oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
[personal profile] oyceter
I think I actually flipped through volume one in a bookstore before and decided the series was too bloody to read; luckily, my public library has it, so I ended up mainlining it anyway.

In a medievaloid fantasy world, humans are often preyed on by yoma, demons who can assume anyone's form and who like eating human guts. In defense, a secret organization of men created half-yoma, half-human beings to fight the yoma. For some reason, only women survived this transformation, and the humans call them Claymores after the giant swords they all carry. The Claymores travel through villages, kill yoma, and let the black-clad men of the organization get the money.

Unfortunately, the more the Claymores fight, the more of their yoma power they have to use, and eventually, it consumes them. Then, they either become yoma themselves, or they send a black card out to a fellow Claymore so they can die while still human.

Clare is a Claymore, with a more unusual backstory than most. In volume one, she wanders into the boy Raki's village to kill the yoma that killed his parents. The first volume plays much like a western: the solitary village, the villain, the innocent boy whose gratitude she earns, the triumphant yet lonely walk away in the sunset. But Raki ends up following her, and Clare begrudgingly accepts his company.

Like several other people on my flist have said, I love that this manga is shounen and yet revolves around a host of female characters. Raki is our viewpoint character for volume one, but he's really a very minor character who's mostly there to be the kid in distress for Clare to rescue. While volume 1 stands alone, volume 2 gets into a more interesting yoma plot (less slash and bash, more strategy), and then we get to Clare's backstory, which as mentioned, is great.

Unfortunately, the series bogs down a little later with many fight scenes and assorted new fighting techniques; this will probably be fun and enjoyable for shounen trope fans (I, on the other hand, have a limited tolerance of power ups and fights). I am still bothered by the amount of violence, though I've discovered it's less because of the bloodshed and more because so much of it happens to be the chopping off of limbs and assorted decapitations and bisections. I'm not quite sure why this makes me more queasy than a simple sword thrust to the gut, but there you have it.

On the other hand, there's promise of getting more into the nature of the Claymores, the history of the organization, whatever shadowy secrets the organization is hiding—what organization with black-clad men isn't hiding secrets?—and more of Clare's main goal. I'm hoping there will be less limb-chopping, although the number of limbs flying seems to be increasing rather than decreasing. Ah well.

Also, this series may have the first decapitated head hugging scene that is actually tragic and not accidentally hilarious.

Please put any spoilers for vols. 1-8 in <span style="color:#333;background:#333">spoiler text</span>! And no spoilers for further volumes; I have them on hold at the library.
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Oyceter

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