Manga Review: Black Clover Vol 1 by Yuki Tabata

May Contain Spoilers

I checked this out of the library without even knowing what it was about. I’m almost caught up on Haikyu!!, and I’m looking for another series to read until new volumes of that are released. This jumped out at me; I liked the cover with the extremely happy looking guy wielding a big black sword. Sure, count me in!

Black Clover features one of my favorite manga tropes – underdog against the world! In a world ruled by magic, Asta is the biggest underdog around. He has zero magic, absolutely none, but does that stop him from wanting to be the Wizard King. NO! He and fellow orphan Yuno made a pact when they were young boys, and they swore that they would be rivals, competing to be the next Wizard King. Never mind that Asta has no magic, and Yuno is gifted with an overabundance of it. They are still going to compete as equals, because that’s how these guys roll.

While Yuno hones his skills, Asta hones his body. He believes that if he only trains hard enough, his magic will suddenly flow through him. Even though he’s short, he’s still a powerhouse. Just not in magic. The day he and the other 15 year olds in his village have been waiting for finally arrives. They are going to be awarded their very own grimoire, which will increase their magical powers. Yuno receives a very powerful grimoire, the Four Leaf Clover. Asta, no surprise, receives none. Ever the optimist, he declares that he will return to the ceremony every year until he receives one.

On his way home, he saves Yuno, who is being robbed of his grimoire by a disgraced Magic Knight. In the process, he receives a tattered grimoire of the five leaf clover, a dark grimoire of anti-magic. Taking the shape of a huge black sword, it cuts through other’s magic and is very powerful (yay!). Once Asta has his grimoire, he is on the way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a Magic Knight and, eventually, becoming the Wizard King. The fact that he still has no magic doesn’t faze him in the slightest.

I really enjoyed this opening volume of the series. Asta is a fun, likeable character, and Yuno, despite his incredible magic, hasn’t let his powers go to his head. Often looked down on because they are both orphans from a small village, they have to deal with their low social status as they compete against spoiled rich kids for a coveted spot in the Magic Knights. Asta has it especially rough because it’s obvious that he is sadly lacking in the magical department – until he brings out his sword and slices attacking magic with ease. I’m curious to see what happens next, and how Yuno and Asta’s relationship changes as they climb the ladder to the top of the Magic Knights.

Grade: 4.25 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Asta and Yuno were abandoned together at the same church, and have been inseparable since. As children, they promised that they would compete against each other to see who would become the next sorcerer emperor. However, as they grew up, some differences between them became plain. Yuno was a genius with magic, with amazing power and control, while Aster could not use magic at all, and tried to make up for his lack by training physically. When they received their grimoires at age 15, Yuno got a spectacular book with a four-leaf-clover (most people receive a three-leaf-clover), while Aster received nothing at all. However, when Yuno was threatened, the truth about Aster’s power was revealed– he received a five-leaf-clover grimoire, a ‘black clover’ book of anti-magic. Now the two friends are heading out in the world, both seeking the same goal!