By Keith Reid-Cleveland
Look, it’s OK. We know that jumping into a new shounen series isn’t always the easiest thing! But you’ve seen the trailers, key art or fans sending GIFs about it to each other, and now’s the time to make a move. It’s time to get into Black Clover.
From the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, Black Clover has sprung to life since its anime debut in 2017, and now has more than 120 episodes of Black Bulls action to dive into.
Ready to join the ranks? Bookmark this page, because this is your beginner’s guide to all things Black Clover. Soon enough, you’ll be yelling just like Asta.
What is Black Clover about?
Black Clover is set in a world where magic not only exists, but is baked into every fabric of life. Practically everyone is able to use it on some level from birth, from the highly regarded Wizard King to the lowliest of commoners.
A select few are talented enough that they’re invited to join groups called Magic Knight squads, which are essentially elite soldiers who defend the Clover Kingdom from threats, both internal and external.
Black Clover’s plot largely follows the adventures of these squads as they wield a variety of different types of magic on missions. In fact, it’s such an oddity for someone in the Clover Kingdom, especially a Magic Knight, to not be able to use magic that they’re constantly ridiculed and viewed as an oddity.
Which brings us to our main protagonist, Asta.
Who are the characters of Black Clover?
In some ways, main character Asta is a pretty standard shounen protagonist in that he’s deeply committed to reaching his goal—becoming the Wizard King—and relies on his determination to defeat any enemies who stand in his way.
But he’s also wholly unique by starting off the series as the only person in the entire world with literally no magical abilities whatsoever to help him accomplish his goal. That’s rough.
On the other hand, Asta’s rival and adoptive brother—Yuno—is the polar opposite, as a magical prodigy whom everyone respects and expects to do great things in his own quest to become the Wizard King.
As the series develops, viewers are introduced to more of Yuno and Asta’s friends and foes, who each come with their own unique backstories and opportunities to develop and become fan favorites.
This includes Noelle Silva, the disgraced noble stuck in the shadow of her older siblings; Yami Sukehiro, the laid-back and often stoic captain of the Black Bulls; and Mereoleona and Fuegoleon Vermillion, two fire-wielding siblings who constantly impress their peers with bouts of strength, among other things.
What about the existence of magic?
As we established above, magic is an important part of life in Black Clover. But it’s not as simple as pointing a finger and sending fireballs flying around. As a sort of coming-of-age ceremony, citizens of the Clover Kingdom that are 15 years of age can be granted a grimoire, a book that allows them to hone their magical abilities.
Every magic knight has a grimoire, but some stand out from the rest. For example, while almost every grimoire in the Clover Kingdom has a three-leaf clover on the cover, a handful have four leaves instead—for reasons we won’t get into here. And then there are five-leaf clovers. You gotta watch for that.
One of these five-leaf grimoires belongs to Asta and allows him to wield multiple anti-magic swords that absorb and deflect any magic they come into contact with. In other words, Asta is the only person in the world who can even touch them due to his lack of magical ability and incredible physical strength.
As another level-up, a small handful of mages are able to form relationships with spirits, which in turn allow them to access much more powerful magic than their peers. Yuno quickly forms a bond with a wind spirit named Sylph, adding to his already impressive wind magic abilities.
And the magical hierarchy?
As the series begins, Asta and Yuno are given the opportunity to become Magic Knights. Yuno joins the most popular of nine squads in the kingdom, the Golden Dawn, and Asta joins the Black Bulls, a group of self-proclaimed misfits who spent so much time at the bottom of the rankings that they practically owe rent.
Every Magic Knight squad has a hierarchy of its own with captains, who are among the strongest in the kingdom, leading the way.
Regardless of how strong they are, every Magic Knight squad reports back to two rulers of the Clover Kingdom. Their orders and assignments come directly from the Wizard King, who is considered to be the single strongest mage in the entire kingdom. This means that any Magic Knight is eligible for becoming the Wizard King when a vacancy opens, including Asta and Yuno.
But even the Wizard King technically has to follow the orders of the King of the Clover Kingdom, who is likely appointed by a handful of noble families. If you had to guess, which one of these two rulers is clearly a favorite among the people? Go ahead, guess.
What about the villains of Black Clover?
No shounen anime is complete without conflict. Black Clover provides plenty of it through a number of antagonists that the Magic Knights have to face off against.
Early in the series, the Eye of the Midnight Sun is introduced. This group essentially serves as an anarchist terrorist cell seeking to destroy the Clover Kingdom. While we won’t spoil their specific motivations, methods or origin story, just know that the group is comprised of a number of strong villains who each bring the Magic Knights to the edge in battle!
If that weren’t enough to deal with, the Clover Kingdom is only one of multiple kingdoms with magic at its disposal. This means it’s constantly under threat of attack or espionage from the Diamond, Heart or Spade Kingdoms, depending on the relationship they have at the time. Villains also appear from the likes of the Underwater Temple and the Forest of Witches.
Lastly—and in leaving certain things out for the sake of spoilers—there’s always a supernatural element at play. With that said, the existence of elves and demons play an important role in the series. Remember that.
So, you want to watch Black Clover?
With more than 120 episodes, there’s enough backstory and canon in Black Clover to write an article twice this long, but that would be more of an expert’s guide instead of a beginner’s guide into the show. Hey, that’s a good idea.
Plus, half the fun is enjoying the ride for yourself! We hope you’ll love Asta and the rest of the crew as much as we do!
Hopefully, you’ve learned enough about Black Clover to dive in and get started. We give it 48 hours until you’re betting on the next Wizard King and aligning with a favorite squad.
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