I hadn’t realized how long I’d kind of ignored the Black Clover manga series until I was in the library and saw that I was at least 4 volumes behind; this seems to happen with shonen fighting-based series an awful lot – the pattern of lots of fights with sudden power-ups that feel preprogrammed because the user automatically knows what and how to use the newly developed ability. I’ve gotten behind/bored with quite a few series where this happens; at least Yugi-Oh! had the sense to retire the original series at a reasonable point, and I haven’t really bothered to follow up with the continuations; same for Black Butler (this one has gone really dark again), One Piece (got tired of this a long time ago), Naruto (I didn’t get that far in this one; well, I got farther in the anime but not by a whole lot), and probably others I’ve just forgotten.
Volumes 28-31 bounce back and forth between several groups of heroes and villains, and it’s basically nothing but magic fights where the hero nears defeat but suddenly pulls some new ability out of nowhere, surprises the villain, and barely manages to win, or at least holding on until the real help shows up. This happens to Nacht, Yuno, Asta, and Noelle across the four volumes. Jack actually gets a moment of development in this whole sequence, and he’s never really gotten much attention; it’s a brief few panels about his ambitions as a captain and his background, but it actually makes a minor character a lot more interesting. Of the main bunch, really only Noelle’s fight resolves anything; she (with an assist from her stand-offish older brother Nozel) finally manages to achieve a goal they’ve both been pursuing for a long time, although it’s a) kind of a side story and b) probably a little bit spoilers to say it exactly here. It’s kind of a nice bittersweet moment, but Nozel’s reaction to the whole thing falls into annoying trope category (I’ve been emotionally distancing myself and now the reason for that is gone so what now…). Noelle also has a personal realization and acceptance of something she’s been struggling with the entire series, although thankfully she has the sense to also realize a big battle situation is not the time or place to deal with it too much. The reader and probably half of the other characters will have seen this coming from a mile (and about 25 volumes) away.
I really don’t understand how people can keep up with the monotony for more than a couple of volumes, but since a lot of seriously popular series do this all over the place, maybe there’s something to it. Just nothing that’s going to hold my attention for too long.