Review: Claymore, Vol. 21

Claymore, Vol. 21 (Claymore, #21)Claymore, Vol. 21
by Norihiro Yagi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Claymore, Vol. 21 / 978-1421548807

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 21 provides the following scenes:

Scene 114: Corpse of the Witch, Part 1
Scene 115: Corpse of the Witch, Part 2
Scene 116: Corpse of the Witch, Part 3
Scene 117: Corpse of the Witch, Part 4
Scene 118: Corpse of the Witch, Part 5
Scene 119: Corpse of the Witch, Part 5

Spoilers ahead!

This volume opens as the Claymore revolt against their handlers in the heart of the Organization. Miria is alive, and all the warriors -- as well as the trainees -- have joined her cause in solidarity to her conviction and in response to their own emotional turmoil after years of torture and suppression by their leaders.

The Organization responds swiftly. They first unleash an army of Abyss Feeders; these demon-zombies have not been primed with a target and instead unleash their hunger on the nearby Claymore forces. Meanwhile Raki is released from the dungeons of the Organization by the young trainees; he joins the young girls as a leader and helps them in their fight against the human handlers.

The Abyss Feeders are a formidable force, but they are just an advance force: Scientist Dae unleashes his resurrected Claymore, the deceased former Number 1s. They are all new characters to us: Hysteria the Elegant, Roxanne of Love and Hate, and Cassandra the Dusteater. Hysteria confronts Miria, and asks her if Miria knows who she is and why she has a memory of dying. Cassandra focuses on Number 3 Audrey and Number 5 Rachel. Roxanne easily subdues the young trainee twins who are being trained to be the new Alicia and Beth; she seems to be the only resurrected with any memory of who she was before.

We receive a long and fascinating interlude on the history of Roxanne and Cassandra; the scene doesn't contribute to the main storyline, but it *is* very interesting to read and surprisingly doesn't slow down the action at all. When we return to the battle, we see that all the Claymore are faring badly against the resurrected: Cassandra in particular is very close to defeating Audrey and Rachel, but Number 10 Rafutera intervenes from within the headquarters and uses her distraction technique to throw Cassandra off her game. The young trainees join arms around Rafutera to support her physically while Raki fights off the human attackers seeking to kill Rafutera and the young children.

Meanwhile, Miria is faring very badly against Hysteria. The two have similar fighting techniques, but Hysteria's is far superior. In desperation, Miria switches to a brutal fighting style based on collision damage, in which the survivor is left almost to chance. As Cassandra stops fighting and struggles to remember her identity, Rafutera is free to switch her attention to Roxanne in order to save the lives of the young trainee twins. Cassandra slowly comes to the realization that a power-hungry Roxanne deliberately provoked Cassandra into attacking, and used the Organization's warriors to murder Cassandra in cold blood. In a gust of rage, Cassandra is the first of the unstable resurrected to awaken: since Cassandra is/was ranked as Number 1, she is formally an Abyssal Creature, and very dangerous indeed.

...and that's the end of the series until the next installment comes out in 2013. Tenterhooks!

~ Ana Mardoll


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