Title: Black Clover Vol 2
Author: Yuki Tabata
Publisher: VIZ Media
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Asta is on the path to living his dream. As a member of the Black Bulls, he can prove he is worthy of being a Magic Knight despite having no magical powers. When he catches the attention of the Wizard King himself and is recruited for a serious mission, his skills are truly put to the test. Can Asta and his teammates overcome the barriers before them?
The story here in volume two is broken up into a couple of parts. The first wraps up the cliffhanger at the end of volume one where Asta landed, what seemed to be, the final strike on Heath, but just as I thought, it was revealed as not the final strike and the battle continued. Even though it continued, in predictable fashion, the battle was won by Asta. When they return, they receive a gold star from the king, which brings then to negative thirty stars since they usually lose stars due to the destruction they cause. Asta receives his reward and he wants to go shopping.
While shopping, nothing really important happens to the characters. They end up stopping a thief and that’s about it, but we are introduced to the Wizard King himself, who was at the market in disguise. The Wizard King wanted to look for new magics and Asta caught his eye.
This brought us to the big story of the volume where a new dungeon is discovered and Asta is chosen by the Wizard King to go explore it; however, the Golden Dawn is also sent and it’s a race between the Golden Dawn and the Black Bulls to see who can get to the center of the dungeon first. While it seems like a competitive race, it turns dark abruptly when the Diamond Kingdom shows up and wants the treasures for themselves. The Diamond and Clover kingdoms are neighbors and the dungeon lies right on the border of each kingdom. With the Diamond Kingdom running low on resources and needing to expand, a battle takes place inside the dungeon. Yuno is also with the Golden Dawn on this so we already have a reuniting between Yuno and Asta and the volume ends with Asta coming to back up Yuno during the fight.
The beginning of this volume really shows Asta’s determination. I love it but at the same time his personality is so bombastic that he can be annoying at times. What I find important about the battle in the first half of this volume is the the teamwork involved that makes them win. Without Asta’s courage, I’m certain the Black Bulls would have thrown in the towel. Even the snobby royalty throws in her assistance (and discovers she can control some of her magic).
As Josh mentioned, not much happens when they visit the black market. Asta does encounter an old ‘friend.’ After puffing up his own ego, he realizes Asta is just an all-around good guy who can make it simply because of his determination. We already knew that as readers, but it’s about time some of the characters acknowledged Asta’s talents(and luck). The Wizard King, who was sneaking around amongst the commoners, notices Asta and takes an interest. This leads us to the next assignment, which is a very dangerous one. Josh discusses that in more detail above.
I wish I could sit here in great detail and talk about all the wonderful character development, but there wasn’t any except for Lucky. Lucky, who is a member of the Black Bulls, reminded me a lot of Juuzo Suzuya from another VIZ series, Tokyo Ghoul. He’s an effeminate-looking boy who’s always smiling and isn’t really affected by anything. We get a look into his background to get to know him a bit more, but there really isn’t much to say about Lucky. From early childhood to now, he just always smiled and lacked a range of emotions. Even when his mother died, he still smiled. He did believe that he had to fight alone, but Asta made his realize that fighting together and using teamwork is better. That’s about the gist of his development. The fact that they wrapped that up in less than half a volume seemed kind of rushed.
Heck, we got more background information on the “Villain of the Week” characters than we did on the rest of the main characters. Seeing the Wizard King was cool and we did get a taste of his personality, but he was there for about the length of a cup of coffee, overall and didn’t really add too much outside of the wink, wink, nudge, nudge moments behind his reasoning.
There really wasn’t much in terms of development here. Asta is pretty much the same – determined to make a mark and get to the top. I will say that there was some development with Noelle, which shouldn’t be overlooked despite how minimal it is. In the first volume she was absolutely detestable. She’s a snobbish person who seems very ashamed to be affiliated with the Black Bulls. As royalty, she feels that she shouldn’t be subjected to such vulgar people; however, she can’t control her magic so she’s in the right camp. Despite her resistance, she grows into her role as a Black Bull. When help is needed, she’s there with what little magic she can control. I think over the next few volumes her cold facade is going to drop.
This is still a fairly straight-forward series. I’m honestly surprised they reunited Asta and Yuno so quickly as I would have thought that they would have kept the two apart only to have that epic reunion once the two of them have grown, but instead we see them reunited already and instead of fighting each other, they are fighting alongside each other. Who knows what will happen once their common enemy goes down since it is still a competition between the Golden Dawn and the Black Bulls. Outside of this, it’s just typical shounen formula, but it is still keeping my attention.
This series is definitely straight-forward, as Josh concluded. You don’t need to work your brain too much to follow the story. The characters are also fairly easy to understand since the majority of the reoccuring cast are personalities you can find in other series. I definitely feel like I have seen Yuno, Noelle, Asta, etc. before. This also means the author needs to step it up and develop the characters before the predictable formula grows stale. I’ll still continue to read because I’m curious if my wishes get granted.
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**This item was provided for review by VIZ Media