Hello Internet. Welcome back for Review #5. Today, I review my first manga series. Yeah, that’s right. Manga. It’s still literature.
I do adore my manga. I really do. I’ve devoured several volumes in a week, and at one point polished off the Trigun Omnibus (whole first series) in naught but 9 days. It’s getting to the point that I’m half tempted to learn Japanese so I can really appreciate it. Really love my manga. But with the typical manga palette being a large-head pointy-haired boy character slinging some sort of mystical weapon that has the ability to destroy half the world and its dog, Claymore breaks the mold a little.
The art style is refreshingly minimalistic and subtly realistic, with gorgeous scenes and well-planned dialogue. All of which you will forget when the first monster is viciously hacked to pieces with a sword longer than I am tall, with all the gore and blood left in purely to show the amazing number of realistic blood droplets cover the frame. Wow, this manga is gory.
Set in a fantasy world stuck in the feudal period, Claymore shows a world were monsters are a reality. Using a combination of science and mysticism, the government has created a race of beings called “Claymores”, who are otherwise normal humans who have been mixed with the monstrous DNA and bred to fight back against the monsters, or “Yoma”. The process only works on females, and the massive swords they carry and the fast-as-lightning reflexes make them shunned by the very humans they protect. This makes for a good theological debate topic, should you find the need for one, but it does distract from the real reason you read this series. The blood and gore.
Every single battle scene involves either decapitation, limbs torn off, people torn in half, someone losing an important part of their anatomy… you get the idea. Not a single expense is spared. Seriously, Jigsaw could take a lesson from this series’ sketch artist on the multitude of different ways to make someone lose their life using a huge bladed weapon. So, maybe this series isn’t for kids. I wouldn’t recommend it to some weak-stomached adults.
Look, there is a deep, dark pit somewhere where the enjoyers of this manga go to summon their hellish master or something like that. And I’m ok with that. And I am not ok with the fact that I am ok with that! But I am going to recommend this manga to those people. And anyone who is into that sort of thing. But if asked, I am not going to admit I like this manga. For the pure fact that if I did, people would think I was a sadist. Which, of course, I’m not…
Claymore began in 2001, published by Shonen Jump, and can be found in English here.
Yours: J.M. Pear