Review

by Theron Martin, Nov 22nd 2009

Claymore

GN 15

Synopsis:
Claymore GN 15

Clare has returned to Rabona with the rest of the Pieta Seven in tow, and that spells bad news for the Awakened Being “Bloody” Agatha. In the wake of the battle there is time for various reunions and new introductions, but Miria also has a boatload of secrets to spill about the Organization, their true purpose, the real origin of yoma, and pretty much everything else relevant to the setting's background, and spill them she does. Faced with these truths, Clarice is left at a loss for what to do, while the Pieta Seven decide to take some time to deal with personal matters before confronting the Organization head-on. For Clare, that means following up on a relatively fresh lead concerning Raki, but he hasn't been doing too badly for himself.

Meanwhile, Riful has finally managed to “recruit” one of the Claymores for her bizarre new scheme.

Review:

In almost every sense this is the Big Reveal volume, so much so that the opening battle against Bloody Agatha, while involving plenty of cool moves, is pretty much an afterthought. This is the volume where Norihiro Yagi, after more than six dozen chapters, finally gets around to revealing what is really going on and what the Organization is really up to. But will fans be satisfied? That depends entirely on what was expected.

Without question the Whole Truth confronts and at least partly deals with many issues that readers may have been wondering about for a long time. One of them is the very weapon from which the Claymores get their colloquial name. Who that has read this series (or watched the anime version) has not wondered at some point how these massive swords never break or even chip despite the tremendous forces applied to and against them? This environment may have shape-changing monsters but has never shown any magic, so this is a significant – and much-overlooked – detail. Where the yoma came from and the true motivations of the Organization are more obvious mysteries, and the explanation that Miria offers up here not only makes sense but puts many other things which have happened over the course of the series in context (such as the suspicious vagaries about time frame, for instance). On the downside, the answers that Yagi came up with are hardly novel ones; any veteran sci fi or fantasy anime fan has seen a scheme something like this before, and this version does not put any fresh twist on it. Anyone who had any question about the dastardliness of the Organization before this should have no question now, though.

For all the big revelations, the parts that do not concern the revelations or the Bloody Agatha battle are actually the best here, which could be looked at either as a testament to how well those scenes are handled or a sign of how overplayed the other parts are. Lots of familiar faces pop back up again in this one, and much of the volume's best fun is in seeing how much or little some of them have changed; Raki, who makes his first appearance in the current timeline, is a particularly welcome appearance. The volume also returns to one other issue from seven years ago that was left unsatisfactorily resolved and does so in an unexpected manner, creating a surprise arguably bigger than the ones Miria revels. The new Clay>more introduced here, Renée, also has some potential, and the final scene is a suitably satisfying cliffhanger. Even the long-neglected secondary members of the Pieta Seven get a fair amount of their own panel time here.

Yagi's artistry is up to its usual specs: detailed background art, a broad variety of distinctive character designs for his Claymores, and dynamic, easy-to-follow action scenes. The most notable new design is Renée's, whose braided hair is doubtless far more complicated and time-consuming to draw but still works well; she is arguably one of the prettiest Claymore designs to come along yet. Raki's adult appearance is also satisfyingly aged, as there is no question that it is him when he first appears but also there is no question that he has grown up, too.

Unlike the previous two volumes, this one has six complete chapters, so there are no bonus flashback stories and it has never been Yagi's style to produce any four-panel strips or other Extras. The beginning does have the standard About the Creator blurb and The Story Thus Far summary, but beyond those it only includes a Next Volume advertisement. The cover art may be the least impressive of the series to date, but at least all of the sound effects have been translated.

Yagi had seemed like he was stretching in the previous two volumes, but this one gets the story more firmly back on track. There is still a lot going on here, so even if the initial battle and big revelations were a bit of a letdown there is still a lot to like. Unfortunately it looks like another 7+ month wait will pass before the next volume appears.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall : B
Story : B
Art : A-

+ Artistry, reappearance of several long-term characters, still shows some inventiveness.
Initial battle is a yawner, many of the biggest revelations lack freshness.

Story & Art:Norihiro Yagi

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Claymore (manga)

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Claymore (GN 15)

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