Title: Black Clover Vol. 13
Author: Yuki Tabata
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Volume 13 of Black Clover begins the royal knight selection test… in other words… TOURNAMENT ARC!
As we saw with My Hero Academia, this isn’t going to be a straightforward tournament filled with one-on-one battles. The first round is comprised of sixteen teams of three. Two teams will go against each other in order to protect a crystal with their objective being to destroy the other team’s crystal while keeping yours intact.
Honestly? That’s it. There’s nothing else story-wise in this volume as it was all action from the beginning. We did get to see the return of many characters from past volumes, which is nice to see because it shows that these characters, which seemed like one-offs, are still being given their time to shine. Tournament arcs like this are great when you have a large cast of characters because it allows you to do some character development as well as keep your cast relevant and that’s what Black Clover did here in this volume.
As for the battles, since they plowed through the entire first round in a single volume save for the final match because that, along with the first match, were the only two matches that contained important main characters, therefore it was quite predictable that they would get the most attention. The first match contained Asta while the final match contained Yuno so if you need any further doubts dispelled as to why those two matches received the most attention… well… there you go!
With a tournament this large, it’s understandable as to why a mangaka wouldn’t want to draw out every single match in full-length. Doing something like that could take several volumes on its own and readers will get bored trying to trudge through months and months worth of chapters just to realize they’ve only finished the first round. Focusing on the main characters and keeping the other battles short is pretty practical and works for the kind of manga Black Clover is.
Okay, we had a MASSIVE cast of characters this volume but I’ll focus on the ones that received the most attention
The first is the guy who was plastered all over the cover and Asta/Mimosa’s teammate: Xerx Lugner. Xerx believes that those who cannot defeat him shouldn’t be allowed to maintain their status as a magic knight. He also made it clear that he doesn’t care about winning the tournament but, instead, just wants to humiliate as many people as he can. A real standup guy with high morals, eh?
Despite his brashness, Xerx is a really fun character. Falling asleep during their battle only to show up at the end and decisively win it for Asta just shows his confidence in his power isn’t just an ego trip. He really is an unorthodox character that I hope sticks around because he has been pretty entertaining to read.
Next up is Mimosa’s brother Kirsch Vermillion. Kirsch has quite the narcissist complex and hates all things that are ugly. However, his magic is off the charts and filled with absolute beauty. He can cover an entire battlefield in cherry blossom petals and use them to confuse people, attack opponents, defend, and even make clones of himself. While his attitude is a bit overbearing, there’s no doubt that he has the power to make it through until the end. It was revealed that Kirsch and Asta’s teams will be squaring off against each other in the second round since they both advanced. That ought to be an interesting fight!
Everyone else got their time to shine but Noelle received a little bit of information about her mother. He mother was described as beautiful and had flawless control over her magic whereas Noelle continues to struggle to control hers. Despite that, she receives some words of encouragement not to follow her mother but to make her power her own. Quick, simple backstory that sets up Noelle to walk her own path but will she be able to do so? Even in the tournament, she was ridiculed for her inability to control her powers and how she shouldn’t even consider herself a noble.
Last volume, it was character-heavy from a development standpoint. This volume, we have a ton of characters but it was all action from beginning to end…. Well… almost all action. The book actually opened up with the conclusion to the volcano training arc which was nothing more than your typical hot spring fanservice chapter. If you want to see a bunch of fully-naked girls that are censored in all the right places, then the first chapter of the volume will sure to delight you!
After that, it’s all tournament, tournament, tournament! I feel the arc is off to a great start and we’ve seen some great action so far. Ending the volume teasing Yuno’s battle is pretty smart as it will allow volume fourteen to just skip all the formalities and jump straight into the action, thus continuing the break-neck pace that this volume set. With it being the final match of the first round, I’d expect the battle to wrap up in chapter 121 and then we’ll get a couple of chapters to cool off before starting round two. At least, that’s how I would pace it but I could be completely wrong!
Nevertheless, it was a good volume of Black Clover and it makes me want to see more out of this tournament!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media