Review: Claymore, Vol. 20

Claymore: Demon's Claw Remains, Vol. 20 (Claymore, #20)Claymore: Demon's Claw Remains, Vol. 20
by Norihiro Yagi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Claymore, Vol. 20 / 978-1421542119

I'm a very devoted fan of both the Claymore anime and the manga. I love the crisp black-and-white artwork, and while I realize it's not for everyone I personally think it's a perfect style for graphic novels. I find the action easy to follow, and the faces and body language to be surprisingly emotive. The story is complex and compelling, and I'm all in until the series finally finishes. I own this volume as a Nook Book e-book, and I assume it will shortly be ported to other online stores for sale.

Volume 20 provides the following scenes:

Scene 108: Phantoms in the Heart, Part 3
Scene 109: Phantoms in the Heart, Part 4
Scene 110: Remains of the Demon Claw, Part 1
Scene 111: Remains of the Demon Claw, Part 2
Scene 112: Remains of the Demon Claw, Part 3
Scene 113: Remains of the Demon Claw, Part 4

Spoilers ahead!

This volume opens as Helen, Deneve, Cynthia, Yuma, and Dietrich return to the holy city of Rabona. They are shocked to find that an army of yoma and Awakened Beings are attacking the town. In the center of action, a newly confident Clarice organizes the Rabona forces around the efforts of herself, Miata, Galatea, and Tabitha. With the reinforcement provided by the remaining Ghosts (plus Dietrich), the monsters are defeated and Rabona is saved -- but it was a close call, and Dietrich is visibly shaken.

We get a quick cut to Raki in the dungeons of the Organization, and then we're back to Rabona -- Helen shows Galatea a strange dormant black mass that they dragged back with them from the west. Galatea senses that Clare's consciousness is within the mass, and that Clare somehow conspired with Rafaela to trap Priscilla in the black mass in order to prevent her from further destruction.

The Ghosts decide to converge on the Organization's headquarters and continue Miria's work of dismantling the place. Galatea warns that Miria must certainly be dead, but the Ghosts are determined to go on. Dietrich volunteers to join them, confessing that the army which converged on Rabona reminded her too much of the army that conveniently destroyed her hometown after they refused to pay the Organization's high demands for Claymore services rendered.

Back at the Organization, one of the scientists reveals that Priscilla's arm had kept Raki safe from the parasites of The Destroyer. He is disturbed that something so powerful existed unbeknownst to them -- they either do not recognize that the arm is Priscilla's, or they have vastly underestimated her strength. Scientist Dae decides to use the arm for a secret project which will protect the Organization from further attacks like the one Miria launched on them so recently.

On the road, the Ghosts decide to take a short detour in order to save a Claymore party from an unexpected attack by Awakened Beings. Number 7 Anastasia and Number 15 Nike are numbered among the party, and are genuinely concerned for the weaker members of their group. While the Ghosts intervene to save them, Dietrich explains to the stunned Claymore who the Ghosts are and what their purpose is. After the battle, Deneve deduces that the male Awakened Beings they just defeated were created by the Organization -- the Organization does not just make yoma in order to terrorize the countryside and provide work for Claymore, but they also kidnap men and turn them into Awakened Beings in order to provide training for their stronger warriors. Anastasia and Nike decide to join the Ghosts in their quest to destroy the nearby facility and the headquarters.

In Scientist Dae's private quarters, we catch a glimpse of his plan to protect the headquarters: he has chosen the bodies of three deceased former Number 1s and is using Priscilla's arm to resurrect them as protectors for the area.

Finally we come to what is easily my favorite scene in the series so far: an unnamed "every-woman" Claymore narrates how she was called back to the Organization in order to protect it from an impending threat. When that threat turned out to be a lone warrior, eyes burning with conviction, and unwilling to kill her comrades even at risk to herself, the Claymores all were touched by her sacrifice and dedication. They remembered the pain they had been put through by their handlers, and they remembered the little lies each had uncovered and guessed at along the way. They remembered their lost friends, comrades, and loved ones, and saw them reflected back at them in the lone warrior's eyes.

And when they cut down the warrior under the watchful eyes of their handlers, not a single one of them struck a fatal blow. The volume ends with Miria, scarred but alive, leading the Claymore in an internal revolt against the Organization.

~ Ana Mardoll


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