Title: Black Clover Vol. 5 Author: Yuki Tabata Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Genre: Shounen, Battle Publication Date: February 7, 2016
Volume five of Black Clover wraps up the invasion of the capital arc and then takes us off on a bit of a side story that can only first be seen as filler, but then it gets tied into the main story, which seemed kind of random.
So with the capital protected, Asta is recovering from his wounds. While doing so, he’s invited to a mixer where he meets Rebecca, a woman who works hard to support her five siblings. While Asta is visiting and playing with them, he encounters Gauche, a magic knight who has a nosebleed and sister complex. Gauche’s sister Marie lives at the church with Sister Theresa and was out playing with Asta. Gauche in his infinite jealousy, attacks Asta in his sleep and tries to kill him all because he interacted with Marie.
Then the real trouble begins when a suspcious snow storm blankets the town and all of the kids go missing. It’s a hypnosis spell that lures children to a cave so their magic power can be drained. Because Marie is kidnapped, too, Gauche goes along for the search and rescue. He uses his magic mirror to locate the children and when they get there, the two kidnappers are easily defeated. This is until Sally of the terrorist group that attacked the capital shows up. Sally (whose name is only mentioned once in this whole volume, by the way) had a keen interest in Asta after he was kidnapped on the end of volume four. She’s delighted to see him again for nefarious reasons, but Theresa, who was a former magic knight herself, holds her off while they make their break for it.
Sally turns one of the kidnappers into a hideous gel monster and now we have a battle on our hands….. that will conclude in next volume because this is where we come to an end.
The story seemed a bit uninteresting and it seemed like they tied this into the terrorist group just for the sake of preventing this story to be labeled as filler. There was more character development than story in this volume, but that’s not saying much as the character development was focused on the supporting cast rather than Asta.
Gauche was the biggest focus this volume and his development is going strictly by the numbers. He has a sister complex and is a loose cannon. He will kill or maim anyone who even breathes the name of his sister, Marie. Of course, since Asta was playing with her, he’s now enemy number one to Gauche. It’s done for comedic purposes, but I wasn’t really laughing. It was more annoying than anything. Of course, at the end of the volume, he listens to what Marie has to say and decides to go back and help Asta and Theresa. It can’t get any more cliché than that.
Theresa was an interesting character. She is a rough and tough looking nun, but just from her appearance, it was no shock when she was unveiled to be a former magic knight. They tied her into the story by having her be Fuegoleon’s former teacher so you know that she can hold her own in battle. She does just that by taking on Sally and actually getting the best of her on a couple of occasions. Even though she has power, she has a level head and is poised and dignified. I like characters like that so I am enjoying what they are doing with Theresa.
Sally is a character we’ve seen many times before as well. She’s the psychotic researcher who loves to experiment on people and find out whatever she can. She takes pleasure in their pain and reminds me a lot of Lamy from the Tartaros arc in Fairy Tail.
All in all, the side characters take the center stage in this volume, but their development seems kind of generic. There really wasn’t anything huge or special about these characters, but they did fit in where they needed to for the sake of the story. The story itself was kind of generic and felt more like filler than actual plot advancement. I’m all for cooldown periods, but there are more interesting ways to handle it than just send Asta off on a mini adventure. Bringing Sally into the story seemed like a desperate attempt to keep the main story arc relevant and while her involvement implies what the whole reason is for stealing magic from children, the main reason is never really stated. It leaves it to your imagination, which doesn’t pose much of a challenge because it’s strongly obvious why they are stealing magic in the first place. If you guessed it has something to do with that stone slab with the jewels in it, then you may just be right.
Black Clover is a generic Naruto clone with obvious plots and trope-like characters. Even knowing that, I enjoyed the series up until this point. This volume was pretty underwhelming so I hope volume six wraps up this side story and gets back to advancing the main plot in a more interesting way, but something tells me it might be a while before that happens. We’ll see.
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