The Black Clover manga’s ending may be on the horizon based on recent reports. In late April 2022, Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 21/22, 2022 confirmed that a long Black Clover hiatus is being planned before work begins on Black Clover’s final arc and final chapter.
Although the Black Clover climax has not been announced yet, there are several good reasons to think that it’s being planned out, which could also impact the plans for the Black Clover Season 5 anime TV show.
According to the Shonen Jump News – Unofficial Twitter account, manga creator Yuki Tabata will begin the Black Clover hiatus starting with Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 23, 2022, which comes out on May 9, 2022. The publishing break is apparently being planned to last for three months until August 2022, although Weekly Shonen Jump will reveal the exact return date at a later time.
The reason is that Tabata will be allegedly preparing for the “Final Arc/Chapter” of the manga series.
It’s possible that Tabata will spend the hiatus mapping out the remainder of the first saga’s story and ensure its quality. It’s also possible he’s simply taking a much-needed break due to his longstanding health problems.
Before you get too excited and think is the ending of the entire manga series, consider that Tabata had previously claimed in a 2018 French interview that the “first arc ends soon”. Some fans have interpreted that statement to mean that he had previously planned on making multiple sagas, and the upcoming Arc 11 is merely the final arc in the first saga.
In the past, Tabata has also claimed that he’d like to match the long-running Naruto manga series, which ran for over 700 chapters. Of course, plans do change, and so has Tabata’s health.
In the magazine, Tabata revealed that he hadn’t planned on taking a break himself. But after talking to the editorial team they decided that an extended rest would help him prepare for making the “final saga”.
Thus, it’s very possible Tabata really is shooting for ending the entire manga rather than just the first Saga. After all, the Japanese Kanji symbols used for Black Clover’s final arc announcement is 最終章, which literally translates into English as “The Final Chapter”.
This was the same exact Kanji used by Weekly Jump for announcing the Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War final arc. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Black Clover’s final arc will be as long as Bleach’s final arc, which had 208 chapters and was an entire third of the Bleach manga’s length. But it’s probably safe to assume that Black Clover’s final arc will be the longest one yet.
(As another comparison, the final arc for the My Hero Academia manga’s ending was announced as 終章開幕, which translates as “The Final Act Begins”. The Dr. STONE manga’s ending was announced with 終結章, which means “concluding chapter”. )
- Updated April 24, 2022: Added manga screenshot of Black Clover Final Arc announcement and other details.
Black Clover 331 plot twist shakes the world in a timely manner
In Japanese narratives, there is a four-act structure known as Kishōtenketsu.
- Ki : Introduction
- Shō : Development
- Ten : Twist (complication)
- Ketsu : Conclusion (reconciliation)
During the Twist phase, the story turns toward an unexpected development, and it contains the yama, or climax, of the story. For long-running manga series, it’s possible for the story to cycle back through the Development and Twist phases multiple times, especially if the plot is designed around multiple Sagas.
Without getting into major spoilers, Black Clover Chapter 331 contained a major plot twist for Black Clover Saga 1 regarding the 4th Zogratis sibling that had been foreshadowed for years. Manga readers finally learned the identity of the time devil, which might be the major complication in the Twist phase.
This revelation has caused fans of the manga to look back at scenes from the earlier story arcs with fresh eyes. There were hints and the clock fan theory caused some to guess correctly in 2021 what was really going on.
Even the Black Clover anime itself may have contained subtle hints about the identity of the 4th Zogratis sibling in the OP 2 video. (Don’t click on the links unless you want to be spoiled about Lucius Zogratis.)
Yuki Tabata’s health problems are a reason to end the Black Clover manga completely?
Even though the creator had apparently previously planned for a Black Clover Saga 2 to continue the story, the reason that the Black Clover manga’s ending might need to be planned out in the coming years is that Yuki Tabata’s health has been deteriorating. This is a common problem among weekly manga creators and Tabata is no exception.
In 2020, some comments from Tabata indicated that he was suffering from mental space issues and perhaps was feeling burnout. Previously, Tabata had shared how he kept passing out for some reason. As a result, he could not draw the usual amount of manga pages so he apologized to readers for the shorter chapters, but empathetic fans responded by suggesting that he should take a break from work for his health.
Worse, Tabata reportedly skipped doctor’s appointments in 2021, which only made his illness worse. In late 2021, Tabata was taking health breaks and putting the Black Clover manga on hiatus for single weeks at a time.
Tabata is also a family man. Three years ago, Tabata revealed that his wife was pregnant with their first child and gave birth in July 2019. Having an infant in the household is stressful for anyone, never mind a mangaka.
In May 2022, Tabata revealed that his father-in-law had died. Tabata publicly stated that he was grateful to this family member for supporting him during his work on Black Clover.
Needless to say, these are all good reasons why Tabata needs a 3-month-long Black Clover hiatus before ending the story. Arguably, he should take a long vacation from work once the entire series (or Saga 1) is complete to restore his health.
Will Black Clover’s final chapter release in 2024?
Now that the battle in the spade kingdom ended and the best plot twist in modern Weekly Shonen Jump history has been revealed it seems like it’s the perfect time to start winding down the series. But the Black Clover manga’s ending (for Saga 1?) doesn’t necessarily need to be right around the corner.
Keep in mind that Black Clover’s final arc (for Saga 1?) could be quite long and last for years. The Spade Kingdom Raid arc is already over 70 chapters and the Elf Reincarnation arc was 82 chapters.
It’s unlikely that Tabata will pull a Tite Kubo and make a Black Clover Final Arc that’s as long as the hundreds of chapters in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War. But let’s assume that the final story arc of Black Clover is the longest in the series at around 100 chapters and ends somewhere around Black Clover Chapter 430.
When you factor in health breaks, it will take Tabata over two years to reach Black Clover’s final chapter for Saga 1. Even if the final arc is shorter than predicted, that means the Black Clover manga’s ending will release in 2024.
Black Clover Season 5 could be the anime’s ending for Saga 1?
While manga fans are looking forward to the ending, anime fans are still waiting on the Black Clover Season 5 release date, never mind the 2023 Black Clover movie. The story of Black Clover Episode 171 will pick up the story again in manga Chapter 273: Day of Destiny.
The pacing of the anime adaptation has averaged about three to five manga chapters adapted per episode. Assuming the manga’s ending is within 100 chapters of Black Clover 331, that’s only enough source material for around 40 episodes in total.
Studio Pierrot has typically released the anime cours back-to-back without any major broadcasting break and each numbered consisted of a year of episodes. The longest, Season 3, had 52 episodes, while the shortest, Season 4, only had 16 episodes despite introducing anime-original stories (filler episodes).
Therefore, it seems reasonable to predict that Black Clover Season 5 will be ending for the entire anime TV series. Assuming that the final anime season premieres after the movie in 2023, it would be perfectly timed to coincide with the Black Clover manga’s final chapter.
Let’s just hope that the Black Clover manga’s ending goes beyond our expectations… and that a Black Clover Saga 2 is eventually announced. Stay tuned!