Claymore, Vol. 1
Story and Art by Norihiro Yagi
Rated T+ for Older Teen
Yoma are monsters who feed upon humans and can move among them in disguise. Only the Claymores, women warriors who are half human and half yoma, can detect yoma and match them in strength and speed. When a series of attacks makes it clear that a yoma has come to Raki’s village, the chief appeals to the Claymores for aid. But the Claymore Clare’s arrival in the village has unexpected consequences for some of its residents.
A quick look at the most popular Shonen Jump series (think Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Death Note, Rurouni Kenshin, and more) reveals that it’s pretty unusual for them to have strong female characters, especially ones who aren’t defined primarily through their relationships with men. Those series that do have them tend to keep them in supporting roles. For that reason alone, Claymore stands out from the crowd. Though we learn about the Claymores through the eyes of a boy, Raki, the series is still clearly Clare and her colleagues’ story. The most powerful moment in this first volume comes when Clare and one of her fellows Claymore come face-to-face with each other and the hard realities of the life they lead.
Unfortunately, the rest of the volume is full of fairly repetitive action scenes, interspersed by conversations between characters we don’t particularly care about. Raki is a very generic sidekick, while Clare is pretty much a cipher. The art is also uneven. The action panels can be frustratingly stiff, and the occasional use of very heavy lines is jarring because of the general reliance on very fine linework.
Claymore promises to raise interesting questions about the Claymores’ struggle to maintain their humanity in future volumes. That said, this first volume doesn’t do a very good job of persuading readers to stick around long enough for that to happen.