oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
[personal profile] oyceter
This is so sad. It hasn't been very long at all since I last read vols. 1-8, and I've already forgotten who half the Claymores are, what they do, and what's going on.

Sadly, volume 9 picks up from a dungeon arc; i.e. Clare and other people are in some cave or something somewhere duking it out with giant yoma. Although there is some payoff at the end of it that leads back to the larger plot, I got a little bored with the hack-and-slash "how to best kill yoma" sections. But the end of volume 11 promises a very cool plot development indeed, and I am hoping the next few will have much more about the Claymores and less yoma-fighting strategizing.


I have to say, I don't miss Raki at all, so when he showed back up in the North and took up sword training with Isley, I rolled my eyes a little. I hope he will stay more damsel in distress and less plucky sidekick, since almost all of the women in shounen end up as damsel and not plucky sidekick—I'm defining these by who gets the power-up fight training sequences and who doesn't (seriously, why were the training scenes in Kenshin all about Sano and Yahiko and not Kaoru and Misao? And I won't even start with Bleach). On the other hand, there is the promise that Raki will be used for Evil Purposes by Isley and a strangely human and/or de-aged and/or disguised Priscilla. Still, I was very disturbed by the sexualization of Raki and his relationship with Clare and Priscilla, as indicated by Clare kissing him on the mouth before leaving him and his memories of being squashed against her breasts, along with Priscilla constantly curling up in his bed with his head pillowed against her chest.

I mostly yawned during the fight with Riful.

But when the Claymores started gathering up north, that was awesome! I love being able to see more of them and to see how their stories are similar or different, how almost all of them seem to have lost family members to yoma, leading to their decisions to become Claymores. I also loved Undine's story and was sad when she died.

Speaking of dying, I thought I was getting used to all the flying body parts, but the bisection and chopping into pieces of various Claymores is still extremely disturbing! And the reveal about Alicia and Beth was also fittingly creepy. But mostly, I felt like these three volumes were in a bit of a holding pattern to set up for grander revelations. (Why does my library not have volumes past 11?)

End spoilers

I also want to formulate some sort of thesis about monstrous bodies and strength in shounen: how strength is directly tied to monstrosity, particularly in the villains, but how even heroic strength is frequently tied in with bodily abuse or breaking down your body to build it up again (an extended metaphor of how we build muscle?). It's particularly interesting in Claymore, because the division between the monsters and the heroes is very thin indeed, and because I feel female characters rarely get this sort of monstrous strength. More often than not, if women's bodies are changed, it's to exaggerate them sexually and to create femme fatales with vagina dentata, but in Claymore, even though the Claymores' bodies are monstrous, they're monstrous in a way that is much more in line with shounen tropes in terms of how they push the limits of what their bodies can do and frequently draw on non-physical attributes to help with the physical (ex. ninja jutsu, shinigami strength/bankai, channeling yoma energy). The trope of the Claymores struggling with how much yoma energy to use and how far they should push their bodies is one that I rarely get to see with women.

I don't really have any conclusions, just thoughts about female physicality and strength and how some of the strongest women I've seen so far in shounen are tied to monstrosity directly. I don't think this is necessarily negative, since many other shounen heroes' strength is also tied to monstrosity and/or bodies that go beyond nature, and because all strength in the Claymore universe seems to be monstrous. It'd be interesting to see Yagi write about human men and women and to see how that measure of strength changes (or doesn't).

In conclusion, maybe I should suggest a Shounen Bodies panel to accompany the one on shoujo bodies last year! Except the focus would still be on women, only in shounen manga, not shoujo.

(no subject)

Thu, Nov. 13th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
*remembers Pieta*


The next part is when all the fangirls become handflapping puddles of squeeing goo. It is sometimes difficult to get anything more coherent than era of badass black leather awesomeness (err...wardrobe spoiler?) out of us.

But back to Pieta! (not sure if you want spoilers for these volumes hidden, but you did in the first post...) Flora! The two swords! Jean dying for true love to save Clare's soul! The return of Miria, Helen and Deneve! Endless girl angst!

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 17th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
This year in manga has been amazingly kind to me when it comes to girl angst. (In addition to Claymore, there's a part of RG Veda that I keep rereading.)

(no subject)

Thu, Nov. 13th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
ext_12920: (damsels)
Posted by [identity profile] desdenova.livejournal.com
Re: Raki: I'm with you on the Raki's yawn-inducing nature, and I frequently get the sense that the manga-ka does, too, based on the boy's long stretches of absence from the narrative. It's like Yagi Norihiro occasionally remembers he's writing shonen, and that, oh yeah, shonen is supposed to have a boy-character for the audience to identify with--didn't I have one of those around somewhere? But then goes back to his main interest, namely blonde women killing monsters.

