What They Say:
Black Clover Season 1 Part 5 contains anime episodes 40-51 directed by Tatsuya Yoshihara from Studio Pierrot. A trip to the beach isn’t fun in the sun for Asta and the Black Bulls, they’re on a mission to recover a magic stone! Deep in the Underwater Temple lies new danger and mages with extraordinary powers. But getting in is the first challenge! Luckily, Noelle receives help from a mysterious girl with song magic to master a new spell to help her team. But real danger makes a splash when, Vetto of the Third Eye, storms the temple! He takes out Astas friends and allies, with unimaginable strength, like they’re nothing. Can the magic less mage face all odds and take on the beastly villain?
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.
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, however the Blu-ray version comes with collectors packaging (this review is based on the DVD version).
The menu on both discs pretty basic – one has an image of Noelle and the other an image of Asta and Vetto in battle, they both have 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.
On the DVD, the only extras are the extended Clover Clips collection, a.k.a. the little segways that happen after the episodes. The main focus is the trip to the beach, with Noelle and Mimosa in their swimsuits seeing if they can grab Asta’s attention, and the meeting between Asta, Noelle and the lovely Kahano – which of course ends up being quite comic compared to the actual show.
As I got the DVD copy these extras weren’t included but on the Blu-Ray, there are more extras – Inside Studio J: The Art of Acting, Inside the Episode, Episode 45 Commentary, Episode 51 Commentary, Textless Songs and the Clover Clips Special Edition.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The end of the first season of Black Clover is nigh, and whilst the show has its detractors and lovers, the contest between this vs. My Hero is still up for debate, as the ending for this arc does give us some true unity for the Black Bulls, with a few new characters which are likeable in between, and it does comedy and action well, with just enough character development to boot as well. And whilst other characters don’t turn up much for this arc (Yuno being the big conspicuous absence) there is surprising development for other characters to bring the Black Bulls closer as a team rather than a laughing stock.
We start where it left off, Noelle being jealous of Asta’s being kissed, and now panicking about wearing a bikini in front of him as they do a beach trip (not helped by the fanservicey Vanessa trying to find one out for her…usually by trying to strip her). However the trip isn’t just a traditional beach episode, there is a temple the Bulls are going to for reputation, and hoping the moon is weak enough for Noelle to use her water magic to get there. She still hasn’t fully perfected her powers, but in the night, she and Asta find a woman singing named Kahano, who wants to be idol but also has some magic about her. She and Noelle become friends as something a rarity for Noelle to have a female friend her age, and thanks to her and the Bulls, she manages to overcome her mental anguishes of the past which may have affected her spell casting. However, it appears she may meet Kahano again sooner than she thinks…
They get to the underwater temple and meet the high priest Gifso who knows they are after a magic stone, so they must face off against the temple’s warriors, so the team gets separated with Yami staying with Gifso. However the Bulls prove much tougher than expected and quite a few win easily (expect Charmy who falls to sleep in a fight ^^) and brings us the second significant arc of the day characters in Kiato, the grandson of Gifso and like Kahano, has a dream outside of magic, in his case to be a dancer. Noelle also fights Kahano, who both are told they can achieve their dreams if they defeat the Bulls. Noelle realizes during their fight she has always had the ability to fight well, but never wanted to hurt people, especially like Kahano who she is friends with. However whilst they are fighting, another magician returns as Vetto returns to deal more problems, this time to steal the magic stone.
With Vetto attacking both Temple and Bull magicians, Gifso declares a truce but him and Yami are stuck after being sealed by another magician. We get some development from Magna for the first time as he and Luck are the first to take on Vetto, but eventually fall to him. Asta and Kiato now join the fight, with Vanessa, Grey and Gauche on the way and manages to bring Charmy on the way (with her food obsession a good source of amusement as well as saving their butts :P) – this also brings the surprising reveal of what Grey actually looks like….
