Tuesday, December 1, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: BLACK CLOVER Volume 19


MANGAKA: Yuki Tabata
TRANSLATION: Taylor Engel, HC Language Solutions, Inc.
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
EDITOR: Alexis Kirsch
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0878-9; paperback (January 2020); Rated “T” for “Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Black Clover is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Tabata.  It has been serialized in the manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump, since February 2015.  VIZ Media has been publishing an English-language edition of the manga as a paperback graphic novel series under its “Shonen Jump” imprint since 2016.

Black Clover focuses on a boy named Asta.  He and his friend, Yuno, are found abandoned in the village of Hage of the Clover Kingdom.  Both Asta and Yuno dream of one day being the “Wizard King,” the greatest mage in the land.  Asta has one big problem; he can't use magic.  When he is 15-years-old, Asta receives the rare “five-leaf-clover grimoire” (a book of magic), which gives him the power of anti-magic.  Can Asta become the Wizard King without being able to use magic?  Is he worthy of being in the “Magic Knights” squad, “the Black Bulls?”

As Black Clover, Vol. 19 (Chapters 173 to 183; entitled “Siblings”) opens, that battle between the Magic Knights and the reincarnated elves rages on.  The souls of vengeful elves that claim to have been killed long ago by humans have taken over the bodies of members of the Magic Knights.  Now, these elves are going to use their new bodies and enhanced powers to kill humans and then, to reclaim the Clover Kingdom as their own.

Now, at Clover Castle, Black Bulls captain, Yami Sukehiro; Black Bulls playboy, Finral Roulacase; and Black Bulls weirdo, Zora Idcalc take on the possessed Langris Vaude in a bid to save the King of the Clover Kingdom.  At the same time, Black Bulls member, Noelle Silva, is determined to prove to her brother, the snobby Nozel Silva of the The Silver Eagles brigade, that she can show prowess in battle.  Elsewhere, the elves plan to cast their ultimate spell that will overwhelm the remaining humans.  So where are Asta and the rest of the Black Bulls?

[This volume includes bonus material:  “The Blank Page Brigade;” an “Afterword;” and sketches.]

THE LOWDOWN:  The Black Clover manga, with every volume, proves to be one of the best shonen battle manga available to English-speaking audiences.  Because I have read nine volumes so far this year, it has become one of my favorite titles.

Black Clover Graphic Novel Volume 19 continues the push into this shocking and edgy elves-possession story arc.  In Vol. 19, creator Yuki Tabata focuses on intense battle manga, showcasing the prowess of Black Bulls members other than Asta.  These veteran Magic Knights have to throw all their talents and skills at the powerful elves, so this volume is packed with big fights full of explosive magic.

Taylor Engel's English-language translation captures the interpersonal character drama that Tabata squeezes into the battles, especially that of the Silva family.  Also, Annaliese Christman lettering in this volume of volatile magic is simply impressive

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of the top Weekly Shonen Jump manga will definitely want to try the “Shonen Jump” series, Black Clover.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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