ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Black Clover Vol. 21’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Black Clover Volume 21

Black Clover Vol. 21 is an action-adventure fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Mangaka Yūki Tabata. The series is published by VIZ Media as a part of the SHONEN JUMP imprint. Black Clover takes place in a world where nearly every human is born with magic and tells the story of orphans Asta and Yuno. While Yuno is a prodigy born with an advanced skill of magic, Asta, on the other hand, is born without any magic at all.

However, not having magic won’t stop Asta from pursuing his dream of becoming a Magic Knight. The series follows Asta and Yuno as they grow stronger and climb their way through the ranks of the Clover Kingdom’s Magic Knights in hopes of one day earning the title of Wizard King.

Volume 21, contains chapters 195 through 205. Asta and Yuno who are now in the Shadow Palace and the time has finally come to settle the centuries-long grudge with the elves. However, when the real dark force behind everything makes its appearance known, the course of the battle takes a dramatic turn.

I felt like I flew through this volume way too fast, but I mean that in the best of ways. Partly because it is set at a nice, fast pace with all of the action, but also because it is balanced out with an interesting story. It was so good I didn’t want to put it down until I finished.

However, readers will most likely notice that the page numbers for some of the chapters are a bit fewer than others. At least half of the chapters in this volume fluctuate between 15 and 19 pages. I think it should be recognized and appreciated that Mangaka such as Tabata work extremely hard to keep up with grueling schedules, workloads, and deadlines to bring manga fans the same quality entertainment they are known for. Personally, I’m not bothered that some chapters are shorter than others, because at the end of the day Tabata still gives us a quality manga to enjoy. I hope other readers can keep that in mind as they read too.

This arc of the manga felt like a satisfying culmination of many things. For example, in this volume we finally get the full story about what actually furthered the hatred between the elves and humans hundreds of years ago. I think long time fans of the series will get a lot of enjoyment out of the reveals in this volume. This volume definitely took this arc with the elves in an interesting direction not just with the action but with the story overall.

Now, I will say that the trope of a secret bigger and badder villain being behind the scenes unbeknownst to the other villain is nothing new. In fact, it can have the potential to feel like a cop out or let down when done poorly. However, I felt like Tabata does a great job of making it work and feel original in Black Clover. 

Lastly, as usual, Tabata’s art skills do not disappoint. The artwork is so vivid and smooth whether the characters are in a heated battle or just talking with one another. I especially enjoyed the illustrations of Asta and Yuno’s fight scenes. I like how Tabata illustrates their battle styles in a way that reflects their own characteristics. For example, the way Tabata illustrates Yuno’s fighting style is smooth and elegant like his wind magic as he evades attacks without showing too much emotion. Meanwhile, the way Asta is illustrated matches his intense headstrong nature and the intensity of his demonic and anti-magic powers.

Overall, Black Clover Vol. 21 is an enjoyable read and a fast-paced page-turner. Tabata’s art and storytelling skills continue to impress me and hold my attention on every page. This volume does a good job of answering questions that long time fans might have had from the start of the series and takes the arc of this series into an interesting direction.

 Black Clover Vol. 21 will be available at bookstores and online on June 2. To find out where to buy, check out Viz.com.

Black Clover Vol. 21
5

TL;DR

Black Clover Vol. 21 is an enjoyable read and a fast-paced page-turner. Tabata’s art and storytelling skills continue to impress me and hold my attention on every page. This volume does a good job of answering questions that long time fans might have had from the start of the series and takes the arc of this series into an interesting direction.