Anyway, back to the fight, Asta is falling to Vetto but Noelle and Kahano arrive and Vetto reminds Noelle of previous beings that were evil and with the aid of Vanessa and Finral, the Black Bulls begin to kick butt, especially as you see flashbacks of the lesser used Bulls, like Finral being a coward but seeing Asta never giving up, whilst Vanessa is extremely skilled and not like the drunken fanservice we’ve seen her be for most of the series. From this, Asta seems to have the advance – unfortunately Vetto has another form and in a rather sad moment, cuts off one of Kiato’s legs (robbing him of his dancing dream) and stabs Kahano’s in the throat (robbing her of her singing dream). He truly is the first villain that makes you really want the good guys to go for him, not just as a challenge, but also the fact it is the entire Bulls (well bar one…as one got left behind…poor Gordon…) teaming up using their abilities. And whilst Vetto is very powerful, and Asta taps into his swords and his own abilities (revealing he has demonic energies himself) to defeat Vetto. Unfortunately Vetto, who has his own dreams ruined before and giving some good flashback development, blows up the temple. However…
…it is here that we realize just how damn powerful Yami is. Seen as the head of the ‘losers’ that the Bulls have a reputation for, there has always been something about him. Like he chose to have that tag but truly should be destined for more. Many hints throughout have shown him as a father to his men and women, and someone that has a deep power, and just wanted to unleash it. He breaks the barrier, kills Veto and gets the team out of there as fast as possible, showing what he can do when he is serious. This also gives them a lot of respect from the temple and considering they are considered the worst team in the land, this is a big step up and something ready for the next season to bring into play. With Kahono and Kiato getting some development (Kahano managing to speak whilst Kiato seems to have fallen for Noelle), It ends with the group bringing the King Julius the stone (and Gordon upset that he was forgotten about ^^) and them being asked to join a battle against one of the fortresses near the Kingdom. It sets up what will begin in part 2: the bulls will more respect, Yuno set to return and what more than Asta drum up in terms of power….power that someone with no-magic can do…
I must admit, at first I wasn’t that into the show because it was yet another generic shounen show, and to an extent, it still is – however I am enjoying it on the level of a series like Naruto or One Piece, that it is getting there and it now knows what it wants to be. Asta is still a very likeable lead, very gung-ho and idiotic at times (as well as immune to female charms like a lot of other leads) but still fun, and managing to tap into powers with the aid of his friends. Noelle is becoming more and more likable throughout, she is the classic tsundere as in doesn’t want to admit she likes the guy but still wants to notice him. However, the ice is melting with her friendship developing with Kahano, as a rare female mage with a dream her age the two get along swimmingly (pun intended) and I hope she and Kiato do return as they were fun rivals – not sure if they will but the hope is there.
The true strength of this arc is the fact the Bulls are fully integrated as a team and you get to see bits of each character and what they truly can do. Seeing Vanessa, Finral and Gray in particular (especially when Gray shows their true form…it is a bit of a shock but a fun one) showcase what they do have (Finral even having some development with his flashbacks) means the Bulls are ready to take a step away from being dubbed the worst team. The temple’s thanks to them and they being sent on a mission from Julius is testament to their development as well – also helps that the main villain Vetto, was both a true test but also understanding his motives and you know that the Midnight Sun members are going to come back, stronger than ever, so you wonder if this will be the true final boss or is there something even more sinister hiding underneath the robes of these magicians?
Sure, it still falls for many of the Shounen Jump clichés (Bad guys beat good guys, good guys become powerful, boss even more powerful, good guys have trump card, win) but it is getting to the point that it is part of the enjoyment. It’s not going to be on the top of anyone’s favourite anime list, but as a show for pure enjoyment, it is hard to beat.
Black Clover ends its first season with the Bulls getting action, development, comedy, romance and above all, a conclusion and set up ready for them to increase their growing reputation. With a good villain, some nice (hopefully not) one-shot characters, Asta and Noelle developing all the time, Yami getting to kick butt and the Bulls all showcasing their stuff, it is a perfect ending for this kind of show. And definitely hooks you to see what will happen 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: October 14th, 2019
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.78:1 Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.