like the introduction to the Wizard King and then seeing how people are reacting to the current one. In other words — this designation is kind of a big of deal. There are nice shots of the setting that provide a good idea of what kind of land we are reading about and also glimpses of how society views the poor and orphans. Most important of all, I enjoyed the ultimate reveal with the Grimoire that Asta gets, which ends up raising a lot of interesting questions. What is anti-magic; what makes it so devilish; and when was the last time someone got this book (it looks so ancient and worn down)?.
The story and the characters are pretty standard so far like I said. None of them are particularly bad by any means, since the setup and introductions to everyone/everything are fine (I like the flashback at the end with the two teens making their pledge) and it gives you a decent idea of what to expect going forward. It’s just that Asta and Yuno so far feel like Naruto and Sasuke at this point (happily though Yuno seems to have more dimension), the story has many of the same opening beats that the first chapter of Naruto had, and it didn’t have too many surprises or good twists to it so far besides one. None of this is bad, but I’m hoping to see more soon.
You think Holy Water only hurts vampires? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
Such a warm and inviting place.
Is It Good?
Black Clover #1 is another good, though overly familiar manga. It’s like Naruto with a wizard theme at this point, but shows potential. The world building is very solid along with some good writing and very appealing looking artwork. Overall, you should vote positively for this book, since there is still plenty to like. Heck, even if it is similar to Naruto in some ways, if you are a fan of that book or fantasies, this is worth voting positively on.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!