What They Say:
In a world filled with magic, one boy will prove that real power lies in never giving up!
After a close call against Mars and the Diamond Kingdom knights, Asta and his friends are honoured by the Wizard King. But the celebratory event is more jeers than cheers as the other Magic Knights show their true colours. Before things get too heated inside, they learn there’s a more serious problem happening outside. The rising dead, an energy-sapping witch, and other horrors are plaguing the capitol as terrorists run amok.
Fighting alongside Magic Knight Captains, Asta will witness amazing powers that get him fired up. But this battle is just the beginning of something much bigger, and his abilities will be put to the test!
The audio has a 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese for the series– I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese to compare, despite not saying 5.1 the Japanese release was high quality to the point there was no adjustment to the volume, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall. I also maintain I prefer watching this show in English as one of the better dubs out there (considering Academia also has a stellar dub it seems the big shows are showing more and more quality in the English department) especially when a lot of action is coming around that reading the subtitles isn’t the best interest.
Similar with the audio, the video is set in 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio via NTSC transfer to PAL format – with DVD releases nowadays the effect definitely seems more grainier compared to HD and with me doing a ton of Blu-ray reviews recently this is a good way to remind you how the times have changed. That said, the animation was good overall, and despite the use of CGI during a lot of the attack sequences, it isn’t horrendously noticeable compared to other series I’ve reviewed in the past so that’s fine, albeit with the animation style it is a bit more noticeable.
There was no packing for this test release.
The menu on both discs pretty basic – both discs have the same set image of Noelle looking like she is casting a space on a mystical book like background, a similar menu selection of Play All, Set Up (audio and subtitles), Episodes and on disc 2, Extras. The menus and images are unremarkable and standard, menu is quick and does its job with no glitches and can quickly return back to the main menu when watching the series, just uninspiring.
The only extra is on disc 2 which is the Clover Clips Special Edition – which is a longer clip based on the comic SD style clips before the next episode preview that happens at the end of every episode. Here, we see the captains chilling (called Captains in the afternoon) and doing captain like things…such as– burning potatoes, discovering yokai, trying to confess to a male captain despite saying through the show she despises males…you know the usual. Like most of the Clover Clips, they are quite fun especially the stuff with Yami and Feugoloeon, so a nice little extra like last time.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Black Clover in the UK has pretty much been released as close to release as My Hero Academia, as these are the two big ongoing shows of the shounen variety outside of One Piece or Boruto which are very big long runners. Academia seems to be the more beloved of the two and from my experiences of both shows, I do follow with that agreement. That said, I have been warming up to Black Clover, mainly due to the Black Bulls, and Asta in particular being a gung-ho, and whilst stereotypical shonen lead is very likeable which is part of the fun. This set continues on its way, and whilst the nobles vs. commoners once again gets played out, here there is a twist, with some good nobles, a rival which may be more interesting than Yuno for Asta, and more potential plots for the future…
After the battle (and Asta recovering) he, Noelle, Yuno and others (including Mimosa who now has a crush on Asta…much to Noelle’s confusion and jealousy) are invited to a knight-promotion ceremony by the Wizard King, where we meet many of the noble knights promoted – there are a few we shall get into but first we have the problem of commoners vs. nobles and we do get the bad ones, namely siblings to Noelle, Solid, Nebra and Nozel mock her, Asta gets…annoyed. And whilst they of course try to showcase their superiority, Asta’s anti-magic swords are enough to make them worried. However, what is of interest is the Vermillion family where two members are definitely not quite the same – the leader Fuegoleon (Mimosa’s cousin) is much more questioning of why the nobles would pick on Asta if they are so superior and have no honour, and my favourite of the new cast his brother Leopold, a hot headed and impulsive guy, is actually impressed by Asta and gives him a new rival…one with a completely different personality to Yuno which I definitely approve of. However, before more egos are based, a man named Rades who was a Magic Knight expelled from his squad, attacks with a zombie army in the city. Everyone splits up to save the city as Asta finds Hades and prepares to attack…
Asta’s sword is able to make quick work of the zombies but Hades makes more powerful ones which causes Fuegoleon to help out with his fire magic and contrasting to Hades being mocking of his no magic, Fuegeoleon is also impressed with Asta and also feels he is rival material (I can tell I’ll like the Vermillions) – also he helps build Noelle’s confidence after her dressing down via her siblings and with Leopold also helping out, it looks like the tables are turning…
…we then learn of Rades past that he was banished due to his style of magic but he isn’t the most sympathetic of characters as Fuegoleon proves. However someone else is also applying their trade, a witch named Catherine and someone telling Hades’ instructions, most of the knights are teleported away and Catherine drains magic from everyone she can find whilst aging them and cursing them, however Yuno despite being cursed manages to be in tune to his magic and thanks to his new familiar Slyph, he manages to defeat Catherine (and leads to a hilarious moment as one of the Bulls, the eternally eating Chammy had snuck into the party and befriended the chefs and when Catherine tries to drain her magic after losing, it leads to some fantastic comic moments involving Chammy) but unfortunately Fuegoleon is defeated and put into a coma by one of the higher magicians, and it looks bad for Asta, Noelle and Leopold, but fortunately the Magic Knights manage to get back into battle. Unfortunately, Asta gets captured (and the Magic Knights are still unpleasant) – yet the Wizard King Julius manages to save him and capture some of the magicians…though someone manages to blind him suggesting there is someone potentially stronger than the Wizard King out there (which also suggests that one of the Magic Knights is a traitor)…
…and how does this arc end? With Asta going to a mixer with Finral and Luck ^^ So it ends more on a comical note (though leads potentially another woman interested in Asta with a girl named Rebecca which Noelle has to spy on because totally not jealous…)
I’m slowing getting more into Black Clover, mainly due to with new potential rivals (and mystery due to Fuegoleon’s coma), and whilst the whole nobles vs. commoners thing has been done to death, at least with last arc one getting better at it and being friends with Asta, here we have two and one with the potential to be at least a far more fun rival for those who may be bored with Yuno’s perfect act (he has to suffer the commoner trope as well, it’s just not as noticeable as Asta because Yuno at least has powers). Asta continues to be fun and whilst there is a ton of predictable things here (Noelle in particular falls foul to a couple of these – i.e. hiding her feelings and getting jealous when other girls are interested in Asta, and being put down by her siblings but built back up thanks to the more noble…er nobles), the increase of cast with the Magic Knights and the potential enemy on the side against the Wizard King means there is definite intrigue to be brought forward in the future. Rades seems like he might have been sympathetic but is put down so not quite as in depth as the villains from the previous arc (these ones do feel like they are there just to be evil, one of them even plain out just wants to dissect Asta for his anti-magic…not because she enjoys it oh no…)
It helps though that the comic moments in between do make the show more enjoyable (Chammy’s role was fantastic throughout – making friends with the head chef and then suddenly becoming badass when the witch attacks) – and as mentioned, really liking the hot headed Leopold – seems the Vermillion family may be my favourite full stop at the moment – so there is more going for it than I suspected. I still prefer Academia of the two big ones in the UK at the moment, but am going to stick with Clover for the long haul as well…it’s turning out better than I initially suspected…
Black Clover started off as a typical shounen show with all the clichés in the book and whilst a few fun moments, wasn’t anything outstanding. But whilst I still agree to that to a degree, there are definitely more fun moments, a bit more story coming forward, the lead still very enjoyable and some more fun characters which to add are memorable, makes it better for the future. Whilst still a lot of problems and the villains this arc weren’t that fantastic, it is leading to the bigger picture and hopefully that means more good stuff in the future.
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C+
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: July 8th, 2019
Running Time: 250 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.