For a while it’s been bugging me when people ask what my favourite book or manga is. I’m still pondering what my favourite book is, but manga wise it’s a clear tie between Bride’s Story and Claymore. This review is about Claymore (the manga) because out of the two it was the first one I read. It’s a story about a world where monster’s called Yoma disguise as humans to eat them, and the only hope for humanity are “Claymores” – female warriors who are half human, half Yoma. The following review contains mild spoilers (really unavoidable)
I’m actually the kind of person that has several things on the go at once. This is much easier for manga which often has a weekly or monthly chapter release, making it so you can’t help but read more than one at once whilst you wait impatiently for the next chapter to be written! The way reading manga works for me is that I go on certain websites that host scanlations of the manga, sometimes these will be published and released in England but most of the time they’re not. The ones that do take much longer to be published that the real time story movement in Japan. The chapters are released in monthly magazines, and later composed into a volume of a book.
Claymore follows the story of one Claymore warrior called Clare. Out of the 47 warriors, she is the weakest, hence ranked #47. She however is a special case, her own blood being different from other claymores. I’m not really sure how to explain without giving away spoilers that are 3 volumes into the story. She has a very stoic character and works towards achieving her own agenda. Her plans however are changed slightly as a young boy Raki decides to follow her after his family are wiped out by Yoma.
That, at least is how the story starts out. The way the story is told, with two volumes worth of heart-wrenching flash backs early on, lets you meet Clare whilst she’s still fairly week and follow her on her journey to become stronger. Along the way we encounter other warriors and monsters. Yet the underlying plot and also somewhat graphic violence make it different from a normal fantasy story.
The art is very different from the typical shounen style, this being the main reason I decided to buy volume 1 all those years ago. It’s quiet interesting to see a female lead in this action stories actually, never mind an entire setting where all warriors are female. They are all very beautiful, but their faces are drawn with character, and not all are perfect feminine things. Instead they are all portrayed as strong. One of the things I enjoyed about the manga was that each warrior would be given a nickname that hints at their “special move” or power. There are some truly stunning pages in this story that make me remember comics are without a doubt a form of art too.
I tried watching the anime to this once, but the manga has so much plot and character development. There are many stories within the main ones, and you find yourself falling in love with the characters, even the ones you hate. The chemistry and emotion in this are topnotch! I highly, highly recommend reading it if you read manga, and trying it if you have never read manga before. Genre wise i guess it’s fantasy with a stroke of sci-fi!