Black Clover is the amalgamation of nearly every shounen trope to date. However, it managed to do so while not feeling forced nor awkward. It used the tropes that worked well, and it paid off in the show. I certainly wouldn’t call it a pioneer in the anime landscape. But, it did create a series that was highly enjoyable and well worth the watch.
The pacing of the anime was really good. There was no filler and battles never took an absorbant about of episodes — looking at Bleach’s Aizen Arc and Hunter x Hunter’s Chrimea Ant arc. But, that may change with the season and the impending battle against the Dark Triage in the spade kingdom.
The animation of Black Clover has gotten quite a bad reputation among the community. The biggest problem is that the show airs every week so they have consistency issues. Some episodes are really good where some episodes have battles that are really choppy. As the season went on, the animation did improve. Episode 170 and the episodes leading up to that one had some really great animation in the action scenes.
I could sit here and say the show was about overcoming adversity, friendship, becoming stronger, facing evil, but those are all sprinkled in most shounen anime series. At least, the show’s messages didn’t feel new or fresh.
Black Clover got a lot of inspiration from Bleach. The Squad Captains in the Clover kingdom are analogous to the Gotei 13 from Bleach and the Hashira from Demon Slayer. Asta fighting his inner demon is similar to Ichigo fighting his inner Hollow: they had to fight and defeat their inner “demon” to wield its power to the full extent.
The show follows Asta and Yuno: the two orphan peasants from a small town trying to make it big to prove that people are capable of anything despite where they were born. Again not unique since there was similar class friction within Bleach’s Soul Society. However, with Black Clover, this point is more salient and present throughout the series. In the Clover Kingdom, people in nobility are born with more mana (magic powers) therefore they don’t have to work as hard as the peasants who have less mana. That is why it is shocking when two peasants prove them wrong by joining the Royal Knight Squads and become an icon for others to follow. Later on, in the show we find out that Yuno is actually the refugee price of the Spade kingdom – thus explaining his incredible magic power, yet dulling the point they were making about peasants rising to power. Which, then just leaves us with the magicless boy Asta and the rest of the Black Bulls. Through hard work and rigorous training, they saved the kingdom on multiple occasions and are slowly changing people’s minds about the “importance” of nobility.
I’m not sure if all of this is just to say that life isn’t fair and that you have to work twice as hard as others to get to where you want to be. As annoying of a character Asta was in the beginning, we grow to love him throughout the season because he is caring, goofy, and above all else is an incredibly hard worker who won’t give up.