Black Clover (Chapters 55-56) – Review Discussion
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Asta dreams of becoming the Wizard King, the strongest magic user in all of the kingdom. There’s just one tiny problem– Asta can’t use magic! Asta trains and trains, but unlike his best friend and rival Yuno, Asta has zero magical talent or power. However, during the induction ceremony, where young ones receive their grimoire, Asta acquires the rare five-leaf clover grimoire that gives him the power of anti-magic. With his grimoire, and his determination, Asta will battle his way to the top of the Magic Knights and show the world he can become the Wizard King!
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Asta manages to gain entry into the exclusive Magic Knights. Asta joins the Black Bulls, the team described as the absolute worst out of all the Magic Knight squads. Meanwhile, Asta’s rival, Yuno joins the most beloved team the Golden Dawn. Despite this, Asta proves himself a useful member of the Black Bulls after accomplishing his first few missions. During some time off with Gauche, Asta stumbled into a kidnapping ring run by the Eye of the Midnight Sun. Along with help from Captain Yami, as well as other Magic Knight Captains, Asta and the gang managed to drive the Eye of the Midnight Sun away for the moment. Now the Wizard King has brought Asta and the Captain’s together to interrogate their prisoners and learn if there is a traitor aiding the Eye of the Midnight Sun amongst the Magic Knights!
With Chapter 55 we’re well on our way to wrapping up this latest encounter with the Eye of the Midnight Sun. Right off the bat and coming in from 54’s cliffhanger: Poizot is outed as the traitor. He swears up and down he’s innocent, but won’t allow the King’s aid to scan his mind. He proclaims his innocence as he attempts to flee with his invisibility magic. I was a little disappointed with the reveal, seeing as Poizot has been a rather nothing character; barely getting, if any, real page time prior to this reveal. I would’ve felt it much more gutsy to out a more well known character as the traitor, but I guess that won’t be happening for the moment.
Poizot’s inner monologue suggests there’s a whole lot more wrong with him than simply traitorous dealings. Asta attacks Poizot by reading his ki, buying time for the young Magic Knight Captain Rill to restrain Poizot. It’s a good thing it played out this way too, as it turns out the other captains would’ve slaughtered Poizot and possibly taken the entire building out in the process.
We flip to some quick comic relief as Rill introduces himself to Asta and insists they be friends. As soon as that’s done the group prepares to grill Poizot on exactly why he ran, as well as what crimes he’s hiding.
We return to the interrogation with Chapter 56, moments after Poizot was forced to reveal all of his major crimes, which are quite extensive! Included among them is kidnapping barrier mages, which must be how the Eye had managed to break inside the kingdom in the first place. The Wizard King decides to keep this matter private. I actually really don’t like this decision and I’m hoping it comes to bite our characters in the ass later. By keeping this whole thing under wraps to save face and “keep trust” you’re just making the public that much more likely to feel unsafe when it leaks in the future. I don’t know if Black Clover will ever go in that direction, but I wish it’d address this naive and arrogant line of thinking.
As the group splits off to search within their ranks for more traitors, one of the group shape shifts into Rhya, one of the three enemy mages who came to Licht’s aid. One of the Magic Knight Captains wasn’t who they said they were. Is Rhya impersonating a random Knight amongst the group or was it someone of more significance that signals there’s another traitor? I guess we’ll see going forward, but I am glad Poizot was little more than red herring to this whole traitor angle.
Meanwhile the King has Asta and Yami stay behind. He’s apparently also learned that the Eye is collecting magic stones that, once all gathered, will bolster their power and grant them supposedly new and significantly more dangerous forms. There are only three stones left and one is located at an Underwater temple in a region known for strong currents of magic. While the King tasks Yami with acquiring the stone located at the temple we flash back to some brief snippets of Yami’s childhood.
During these we learn how the King and Yami came to know each other, which all started with the King’s fascination in Yami’s unusual foreigner magic abilities and talent. The King believes that he may have made mistakes on his way to becoming the Wizard King, but Yami apparently has some respect for the King and assures him he’ll do his duty to prove that the King has never once faltered.
On the way out things briefly shift to Asta, as the King expresses his surprise and pleasure at Asta’s abilities and while Asta is fawning over the praise Yami reminds him he wouldn’t even be in the Black Bulls if he didn’t believe Asta had it in him. It’s a small moment, but it’s nice to see some of the top characters coming around to admire Asta’s ability. Up until now Black Clover has felt a lot like a medieval, lighter hearted, Naruto clone. There’s been a few differences here and there, but now the differences are becoming more pronounced, not just in tone, but in the way characters react and treat Asta, with less emphasis placed on people hating Asta for being different. There’s a more positive tone here and I’m enjoying that.
Switching gears we join Gauche back at the orphanage as he thanks the Nun for keeping his sister, Marie, safe. Asta also comes along to visit and a brief little love triangle incident occurs as Rebecca decides to make the first move by kissing Asta in front of Noelle. Asta quickly incurs the wrath of Gauche as his sister talks of kissing Asta for her thanks as well.
It’s a decent way to wrap up this plot as we prepare to move into what’s essentially a new arc. Ultimately I’m optimistic about Black Clover and I think with a little more time it should figure out a proper balance between its more comedic aspects and the darker moments where it’s working to put on us on the edge of our seats.
Let me know what your thoughts are on Black Clover in the comments below!
Black Clover is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Black Clover’s first and second volumes release on June 7th and August 2nd, 2016 respectively. Chapters discussed today, 55-56, will be available in future volumes early next year.