Black Clover 「ブラッククローバー Burakku Kurōbā」 is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yūki Tabata. The series began serialization on February 16, 2015 on Weekly Shōnen Jump's 12th issue. The story focuses on fantasy, adventure and comedy genres while maintaining the "Young Boys" 「少年 Shōnen」 demography.
Asta and Yuno are orphans raised in the outskirts of the Clover Kingdom. In a world where people are born with magic, Asta was born without any. In contrast, Yuno was born a prodigy with above average magic power and the talent to control it. Additionally, in their coming of age ceremony, Yuno receives a rare four-leaf clover grimoire, like the original Magic Emperor. On the other hand, Asta received a tattered grimoire where a Devil lies within, a five-leaf clover grimoire.
The story follows Asta and Yuno as they crawl their way up the ladder of the Clover Kingdom's Order of the Magic Knights, in the midst of scrutiny by the nobles, to become the Magic Emperor. However, the title is only preserved for a single mage. Who will attain the coveted title of the strongest mage in the kingdom, Asta or Yuno?
Main article: List of Chapters and Volumes
Prior to the series' serialization, Yūki Tabata had already written a one-shot of the same name. The one-shot was published in 2014, in the 2nd volume of Jump NEXT. The one-shot was then rewritten for serialization. One of the elements that both versions share is the dual protagonists setting of Asta and Yuno.
Upon its serialization, Black Clover started steadily gaining popularity among the Japanese readers. It resulted in the magazine commissioning multiple color pages in quick succession in order to further promote the series.
Furthermore, chapters of the Black Clover series are also being collected into a graphic novel 「単行本 tankōbon」 format, which contain between 8-10 chapters. One of the major differences between the magazine version and the graphic novel version is the paper quality where the latter uses a much higher paper quality. The graphic novel version sometimes offers a revision over mistakes that were made on the original publication and improvement over the art in general. Additionally, the graphic novel also included extra chapters or characters profile that were not published in the magazine.
The volumes are published by Shueisha Inc. 「株式会社集英社 Kabushiki Gaisha Shūeisha」 under the Jump Comics 「ジャンプコミックス Janpu Komikkusu」 imprint. As of January 4, 2020, the Black Clover series has published 23 volumes.
The series has also been licensed for an English language release by VIZ Media on the company's digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine starting from April 6th, 2015. The move was done after previewing the first 3 chapters of the series at the same time as the series' debut in Japan as part of the digital magazine's Jump Start campaign. The series was chosen by the English edition's editors out of the four new series that were coming out during that serialization round.
Black Clover SD: Asta-kun's Road to Magic Emperor 「ブラッククローバーSD アスタくん魔法帝への道 Burakku Kurōbā SD Asuta-kun Mahōtei e no Michi」 is a gag series that follows Asta's antics on his way to becoming the Magic Emperor. It is illustrated by Setta Kobayashi 「小林拙太 Kobayashi Setta」 and began publishing on February 2, 2018 in Saikyō Jump 「最強ジャンプ Saikyō Janpu」.
Black Clover Side-Story: Quartet Knights 「ブラッククローバー外伝 カルテットナイツ Burakku Kurōbā Gaiden Karutetto Naitsu」 is a retelling of the story from the game. It is illustrated by Yumiya Tashiro 「田代弓也 Tashiro Yumiya」 and began publishing on October 7, 2018 on the Shonen Jump+ site.
Main article: List of Episodes
An anime adaptation has been licensed to Pierrot, Inc. 「株式会社ぴえろ Kabushiki Gaisha Piero」. It began airing on October 3, 2017. An English-dubbed version has been licensed to Funimation and began airing on October 29, 2017.
Squishy! Black Clover 「むぎゅっと! ブラッククローバー Mugyutto! Burakku Kurōbā」 is a series of anime shorts with characters in chibi designs. Produced by Dream Link Entertainment (DLE) and released exclusively on dTV, the series began airing July 1, 2019 and ended August 19, 2019 after eight episodes. Crunchyroll released English subtitles for all eight episodes on December 31, 2019.
Main article: List of Novels
A series of light novels, written by Johnny Onda 「ジョニー音田 Jonī Onda」, was published by JUMP j-BOOKS 「ジャンプ ツェイ ブックス Janpu Jei Bukkusu」. As of October 4, 2019, three novels have been published.
The series has been widely critiqued by readers for taking close inspirations of other popular manga series for its plot and settings. One of those elements is Asta and Yuno's ambition to become the Magic Emperor which is similar to Naruto Uzumaki's ambition to become the Hokage, a character from the Naruto series. Another similar element would be the Magic Knights' squad system which resembles the Gotei 13 organization from the Bleach series.
Despite all of the criticism, Black Clover is still gaining popularity where the debut sale of the 2nd volume rose around 60% from the debut sale of the 1st volume. The 1st volume had around 38,000 copies sold on its debut while the 2nd volume was sold for an estimate 61,000 copies on its debut week.