Hah, not a chance!
Sitting among the popular titles of 2017 Fall Season, Black Cover prides itself as the sole attention of big and quick hate. I can’t blame the people hating on it, though. Studio Pierrot should know better about diving into a snake pit.
Just a few obvious things I want to reiterate here:
- Yes, people are crying non-stop about this show being a Naruto rip-off.
- Yes, some even claim it to be the filler gap for Boku no Hero Academia hype.
- Yes, Asta’s voice is unbearable, just like my lawnmower.
Ah. Freedom of speech is truly a blessing. It makes whatever I have to say about anything less worthwhile of your time and energy to read because aren’t we all supposed to have that valuable thing called ‘opinion’?
I did not want to come off as half-ass either, so before writing this post out, I spent all of yesterday to:
- Watch first 4 episode of Black Clover and read the first 10 chapters of the manga
- Watch first 19 episodes of Naruto
- Watch first 18 episodes of ______ 😛
After having done all of the above and spending some extra time considering pretty much nearly everything around the three shows, here is what I have to say:
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Black Clover started at a horrible time, as far as anime is known by the humans of this planet (and Grape-kun—R.I.P.). Having come to know some early facts about the series, both in manga and anime, there are four immediate points I can make right here and now.
One being that if Black Clover is intended to be running within a single cour, it would be the biggest mistake Pierrot has made for the show given how they practically wasted four episodes into ‘proving’ Asta’s character when the show’s supposed association, Naruto, had only taken a single episode to do the exact same thing. Obviously, the only way I can see the show being saved is to go two cour route.
The other point is that if Black Clover is intended to be a long running show, it would be struggling uncomfortably in its first few dozens of episodes. Recently and even further into the source material, the series does indeed heavily resemble Naruto in almost every damn way when it comes to the contents: two rival main characters and a ‘female lead’ *cough*, especially with a deadbeat talentlless protagonist at that.
Actually, I took the time to read some reviews on it and no surprises, the ‘most helpful’ review literally speaks my mind right now so, at his courtesy:
Edgy rival who has lots of talent, this time based on a myth that four-leaf clovers brings luck.
Protagonist wants to be the best of his world.
Bystanders always make fun of him (and Black Clover is trying to be a little funnier with the ‘birds’).
Demon-sourced powers triggered out of luck: five-leaf grimoire vs. Nine-Tail.
An obvious hero who save the city from a demon aeons ago: Wizard King vs. The Hokage
“Never give up is my magic/ninja way!”
Last but not even the least, main characters are orphans because having parents would mean that they’d unlikely be obnoxious, right?
Props to the anime for being self-aware; this scene here is anime original!
Some of these things above are practically the essentials. If anyone doesn’t want their work to be labelled Naruto then best they avoid majority of these. The staggering amount of resemblance brings me to wonder, “who would actually, willingly watch this?”
On top of my head are two obvious possibilities; Naruto haters and (diehard) battle shounen fans who can actually appreciate the genre.
Then there is another possibility I haven’t thought about until now, at the time I’m writing out this post:
People who did not grow up with Naruto or any other battle shounen shows but are attempting to experience what makes long running anime shows in the 90’s and especially early 2000’s so endearing.
So, IF Pierrot has indeed chose Black Cover to be the next long running battle shounen show then they should be ready for many obstacles on top of the eight things I have already mentioned earlier.
Its straightforward story and characters may have a lot in common with Naruto but the more often I watch Black Clover, especially at its fourth episode, the more I think that its world-building, presentation and style of direction lean much closer to Fairy Tail (now you know what fills the blank), both having a massive name convention that is considered cheesy even among English speakers. I swear to God, battle shounen anime is home to outrageous names, conjured up by drunk creators who are over-inspired by classic English RPG but actually never studied the meaning of the words they used for their characters’ names. This is actually a good reminder for me because World of Warcraft actually makes a GREAT use of name convention for NPC’s, you should check some out here (serious names) and here (hilarious names). There is actually an NPC named Hurp’derp in WoW.
