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Black Clover – 01

「アスタとユノ」 (Asuta to Yuno)
“Asta and Yuno”

Action, shounen, and some serious voice acting, Black Clover certainly knows how to ring fall in with style. As the ever helpful RC preview describes, fall’s newest release is unabashedly shounen, fully embracing the usual tropes (i.e. all of them) while giving Naruto and Fairy Tail a good run for their money. It might be generic as hell, but Black Clover knows exactly what it is and makes no qualms about it. The problem is a lot of people will probably do otherwise.

The main issue with Black Clover right now is not so much its concept and world, but how they are being presented. Yes, this means Asta (Kajiwara Gakuto). Newbie voice actor or not, the kid’s, erm, “special” style of screaming will definitely grate on a few nerves and probably induce permanent hearing loss half a continent over unless quickly changed. His long, drawn out words and excessive over-acting are not as funny (as probably intended) as annoying, a wasted opportunity to positively define his character for the actual story to come. Seriously, can you blame poor Lily for that beat down? Frankly I don’t think she hit him hard enough (or maybe she hit him too much—food for thought). At least Yuno (Shimazaki Nobunaga) comes across fine, although with few lines so far and a very stoic attitude, it’s going to be hard keeping Asta’s lungs in line without some conscious effort on the part of our sit-up champion. Or a ball gag, that would work too.

On the story front, however, Black Clover is likely to find better success. It’s nothing special at face value of course, between a generic magic system, some dark past set to return, and the built-in societal problems to overcome, but these series never relied on their uniqueness for staying power. Black Clover’s strength instead will likely derive from the rivalry between Asta and Yuno, as their wildly different personalities and stark difference in power offers ample opportunity for serious growth and development. We already have a surprisingly strong foil already between Yuno’s quiet and menacing personality and Asta’s assertiveness, and with a tangible goal (becoming the Wizard King) designed to constantly bring them together, it shouldn’t take long for the difficulties to start. Probably have to get through the generic introductory baddies and usual world building first, but I wouldn’t ignore the possibility of a decent tale of personal discovery hiding under Black Clover’s hood, especially once the first arc gets going. After all, our chatterbox apparently just found himself in possession of a demon and one hell of a sword. With eyes like that, you know it’s about to get real.

While certainly not the strongest of openings, Black Clover does have enough in place for a decent shounen adaptation—if it can smooth over the rough patches. Provided the voice acting can improve and the use of 3D is kept to a minimum (seriously, those chains look a lot like Hand Shakers), I don’t honestly expect anything other than a fun bit of action entertainment. Plus with this likely being Studio Pierrot’s new multi-cour shounen production, I highly doubt we won’t see any improvement once the show kicks into gear. For good or bad it’s a new wave of shounen, and Black Clover is helping lead the charge.



October 3, 2017 at 11:10 pm
  • October 3, 2017 at 11:43 pmGlutton

    That voice…>_<

    • October 4, 2017 at 8:50 pmstarss

      I hope you guys like ear blood….

    • October 5, 2017 at 1:25 pmqwert

      The sad thing is it’s not even the voice itself. In the RARE occasions where there was quiet internal monologue in the episode the seiyuu’s voice was pretty good. The problem is the god damn screeching/roaring that punctuates every damn line that just grates at your ears.

  • October 3, 2017 at 11:47 pmsosbrigade1991

    I tell ya, I love a good shonen action comedy as much as the next guy. But that boy’s obnoxious gargling had me reaching for the mute button every damn minute.

  • October 4, 2017 at 12:17 amFlareKnight

    Yeah, the real challenge for this show is if the hearing of the audience will hold up. There are very few voices in anime that just bother the heck out of me. But this one might be added. If he just talked that might be one thing. His normal speaking voice (of what little we heard since he was almost constantly yelling) sounded ok. But that yell…it’s like a parrot in terrible pain.

    The rest of it was ok. It was very generic, but has room to differentiate itself as time goes along.

    • October 4, 2017 at 9:07 pmPancakes

      It’s hilarious too because the preview OVA that came out a few months ago wasn’t that bad for voice acting. Asta didn’t have the ridiculous screaming there and was slightly abrasive to boot. I’m not sure what the hell changed, but it’s obviously not working.

    • October 5, 2017 at 5:17 amcryarc

      The VA changed from the OVA version, the OVA was a veteran VA while the series is a complete newbie…

  • October 4, 2017 at 12:24 amsaco3

    The voice actor for Asta basically killed the character for me and he’s supposed to be the main character. Unless he changes his style or they change the VA I don’t see a future for this show.

    • October 4, 2017 at 9:10 pmPancakes

      It’ll be the sticking point for this without a doubt. If the kid can transition into something like Fairy Tail’s Natsu for example then there won’t be much of a problem. Only concern is if we can get such a transition fast enough, because it needs to happen now, not 12 episodes from now.

  • October 4, 2017 at 12:24 amMayhamer

    I already was annoyed greatly by the MC simply due to the frequent long yelling, and it’s only the first episode. ( ._.) That’s not a good sign to me. I do hope this gets worked over soon because this is really hard to ignore. I want to focus more on what is going on around (even if it’s all generic shounen and cliche), but I can’t without being so annoyed…

  • October 4, 2017 at 1:26 amyoloalchemist

    I fear for Asta’s seiyuu. He’s gonna run out of vocal chords by the end of it.

