Claymore: A Feminist Review on a Popular Manga Series

 

-Disclaimer: as announced before, this is a school project and this review is meant to explore the different angles a feminist theory critic might take when reviewing Claymore. Feel free to leave your response to the review :D
-Every picture provided for this project was a courtesy of  [addlink url=”http://www.vizmanga.com” text=”http://www.vizmanga.com”]… you guys rock!! :D

 

Claymore: A Feminist Review on a Popular Manga Series

The first thing a person who has never read manga would ask is: What’s manga? At best, they would follow that question with something like, “what kind of book is it?” At worst the question might just go like, “how do you eat it?” But before we wander off about the second question, let’s answer the first.

 

What’s manga?

“Manga is a huge and lucrative business considered one of the most important Japanese cultural exports to the world today” (Ito, 2). Just like the United States, per say, has exported its culture through movies or t.v. series, japan has exported its culture through graphic-novel-like books which are widely read in Japan as well as around the world.

Just like the Marvel Comics (to name one) is widely popular in the United States, so it’s manga in Japan. In fact, manga is so popular among the Japanese people that it is purchased by anyone regardless of their age, education and social classes (Ueno, 1).
However, there are a few differences between [the Japanese] manga and [the American] comics and the main one, I would argue, would be that comics in the United States deal with more superhero-plots (think Spiderman, Hulk, Ironman) than any other plot. Manga, however, goes beyond the superhero-plot. And the proof of this is that manga is not just a book “type” but an umbrella that covers different genres depending on the targeted audience. Shojo manga, for example, “ is targeted primarily at girls from elementary school through high school, with themes like romantic love, and other themes such as fantasies, mysteries and so forward” (Ueno, 1). Ladies manga, on the other hand, “aims predominantly at adult women, dealing with things such as love, career, mother-child relations, divorce, among others (Ueno, 1). Claymore is considered a Shonen manga, which is a type of manga that targets male audience. Among the main themes that will always be found in a Shonen manga is action. And Claymore is full of it.

 

Introduction: Claymore, The Manga Series

 

claymore

 

Claymore is a “fantasy-horror manga written and illustrated by Norihiro Yagi” (Whittle, n.p.). The series are placed in a medieval world where electricity has yet to be discovered, so people mainly base their daily lives around candles, torches, carriages and foot-travels.
One recurring torment the people across towns have in common is that they are constantly hunted and eaten by monsters called Yoma who feed of human’s guts (Whittle, n.p.).
No human can match these monsters’ strength and, through unworldly experiments, an institution commonly referred in the series as “The Organization” discovered that, by inserting Yoma flesh into a person, that person can gradually match the monster’s strength enough to defeat them. Once a Yoma’s flesh has been inserted into a human body and once the human acquires these supernatural abilities, such people are considered to be “half-human and half-Yoma”. This is because certain characteristics that a normal human would have, like the need to consume food for energy and the need to sleep for at least eight-hours for example, decreases while some of the characteristics of a Yoma, like super strength and rapid regeneration, increase. However, a downside of the experiment is that eventually every “half-human, half-Yoma”, also known as Claymores, ends up becoming a Yoma. Thus the next target by any available Claymore.
It might be important to note that though man and woman alike can become a Claymore, only women are recruited by the Organization for they are able to last longer (than men) as a human before becoming a ruthless monster.

 

Claymore Analysis: Zooming in

For a girl reading these series it might feel empowering to know that women can and do pick up the swords to fight. In fact, this feeling might deepen each and every time a guy tries to step in to help a Claymore only to be put in his you-are-not-as-strong-as-me place when he realizes he is no match for neither the Yoma nor the Claymore.
However, there a key points a feminist magnifier would find conflicting with this series.

 

Key point #1: No diversity

Josh Viel writes, in his escapistmagazine.com article, “Now, the setting of Claymore isn’t particularly unique: In a fantasy world modeled on – what else? – medieval Europe, an organization consisting almost entirely of tall, blond, female warriors who wield large Claymores hunt down demonic creatures known as “Yoma” to protect humans.”
It wasn’t really until Josh pointed this out that it dawned on me: every single one of these super-powerful, fast, and veracious monster-killing Claymore is Caucasian and blond! There is no space for diversity among them whatsoever, which could lead a female reader, who has paid attention to this detail like Josh, to get the wrong idea that only Caucasian, blond women can pick up a sword and fight.
The series blames this at one point during the series by saying that those are the effects of inserting Yoma flesh into a women, but then how come the Yomas are, for the most part, black-skinned and dark-haired?

