「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.