Blu-Ray Review: Black Clover – Season 1 Part 3

Black Clover seemingly moves along at snails pace with questionable animation quality and lack luster story-presentation; but will this third instalment into season one stir-things-up? Let’s take a look and find out.

Synopsis:

After a close call against Mars and the Diamond Kingdom knights, Asta and his friends are honoured by the Wizard King. But the celebratory event is more jeers than cheers as the other Magic Knights show their true colours.

Before things get too heated inside, they learn there’s a more serious problem happening outside. The rising dead, an energy-sapping witch, and other horrors plague the capitol!

Our View:

The journey of Asta trying to become the Wizard King continues in this third instalment of the first season and for once it actually provides some form of entertainment. Typical ‘shonen’ styled action is ensured with a simplistic, but overly entertaining story line, that sees Asta and Noelle venture to the kingdom and work with other notable Magic Knights in order to protect the capital from destruction.

Taking place shortly after the events of the second part, which saw Asta, Noelle and Luck search a dungeon for a relic and in turn defeat an evil wizard, find themselves with a heroes welcome after returning to the Black Bulls. This celebration is short lived as Asta and Noelle are whisked away to the capital in order to receive praise from the Wizard King himself. While receiving praise from the Wizard King Asta and Noelle are also invited a ceremony that sees high ranking magic knights receive awards for valiant efforts; of which Noelle’s relatives are apart of.

The introduction of Noelle’s bloodline and the embarrassment she brings to her family is clearly seen and demonstrated within the few episodes that show it; and for the first time we begin to explore the origins of characters which have previously been thrown in for no good measure.

The differences of commoners and nobles, and the mindset of nobles, is also brought to the screen; something which has long since been left out or sidelined in the episodes so far. Basically the starting portions of this third part begin to give Black Clover some merit and a bit of back bone, rather than a simple-minded-man wishing to achieve his goal.

Alas this situation with Noelle brings out the best of Asta and his determination of wanting to achieve his goals, but rivalries within the Magic Knights aside a battle erupts that sees notable evil wizard’s attacking the capital and the attending Wizard Knights being dispatched to protect everyone. In terms of battles then it definitively has it pros and cons, as we get to see different wizards and magical attacks being used; more so than ever before.

It brings variety and uniqueness to a series that has, so far, been rather stale and mundane. Unfortunately despite this praise of story and progression the animation still remains questionably simple with only small portions of each episode having any kind of noteworthy treatment or design. A simplistic story, Simple animation; but at least it is starting to become interesting by introducing an arching story line and deeper backstories.

Extras:

As with previous instalments of Black Clover, Manga Entertaiment have opted to use disc masters based on FUNimation’s release in North America. As a result of this we receive all of the same supplementary content as well as the same presentation. Whether this is a good or bad thing is entirely up to you; but personally I think it is a good thing as it means we receive the same type of bonus content and is presented in a consistent manner.

In this case the supplementary content on offer is English Cast commentary for Episodes 20 and 23, of which can be found on the first Blu-ray disc, as well as an Inside Studio J and Inside the Epiode featurette that provides additional insight into the English production of Black Clover as well as thoughts from those that helped bring it to our screens. In addition to this ‘English curated’ content we also have a ‘Special Edition’ of the Clover Clips segment as well as textless opening and closing songs for all of the songs used within this portion of the anime.

Generally speaking the selection of content on offer is on par with past instalments; albeit tailored to the contents of the episodes found within this set. Whether or not these bonus features will add any joy to your Black Clover experience depends on whether you enjoy the English dub (it Is starting to grow on me); but if you have any interest in anime and English dub production then it is definitively worth watching them as they (sometimes) can provide useful insights.

Specs:

Media: BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 2:23:12 (Disc 1), 1:35:28 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) & Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Black Clover – Season 1 Part 3 continues the adventure of Asta in the Black Bulls as he attempts to prove himself amongst their ranks, and throughout the kingdom, in hopes of one day becoming the Wizard King. Previously in the first part Asta passed the entrance exam for being a Magic Knight and was recruited by the Black Bulls, a group of magicians (or wizards) that often get into mischief and are considered one of the lowest ranking guilds available. The second part meanwhile focused on dungeon exploration with newcomers Asta and Noelle joining forces with Luck and another Magic Knight group In order to locate the relic inside the dungeon and defeat those that may wish to use it for evil desires.

It’s at this point that we land at the ‘third part’ of Black Clover and here the story begins anew with Asta and Noelle treated to a special trip to the capital in order to receive verbal recognition from the Wizard King. In doing so the Wizard King invites them to a banquet with other Wizards; most of whom are related to Noelle’s bloodline and it causes some tension in the room. Elsewhere meanwhile a group of rogue magicians have formed together and launched an all out attack on the kingdom in order to defeat (if not extract) one of the noble magicians attacking the city.

As far as stories go it is another simplistic set piece; but how it is presented, with an onslaught of new characters, refreshing takes on magic and alternate characters being given the spotlight, makes this one of the most entertaining selection of episodes to date. The only downside is the lack of episodes, which seems to be a common-trait with these Black Clover releases, and the questionable animation quality; as it seems to get worse with each passing episode. It’s not on the same level as Dragon Ball Super’s early episodes… but it is consistently bad in some areas.

As with past releases only a ‘small’ selection of episodes is included across the two Blu-Ray discs, with only six episodes being included on the first disc and another four included on the second disc; all of which are (as per previous volumes) presented in English and Japanese (with English subtitles). A selection of supplementary content, including additional clover clips and more ‘interviews with the English cast’ make it a rather an expansive release; but it’s nothing that we haven’t received already (even if the content is slightly different and tailored to the episodes included on these discs).

Overall Black Clover Season 1 Part 3 offers the same type of content as part releases, with the Black Bulls working with other magicians to stop an enemy attack, but it is presented in a better manner due to its inclusion of new characters and a common goal amongst them. It’s fun and entertaining from start to finish, which (for me at least) is a big surprise considering that past parts I found a chore to watch. In terms of Blu-Ray quality then everything (once again) remains consistent with previously released parts.

Same animation quality, same presentation, new story line; but more importantly than that; things are starting to get interesting. If you had been considering dropping Black Clover then I suggest giving this set a watch first before doing so; as it might change your mind – but at the end of the day this set is a continuation of the overall Black Clover story and it is one designed for fans of the shonen anime.

Score: review-stars-3

Black Clover – Season 1 Part 3 will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD from the 1st July 2019 within the UK via Manga Entertainment UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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