Towards the end of the series, a new Claymore is introduced in the series and, unlike the rest, Alas! She is brunette (not much of a diversity) but then the kicker: she is not as strong and as powerful as the blond ones…

If one is to argue about the importance of gender equality within a piece of work, then one must also fight that within these “equalities” –within the genders itself— there must also be an internal balance in order for every reader (in this case every female reader) to feel that they can be strong regardless of their skin and hair color or complexity.

And a group of female warriors that share the same physical traits might not really provide such balance.

 

Key point #2 : Claymore, a Shonen Manga?

[addlink url=”http://www.vizmanga.com” text=”http://www.vizmanga.com”], a popular site to read manga, categorizes Claymore as Shonen. And as mentioned before, Shonen targets male-oriented audience. But, what does it mean when something [be it a manga volume, a book, a piece of poetry and the like] is said to be male-oriented? With so many diversities in sexual orientation, and with the constant changes in gender-roles, expectations and misconceptions, what exactly does “male-oriented manga” mean?

Nathaniel Bell, in his ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ANIMATION article found in the examiner.com, says: “Overall, Claymore is an intriguing manga and decent anime. Finding a shonen with a female lead is rare enough but finding a story that can hold your interest isn’t always as easily spotted either.”
This brings to show that there has been a widely accepted idea that shonen is purely a male-ruled territory. With this in mind, then, I ask the question, if Claymore is truly a shonen manga, meaning that is meant to attract and entertain male readers, then why would it, like Nathaniel pointed out, portray women as the leaders of the series? Does it mean that Claymore is not a story meant to shine light onto usually silenced [female] voices when it comes to action manga, but that is meant to deepen our views that women, despite how strong Claymore warriors seem to be are, in the end, not as strong and powerful as men?

To explore this question, let us follow it up in the next key point.

 

Key point # 3: The symbolism behind becoming a Claymore

As stated above, within the series, Claymores are often referred as “half-human, half-yoma”. And that is because these female warriors are inserted Yoma flesh into their bodies. It is important to point out that most of these teen girls who sign up for this transformation do it voluntarily. Claire, the main character of the series for example, volunteered to become a Claymore to avenge the death of Theresa, a female warrior that was killed by a Yoma. Priscila, a former Claymore warrior who later became the monster who killed Theresa, joined the organization to become a warrior
to avenge the death of her parents who were likewise killed by a Yoma.

 

halfmonster

 

 

Once Yoma flesh is put into their bodies, these girls go through lengthy physical training and fighting techniques until they are strong enough to leave the organization to hunt for Yomas. To emphasize, the very thing Claymores are trained to hunt and kill is, literally, half of the very thing they are.
So, the paradox that a woman becomes strong enough to fight a Yoma only when she is inserted the flesh of the very thing she hates and that is rejected by the society (the gut-feeders monsters) speaks volumes about the symbolism found within the series.

Across towns, whenever the word “Claymore” is said, it is usually followed by judgmental gasps. Fear, terror, horror, and disgust are among the common reaction that the town people have. And this is shown from the very first volume (or book 1) when Claire, the protagonist of the series, arrives for the first time at a town to kill a yoma. It is not her first kill, but for the majority of the town people, it is the first time they see a Claymore.

 

claire

 

 

To the town people Claire is strong, but she is also a half-human, half-monster. She can protect the town by killing a Yoma, but that doesn’t take the stigma that she is also a monster. As a claymore, Claire has sacrificed the rest of her life and her humanity to protect and save people from Yoma and this does not, for the rest of the civilian world, take the fact that she is to be feared. : Come, do what you have to do to kill the Yoma, and leave.

If, for a moment, we were to think that Yomas in the series represent a part of womanhood that is usually rejected by male-oriented readers, then how would that change your view of the series as a whole?

Yes, women who become Claymores do so voluntarily, but once a Claymore, these warriors are under the direct control of the organization. Leaving it means death.

