Black Clover Review: The Most Underrated Shonen Anime

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Black Clover Review
Black Clover

Black Clover is not for everyone. If you ask for anime fans’ most hated anime, then there is a big chance that Black Clover will come up in most of them. Even though Black Clover consistently outsells big top-performing manga titles both in Japan and internationally, it doesn’t detract from the astronomical amount of hate it gets from anime fans. 

Black Clover first aired on 3rd October 2017. Soon after the first episode aired, anime fans took to their preferred anime dating site to give an abysmal review of Black Clover, which had become the new Sword Art Online of the anime community overnight. Everyone hated Black Clover, and the worst thing is that the hate was for very genuine reasons.

The most prevalent reason was that the protagonist, namely Asta, was simply too annoying. This Black Clover review is for anyone who dropped the Black Clover anime after the first two episodes of hearing Asta’s ear-splitting screams.

In spite of the hate, many anime fans would still recommend Black Clover to any new anime fan. Currently, the anime stands at a whopping 170 m episodes, 2 OVAs, and 1 ONA series. There is also a Black Clover Movie being produced which is set to release in June of 2023. So getting into Black Clover is a huge commitment.

And we know that you don’t want to watch something that might end up wasting your time. So we decided to watch all of Black Clover and write this black clover review in order to help you decide whether you should watch it or not.

Black Clover Trailer

Black Clover Summary:

The story of Black Clover revolves around an unremarkable orphan boy named Asta and his journey toward becoming the wizard king while possessing no magic at all. Asta is accompanied on his journey by his best friend and rival, Yuno, who is deemed by many to be a prodigy in magic. 

During an incident in their village, Asta is chosen by a five-leaf grimoire, giving him the power to negate all magic. With this newfound power, Asta and Yuno embark on their journey to become the wizard king. 

Black Clover Review: The Most Underrated Shonen
(Photo: TV Tokyo)

Soon they reach the capital of the Clover Kingdom, where they’ll get chosen by one of the many magic knight divisions. Each magic knight division has its own inner workings and motivations, along with a captain that’s the embodiment of that said motivation.

Our protagonist fails to get chosen by any of the well-established divisions but ends up being taken up by the Black Bulls, led by Captain Yami. A division made up of quirky troublemakers who haven’t found a proper place in society and, above all, they are outcasts and are always undermined by society just like our protagonist, making this the perfect division for him.

The characters all have unique designs and powers, making them quite interesting. Asta is a hot-headed and determined but a bit annoying protagonist. At the same time, his best friend, Yuno, is a calm and collected prodigy with a great sense of responsibility.

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Black Clover Review: The Most Underrated Shonen
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

The animation in Black Clover is stunning, and the fight scenes are well-choreographed while being unbelievably intense. The use of magic in this series is very creative, mainly due to the different kinds of magic and the different personalities of the users that influence the magic. The soundtrack is one of a kind, and it complements the action sequences perfectly.

A common criticism of the series is that some of the characters are quite plain and stale, often embodying one of the cliche shonen troupes and nothing else. However, this minor flaw doesn’t deduct any points from the overall quality of the series.

Currently, the Black Clover anime is on an indefinite hiatus. You can read our detailed article on the hiatus: Is Black Clover finished? How much of the story is left?

Black Clover Review:

Black Clover is a shonen anime that has it all. A story that is easy to understand, full of cliches, but also not too predictable. The story’s pacing is well-thought-out and always delivers action-packed episodes, even during filler arcs. Along with unique and well-structured arcs that each serve a specific purpose, be it connecting different aspects of that world or building upon previous arcs to deliver a satisfying end.

The animation is mostly top-notch. Studio Pierrot has done an amazing job animating Black Clover, the backgrounds and landscapes are beautifully rendered in order to create an atmosphere appropriate to the scenes. Though there are noticeable dips in quality during some fight scenes that are rendered using CGI.

One of the downsides of the Black Clover series is its use of cliches. Black Clover follows many cliches and troupes while taking advantage of sudden deus ex machinas like all its other competitors in the shonen genre.

The Black Clover Series takes place in a world enriched with mana, where magic is a normal phenomenon. It has all different kinds of magic, starting from basic fire, water, wind, and earth magic to metal, time, and even paint magic. 

Black Clover Review: The Most Underrated Shonen
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

The world of Black Clover is meticulously thought out and well-detailed. The world of Black clover currently has 4 kingdoms, each named after the suites of a card deck.

We have the Spade, Heart, and Diamond Kingdoms, along with the Clover Kingdom, where most of the early story takes place. The different kingdoms each have their own culture and customs. The political relationships are well-established, and the history is well-explored. The rules of magic and other phenomena are also established with proper rules that encompass all the countries.

Black Clover Characters:

One of the many elements of any series we look to carry a show is the cast and characters, and when we look at Black Clover’s characters, it’s easy to dismiss them as a group of tropes and cliches because they are a group of tropes and cliches.

On the surface, most of the cast doesn’t get too much development, say for the main few characters, but the strength of the characters doesn’t come from them as individual cast members but as an ensemble.

