Blu-Ray Review: Black Clover – Season 1 Part 4

Asta’s journey in the Black Bulls continues in Black Clover – Season 1 Part 4 but what can one expect from this particular Blu-Ray release by Manga Entertainment UK? Well let’s find out.

Synopsis:

What should have been a relaxing vacation turns into a chilling adventure when mysterious magic snow lures the children of Nean into a deadly trap.

Joining up with Gauche, Asta will face his toughest challenge yet—trying to work with the stubborn mirror mage! While Gauche is more focused on protecting his beloved little sister, Asta is stuck fighting in the mud.

But when members of the Eye of the Midnight Sun show up, this battle goes from dirty to dire! Luckily, an unexpected pair arrives as reinforcements. Will they have what it takes to face the powerful Licht and his elite squad, the Third Eye?

Our View:

Black Clover continues to deliver the Shonen action one would expect to receive and with this fourth instalment the battles escalate so much that Black Bulls captain, Yami Sukehiro, has to enter the battlefield. Surprises are in store and over-arching story line seems to be formulating but alas the events of this fourth part offer a sense of similarity with Asta, stirred on by his team-mates, bringing peace back to a location the guild are visiting. It’s the usual slice of Shonen action but for once actually provides some form of entertainment.

Following on from the events of the previous part, of which see Asta and Noelle protect the Capital from a magic attack, this fourth instalment starts with the members of the Black Bulls celebrating with a well earned day off and a well earned pay check. As per usual Asta and Yuno send most of their pay to the church from the village they grew up in; but both are recommended to save some for themselves. Undecided on what to spend his pay on Asta travels to a nearby village to keep a promised he once made to a girl which causes Noelle to act slightly jealous and begins to follow him.

In this same village meanwhile Black Bulls team mate Gauche Adlai is shopping in order to buy presents for his younger sister but during his shopping spree sees that Asta is playing with her and her friends in the street. Enraged by this Gauche beats up Asta while lurking in the background Noelle is confused by the whole situation. This comical skit is the start to a situation which sees a group of magicians kidnap children in order to extract their magic and with Gauche’s own sister being involved in his kidnapping he, along with Asta and a member of the local church, search for the missing children.

This search leads them into the mountains where they encounter two wizrds; one capable of creating ice and another capable of creating mud. Booth prove to be a challenge for Asta and Gauche, but when Gauche accepts his resposiblity of being a bigger brother and team-mate they manage to take-down their opponents. Victory seems ensured but two other mages soon arrive on the scene and sure enough the battle takes a turn for the worst. Outnumbered, and outpowered Gauche and Asta are fearing the worst but eventually Black Bull captain Yami Sukehiro arrives to aide them in combat.

Yami’s appearance onto the battlefield is a notable highlight of this instalment as it means we get to see him in action and in true spectacular style we see Yami go up against Licht, the leader of this group of misfit magicians and a light wielding user. Licht is also the same person that trapped a captain in the previous instalment and proves to be a formidable foe against Yami; with Asta and Gauche eventually stepping in to provide support – and in turn – bringing Licht down for the time being. As far as Black Clover battles go then this battle between Yami and Licht is easily the best we’ve seen and the arrival of The Third Eye appears further adds to the insanity this fight delivers with three Magic Knight Captains joining in on the fight to bring this story arc to its conclusion.

As far as story arcs go then this particular arc is simple and straight forward, with the emphasis being put on Gauche’s past and inability to trust others. It further cements Gauche’s personality of being an overly protective brother while at the same time showcasing the character, and his magical skills, grow in battle; all the while delivering one of the best fights with seen in Black Clover since the series first started.  On a side note there is also a lot less shouting; but still a fair amount in the grand scheme of things – after all this IS Black Clover we are talking about.

Extras:

Once again the supplementary content included with Black Clover Blu-Ray releases continues to provide an extensive selection and this fourth instalment is no different as viewers will find a variety of Interview segments alongside the traditional extended Clover Clips and textless songs.

As with past releases Inside Story J features Q&A session with the Director and notable English dubbed voice actors from the series as they discuss their roles on Black Clover and what they think of the characters they portray. Inside the episode segments and English Dubbed cast commentaries meanwhile offer more highlights from different members of the English Cast, of which aren’t that useful but are sometimes still entertaining to watch.

Outside of the “opinion pieces we have the Chibi Shorts known as Clover Clips, which naturally see the characters of Black Clover in different, and comical, scenarios inspired from events of the main series. The final selection of bonus features included in this fourth part of Black Clover is the textless opening and ending songs related to the episodes of this part. In short it is another solid selection of supplementary content, especially if you are a fan of the English dub produced by FUNimation and its ever-expanding-pool of voice actors.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 2:23:12 (Disc 1), 1:35:38 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby True HD 5.1 (English) & Dolby True HD 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 4 continues to deliver the same shonen action we have seen previously been expands upon it by further exploring the characters within the Black Bulls, as well as their desires. In this case the personalities of Gauche and Captain Yami are brought centre stage, with both of their pasts being shown on screen as they attempt to better themselves during the midst of a fight. Elsehwere however we have a potential overarching story further being teased with the arrival of Third Eye and Licht; of which sees destructive magic battles taking place to all of those involved.

From an episodic stand-point then each episode breezes past without a care in the world, something which Shonen shows tend to do quite well; as such watch multiple episodes in one session is advised. In this scenario at least it sees a group of mages kidnap children in order to extract their magic to the highest bidder but in doing so they activate the wrath of Gauche and Asta who arrive on scene to protect the children and defeat the enemy. During this entire ordeal however a stronger enemy appears, and the overseer of this escapade, which in turn sees Yami arrive on scene in order to protect backup and support to his team-mates. Magical battles are ensured; but it provides the best we’ve seen so far – even if the animation still isn’t up to par of what you would expect from the studio.

Outside of the episodic content we have another respectable release by Manga Entertainment UK, who are once again using disc masters produced by FUNimation; and as such audio is presented in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 with subtitles locked to the Japanese audio track and display in white text. Supplementary content also remains positive and continues to deliver the same type of supplementary content as previous releases; with a large selection of English curated content tailored to voice actor opinion pieces that are both enlightening and dull at the same time.

Overall Black Clover Season 1 Part 4 offers the same animation and presentation as previous instalments, but this time with a more comical and liner storyline that focuses on characters and enemies that have yet to receive the spotlight. It’s fun from start to finish and further expands the Black Clover universe and the characters that reside within.

Score: review-stars-3

Black Clover – Season 1 Part 4 is now available on Blu-Ray (and DVD) 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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