I like this, and I generally hate shonen action series.
This review covers the manga only.
is surprisingly deep and interesting for a shonen combat series, a genre that I frequently find bores me in short order. Partly it's because the titular Claymores are Hot Chicks With Swords
, a known fetish of mine, but I don't think that's the majority of it.
One part of it is that there's a consistent, overall plot that has clearly been planned from the beginning and kept to through 90 manga chapters so far. New things introduced mesh with what's already there, and don't feel like RetCons
, but rather planned developments as the layers of the onion are peeled back — and there are quite a few layers here. It's a dark series in which anyone can die except, so far, two lead characters, and there are few truly good guys to be found. Leashed evil is set to combat unleashed evil, but the true, deepest evils lurk in the hearts and minds of men, which meshes with my personal world-view very well.
It's not the kind of series where we pause to peer into the hearts of the characters very much, but the characterizations are good, with perhaps one exception. Except for a few main characters, there is a large cast, which does require a bit of keeping track of.
Making that harder is that visually distinguishing the Claymores is a little difficult, since they (realistically) wear very similar armored uniforms and are all, thanks to the creation process, pale-haired and pale-skinned. Fortunately the faces are very distinct, and each one does have a trademark hairstyle and a unique identity symbol, but the latter is small. In slow scenes it's easy; in combat, not so much. The series' art gets better over time, but combat scenes in the manga can be confusing; demonic horrors are just visually busy no matter what, and sometimes it takes some effort to follow. And there's a lot of combat.
Most long-running manga degrade into having a high density of filler; Claymore
is notable in that it does not. Every chapter counts, whether it's to progress the plot or fill out the backstory.
The story is far from over; at my most optimistic I'd say it's two-thirds done, and a pessimistic estimate is more like half-way. And it's monthly, so expect a long
wait for resolution. If you can stand that, highly recommended!