Mangaka Norihiro Yagi’s Claymore is no longer a phenomenon it once used to be. Claymore is somewhat a forgotten classic now. A cut above among its peer in contemporary shonen, Claymore provides a complex web of twists and turns and conflict between individual and state in medieval times. Idiosyncratic and cutting-edge in its own way exerting influence on great works encompassing everything from The Promised Neverland to Attack on Titan. It holds a very special place in the anime and manga ethos and it’s not talked about very often.
Claymore takes place on an unknown island that is inhabited by creatures known as Yoma, deadly demon-like creatures that hide among humans. These Yoma are powerful shape-shifting monsters that feed off of human innards. They go around murdering and eating people in secret and replace their victims with their powers and walk among citizens until they need to feed again. Upon devouring the human, they not only impersonate them but also regain all of their memories. This doesn’t sound good for those living on the island, so a mysterious organization known as The Organisation creates a new type of warriors to fight them.
These female soldiers were born human but they were fused together with Yoma flesh and hence, became half human half yoma warriors. This lets them hold onto human consciousness however, their potentials are amplified and become strong enough to kill yoma. These yoma usually obliterate the original victims’ family and these warriors are the victims of such attacks. So these missions are form of revenge against their atrocities.
These soldiers carry the burden of seeking out and eliminating the yoma hiding in or attacking villages so they go from town to town to slay any yoma reported in exchange for money. These soldiers don’t have any official names but they are known among people as Claymore, for the huge Claymore swords they carry. The Organization creates, organizes, and dispatches the Claymores on their missions and then comes to collect the payment once the job is done.
Claymores are humanity’s only hope of eliminating yoma. By taking over the flesh and blood of these beasts, by losing their humanity, these Claymores become super-soldiers with speed, great reflexes, and power exceeding that of yoma. The mind and heart of the individual warriors dictate what kind of Claymore they will be: offensive or defensive. They have been trained and bio-augmented from a young age in order to combat the yoma.
These Claymores are cut open and filled with Yoma organs in order to provide them with such inhumane strength. But there always remains a scar called STIGMA running from their neck to their crouch indicating that they are no longer human. The process of becoming a Claymore takes a lot of suffering and pain and changes the body forever and renders the subject no human. These Claymores have ranking assigned to them not only to differentiate their assigned region but also works as an indication of their own levels of strength as well.
Our protagonist, Clare/Claire is one of these warriors and the story begins with her going about her business as a silver rod witch. She is 47th ranking Claymore in the 150th generation. Claire is the main character but there are so many other absolutely great characters sprinkled throughout the journey. The manga lets not only the Claymore but human characters time to develop. Everyone in this epic of a story deserves all they got.
Besides this, Claymore exhibits bloodcurdling conflict between humans and those who once were human. Skilled and genetically mutated demon hunters that hunt down demons are feared by the citizens living on the island. They aren’t welcomed or praised for their efforts by the people they save, they are considered as essential evil that is recruited for human survival.
Reading the world-building and the characters that inhabit it, Claymore provides a wholesome experience in every sense. Some of the misdirection of this tale is pure genius. No scene comes to mind when a claymore war is being unnecessarily sexualized. The author is commendable for telling the story exclusively about females.
You can catch up with the classic using several methods. These include watching anime always but for a wholesome experience that actually illustrates Yagi’s true potential moving to manga is a better option. Those of you who are subscribed to Shonen Jump can read the manga through the app. Other options include Viz. Media and you can always buy hard copies from any online retailer.
After witnessing The bizarre world of Berserk and Attack on titan, Claymore is one more medieval-time classic which provides the gut-churning conflict between duty, freedom, love, and control.