Originally posted: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 on Blogger

The first volume of a great epic. It starts out a little slow yet still interesting, and continuously gains momentum with each passing volume until it sucks you into the story and doesn’t let go.

Summary


In the world of Claymore, there are monsters called Yoma that prey on humans and avoid detection by taking on a human appearance. The only way to exterminate a yoma is to request a Claymore, special warriors that take on the flesh of yoma but keep their human minds, to detect and exterminate them. One such village requests a warrior and a young boy, curious, follows the female warrior around.

Much to his surprise, she seems like a normal girl, and he introduces himself as Raki. The girl, however, refuses to tell him her name, and only leaves him with a cryptic message, “You’ll forget about me soon enough.”

Perplexed, the boy rushes home to make dinner, only to find his uncle a victim of the yoma. It turns out this yoma, who ate his parents, also ate his older brother to take on his appearance and remain undetected. Raki unable to fend off the monster himself is just about to get eaten when the unnamed Claymore jumps in through the window and disposes of the monster.

Raki, however, becomes incredibly terrified of the warrior as she becomes very yoma-like during the battle due to using the monster’s power inside her. Huddled in a corner, terrified, the villagers tell him to just forget everything that happened. And then, when he hears those words, Raki finally understands why the Claymore warrior said what she did to him. Angry with himself, he rushes after her and thanks her for killing the yoma and asks once more for her name. The warrior continues walking but tells him her name, Clare.

Clare continues on with her work, heading this time to a town plagued with multiple yoma. Meanwhile, Raki is kicked out of his village because of his close connection to the yoma and collapses in a desert. He’s rescued by a Claymore and asks around town where she could be. Someone tells him the Claymore is in the forest, and he goes to meet her there. Expecting it to be Clare, Raki is shocked when an unknown warrior steps forward. She introduces herself as a Claymore and tells Raki she was quite taken by him. Raki, however, remembers Clare telling him that her Organization never refers to itself by the name Claymore; rather it is the name people have given it. Raki pushes the Claymore away telling her that she is not a Claymore. The Claymore then reveals herself to be a yoma and proceeds to take Raki hostage. The yoma then calls out to Clare, telling her she knows that she has been following her.

Clare steps forward and the yoma threatens to kill Raki if she comes any closer. The yoma boasts that while Claymores have monster bodies, they still have their human hearts and memories, and insinuates that Raki must remind Clare of someone from her past, perhaps her younger brother. The yoma then tells Clare to throw her blade away, which she does, and proceeds to stab her through the gut. Clare then tosses herself and the yoma down the cliff so that she may reach her sword and proceeds to slay the yoma. Raki comes running down and thanks her for saving him again. She tells him not to misunderstand; she simply did that because otherwise the yoma would have escaped and she would have failed to slay it.

She then asks the boy why he isn’t in his village. Raki does not answer and Clare concludes that they must have thrown him out of the village because of his relation to the yoma. She asks him if he would like to travel with her as her cook until he finds a village or town he would like to stay at. A grateful Raki agrees to accompany her.

While on their travels, Clare leaves to meet up with her link to the Organization, Rubel, and he gives her a black card. The black card is a request from a fellow Claymore to be slain by a certain person. It turns out Clare’s only friend from her rookie days, Elena, is the one who sent the card. While Raki watches mortified and tells Clare not to kill her friend. Clare extends her blade and cut down Elena, who thanks her for allowing her to die a human. As Clare explains, the card is sent out when one feels they are about to lose their humanity and become a real monster. And so the first volume of Claymore concludes.

My Thoughts


Claymore starts off rather unremarkable and sounds like a typical shounen travel adventure: hero (in this case heroine) travels around the land vanquishing evil, but if the subtly disturbing scenes, like the yoma, who has taken on Raki’s brother’s flesh and memories, crying while attempting to kill Raki due to the body belonging to someone close to Raki, are any indication, this manga will not be typical in any way. In fact, the final chapter of this volume begins to show us just how grim Claymore will become.

Granted, volume one is probably not enough to convince anyone of just how interesting and dark the story will get, but if anyone has even the slightest interest, I urge you to continue reading because it will get better!

Also, I admit that my main pull at the beginning (when the story wasn’t yet interesting enough by itself) was Clare. It’s so rare that we see a heroine of this calibre as the main character in a shounen series and also not just female for the extra panty shots (ikki tousen/battle vixens I am looking at you). That alone piqued my curiosity and I am glad I gave it a chance. The author, Yagi Norihiro, has earned my respect and now I shall be closely following anything and everything he releases. (*I have already checked out his prior work, Angel Densetsu, and I enjoyed it as well. I would love to see it licensed here).

So basically, Claymore starts off slow, but it gets better. And Clare is one of my favourite characters, along with a few others that are introduced later. :)

–SW

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