So, in a nutshell: If you are a woman and you don’t join them, you can be killed by a Yoma when taking a stroll on the city, or you can survive each encounter with a Yoma and always mourn your loved ones who weren’t so lucky, or you can join them, and hunt Yomas until you become a Yoma yourself or until you get killed in one of these hunts…

Is that fair? Is it fair that Claymore are only strong when they become half of what they want to kill? By becoming half of what the world seems to be disgusted by?
Key Point # 4: Portrayal of the Gender Dynamics within the Claymore world

Throughout the series, Claymores encounter men and women across towns. And usually, women are portrayed either grocery shopping, or tending their houses. It could be that the series tried to portray what a medieval gender roles were like. And if so, does the attempt of a realistic reader experience justifies the reinforcement of the expected gender roles within society? The First volume in the series sets out the tone of the story. It explains what’s going on, it introduces the main characters and their initial struggles within their world. However, the first volume also introduces us to many clues as to how women are portrayed within the series.
Let’s take a look at the first town meeting the reader is taken to. This meeting, which is of importance to the entire town for another gutless body has appeared on the streets, pretty much summarizes how important women are in the decision-making process within the communities they live:

 

town

 

In case if you miss it, let me point it out: not one women is present in this town meeting! Now, take a look again at the image above and see if you can find any….

Exactly.
Even though women are a vital part of their community (by all the things they do in their households and for the community itself) they are not present at the meeting when the chief is making the big announcement that a Claymore is to visit the town to hunt the Yoma.
In fact, as the series progresses, the absence of women in important decision-making town meetings, goes to show just how women are, again, presented in the series.

Every Inn owner in the series, every businessman, every person who has power, be it in the churches, in the cities, in the communities, even in the Organization itself, is a man!

In other words, despite the increase in interest to see in  comics magazines a reflection of women’s consciousness-raising and their position both within and outside the house (Ogi, 4), Claymore still portrays a rather distant world where career women might not truly relate to. “The following two roles are crucial to examining ladies’ comics as writing for women: the first is to present women’s desires when they are no longer girls; and the second is to offer role models to adult women” (Ogi, 4).
Therefore, maybe this series, though how appealing the idea that female warriors take the lead, is truly not a celebration of woman empowerment. Yes, Claymores are women and yes, they are strong and fight and kick asses, but in reality, they are still under male subjugation. They are still being stigmatized though they all are sacrificing their lives for the lives of others and not even that is enough for the town people in the series.

As a normal human, the women in the Claymore series have no say in what happens in their community, or their households for that matter. As female warriors who have volunteered themselves to fight off Yomas to death, they are still categorized as probably the next worst thing after Yomas themselves. So, I ask: What else must these woman give up in order for them to reach at least the status of owning a decaying Inn?

 

Claymore Analysis: Zooming Out

These Key Points are, by no means, the only to be point out. But those are possibly the very first ones that jump right of the page when you are reading the series.
As a whole, the series are extremely enjoyable, not because of the things the manga didn’t focused on, but because on the things they did. Female friendship is among the main themes within the series. The Claire, the main character, is a person willing to go to extremes for those dear to her. There is a sisterhood bond that ties these Claymores together and it is their struggles as warriors and their ups and downs what made, in my opinion, these series appealing to female readers.

So, let’s step back and wonder what the Claymore series means as a whole.
What do the series mean? I cannot answer. Haha. I can theorize and pull out my subjective rabbits of the hat, but in reality, each person, (siding with Post-modernism), will find their own meaning when reading the series.

Notwithstanding, as I put the Feminist magnifier down, I realize that there are people out there who might not read manga at all. There are also female readers who will not be attracted to the goriness in which Norihiro despicts this series. However, that doesn’t mean that female readers aren’t reading these mangas (myself included). Right now, “manga accounts for two-thirds of all graphic-novel sales in U.S. bookstores” (Ho, 1). So, even if you not everyone is reading it, there are some people that are. Therefore, it is good to be aware of what kinds of things are presented in a story. For female readers who might seek answers to what there are going through in life, revising and looking at a story from a literary perspective (not just feminism, but other theories too) might be just as useful. The perks and the liberties of the mind when one becomes aware of how things are presented and represented in a piece work does not only give insight into the someone’s else mind, but also an insight into society’s thoughts as a whole.

Work Cited

Ito, Kinko. “The Manga Culture in Japan.” Japan Studies Review.

