Title: Black Clover Vol. 31
Author: Yuki Tabata
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
The big battles continue here in the 31st volume of Black Clover. We start off with Langris taking on Zenon. Finral joins the fight and while, together, they take their best shot, it’s not enough. Fortunately, on the cusp of defeat, Yuno comes to save the day… until he, too, is on the verge of defeat and death. Here, Yuno receives a power-up and, in addition to that, we finally get confirmation through this power-up, of what his true identity is. Using this new power, as predictable in a shonen series like this, Yuno is able to take down Zenon but… the gate isn’t closing even though all members of the Dark Triad have fallen.
We are taken a new “big bad” in the storm of the Scholar Morris who was acting as the accelerant for the portal and the one who is holding Captain Yami and Captain Vangeance captive. In what appeared to be an even greater final battle was very short-lived which gave way to, yet, another final battle when the portal was opened just enough for the “ultimate demon” to come through it. All seems hopeless until… and that’s how we end our volume
While Langris was able to show off his power, Yuno was the one who took center stage when it comes to character development. In previous volumes, Yuno was teased to have been of the royal bloodline in the Spade Kingdom. All of that was confirmed here in this volume. What happens through his power-up though is pretty impressive. I won’t spoil what he becomes but let’s just say that if he wants to throw in his name to become the new Wizard King, he’s now at a level of power where he could easily be a contender!
We spend a couple of pages getting Zenon’s background and how he ended up becoming a devil host. Similar to Yuno and Asta, Zenon had a rival when he was a kid named Allen. Together, they aimed to be the commander-in-chief of the brigade, similar to the Clover Kingdom’s Wizard King. We see the events that led Zenon down his dark path and finally accepted being a devil host after rejecting the temptation time and time again.
We also received a brief flashback for Scholar Morris as well. To be honest, it was nothing to write home about and just your typical flashback before he was defeated. The fight against him was over so quickly, it left little room to even care about his backstory.
On the brighter side of things, Lolapechka was saved as was Gaja. Gaja had something pretty important to say to her. Whether or not we will see the results of that in this arc’s epilogue remain to be seen but here’s hoping we do!
It was another action-packed volume of Black Clover which caused it to fly by in no time. The only thing that bothers me about these battles is just the randomness of the abilities. At least in other shonen series, there is build-up and meaning behind the attacks. Here, it just seems as if these characters are calling out whatever they feel will give them the upper hand in the battle… and if they’re falling behind, they’ll just use a random ultimate ability that was only assumed from previous training sessions.
I think the problem stems from the massive cast of characters. There just isn’t enough time to really sit down and memorize every single one. If Yuki Tabata did that, Volume 31 would probably still be on the Eye of the Midnight Sun arc. The downside to just randomly tossing out spells and abilities like this, though is exactly that… it feels random and, in turn, feels like every ability is just a Deus Ex Machina plot device. That’s probably one of my biggest qualms with the series… and nobody ever truly dies. Why put characters in a situation where it looks like it’s over for them and then two pages later, everything’s fine and they win? It’s getting a bit tiring.
The other issue I had was the gauntlet of “final bosses” in this series. Zenon put up a hell of a fight and then we get a throwaway with Morris and what looks to be another throwaway with this ultimate devil. I’m hoping Volume 32 extends this fight and makes it meaningful but with the way this volume ended, I’m guessing it’ll be over pretty soon.
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media