Re: monstrosity & strength in shonen: I had not noticed that before, but you're definitely on to something. Naruto and Dragonball are two examples that leap to mind. Bleach, too, although the monstrosity that accompanies Ichigo's strength is not *drawn* in such an obvious manner as in Claymore, Dragonball, etc. I shall think about this some more!

(no subject)

Fri, Nov. 14th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com
Without knowing how far you or [livejournal.com profile] oyceter have read in Bleach, I'll just say that I think the monstrosity within Ichigo is deliberately hinted at instead of overtly drawn, partly because there's still a lot of beautiful = good/ugly = evil in shounen, so that the monsters on the good side are monstrous in ways that are not overtly repulsive*, and also because it allows us to imagine something more monstrous than Kubo Tite could draw.

* Kenpachi, Jidanbou the gate guard, etc. Although Whatshisface, the captain of the 12th, is overtly monstrous and technically good (mostly because his monstrosity is directed in ways that help the Seireitei), and there's some interesting play going on with beauty and evilness on the bad side - the higher echelons of the bad side are not as ugly as the mid-level ones. And the women on both sides are, of course, not allowed to be truly ugly. There's probably a lot more thinking that could be done on this, actually, because it's fairly complex when you think about it. Hmmm.

(no subject)

Thu, Nov. 13th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] magicnoire.livejournal.com
I think Yagi-sensei might have a meta-theme involving monstrosity in general. IIRC, his previous manga was about a high school student who looked super scary and monstrous but really was very nice.

(no subject)

Thu, Nov. 13th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
ext_6366: Red haired, dark skinned, lollipop girl (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] the-willow.insanejournal.com (from livejournal.com)
I really enjoyed Claymores, the anime and the manga. And I think I enjoyed the direction taken by the young boy Claire picks up more in the manga. But that seems to be the exact thing you dislike.

I find myself thinking that your dislike and distress at the violent scenes might be affecting your enjoyment of other scenes. Which is likely not the best kind of thinking. Everyone doesn't have to like everything in the same way. And you read far more manga than I, I'm fairly certain. But it just seems oddly contrary to say "Well because girls are usually put into x roles that's why I hope the boy in this story is put into x role."

In less spoilery talk - I don't find much conflict either in the slightly sexual / slightly sisterly dual roles going on. I think it's because Claymores aren't expected to have a sexuality of their own. And figuring out why one likes someone in the teen years with hormones and attractions can be tricky enough. So it seemed natural to me that there be a duality in perceptions and enjoyments.

Oh! How do you feel about the whole 'the men push for the pleasure and thus become monsters but women have more self control' ?

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 17th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] magicnoire.livejournal.com
Well, a lot of it is because in almost everything I read/watch/consume, any time the guys get even a smidgen of a part, they get tons of fans and fic and plot in terms of the main story, and the part goes from being a bit part to a meaty side character and overtaking the women's story.

To be honest, I don't think that's ever going to happen, in either the manga or the fandom. Yagi-sensei doesn't show any indication of wanting to go that way, as of the latest chapter. This could always change, of course, but I don't get the sense he's interested in telling that sort of story.

As for the fandom... It generally kind of hates Raki, especially after something that happened in recent chapters. So much so that I feel sorry for the character. [livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore & I have a theory that Raki is the fandom's whipping boy for all those times that the shounen girl character gets maligned when she takes center stage/stronger/more developed.

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 17th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
for all those times that the shounen girl character gets maligned when she takes center stage/stronger/more developed.

Or just for existing and taking the occassional page from the males who outnumber them 20-to-1 in the first place.

(no subject)

Thu, Nov. 13th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] snarp
Raki has not yet as-of-recent-scans made any attempt to hijack the plot; I don't think it's likely ever to happen, at this point. I am pleased by this.

One thing I think is interesting about the non-sexual nature of the Claymores' power is the way humans in the background don't see it as non-sexual - particularly when somebody's insulting them, humans always refer to them in gendered ways. They're always "witches," and there's always the obsession with their eyes and hair. The Claymores themselves, on the other hand, seem to avoid gendered terms.

Speaking of dying, I thought I was getting used to all the flying body parts, but the bisection and chopping into pieces of various Claymores is still extremely disturbing!

Whenever I see people talking about how much they like the use of usually-boys-only shounen tropes in Claymore, I want to go "Go read Battle Angel Alita!" But then everyone says the gore bugs them, and I realize that I cannot in good conscience do so. (The gore in Battle Angel Alita makes Claymore look like Fruits Basket.)

(no subject)

Thu, Nov. 13th, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
octopedingenue: (MY BRAAAAAIN!)
Posted by [personal profile] octopedingenue
I got 3? 4? volumes into Battle Angel Alita before Alita went wangstily fluff-brained over a boy and I dropped it; I might pick it up again at some point but probably only as a library or tachyomi read. I like Alita's physical brawn and shonen-hero-vulnerability to mutilation, as well the ambiguity of her artificial body (shaped female out of a male blueprint), but it made for mental whiplash when she'd act or be treated like a standard female sweet young thing--especially by the guy(s) who constructed her gender in the first place.

