Fifteen-year-old Asta doesn’t have any luck. In a world where “magic is everything,” he wants to be the Wizard King. The problem? He doesn’t have any magical abilities. He also is in love with a woman in his village and wants to marry her. The problem? She’s a nun.
Despite these setbacks, Asta continues with his dreams. He and his friend Yuno are both orphans who have grown up in the sticks, but Yuno is a magical genius and also thinks about someday being the Wizard King. When the young people go to be awarded their grimoires (magical books), Yuna gets a glowing one with a four-leafed clover on it, signaling luck. It’s also legendary—the first Wizard King also had a grimoire with a four-leafed clover. Asta doesn’t get a grimoire during the ceremony. However, later he comes into contact with the grimoire of anti-magic… and a large, very special sword he wields. As magic-free as he might be, he also still ends up in a Magic Knight squad… although it does happen to be the Black Bulls Magic Knight Squad, which is supposedly full of “scoundrels.”
The first volume of Black Clover seems to be mostly about setting up characters and the situation. Asta’s desperate desire to be the Wizard King against the odds has echoes of Naruto wanting to be Hokage and Luffy wanting to be the King of the Pirates, but then again, the underdog going for glory is a common trait in any type of storytelling. Right now Black Clover feels pretty characteristic of shonen manga because of these and other traits. The art is clean and detailed, and Asta can be especially expressive, becoming quite cartoony looking whenever he freaks out (which is often).
The book ends with Asta going on his first mission, and it will probably be these further missions and future volumes where the series can really get a chance to spread its wings and develop its characters. It has promise, and Asta is a quirky, loudmouthed lead with a penchant for being in your face. No matter what the odds, he remains stubbornly optimistic of his chances to become the Wizard King. He doesn’t exactly have filters for what he says, either, judging by his casual toilet humor and the fact he’d beg a nun to marry him. Fans of action/adventure shonen manga mixed with fantasy and comedy would probably be the group most likely interested in this title.
Story & Art: Yuki Tabata
Publisher: VIZ Media
Danica Davidson’s book Manga Art For Beginners is out now. With more than 200 pages and hundreds of drawings, it takes a thorough look on each step for drawing your favorite manga character types, including ninjas, butlers, chibi, bishonen, schoolgirls and schoolboys.