Asta and Yuno were abandoned at the same church on the same day. Raised together as children, they came to know of the "Wizard King"—a title given to the strongest mage in the kingdom—and promised that they would compete against each other for the position of the next Wizard King. However, as they grew up, the stark difference between them became evident. While Yuno is able to wield magic with amazing power and control, Asta cannot use magic at all and desperately tries to awaken his powers by training physically. When they reach the age of 15, Yuno is bestowed a spectacular Grimoire with a four-leaf clover, while Asta receives nothing. However, soon after, Yuno is attacked by a person named Lebuty, whose main purpose is to obtain Yuno's Grimoire. Asta tries to fight Lebuty, but he is outmatched. Though without hope and on the brink of defeat, he finds the strength to continue when he hears Yuno's voice. Unleashing his inner emotions in a rage, Asta receives a five-leaf clover Grimoire, a "Black Clover" giving him enough power to defeat Lebuty. A few days later, the two friends head out into the world, both seeking the same goal—to become the Wizard King! [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Are there many shounen clichés here? Yes. Is it a groundbreaking anime that will have the anime elitists praising the very ground the characters walk on? No. Is it still a fun, comedic, action-adventure/magical-fantasy and enjoyable shounen? Yes. I give this anime a 7, good on the MAL scale, because it is.
To start: Personally I don’t think that cliches are all that bad if done right. There is a reason that cliches, or as we call them in the business “genre stereotypes” exist, and that reason is because they work, they are enjoyable, and people generally like them when done right, and Black Clover does it right. It is true that it’s nice to see something break the mold from time to time, but without a mold to break in the first place, then nothing would be ground breaking. In this way, not everything is meant to push the boundaries of the anime elitist’s groupthink (ironic I know), some things are simply meant to be fun, easy, enjoyable, and follow our expectations. Again, there is nothing wrong with a “mold” a “cliche” or “genre stereotypes” when done right and Black Clover does indeed do them right, so far. And finally TO BE CLEAR! In my reviews, I never judge an anime by another anime, I never compare the anime I am reviewing to other anime, and I immediately disregard ANY REVIEW that does so. Period. I always judge an anime on it’s own merits as I see them. Anything less, to me, would be disrespecting the time, energy, and effort that the creators put into creating a TV show to entertain us, as well as disrespecting you, the reader, as you are looking for a review on THIS anime and not a list of my favorites, as you can check out my profile for that should you so choose. To put it quite simply, you, the reader, deserve an impartial analysis of this anime based only on this anime, and not how it compare to others.
Story 7, good: Interesting world and magic mechanics. I am eager to see how it plays out given the backstory about the wizard king destroying the demons and how it resolves itself with the fact that Asta (one of the protagonists) utilizes a demonic grimoire.
Art 7, good: Nothing really more to say here, it’s pretty standard for a 2017 shounen.
Sound 7, good: Enjoyable opening and closing songs. The foley sounds are well done, and voice acting is good. Regardless of what the haters say I find Asta’s voice and antics amusing rather than annoying (though this is just opinion, cannot be objectively verified, and thus everyone is entitled to their own. So I hold nothing against those who do find it annoying). Asta is a good counter point to his more serious brother/rival which brings us to. . .
Character 7, good: There is character development in this show, and the characters have a good motivation for doing what they are doing. The only reason that some don’t like it is because it’s been done before, but that doesn’t make something bad. There is nothing wrong with a good underdog story when done right, and when you realize that they (Asta and his brother Yuno, the two protagonists) are not simply fighting for themselves, but fighting for their class of people (the poor peasants vs the rich nobles) their character motivations are very clear. I really do think that the reason the elitist haters hate this is because they are comparing Black Clover to other animes instead of on its own merits, because this character motivation is a very honorable one that makes sense given where our heros Asta and Yuno come from and the world they find themselves in. In other words, the world, story, and characters are all internally consistent which is exactly what you want to see in any work of fiction. You see, there is a reason that the underdog story and fighting for others is a genre stereotype. It’s because people like it. The final character (and third protagonist) we will talk about is Noelle. Her story is different and interesting (minor spoiler), as she is a noble who (presumably) chose to join the worst/lowest of the magic knights squads. Unlike Asta and Yuno, her character and backstory is not completely revealed yet, but it appears that she too has something to prove, untapped potential, and may just end up developing into a noble who is worthy of the title unlike so many other nobles in this series, who seem to be just horrible.
Enjoyment 8, Very good: I give the enjoyment an 8 because all of these other good factors come together to craft a story that I can’t wait to see the next installment of in the coming weeks.
Overall 7: No, this anime isn’t going to be a game changer, or win any awards, but it is a fine addition to the shounen genre and if you like magic action adventure comedy fantasy shounens that are light and don’t try to hard to be something that they’re not, then you will likely enjoy Black Clover as I am.