(no subject)

Fri, Nov. 14th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] snarp
The series' ideas about gender (and race) evolve somewhat as it goes on, if that helps any. Volumes eight and nine have storylines that seem to be intended as criticisms of the male characters' (particularly Ido's) need for Alita to be vulnerable and feminine in volumes one and two. I mean, the manga never ceases to make choices that irritate me, but you can see the mangaka questioning himself and changing things. One of the things that fascinates me about the series is how visible it is when he decides he's done something stupid. The biggest example of it comes when he realizes he kinda has a lot of racial stereotypes in there. Yukito Kishiro's complete lack of subtlety is an eternal inspiration to me.

(He actually gets a little too self-analytical sometimes. I'm beginning to suspect Last Order, the sequel series, of being some kind of massive self-parody. I can't come up with any other explanation for the last couple of volumes.)

(no subject)

Fri, Nov. 14th, 2008 05:42 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] parallactic.livejournal.com
Battle Angel Alita was my first manga! I remember the series fondly.

I've only read vol 1, but Variante also seems to use shounen tropes with a female protag. She's the only survivor when her family is attacked by something monstrous, and she comes to consciousness with something monstrous on her arm that can be used as a weapon to fight the baddies. There's also a secret organization. The use of the monstrous arm that's also a site of trauma is drawn from Fullmetal Alchemist, Parasyte, and D. Grayman.

[Spoiler for character arc and series] Seras Victoria from Hellsing is a female character who also gets the shounen tropes treatment of trauma, training and an eventual power up, losing a normal arm in battle leading her to get a monstrous arm as a new weapon. She's not the protagonist.

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 17th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
Here, I think it's more that the guy is all about the girl, if we're looking at it that way.

(no subject)

Thu, Nov. 13th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
ext_108: Jules from Psych saying "You guys are thinking about cupcakes, aren't you?" (marvel: ... dude)
Posted by [identity profile] liviapenn.livejournal.com

I also want to formulate some sort of thesis about monstrous bodies and strength in shounen: how strength is directly tied to monstrosity, particularly in the villains, but how even heroic strength is frequently tied in with bodily abuse or breaking down your body to build it up again (an extended metaphor of how we build muscle?).

You could probably tie this into Western superhero comics as well; look at all the male heroes who have monstrous bodies-- Beast, Swamp Thing, the Hulk, the Thing, etc., and the relatively few female heroes who do (although they do exist, like Marrow.)

(no subject)

Fri, Nov. 14th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
octopedingenue: (LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE*com)
Posted by [personal profile] octopedingenue
My reaction to a panel on shonen bodies is basically that in my icon: giant pink hearts in my eyes as I plot bank heists for con airfare.

I am also fascinated by the shonen physicality of Claymore precisely because the tropes are so seldom applied to women. One of the bits that sealed it for me as Shonen To Watch was when Clare loses an arm, the subsequent training sequence with Ilena, and Ilena's own arm-sacrifice for Clare and Clare's revenge. It's SUCH a quintessential shonen sequence and yet I've never seen it applied to women like that: it's usually a Big Thing in shonen when a woman just cuts her hair. It cemented for me that oh hey, it's not okay for the Real Hero to ride up on his white horse and save the girl at this point, because the real hero is already present, well into her 3rd or 4th Shonen Power-Up, and not in need of rescuing from anything she can't handle with PROTAGONIST CHARISMA POWER.

And it's all about power...power vs control, yoma vs human, beautiful vs ugly, while it's blurring the dichotomy. The Claymores in full control are humanly beautiful; the fully Awakened Claymores who've lost control are beautiful in a separate (naked, prominently-breasted) species way; the Claymores in-between riding the control or fighting it are mutantly hideous. And then out the other side you've got the Awakened Ones so monstrously powerful they can look human, and could presumably stop eating human guts, but seem to have gone past human morality. They remind me a bit of the youkai in Saiyuki Reload who have gone through the Minus Wave to regained sanity but a new willingness to chomp humans.

The Claymores' level of power is directly linked to both how strong they are fighting monsters and how quickly they become the monsters they're fighting; it's power given to/forced on them by the patriarchy the organization and the best power they can use to fight that organization. The yoma power's also linked implicitly to the Claymores' sexuality: the sexualization of the physical act of Awakening and of male Claymores' inability to handle it, the Awakened power couples apparently being the only people in open sexual relationships, etc. But it's also pretty explicitly not condemning female sexuality as the Root Of All Evil, unless it's also putting it as Our Last Best Hope in the same breath.


oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

October 2017

151617181920 21

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags