Monday, August 20, 2007

Claymore vol. 8 & 9 Impression

First a little overview of Claymore …

Hated by humans, despised by the Yoma they hunt, the life of a Claymore is ruthless, brutal and lonely usually ending in death in battle or by the blade of a Claymore sword if they become ‘awakened.’ The manga Claymore from Viz follows the sword-wielding Clare, the lowest ranked warrior, number 47, as she hunt Yoma and discovers her own unique abilities. Claymore’s, named for the large swords they wield, are always women, usually those who have suffered the loss of family and/or friends at the hands of the Yoma who consume the flesh of the beast to gain the power to battle the beast they consume. With power comes price as using too much of this power will cause a Claymore to ‘awaken’ and become a full fledged grade-A gut eating monster. Clare is unique as she ate the flesh of a Claymore to gain her power and while she gets her butt kicked and does some kicking, begins to show unique abilities.

Story and art for Claymore is by Norihiro Yagi, an artist I don’t know much about, but would like to learn. The character designs in Claymore are unique, unlike anything I’ve read before as the characters are much more realistic looking than most manga. There is no comedy here, just straight up action and serious drama as the world Yagi creates is not a happy one, it’s as dark as the monsters that inhabit it. The story reflects this gloom as Yoma feed on humans who live in fear of not only their hunters but the Claymore’s who protect them. The silver eyed witches do their business with no emotion or thanks. Sounds dark … it is but also very enjoyable and refreshing. Characters tie, get maimed and lose, but somehow live to fight again. Yagi has weaved a story which leaves the reader expecting doom just to be delivered with enough light.

I’ve recently read both volume 8 and 9 of Claymore. The story is really picking up as now I’ve learned much more about Clare and the organization she serves just to be thrown into an impending war with the Yoma.

Claymore vol. 8 picks up with Clare battling the recently awakened Ophelia. Using her borrowed arm the victory is won. As promised Clare now moves to find Raki in the surrounding villages where they were separated. She suppresses her power to stay hidden from Claymore’s set with brining her back to the organization … oh yeah, she’s now considered rogue and to be put to death, happened a few issues back. During here search she happens upon a group of Claymore’s dispatched to destroy an awakened one, a hunt that goes wrong as the Claymore’s are being captured by one of the three legendary No. 1 awakened ones who’s making Claymore’s awaken to build an army of her own to compete with the other two legendary three who are amassing armies of awakened ones. Battle ensue, more Claymore’s show up and we go right into …

Claymore vol. 9. The battle rages with the Creature of the Abyss, Clare is pulls back a fellow Claymore who’s awakened in body but not mind and having lost interest the Creature of the Abyss spares it’s victims so that they might become more powerful, more ripe. Clare gains a new traveling companion, No. 9 Jean. She’s sworn to pay her dept to Clare for saving her. Long story short, the organization gives them a chance to redeem themselves, be cleared of all charges if they will dispatch to the north to fight gathering Yoma and awakened ones along with 20+ other Claymore’s.

The battle with Ophelia kinda got boring to me, like watching a cat play with a mouse. She could have ended Clare’s life so many times I found myself getting ticked in the same manner any James Bond fan would get when instead of shooting Bonds they put him in a contraption that he just escapes from. The story really picks up, and wrangled me back in with the confrontation with the Creature of the Abyss and the impending war with organized Awakened Ones. I said before top notch, unique, art, a different story and an upcoming war with monsters and super-powered humans called Claymore’s … it’s enough to get any manga fan excited. I highly recommend Claymore, and would have no problem saying to begin your story with volume 6 or 7 as you can catch up on the story fairly quickly. The action starts to get hot in volume 9, can’t wait till 8.

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