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review 2018-03-18 00:00
Black Clover, Vol. 10
Black Clover, Vol. 10 - Yuki Tabata Black Clover, Vol. 10 - Yuki Tabata 4 stars

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review 2018-02-25 00:00
Black Clover, Vol. 8
Black Clover, Vol. 8 - Yuki Tabata Black Clover, Vol. 8 - Yuki Tabata 4 stars

Art for battle sequences was kind of sloppy, but this was still a fun read

full review

The battle in the underwater temple rages on! The Eye of Midnight Sun appeared abruptly on the scene, in the form of Vetto. Part of a group of powerful magic users known as the Third Eye, this guy is Trouble! Can any of our intrepid heroes stand against him?!

And the answer to that is – it doesn’t look like it! This entire volume is one big fight scene. The art for the battle sequences is a bit sloppy, and I had to give extra attention to some panels in order to understand what the heck was going on. There are so many speed lines, and explosive effects, and screen tone in general that the panels are cluttered and difficult to understand. This is the first time in the series that I’ve really felt out of my depth, and therefore distanced from the action.

Getting back to the story, I really enjoyed it. Most of the Black Bulls who traveled to the temple, as well as their new temple priest buddies, are drawn into this impossible fight. Yami and the high priest are trapped by the high priest’s spatial magic, and can’t leave until the contest is over. Oh, noes!! How can the Black Bulls emerge victorious with their strongest fighter, as well as their mentor and leader, trapped outside of the battle?

Things look really, really grim, as one by one, the Black Bulls are defeated. Then Asta, Noelle, Kahono, Vanessa, and Finral make their last stand. And it’s a doozy. Asta’s never say die attitude rallies the troops, but for how long? I was excited to see Noelle’s powers on display, as desperation makes her let loose – finally! Will they beat Vetto? I don’t know for sure, but make sure that you have volume 9 near at hand to find out!

Grade: 4 stars
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review 2018-02-25 00:00
Black Clover, Vol. 9
Black Clover, Vol. 9 - Yuki Tabata Black Clover, Vol. 9 - Yuki Tabata 3.75 stars

After all of the magic slinging and sword swinging and fisticuffs at the Underwater Temple, the Black Bulls finally get a little bit of down time. Asta hasn’t come through the battle with Vetto unscathed, and he is nursing not one, but two broken arms. He seems to have taken the brunt of the beating, but he’s still gungho and rearing to go on another mission.

Yami reluctantly allows his injured brigade member to accompany him to see Julius and give a mission report. During the debriefing, they are rudely interrupted with news that Kiten has been attacked by the Diamond Kingdom. And not just any soldiers are leading the skirmish, but three of the Diamond Kingdom’s Shining Generals are leading the charge. This is serious stuff! If the Diamond Kingdom is successful in their attempt to grab a toehold into Kiten, Clover’s border defense system will be in serious jeopardy!

We get a little bit of info about the Shining Generals, learn about Finral’s stuck-up and snot-faced younger brother, and finally – FINALLY – meet up with Yuno again. Hooray!! Don’t think that Yuno has been slacking off, either, just because he hasn’t had much page time. He’s been honing his magic skills and been learning how to utilize his little winged companion’s powers. He’s even more bad ass than he was before!

Volume 9 is a nice reprieve from all of the incessant action of the previous three volumes. Yuno and Asta reaffirm their challenge to do their personal best and become the next Wizard King, Finral stands up to his awful brother, and Charmy gets a yummy snack. The big downer, and the lead up to the next story arc, is Asta and the apparent curse he’s under. Will his anti-magic grimoire be able to help him shake it off?

Grade: 3.75 stars
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review 2018-02-25 00:00
Black Clover, Vol. 7
Black Clover, Vol. 7 - Yuki Tabata Black Clover, Vol. 7 - Yuki Tabata After the battle with Licht, Julius Novachrono, the Wizard King, asks for Asta’s help. The members of the Eye of the Midnight Sun that were captured earlier in the series are proving notoriously tight-lipped, due to a spell that’s protecting their memories. Julius wants Asta to break the spell with his anti-magic sword. It is soon revealed that there are traitors among the Magic Knights, so the Black Bulls are dispatched to collect a magic stone before anyone else can get their hands on it. Problem? It’s in a temple that’s located on the ocean floor, and some wicked powerful magic prevents anyone from entering. Can the Black Bulls combine their powers and make the journey to the temple?