Ogi, Fusami. “Female Subjectivity And Shoujo (Girls)Manga (Japanese Comics):Shoujo In Ladies’ Comics And Young Ladies’ Comics.” Journal Of Popular Culture 36.4 (2003): 780. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 May 2015.

eno, Junko. “Shojo” And Adult Women: A Linguistic Analysis Of Gender Identity In “Manga” (Japanese Comics).” Women & Language 29.1 (2006): 16-25. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 6 May 2015.

Whittle, James. “Female warriors rule; Claymore (TV).” South China Morning Post. (May 6, 2007 Sunday ): 282 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2015/05/7.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/anime/6816-Anime-Review-Claymore

 

http://www.examiner.com/review/hack-and-slash-review-of-claymore-manga

http://vizmanga.com

Naomi Husband
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Naomi Husband

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12 thoughts on “Claymore: A Feminist Review on a Popular Manga Series

  1. The explaination is very well analyzed based on a feminist perspective. You broke down the basics when it came down to every one of your key points. The one thing you failed to mentioned was extremely important especially since it is in favor of feminism since it pertains to women and that is: Emotion. I read the first chapter in the manga and seen the first two episodes of the anime. One thing I did capture was that Claymores go through an incredible amount of emotional endurance. Doesn’t seem easy to be a claymore knowing that one day you will receive that black card to kill another close claymore friend knowing their humanity is coming to an end. The human heart has so much power, but unfortunately every claymore has their expiration date. Also for the claymore killing their friend who turns into Yoma, it just pains to watch. But the emotion of knowing the claymore died while still having humanity in themselves, is the only gift they receive after joining the Organization. From the male perspective, the majority of us don’t like like to show emotion. Even while I was reading comments on youtube while watching the anime, one of the viewers commented “Pussy boy ruins the anime” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adcWUBzrb6A . Just to show that in a way, Claymore does have it’s “Fors” persay for feminism. Other than that, good job on the Blog! I bet you must have gotten an A for this at school :). If you did, well earned!

    1. Hey,
      Nice to see you around here again :D
      Wow!
      Do you know what surprises me ? The fact that you actually went to Youtube and saw the series haha
      That’s amazing! Thank you so much for doing that because you got to see at least a bit of what I was trying to do here.
      So, I agree with you that Claymores go through emotional hardships but I don’t think I addressed that because I didn’t have much to criticize about it from a feminist point of view. Maybe there is and I failed?
      And you know what? I should have totally included comments on what people were saying on youtube into this project haha
      :)
      Thank you so much for commenting!

  2. I disagree that the enemies being “dark-skinned” really counts seeing as 1) They’re colored pretty wildly (purple, red, etc skinned)
    and 2) In their human forms they’re white or grey skinned like everyone else. I do think it’s valid to note that most of the Claymores are white and blonde/white haired but I forgive it based off of where the story is located and the reasoning of having the soldiers be unified in appearance. Had the Claymore land been varied in terms of ethnicity and the Claymores were still all-white then I’d feel differently about it but pretty much everyone there is white.

    1. Hello Draw :D
      I think you made a great point so I am really glad you decided to voice your opinion!
      You are right, the series didn’t present a diversity nor as claymores nor as humans. And now I wonder why is that ? :/
      I am also considering doing a review of the series based on eco-criticism which might adress the setting and possibly this point. And I might actually look more into your poiny and maybe edit the “yomas are dark-skinned” as a reasoning for no diversity :)
      I am glad you stopped by and hope to see you soon :D

  3. Key point #1
    “series didn’t present a diversity nor as claymores nor as humans. And now I wonder why is that ?”

    go to modern Russia – you’ll see that 99,99% of 140 mln population is white :)
    needless to say that some northen medievallike country will have same trait
    and more – all Claymores are artifical albino
    so no diversity as a part of story :)

    Key point #3
    “It is important to point out that most of these teen girls who sign up for this transformation do it voluntarily.”

    no, Clare is the only
    http://a.mfcdn.net/store/manga/186/05-024.0/compressed/gclaymore_v05c024_marked_for_death_vii.claymore_v05_099.jpg
    from beginning to end – Claymores are just expendable tools of Organisation
    like some grown-up Gunslinger Girls

