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Claymore Volume 26 Review: Lady Knights in Realistic Armor
Swords, monsters, and genetically engineered female human/monster hybrids. This is basically what Claymore is all about, and if you are into that sort of thing that I’ve got a series you will most certainly be interested in. This particular review covers the twenty sixth volume of the series and appears to be a big moment in the series with a bunch of characters fighting a ridiculously strong antagonist. For reference, think of any super villain from Dragon Ball Z and how long those fights were dragged out and you’ve got the idea. That said, volume twenty six was very well paced despite focusing entirely on one particular event.
To go more in depth with the story of Claymore, it is about monsters known as Yomas snacking on humans. Humans didn’t have any means of fighting them until they created hybrids known as Claymores. Claymores are half human female (all female for subtle sex appeal, I suppose) half Yomas. They use big swords and all look the same with the exception of their hair style. Apparently a recent event in the story just unfolded and these warriors successfully defended the Holy City of Rebona. Now the Claymores find themselves getting involved in a massive battle against a former ally of theirs known as Priscilla. This battle is the duration of the volume and even then ends on a decent cliff hanger.
Claymore focuses a lot on action and fighting. It mixes realistic looking swordplay with the kind of over the top borderline magic/classic anime style of fighting with giant robot like things that are apparently Claymores that gave up their humanity to gain more power or something on the lines of that. It is an interesting mix that somehow works well for Claymore, even though some of the abilities and why they have cool downs is never entirely explained.
For the most part, Claymore has a great art style with a fantastic attention to detail in both character outfits and environments. Surprisingly, the Claymores have normal armor rather than unrealistic “sexy lingerie” armor, which is a welcome change of pace. In fact, Norihiro Yagi never once tries to add sexual overtones to the artwork. Not even for Priscilla in her make shift cloak. Claymore however, does suffer from having a bunch of characters that look far too similar. While I can understand why all the Claymores have the same armor, the fact that they all have the same hair color and eyes makes it difficult at times to tell who is who. Having different hairstyles was a step in the right direction, but I feel like more could have been done to make the various female characters more recognizable.
Overall, Claymore proved to be a very interesting series even when starting in medias res as I did. It was easy to get an understanding of what was going on while also being able to follow the action of what was happening in the present. If you are into an action packed, yet mildly gorey manga with female characters that aren’t oversexualized, then Claymore is the manga for you. Check it out if you get a chance.