EDITOR’S NOTE: What Are You Watching? is a feature series that dives deep into why we love the anime we love. You told us what you were watching, and now we’ll dig into why.
By Brittany Vincent
Inside and outside the anime world, people love the underdog. From Deku to Naruto, it’s easy to root for the characters who seem to have all odds stacked against them.
In the end, they usually tend to go supernova, outshining their friends and enemies every step of the way. We love to see them explode into being and come into their own. After being dealt hardship after hardship, watching them step into the limelight feels vindicating—just as it might if we were in their shoes.
RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to Black Clover
Black Clover takes the quintessential underdog story and infuses it with magic, a study on how class can dictate how you’re treated the rest of your life, and how attitude really can be everything.
Transcending one’s birth
The world of Black Clover is an austere one to begin with. The Clover Kingdom houses a variety of different forms of magic and those who wield it, with the kingdom divided into three sections: the Noble, the Common, and the Forsaken. The Forsaken are the Peasants who can do little more than wish they were at the epicenter of what the Common and Noble people do.
The story begins in the Forsaken area, following infants Asta and Yuno. They were left at birth at a ramshackle church to be raised by a complete stranger, but despite the same upbringing, they have personalities as different as night and day.
This is intriguing in many ways. Yuno is a talented mage who has taken like a duck to water with his magical skills, whereas Asta appears to be the only known person in the world with no magic whatsoever.
When both boys turn 15, it’s time for them to receive their Grimoires, or magical books that contain a variety of spells and magical incantations. During the special ceremony, Yuno is immediately chosen by a Special Four Leaf Clover Grimoire that cements him as more than the lowborn scum the nobles believe him to be.
When Asta is left with no Grimoire (something that very rarely happens to any magic user in town), this only helps goad the townspeople on when it comes to making fun of him. Both Asta and Yuno work hard with what they’re given to become the Wizard King, making for a fast-paced race to the top between rivals that never lets up. Especially when Asta receives a mysterious Five Leaf Clover Grimoire…
Black Clover is an adrenaline-laced thrill ride that you’ll want to keep track of every second, especially since its leads are essentially neck and neck throughout the series.
Asta and Yuno grow up with what should be an equally low shot at becoming the Clover Kingdom’s powerful Wizard King. But these two orphaned boys have a very different path ahead of each of them. No matter the challenges they face, their eyes are on the prize—but they’ll exercise completely different approaches to make their dreams come true.
This is part of why Black Clover is one of my favorite series to binge. It’s easy to identify with Asta, who has to fight for every scrap he’s given in life while watching Yuno attract attention and respect simply for the abilities he was born with.
Despite many preconceived notions from villagers and other Magic Knights alike, those that know Asta eventually let his infectious excitement and determination color their own lives. Suddenly he’s no longer a lowborn infant—he’s a potential Wizard King.
It all culminates in an exciting diaspora of who you were born as and who you were meant to be, and that ultimately makes Black Clover such an exciting series for me. Transcending what people think you are and becoming the person you’ve always wanted to is satisfying, especially since Black Clover plays on this idea in several ways.
Never giving up
Even with all this in mind, you might find yourself picking a side. Either you’ll root for Asta in his quest to become a powerful Magic Knight, or you’ll side with Yuno. Regardless, you’ll appreciate the friendly rivalry the two share, and even if Yuno might dismiss Asta to his face occasionally, he never misses a chance to back his brother up as an underdog you don’t want to underestimate.
If you don’t feel that same ambition as Asta, you might not understand where he’s coming from, and his unwavering excitement for improving himself and learning more will come off as an irritation to you—or anyone who’s a stickler for only working hard and following the rules.
Whether it’s telling Yuno constantly that he’ll best him, or trying new paths that will get him where he needs to be, his determination can be often be more taxing than endearing. But that’s kind of how it feels when you need a good kick in the butt to go do something and reach your goals! Asta has the deck stacked against him, but no matter what people think of him, he never gives up.
I’ve been through many moments in life and my career where I felt like giving up and starting anew, only to be met with another challenge that forced me to search myself and remember my goals in the first place.
Like Asta, I was always able to push forward, even when things seemed dark. In fact, I am here writing this piece today because of the determination that came deep from within me, much like with the true hero of Black Clover.
It’s for this reason (and many more) I keep going back to Black Clover, a series I can’t believe I almost didn’t watch. What’s your favorite thing about this magic-infused adventure?