First Impressions Lightning Round – Black Clover | Sengoku Night Blood | Juni Taisen: Zodiac War

Well, Fall 2017 has officially started so time to get into the nitty gritty.

Black Clover – Ep. 1

I read the first volume of Black Clover and didn’t really like it all that much. With that in mind, I freely admit that I was predisposed to not like the anime of the same name. Still, it stuns me how much hype was gathering around something so generic and predictable as Black Clover.

It’s admittedly pretty competent, the visuals are particularly decent, but there isn’t anything interesting about this show. The concept of a boy who lacks magical aptitude and lives in a world dominated by magic has been so many times in Japanese media. My Hero Academia, which is also a Weekly Shounen Jump anime has a similar premise and its first episode was a million times more engaging.

I don’t even think that many people are even talking about the story itself. What seems to have gotten the most attention is newcomer Gakuto Kajiwara’s performance as the main protagonist, Asta. I don’t really want to harp on the seiyuu’s acting since Black Clover is his first role and in his defense, his voice sounds fine in more casual dialogue. But….yeah, the constant yelling does get pretty obnoxious.

You won’t see me derail this as an atrocity that’s killing the shounen genre. One glance at Weekly Shounen Jump’s current catalog suggests otherwise. But I don’t see anything potentially engaging out of Black Clover so I think I’ll pass on this.

Sengoku Night Blood – Ep. 1

Sengoku Night Blood is an isekai show where the main character is a girl, gets transported into alternate history Sengoku era, and all the pretty boys are either vampires or werewolves because…someone read Twilight I guess. That’s honestly it really. The only things I can add is that I thought the character designs were indistinct and forgettable and the art has way too many shadows. This is the kind of anime that just passes right through you and your best recollection of it is the very fact you even saw it. This is another pass for me.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War – Ep. 1

Juni Taisen was actually anticipated by a fair amount of people since the light novel this anime is based on is written by NisiOisiN of Monogatari fame. I suppose this anime didn’t end up on my radar because (and don’t kill me for this) I haven’t seen anything from the Monogatari series. Regardless, the first episode of this anime was a pleasant surprise for me….as pleasant as a battle royale can get.

In Juni Taisen, twelve warriors who embody each of the Chinese zodiacs fight to the death for the Dragon Balls these jewels that can grant any wish. How exactly the Zodiac connection or the magical jewels work is kept vague or hasn’t been addressed yet but it’s a neat concept at least.

Those who enjoy twisted characters are in for a treat. Not only are the character designs pretty memorable, a lot of these people are just out of their goddamn minds. The viewpoint character for this episode, Inounoushi, set ups what kind of demented stuff you should expect to see. Not only is this lady a trained assassin, she also warped her little sister into a murderous and suicidal psychopath simply because she wasn’t her father’s favorite child. Can’t say this character had my sympathies but I was pretty surprised that she’s seemingly axed off at the end (and so quickly too) after following the story from her perspective and learning what kind of person she is.

I will admit that a part of me feels like a lot of the violence and torment is kind of just in this show for the sake of it. And chances are, this is banking more on that twisted atmosphere than a riveting narrative. But I did still enjoy how unhinged the show is to a degree and a battle royale involving the Chinese zodiacs could be fun to watch. I’ll give it a few more episodes and see how it fares.

Thanks for reading!

Black Clover is officially available on Crunchyroll & Funimation.

Sengoku Night Blood is officially available on Crunchyroll.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War is officially available on Crunchyroll & Funimation.

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