Of course they can! Everything depends on Noelle mastering her Sea Dragon’s Cradle spell, which seems like a long shot, but she and Asta determinedly train together to get this mission accomplished. Just when it seems hopeless, and that our heroes are more likely to die than arrive unscathed at the temple, some mushy good feelings reassure Noelle that she’s not alone and friendless anymore. She is scared of her magic, and has been consistently holding back when using it, so I am curious to see just how powerful she is when she finally lets go. And with the dysfunctional Black Bulls as her new family, who needs enemies? They are still an improvement on her blood siblings, who are just too awful for words.

Once they arrive at the temple, they are greeted by the high priest. In typical shonen manga style, he wagers the magic stone on a game. If the Black Bulls can defeat his priests, he’ll relinquish possession to Yami. If they lose – I don’t wanna know what happens if they lose, because he’s kind of an perverted old fart. Besides, with Asta’s determination and everyone else’s dumb luck, what can go wrong? Haha.

Black Clover continues to entertain me, though it is far from groundbreaking. I really like Asta’s character, and Yami is likeable, too, though I certainly wouldn’t want to depend on him or any of the other Black Bulls (besides Asta). This is one chaotic group of misfits. How they even managed to get any minus stars is a mystery to me. They’d just as soon hang out at the bar, hit a buffet, or sleep than do anything even remotely heroic. And Gauche and his sister complex is just gross. Ick.

Grade: 3.75 – 4 stars
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review 2018-02-18 00:00
Black Clover, Vol. 6
Black Clover, Vol. 6 - Yuki Tabata Black Clover, Vol. 6 - Yuki Tabata The battle with Sally rages on! Just when Asta’s about to get smooshed, Gauche arrives to save the day! Sort of. Well, not really. Marie shamed Gauche into returning to save Asta, Theresa, and the other kids from the orphanage. I guess the deed is what counts, and not the selfishness behind his initial behavior?

We get a little teaser into Gauche’s background, and how he ended up a member of the bad boy (and bad girl) Black Bulls. Gauche’s entire existence is wrapped around protecting Marie, so I guess it’s a huge character defining moment when he goes back to help Asta take on Sally and her monster. I’m not convinced this tiger has changed his stripes, but he did come up with a nifty new spell that saved the day. Until a new evil villain appears on the scene to rescue Sally!

Okay, we are finally getting some more intel for the Eye of the Midnight Sun! In this volume, we learn about their leader, Licht. He is a creepy, creepy guy, and Asta’s anti-magic grimoire does not work on him! Like Yuno, Licht has a four-leaf clover grimoire, so he’s tough shit, and things are looking mighty gloomy for Asta.

And then Yami arrives to save his wayward charges. The fight was a blast, with lots of action, and the victory changing hands several times in the blink of an eye. Asta is challenged by Yami to be better than he is, to surpass his own skills, especially if he ever hopes to become the Wizard King. After getting smacked around, Asta begins to question his fervor to become the next Wizard King. He can barely hold his own against Licht, Yami is a demon with his magic and his katana, and maybe a guy with no magic really doesn’t have a hope of achieving his dreams.

What?! Asta’s moment of self-doubt lasts only an instant, and his upbeat attitude comes roaring back after he holds his own against all of the next enemies that keep popping up out of the woodwork. This volume probably has the best fight scenes, and the action is intense! Both sides receive reinforcements just in the nick of time, and it’s never a certainty when the tide of the battle will turn, or whose side will win. There are so many powerful opponents trying to get the upper hand, and when the dust settles, I think there is not clear cut victor. So on to Volume 7, where one of my most pressing questions may finally be answered – Is Asta still on vacation, and if so, will he receive hazard pay or have his medical expenses reimbursed.

Grade: 4 stars
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