Why It’s Fantastical:
Magic books, called Grimoires, choose people during a kind of coming of age ceremony and people can wield all kinds of magic. Also there are (were) demons.
Yuno and Asta are two orphans who were abandoned at a small country church on the same day. Yuno is the tall, dark, seldom-smiling type whose skill with magic is powerful even before he gets his grimoire. Asta is the short, loud, over-the-top “little brother” whose magic hasn’t manifested yet, but whose determination is unmatched. Asta is certain he will be the Wizard King, and Yuno means to challenge him to that aspiration at every turn.
I didn’t write about this anime earlier because… well… I was kind of disappointed with it. I ended up not watching it for a while because I just… couldn’t… stand it. Which is sad. The idea behind it is SO GOOD. Magic systems based on the use of magic books has always been one of my favorite things and I loved the idea of a battle anime that revolved around that kind of system. In that respect, I liked it a lot.
At first, it was awesome. Two boys growing up together, each trying to be the best. They’re friends (basically brothers), but also rivals. They have a good family and high hopes. Things don’t turn out as well for Asta at first, but eventually, he finds his path and even gets in with a group of Magic Knights, which is unheard of for someone like him.
But, I’m gonna be honest…
I kind of hate Asta.
He is literally one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen in an anime. Not as annoying as Excalibur from Soul Eater, certainly, but annoying enough that he sticks in my head about as awfully as Excalibur does.
It’s the worst thing! I can only manage one or two episodes of this show at a time just because he is ALWAYS SCREAMING. Zero inside voice at all. Naturally deafening.
It is so hard to handle him to any degree.
That’s not to say I dislike his character as a whole, however. Pitting someone with no magic at all against a world that is basically run by magic is interesting enough. I am mostly curious about his grimoire though. Something is mentioned about it in the first episodes, about there being a demon involved, and given that the Wizard King was originally given the name for defeating demons… it sparks curiosity!
But apparently whenever I am curious about something it just never gets explained or even touched on. Ever. Again. I am cursed!
This lack of progress goes for Asta’s character as a whole it seems. He doesn’t make much headway, aside from improving his ability to yell incessantly. His abilities progress very little and his grimoire apparently only has two spells, both of which are just different versions of the same thing. Upon obtaining the second spell though, I think (I hope) I am beginning to understand how it works. Since he has no magic, he can’t get stronger magically, which means his grimoire can’t collect skills the way other grimoires do, so they have to be collected some other way. That makes sense. I don’t know if it’s right, but it would make sense to me. This is just a guess, of course.
I feel like this story is a different version of Fairy Tail. Which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ magic battle anime, for sure. But I didn’t binge Black Clover because I did binge Fairy Tail. There is enough similarity between the two that I’m not overly hyped about it. The whole, “I get stronger beCAUSE FRIENDSHIP!” is definitely there, just like in Fairy Tail. Asta even has a cute flying sidekick, albeit Nero is more grumpy than Happy and doesn’t talk. There are also less large boobs in Black Clover, which is fine.
There is something rather like a caste system involved where the Magic Knights are concerned and the Royals and other nobles are very tied to it. One of the main supporting characters, Noelle, is a royal who joined the same Magic Knights group at the same time as Asta. She was basically disowned by her family for her inability to control her magic, among other things. I think her arrogance as a noble being put in check by Asta being the epitome of everything she was taught to loathe (and not caring much at all about it) is a nice tension. I don’t care much about the love triangle apparently ready to happen there, though. However, I think Noelle’s growth as a person, even outside the magic, is good. Of the characters I’ve met so far, including the two main characters, I actually care most about Noelle. Her story begins unhappily and what she learns about herself has made her the most interesting so far.
At the same time, that doesn’t say much about the main storyline. I am having a hard time caring about Asta and Yuno’s endeavor to become Wizard King. I just… don’t care about them all that much. I’m sticking with this anime completely out of hope that something drastic will happen to Asta (like maybe a demon!) and he’ll actually have a really interesting fight on his hands that doesn’t involve the pettiness of nobles or royals or selfish grudges born out of some character’s personal failures. That demon has to make an appearance at some point! It has to!