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The series has no problem throwing a large group of new characters in your face at once, meaning that you won’t get much of an impression of them beyond their initial look and quirk each individual has, but the characters and personalities are varied enough that is just entertaining to watch the dynamic group work as a whole.

After the first arc of the anime, we are introduced to the magic knights that are split up into different divisions, with each division having a different personality and philosophy led by a captain that is the embodiment of that philosophy.

Black Clover Review: The Most Underrated Shonen
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

And most of the members of the magic knights come from a noble family, but being from the same family doesn’t mean being in the same division, and being in the same division doesn’t mean sharing the same philosophy. Each division and family have their own dynamics and rivalries.

All this while not even mentioning the commoners that are Asta and Yuno, and above all this,l we have a ranking system that awards group and individual performances. All of this makes for some entertaining chemistry among the huge cast of characters in Black Clover. 

The real strength of this series comes from the growth that the different divisions and individuals go through. You can see the general respect for Asta change throughout the story. Asta, who was mocked for being a commoner without magic gradually gains the respect of not only division members but also other captains too.

Unoriginality In Black Clover:

One of the biggest criticisms thrown at Black Clover was its lack of originality. Black Clover is a mish-mash of different tropes and cliches joined together with tape. Asta was an amalgamation of every other shonen protagonist to ever exist.

Yuno is a cliched prodigy rival, while the protagonist is a powerless underdog who brutes forces his way through everything. All of this, with a premise that hardly has any unique selling point. But then why should you watch Black Clover?

The unoriginality that Black Clover is shunned for also serves as its biggest strength. Black Clover takes elements from much other shonen anime and will continue to do so. Thus, it can throw in all the best elements you’ve seen in other shows and plays around with them. Black Clover is as shonen as it can get, and it doesn’t try to be anything else.

Black Clover just drip feeds you everything you want to see in a shonen in a very compact space. The magic knight system is basically inspired by Bleach and their Gotei 13, and fans wouldn’t have a problem with it as it was one of the things that made Bleach so interesting.

Black Clover Review: The Most Underrated Shonen
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

Black Clover might seem like a jack-of-all-trades master of none kind of anime, but it ends up as a master at being a jack-of-all-trades. Black Clover knows you’ve seen shonen anime before. It knows you love shonen anime.

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So instead of reinventing the wheel, it just gives you everything that made you fall in love with shonen anime. Individually, the show is dull compared to other shonen anime. But it’s together that the series is able to carve its own identity. 


All of the qualities talked about in this Black Clover review are surface-level things that would get old really fast, and the way Black Clover counteracts this is by never slowing down. While most shonen animes like My Hero Academia favors concrete character building.

Black Clover values constant progression and escalation, and it never stops. Even arcs that start off with an unimportant plot point almost immediately ramp up to an incident that steps up in scale to the previous one.

Black Clover Review: The Most Underrated Shonen
(Credits: TV Tokyo)

The power escalation in the series also goes through this same process. It just keeps escalating. And it works because Asta’s ability to negate magic is already a broken ability in a world where everyone is dependent on magic. So no matter how strong or ridiculous some of the spells in the series become, it’s just about Asta finding a new way to use his magic-negating abilities.

Black Clover English Dub or Sub?

It has been an age-long debate among anime fans on whether the English dub is better or the sub is better. Many times the sub is better due to the anime being made for Japanese audio and Japanese humor, but in the case of Black Clover, the English dub is almost on par with the subs.

The Japanese and English audios are both done by talented and beloved voice actors such as Gakuto Kajiwara (for the Japanese audio), who also voiced characters like Shinra Kusakabe from Fire Force and Dallar Reid (for the English audio). 

Also, if you are easily irritated by sharp noises, then we would suggest that you watch the English dub of Black Clover, as Asta’s constant shouts are quite tolerable in the English dub compared to its subbed counterpart.

Overall, Black Clover is an excellent anime series and is a must-watch for anime fans if they are already a fan of the shonen genre. The amalgamation of a well-written story, interesting characters, well-thought-out power systems, and an intricate world design makes for a thrilling and engaging viewing experience. 

Our Verdict On Black Clover:

Black Clover is a must-watch for anime fans and is a great gateway anime for those looking for their first anime to watch. The story is simple but not linear, it has its own twists and turns, and the power systems and world-building are one of a kind in the current age where every other fantasy anime has an RPG game-like magic system and one-dimensional characters and environments.

On the surface, Black Clover is just another shonen anime that fails to reinvent the wheel, but it’s still an anime that will remind you of everything that you love about shonen anime and is undeserving of the hate it gets. Overall, our rating for Black Clover will be 3.5/5.

Our Rating: 3.5/5.

Also read: How Jujutsu Kaisen Reforms Shonen – A Modern Anime For Gen Z

By Anupam Barua

Anupam Barua is a passionate reader who enjoys indulging in light novels, manga, and anime during his free time. He hails from Assam and is currently pursuing BSc. He specializes in anime and manga-related articles, you can reach out to him on

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