  • October 4, 2017 at 3:24 amAtsu

    Asta’s face looks a bit like haikyuu’s Hinata. I think Hinata’s Voice Actor would have been ideal for Asta’s role.

  • October 4, 2017 at 4:11 amIzaak

    Naruto’s back.

  • October 4, 2017 at 5:31 amRick

    I feel better knowing I wasn’t alone completely irritated by the voice. From memory (and to my ears) it felt like yelling.

    My viewing experience: constant yelling… skip 2min… contestant yelling… skip 2min… incessant yelling… skip 10min… more yelling…stopped watching

    • October 4, 2017 at 9:13 pmPancakes

      It’s basically what you do if you were to try doing screamo vocals. Only difference is the kid is trying to make it sound like your average day to day speech :P

  • October 4, 2017 at 5:43 amseltzermx

    I was somewhat excited for another generic shounen. Was not excited about the sandpaper coursing through my eardrums. Instant drop unfortunately.

  • October 4, 2017 at 6:07 amJason

    I honestly found Asta’s voice hilarious and not nearly as bad as I’ve seen people make it out to be. That said, while the series is very generic it was still an enjoyable watch. Not sure I’ll keep up with it but for now it’s gained my interest.

    • October 4, 2017 at 9:52 amkiryuu

      I was interested in the premise but personally found his voice way too grating, only made it a few minutes into the episode before I gave up on it. yvvm I guess

    • October 4, 2017 at 9:16 pmPancakes

      The voice acting will depend on the person IMO, but personally I cannot stand the yelling, it’s just too grating on my ears. Unless the kid can soften the effect he’s going for this will quick be the make or break part of the show.

  • October 4, 2017 at 6:38 amtheirs

    Maybe they are from Hand Shakers. Can’t say it’s the first time the industry’s reused CG animation. I think something similar happened with bicycles.

  • October 4, 2017 at 10:20 amSeya-san

    The first episode was not so interesting to speak about. So about voices. I don’t remember anyone worse than Yanase Natsumi’s voice for Chihiro in “Ef~a tale of memories”. That dying voice… (# ̄ω ̄)

  • October 4, 2017 at 10:41 amKabble

    The episode took me an hour to watch because I took breaks from his voice every damned 5 or 6 minutes

  • October 4, 2017 at 11:25 amWorldwidedepp

    I got Lucky, while watching this Episode i forgotten to unmute my System :)

  • October 4, 2017 at 2:30 pmhjerry

    My thoughts

    Is Asta annoying? Oh hell yeah. That kid is straight up obnoxious and EASILY the worst part of this episode. His entire “character” if you want to call it that, is basically just him screaming.

    …but, having said that, I also kept reminding myself that, while this was some time ago, Naruto was pretty darn obnoxious too at the start of his show. Maybe not THIS bad, but still…pretty bad.

    So I’m going to give it a couple episodes, see if they tone it down a bit, now that he has powers.

    If not, moving on is easy enough since, at least so far, the show has given me little reason to care about these characters. The world is at least intriguing enough though.

  • October 4, 2017 at 8:28 pmJohn

    What a terrible, terrible choice for VA, i sure hope he gets a ton of flank for this performance from his fans (if he has any) this should not become standard or even continue in the slightest, if i wanted to hear chalk-on-chalkboard noise i would watch youtube for 10 hour version of it.

    • October 4, 2017 at 8:31 pmJohn

      I just looked him up, and it was his VERY FIRST voice acting role, what a terrible start to a seiyuu career, this is what you get when you put a newbie VA in a protagonist shoes

    • October 4, 2017 at 9:19 pmPancakes

      I’d blame the producers as much as the VA in this case, someone obviously thought his screaming fit the role and allowed it, because there’s no way we would get it otherwise lol.

  • October 4, 2017 at 8:38 pmsouma

    eh why? i think it’s fit because the protagonist is described as loud, annoying etc and it works haha, i think it’s still better than with koi to uso nejima and ririna flat tone.

    • October 4, 2017 at 9:22 pmPancakes

      There’s loud and annoying, and then there’s loud and annoying. Natsu screams a lot too, but he doesn’t do it the same way as this kid for example, it’s less abrasive overall and more pleasant on the ears. Asta’s VA has yet to learn how to keep the effect while remaining tolerable.

  • October 4, 2017 at 8:49 pmstarss


    “Shut up!”

  • October 5, 2017 at 1:07 pmqwert

    I finally watched this thinking the shouting couldn’t possibly be as bad as everyone says it is and JESUS CHRIST I want to throttle this seiyuu.

    It isn’t even the shouting itself that is killing me it’s when they just trail off at the end of statements and all you get is that screaming screeching ululation sound that grates at your ears.

  • October 7, 2017 at 5:11 amkaz

    First time I’ve ever wished that a dubbed version comes out soon. :D Dropped (for a while maybe)

  • October 8, 2017 at 12:00 amSOSAnimeBoy

    I actually found the trill in his screaming annoying until about half-way, then I began to ignore it… honestly, Naruto’s ‘dattebayo’ were also initially annoying, but you get used to it after a while.

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