    “If, for a moment, we were to think that Yomas in the series represent a part of womanhood”
    more likely Yoma=some male abusers (who mimiks to nornal man), Organization (who secretly creates Yoma, and uses Claymores like tools) = Patriarchy, Claymores = women community, trying to fight Org or obeys and kill those who breaks Laws of Patryarchy :)

    sorry for my “engrish” %)

    1. Hello karneheni.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting :D
      The link you provided is actually a good way to back up your point. However, when the story is told from a single character’s point of view is actually limited to know what he or she knows. So, for Claire she was the first person to knock into the organization’s door, but can’t really forget all other story lines from the rest of the warriors. Priscila, for instance, kept having flashbacks on how she witnessed her family getting eaten by a Yoma. And when she is trying to kill Theresa after Theresa killed a bunch of humans, the will Priscilla showed into wanting to kill Theresa only shows how strong Priscilla feels. For Prisicila, the fact that Theresa killed humans is unforgivable because that’s what Yomas do. So, even though the series never adresses how Priscila got into the organization, it is rather unlikely that she was forced into it :)
      Another character that I can bring as an example is Ophelia. As Claire was killing her, Ophelia remembered her brother and how he smiled because he knew he was saving her from a Yoma and only then she whispered, “how could I have forgotten his smile?” She might had lost her sight of why she became a Claymore but it is clear that she wanted to kill as many Yoma (specially awakened beings) as possible. Again, someone who doesn’t voluntarily signs up for this is less likely to do it with such will as Ophelia and Priscila did :)
      And for keypoint #1
      I understand what you mean. About Russians and how the medieval ages and percentages. But it is impossible not to think that there wasn’t a diversity in the real medieval ages. I think is important (specially when we have a series where women are the ones fighting and not being protected by a male figure) that we have a good representation not just in one particular race or ethnicity, but in many, if not all. I got an email after I made public this review and in it the reader mentioned that she struggles from self-esteem and that she felt that “Claymore” was empowering for women but that it did little for her because of this reason. I encouraged her to leave a comment but she declined and I respect that :)
      karneheni, I get it. It is easier to focus on the main plot when there is no diversity, but at what price? What kind of message is this sending? What should readers who are not white and blonde take from this?
      The more I worked on this review, the more I actually loved what I was doing. I want to spark a discussion. I want people to stop and see their favorite series and dissect what is being portrayed. The fact that you came here and voice your opinion is amazing and I am so happy you did!
      It’s like every person holds a piece of the puzzle and the more we try to put it together, the bigger is the picture we are actually able to see :)
      What other animes have you watched? Any anime that you think I should try to check out for my next review? :D

      1. did you read the Claymore manga? There stated that more strong emotional disaster happend with girls then more strong Claymores they produced from. So thats some kind of twisted eugenics. And Priscilla was special too in that case.
        and i don’t deny the fact that certain Claymores hates Yoma, its a 100% true
        but i think thats Clare is the only who voluntary join the Organization, she’s a very close to the most powerful wariior of the Organization, she’s a Special one, thats stated through all manga :)

        “But it is impossible not to think that there wasn’t a diversity in the real medieval ages.”
        but from what? no immigration, no airlines, large ships, trains – just bunch of people lived in same place hundreds of years
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_state
        thats about majority of Claymore’s population
        what about Claymores itself – i think there is interesting challenge for author – portray main heroines who looks alike but completely different inside
        something like – soul diversity >>>>>> body diversity

        “What other animes have you watched? Any anime that you think I should try to check out for my next review?”
        mmm for example – Shoujo Kakumei Utena or Simoun :)
        love them xD

        PS and thanks for answer and review

        1. “did you read the Claymore manga?” Yes, multiple times :D It’s my favorite manga.
          “but i think thats Clare is the only who voluntary join the Organization” And I think that Clare was not the only one. So we both think differently and that’s okay :)
          You say that the reason why the were powerful was because some of them were special and I agree. However, I pointed out the fact a person being forced into joining the organization would not likely follow through her quest to kill Yoma out of pure obedience. Each of them had a personal reason, thus why I believe that Clare wasn’t the only one to join voluntarily.
          “but from what? no immigration, no airlines, large ships, trains – just bunch of people lived in same place hundreds of years
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_state
          Wikipedia is not a valid source. And of course there was immigration. Maybe not in large scale as nowadays but trying to find the best place to live has always made people move from place to place, seeking better housing.
          “PS and thanks for answer and review” You are welcome :)
          I am really excited to see you here and to see how much you also love claymore and anime. Shoujo Kkumei Utena or Simoun? I have never read them or watch them 0.0 Better do that soon so I can see why you love them :D

          P.S Soul Diversity? Brilliant \(^o^)/ I love it!!