I will leave you to decide on who wins the outrageous name contest: Black Clover or Fairy Tail?
The two shows revolve around the ideal of a world where magic is (almost) everything—you really can’t ignore the fact that in Fairy Tail, friendship is above all and there is no telling if Black Clover would lean that way three hundred episodes later. Speaking of a world of magic; when the protagonist Asta has a magic nullifying ability embedded right into his main weapon, Black Clover once again is reaching out to mess with another show. This time it heavily borrows what makes Toaru Majutsu no Index a cheesy but great comedy based action…
Both shows also employ hype mechanics for the plots and have constant, overwhelming finisher in fights, no matter how significant.
Geeez, the list just goes on.
I have only talked about two of the four immediate points and I will apologize for having the second point being extremely long, because my rambling is not over just yet. It is now 2017 and Black Clover cannot get away for just being a battle shounen anime; like every shows coming out within the same season and after, it HAS to meet visual and audio standards. And for sure, the bar gets set higher year after year. More than just stories and characters, I think that the visuals standard is a bar Black Clover has to constantly overcome.
Let us not talk about Asta’s voi-
-scream; you know as much as I do about what to say regarding it.
For a standard fare to battle shounen anime, Black Clover has really baited me with over-the-top Sakuga and digital works used in their promotional video. Its debut episode followed up to exactly that, which had me felt great about the show.
Then whatever the hell happened to the second and third episodes? The fourth wasn’t even considered a visual upgrade by Pierrot’s standards. Though, Asta’s short battle was sure full of keen efforts. I have no complaints but I will not praise the battle show based on a single battle, not at least until I see more of the same thing so I can be sure that they aren’t doing it just for once.
The opening was nice, too. It easily captured the characters’ portraits—how we will mostly see them in the show (not so much on hearing because Asta lol)—something I actually love Pierrot for. And I don’t even think it is coincidence; I told you that I have watched some of Naruto, haven’t I?
The very first opening for Naruto really felt that way to me as well, so I’m happy that the studio still know its roots after more than a decade. There was clearly some Sakuga at work and some seriously great arts for a 2002 show.
And to prove similarities, for the last damn time: both openings have the rivalry ‘fists’.
The final point I want to make is how (I’ll say it again that) Black Clover has really started at a horrible time. Anime has come extremely far from the medium’s origins, it even managed to form a subculture, having a massive industry that works its way around. Today we have plethora of methods to access anime, which puts Black Clover in a massive initial disadvantage when it relies heavily on the things that make early 2000’s long running battle shounen anime successful. Unlike the times of Bleach of Naruto, when a lot of anime watchers had little to no choice even if they switch TV channels in hopes of finding something fitting their tastes, in the current time where Black Clover is sitting: most of us have the luxury to avoid the show because there are over thirty-and-a-half-thousand shows we can be watching instead.
This is where I will watch over the show and its audience to see how they will overcome the situation—to see if a classic can still be made.
To conclude this ramble/rant of mine: Instead of being a full on rip-off, I do believe that Black Clover is actually extremely over-inspired. There are so many ways you can animate three boring pages of the manga; who knows what talents in direction can do to source material alteration. We do not know the future so until it is over, keep the shit talk about the show to yourself, likewise I will keep mine to myself from now on (unless you ask me for it). Shall the show truly deserve to be shit on, the end may be worth blocking up the sewage pipe.
Yes, I am far from feeling like hailing this show as a battle shounen classic because it has a long way to go in achieving just that. But like many of you who still hold some kind of expectations, I will probably ride this one out with you. Even if it will take 50 episodes to separate from its associates, be grateful that there is even another show which has the potential of being a long running classic.
Thank you for reading. This is me NOT adhering to the Three Episode Rule for Black Clover and I am now signing out!
Have a safe trip going into and out from the show. |^_^|