Black Clover 2 by Yuki Tabata

Black Clover 2 continues to build upon the legend of Asta and Yuno – the two ‘street rats’ who will rise up in the ranks of wizards with both desiring to take the top position. The story is building slowly, with Asta and Noelle trying to find their magic (or lack thereof) by doing assignments for the Black Bull squad. There are the usual battles and surprises; I’m greatly reminded of Bleach with every volume.

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Story: Asta’s odd magic-negating sword is proving to be both an asset and a curse as he learns to use it. But his courage and determination inspire those around him. So much so that he will take notice of the magic emperor himself. Meanwhile, an assignment to find a lost treasure in a newly discovered tomb turns into a 3-way race between the Black Bulls, the Golden Dawn squad, and a foreign kingdom’s magicians.

The drawing is still fairly shakey – lacking the details that one typically expects from a seasoned manga artist. Lines are very one-dimensional and background details underwhelming. Certainly, the author/artist hasn’t hit his stride yet and settled into the characters by this second volume.

The random fan service is kind of distracting (and not in the way you’d think) – it’s rather randomly placed and doesn’t make a lot of sense for the characters. I would have preferred less ‘up dress angles’ and ‘gravity defying assets’ – it just feels like someone is trying too hard.

There’s not a lot of creativity here – magicians, tombs, grimoirs – the author doesn’t stretch much to create a world around which to base his characters. Even the magic system, based on elements/nature, is rather trite.

The story looks to have many places it can go and there is still a lot of mystery to be explored. Hopefully, this will be more than ‘monster/tomb of the week’ to make it worthwhile. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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