  4. I’m really sorry to say this, but your analysis of the manga is rather sloppy, being full of (hopefully unintended) distortions. Here are just a few of them.

    1) “It is important to point out that most of these teen girls who sign up for this transformation do it voluntarily.”

    ==> Simply Wrong. It is explicitly stated in the manga that Clare is the first case who voluntarily enter the organization to be a warrior. See what clare said at the end of chapter 24; “And that’s how I became THE FIRST person to knock on the organization’s door of THEIR OWN FREE WILL”

    Even more, you can find many places in the manga where it is strongly hinted-implied that those women (and males) did not choose to be a warrior on their own will in the ordinary sense of the word.

    2) “If, for a moment, we were to think that Yomas in the series represent a part of womanhood that is usually rejected by male-oriented readers”

    ==> Yoma as something which represents a part of womanhood? A baseless claim at b est. As you probably know, the organization discarded its early days policy of creating male claymores, but decided to create female claymores instead. Why? It’s simply because (compared to women) males lasted as human in much shorter period. In other words, It turned out that male is much weaker and poorer at suppressing the temptation of becoming a Yoma. Then How Could Yoma be something which is of more female thing?

    3) “in a nutshell: If you are a woman and you don’t join them, you can be killed by a Yoma when taking a stroll on the city, or you can survive each encounter with a Yoma and always mourn your loved ones who weren’t so lucky, or you can join them, and hunt Yomas until you become a Yoma yourself or until you get killed in one of these hunts…”

    ==> Yes. That is a quite hopeless and desperate situation, far from being fair. So what? Are you going to argue that this is a sort of evidence of anti-women element of the manga. Nonsense, since that is what the early days male claymores suffered as well.

    4) “With this in mind, then, I ask the question, if Claymore is truly a shonen manga, meaning that is meant to attract and entertain male readers, then why would it, like Nathaniel pointed out, portray women as the leaders of the series? Does it mean that Claymore is not a story meant to shine light onto usually silenced [female] voices when it comes to action manga, but that is meant to deepen our views that women, despite how strong Claymore warriors seem to be are, in the end, not as strong and powerful as men?”

    ==> This passage reveals that you have no idea what shonen is supposed to mean.
    The mange shows many typical features of the genre(shonen), that is, 1) courage, 2) to repeat overcoming seemingly invincible enemies in nearly hopeless situations, 3) revenge, 4) friendship, 5) hope, 6) being packed with bloody action scenes (chopping off heads, tearing off bodies with sword or a gun), 7) encountering even stronger opponents as the main protagonists gets stronger, 8) getting some crucial help from a mentor (i.e., irena), etc…

    It might be anti-female, denouncing/silencing women OR pro-female putting an emphasis on shining women. It depends. But it does not matter as long as it shows those typical shonen manga features mentioned above, and remains to be a shonen manga even if it portrays women as the leaders of the series.

    In other words, there is nothing contradictory or problematic or questionable in that 1) the work has typical features of the genere and 2) it portrays women as the leaders of the series.

    Or, do you have an absurd supposition that male readers of Shonen genre manga would not enjoy any shonen manga where women are portrayed as leaders???

    There are some other non-sense like arguments in your article, but It would be too lengthy if I try to address every of them.

