Besides comfort reading, I sometimes turn to graphic novels and manga for some brain relief or palate cleansing when also reading a book that is either much longer or more complicated; in this case, that would be an 1100+ page sci-fi/ speculative fiction novel (review to come in hopefully a week or so).
I’ve been following the Black Clover series a while, and I’m about 2 or 3 volumes behind the published in English volumes, but whatever. The basic gist of the series is pretty standard: teenage nobody has big dreams and through hard work and a lot of yelling begins to achieve them. Asta is our nobody and he lives a world of magic except he has none, but he makes it into the Magic Knights anyways. Volume 22 presents the conclusion of a major battle against a devil who had been the brains behind elvish spirits possessing human bodies and causing havoc. Asta and friends first have to defeat the devil, and when all seems lost, there is something of a deus ex machina revelation and the world is saved for now. The aftermath though might be just as big a problem. Asta himself has a connection with a different devil and he finds himself facing trial and probable execution as the scapegoat for all the trouble caused by the devil he helped defeat. It’s safe to say there will be some way out of this because the manga is still going and you don’t kill the hero in this kind of story, at least not at this point.
Asta’s hero type bugs me since, although he’s a nice guy, he’s annoying because really, who is going to beat the more qualified, powerful, and a better team player best friend/rival (Yuno) by nothing more than being really loud and working hard. I mean Yuno has a similar goal and presumably works equally hard, and seems to have some concept of intellect, teamwork, and leadership; Asta means well, but acts before he thinks every time. Based on some social media spoilers I saw, the anime at least is working towards a way to give Yuno something else to aim for besides being Wizard King (military leader of the Magic Knights, not the actual king- who currently is naturally a spoiled idiot), and I’m really hoping that is not the case. Then again, it might make Asta’s inevitable triumph less aggravating if Yuno finds something equally cool that’s not the same, even though Yuno would probably be a much better Wizard King than Asta.
The rival/friend thing is obviously a theme is this story, especially when there are other pairs besides Asta and Yuno who have a similar dynamic. Fuegoleon and Nozel are much the same, already captains, and their rivalry is much more interesting since they’re clearly competitive and obviously friends (sort of) even if neither would openly admit it. They’re also both competent and generally evenly matched. This pairing is more interesting and I’d be equally ok with either one winning that Wizard King goal that they too share. I have my suspicions about how this might eventually be settled too, but it’s far less aggravating.