Blu-Ray Review: Black Clover – Season 2 Part 1

The adventure of Asta in the Black Bulls continues on into the second season with this Blu-Ray release of Black Clover – Season 2 Part 1; but what adventures lie in store for our magic knights in the clover kingdom? Let’s take a look and find out.

Synopsis:

Broken but not defeated. Not even broken arms can stop Asta! But when his injuries are beyond healing magic, this could mean the end of his journey. Except his magic is never giving up! Together, with his friends, they head to the Witches’ Forest to find a cure – or more trouble.

Our View:

The first instalment into the second season of Black Clover brings a consistent presentation of magical battles, troublesome foes and consistent screaming from one pointy-haired protagonist; but when all is said and done it delivers a developing-storyline that further expands the world of Black Clover and the characters that inhabit it. Naturally this is a good thing, as it makes the world of Black Clover that more interesting, but sadly the animation and story-presentation remain consistently mediocre.

Naturally resuming where the previous episode left off, which saw Asta and the Black Bulls in attendance with Julius at the Clover Kingdom and Kiten under attack from members of the Diamond Kingdom, we now see a short story that focuses on members of the Golden Dawn do battle amongst the members of the Diamond Kingdom with Asta, Charmy and Yami acting as support within the fortress walls. It’s an interesting mini-arc and introduces new characters, a new threat and sees the rivalry between Asta and Yuno become that much stronger as well as Charmy become even more infatuated with Yuno.

In reality this is just a stop-gap to the next big story arc of the series; and that being trying to find a cure for Asta’s arms which finds them not only cursed but broken beyond repair. Every member of the Black Bull uses their resources to find out more about the curse; but for Noelle, Finral and Asta they venture elsewhere to find Fanzell Kruger – a respected mage and someone who used to work with the Diamond Kingdom before escaping their grasp. At this point in the series viewers have not been introduced to Fanzell Kruger and the difficulties he had with the Diamond Kingdom as such several episodes act as flashbacks that explain how he met Asta and how Asta saved him in the past.

It’s a story that shouldn’t really be glanced over, as Fanzell (or Zell as he is often called) was the person that taught Asta to fight before he joined the Black Bulls. Additionally elements from Fanzells back-story, such as encounters with the Diamond Kingdom and the mysterious experiments he helped partake in, are explored in more detail in the next portion of this story arc; an arc that explores Vanessa’s upbringings as a Witch.

Venessa, the witch of the Black Bulls and casts string-type magic, is a character we haven’t seen explored much until now, but with this story element we learn that Vanessa used to live within the Witch’s Forest, a mysterious location that is known for catering to Witch’s who live in isolation. Vanessa has returned to her hometown in order to seek an audience with the Queen of Witches in order to find a cure for Asta’s arms. It’s another part of the story arc that helps build-up and develop a member of the Black Bull, but at the same time it also introduces viewers to a more dark and destructive power that should have remained hidden. Regardless the conversation between the Black Bulls and the Witch are cut short when members of the Diamond Kingdom and Eye of the Midnight Sun attack the forest.

From here it is a continuous magic battle between three different factions; with the Black Bulls separating amongst themselves in order to take down the numerous opponents that have entered the area. Fanzell takes on the Diamond Kingdom, due to his connection with them, while the Black Bulls take on the Eye of the Midnight Sun. As with past episodes of Black Clover it is a unique selection of magic battles and combination attacks; but sadly unlike other anime series it doesn’t fulfil the satisfaction of being exciting or visually entertaining.

In this particular battle, and for other elements of this release, things just happen to help move the story along and the animation style is simplistic at best which result in a failure of delivering the momentum or intensity that the vocal cast display. This seems to be a common trait within Black Clover; and it continues here in this first part of the second season.

Extras:

As with past releases Manga Entertainment UK are once again using disc masters originally authored by FUNimation, which is no surprise considering that they are part of the same company; but as per usual it also means we receive a variety of supplementary content that ranges from additional Clover Clips to Behind The Scene video segments.

Although I find Black Clover to be ‘mediocre’ at best the selection of supplementary content on offer, and the types of content that are included, is worth the asking price alone. The passion that Cris George has for Black Clover, both in the franchise and with directing the English Dub, can clearly be seen within the “Inside the Episode” segments as in this particular instance he gives a rundown of how an English Dub is produced. It’s an insightful process that, combined with the English Cast Commentaries and Interview segments, really add something unique to this set.

The additional bonus content come in the form of traditional content such as additional clover clip episodes, of which always add an extra spice or twist to the Black Clover story, and textless songs for the opening and ending credits; of which are actually pretty decent this time around. Sadly those who are not fans of the English Dub will not find anything of interest (other than the Clover Clip episodes) here but fans interested in the English Dub and its production are well catered for.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 2:47:04 (Disc 1), 1:59:20 (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 2 Part 1 is simply a continuation to the story that began to unfold within the first season, with the Diamond Kingdom and the Eye of the Midnight Sun causing havoc within the Clover Kingdom and the respected Knights stepping-in when need to resolve the situation. In this case the events kick-start straight-off from the first season with Golden Dawn protecting the fortress town from enemy attack and then soon spirals into a new story line that sees members of the Black Bull travel across the kingdom to find a cure for Asta and his cursed arms.

This curse-lifting-hunt spirals into a flashback story that introduces viewers to Franzell, a mage who taught Asta how to wield his anti-magic sword, and his own troubles with the Diamond Kingdom he once used to live and work within. Franzells introduction, and Vanessa’s disappearance back to her homeland, then moves the story forward to a long-winded magic battle between three fractions with each side taking causalities along with new friends being made. It’s an interesting turning point for the series that sees Asta’s true potential unlocked for the first time; but at the same time it delivers the same episodic pacing, animation styles and story lines as those we’ve seen before; just with a different set of characters.

For me Black Clover continues to be a “hit and miss” series with some elements being pretty cool and others being downright terrible and once again the events within this set fall within the ‘mediocre’ category.  The pacing, the presentation and the animation are just average at best and Asta’s consistent screaming (of which English Dub director Cris George even makes a Joke about in the Bonus Features) just makes Black Clover a tedious and rather dull watching experience. Fortunately the supplementary content is far more entertaining than the episodes themselves and both the Japanese and English cast do well of voicing their characters; with some being better than others.

If you are expecting this first part of the second season of Black Clover to be any different from the first season, with its pacing and animation, then sadly its not. It’s pretty much the same with a slightly different topic. Naturally if you’ve enjoyed Black Clover up until now then you’ll enjoy what this set has to offer; but other than the final few episodes of this set the rest are pretty mediocre.

Score: review-stars-3

Black Clover – Season 2 Part 1 will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD from the 4th May 2020 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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