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Black Clover (series)

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Black Clover title art

Black Clover's title art.

Black Clover 「ブラッククローバー Burakku Kurōbā」 is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yūki Tabata. The series began serialization on February 16, 2015 on Weekly Shōnen Jump's 12th issue. The story focuses on fantasy, adventure and comedy genres while maintaining the "Young Boys" 「少年 Shōnen」 demography.

Overview

Manga

One-shot

Black Clover's one-shot.

Prior to the series' serialization, Yūki Tabata had already written a one-shot of the same name. The said one-shot was published in 2014, on the 2nd volume of Jump NEXT. The one-shot was then rewritten for serialization in which one of the elements that both version share is the dual protagonists setting of Asta and Yuno.

Upon its serialization, Black Clover starts steadily gaining popularity among the Japanese readers. It resulted in the magazine to commission multiple color pages in quick successions in order to further promote the series. As of November 30, 2015, Black Clover has received 2 magazine covers and 12 color pages.

Volume 1

Black Clover's 1st volume.

Furthermore, chapters of the Black Clover series are also being collected into a Graphic Novel 「単行本 Tankōbon」 format in which each of them would contain between 8-10 chapters. One of the major differences between the magazine version and the graphic novel version is the paper quality where the latter uses a much higher paper quality. The graphic novel version sometimes offers a revision over mistakes that were made on the original publication and improvement over the art in general. Additionally, the graphic novel also included extra chapters or characters profile that were not published in the magazine.

The volumes are published by Shueisha Inc. 「株式会社集英社 Kabushiki Gaisha Shūeisha」 under the Jump Comics 「ジャンプコミックス Janpu Komikkusu」 imprint. As of December 4th, 2015, the Black Clover series has published 4 volumes.

The series has also been licensed for an english language release by VIZ Media on the company's digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine starting from April 6th, 2015. The move was done after previewing the first 3 chapters of the series at the same time as the series' debut in Japan as part of the digital magazine's Jump Start campaign. The series was chosen by the english edition's editors out of the 4 new series that were coming out during that serialization round.

Synopsis

Asta and Yuno are orphans raised at the outskirt of the Clover Kingdom. In a world where people are born with magical power in which allows them to use magics, Asta was born without any of them. In contrast, Yuno was born a prodigy with above average magical power and the talent to control it. Additionally, in their coming of age ceremony, Yuno receives a rare grimoire in which it is similar to the grimoire possessed by the original Magic Emperor, a four-leaf clover grimoire. On the other hand, Asta received a tattered grimoire where a Devil lies within, a five-leaf clover grimoire.

The story follows Asta and Yuno as they crawl their way up the ladder of the Clover Kingdom's Order of the Magic Knights, in the midst of scrutinies by the nobles, to become the Magic Emperor. However, the title is only preserved for a single mage, who would attain the coveted title of the strongest mage in the Kingdom, Asta or Yuno?

Reception

The series has been widely critiqued by readers for taking close inspirations of other popular manga series for its plot and settings. One of those elements is Asta and Yuno's ambition to become the Magic Emperor in which similar to Naruto's ambition to become the Hokage, a character from the NARUTO series. Another similar elements would be the Magic Knights' squad system in which resembles the GOTEI 13 organization from the BLEACH series.

Despite all of the criticism, Black Clover is still gaining popularities where the debut sale of the 2nd volume rose around 60% from the debut sale of the 1st volume. The 1st volume had around 38,000 copies sold on its debut while the 2nd volume was sold for an estimate 61,000 copies on its debut week.

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