February 22, 2012
Norihiro Yagi – Viz – 2006 – 19+ volumes
Hey, look what I got in at work. Someone sold us the first three volumes, so I thought I would give this a try from the beginning.
I’ve always liked this series, but I feel a little lost since I started around halfway through. Reading volume one now is a little strange, since the plot of the series has nothing to do with what’s going on here. And I like it a lot this way. That’s not to say I’m not into what’s happening later, but there’s something very simple and elegant about the demon slaying that’s happening in this volume.
A small town is being terrorized by yoma, and they hire a Claymore to take care of the monster. Only a Claymore, a half human/yoma hybrid, has the strength to slay it. Clare shows up in town, and the villagers are not pleased to see her despite the fact she’s there to kill the monster that’s terrorizing them. But one small boy, named Raki, takes an interest in Clare. Where everyone else avoids her, Raki opens up to her, thanks her for coming, and reveals that the yoma has slayed everyone in his family except his older brother.
I was not expecting Raki to be a main character. Clare keeps her distance from the reader, and it’s a mystery why she’s allowing Raki to follow her until another character warns her away from the bond towards the end of the book. Clare and Raki make for an odd pair, but I like the simple device of harsh Clare having a soft spot for the boy. And Raki’s fairly easy to like, too.
And her soft spot contrasts sharply with her fighting style. I’ve seen the best/worst Clare can offer in a fight, and the later volumes are much more brutal than what’s going on here. Still, the savage battles are presented in such a stark manner that it’s still rather shocking. The story does a good job of making Clare very, very scary.
I’m glad I had an opportunity to pick up some of the early volumes, because I like the series even better now. I’m interested to see the world-building in these early volumes, and I’m curious about how long Raki sticks around.