    1. Hello There!
      First and foremost I would like to thank you for visiting the site and for caring enough about this post to reply. I am truly happy you did and I hope to see you around again :D
      I would like to remind everyone who read this post that this was done as an school project. Having said that, every single point and argument I have pointed out is my personal take on the series :) Your take is different and that’s why I have approved your comment and post it on this article. Your arguments are as valid as mine and I want visitors around the world who visit this site to have the chance to read, not only opinion on the series, but also yours and the opinions of those who leave a comment.
      However, I would like to address your first argument and would like to say: “You are absolutely right! Claire did said that she had been the first and I completely forgot about that. Instead, I was thinking about all the artwork I saw during the chapters when Theresa (as a child) was trained and kept remembering about all the little girls I saw being trained and somehow considered the possibility that almost all of them had volunteered to join. Early in the manga, we met the claymore ranked 4. We later learned that her bother and her family was killed as Yoma and assumed that she had too volunteered to the organization. But I had completely forgotten about Claire’s words when she precisely said she had been the first one to volunteered, But then again, she was speaking from her point of view. Not from an omniscient point of view. Meaning, she could only say what she knew and not matter how much she researched the organization, at the end, it’s impossible for her to know every circumstances of EVERY Claymore that had every held a sword.
      There is a possibility, however tiny, that she was not the only one to have volunteered.
      Notwithstanding, I will schedule a date to edit this post so readers know that Claire stated she had been the first to volunteer :)
      In regards to your other arguments, I would like to invite every reader to read your comment, and to read the manga so they too can formulate their own opinion on the manga and (hopefully) come back to this site and share their findings.
      I am sorry I didn’t reply or posted your comment sooner. I had been a little busy and it is today that I logged into the site and saw your comment so I posted it right away!
      Thank you so much for reading this review. It’s always a pleasure to meet people as passionate about Claymore as I am \(^o^)/

  5. Thank you for this review.
    It’s nice to see some feminist who isn’t afraid to say it.
    I saw many women speaking about anime saying “I want women having the same place as men” but at the same time saying “I’m not feminist.” And even hating feminism. They completely forgot what feminist do for them years before.
    It’s like people don’t even understand the meaning of it…
    For example a DanganRonpa Character (Mahiru Koizumi) has a serious problem with men. So people said she was a feminist even if the first thing she said was “men’s job is to protect women” (and other thing like that).
    But after I understand a lot of people prefer the term “egalitarian” who included everyone (like your first key point).
    After I must said I expected a little more than four negative points.

    Key point #1: No diversity
    I agree.
    But I think the author wanted to draw a Europa‘s middle age like story. And unfortunately that means only Caucasian people. After I always thought Rene was black before becoming a Claymore, but even if she is, she’s still the only one.
    But the fact Claymore’s warriors have blond hair and grey is more an experimentation problem than anything. After why choosing blond hair and grey (a variant of blue) eyes and gold cat eyes when they used yoki? Those are speculations but maybe because when a body doesn’t have melanin, it often looks like that. For the gold cat eyes, it shows the inhuman part of their body.

    Key point #2 : Claymore, a Shonen Manga?
    I agree. Like you said “what exactly does “male-oriented manga” mean?”
    This is the very problem of stereotype. That is for men, that is for women. And at the end both party suffer. Ironically we even know that a lot of girls love this genre and for some “shonen” manga they are majority. And when it came to “shojo manga” a lot of men are actually embarrassed to say they read it and like it…

    Key point # 3: The symbolism behind becoming a Claymore
    I disagree.
    I don’t even think they have a real “symbolism” behind that. Claymores are usually orphans who are taken by the organization to become experimentations. The first one to suffer of that was men and even if they stop making male warriors they didn’t stop experimentation on them. The reason they end up to choose females warriors was because males awake too fast to be really useful in battle.
    Because the feeling awakening can bring was compared to orgasm. And male are faster than women to reach that point. Well, that more an excuse that anything but…

    Key Point # 4: Portrayal of the Gender Dynamics within the Claymore world
    I agree.
    But honestly I did even realize that immediately. Everytime we meet someone in charge or warrior who wasn’t a claymore it was a man. But we didn’t saw a lot of quotidian life. I’m still wandering if they were women on the organization…

    After, I’m surprise you didn’t speak about nudity.
    In manga, we often have “fan service” where we see women or man naked. Claymore offers a lot of scene with naked women.
    But, strangely, I didn’t have that feeling of fan service here. Nudity seems to be something way more natural. I really thought the bodies were beautiful and pay tribute to the characters as the story.

    I’m also surprised you didn’t speak about male characters. Outside the mysterious men of the Organization, if we take the three more important male characters we have: Raki, Isley, Dauf.
    Raki who even if he became a very strong warrior, he was still more a support especially mentally for Claire than anything.
    Isley surrendered to Pricilla. He left his army to go to the south while Claymore massacred them. And the person who seems the closest was Rigald who was just extremely jealous of him and practically become his servant. When Isley died he said that we wished that makeshift family with Pricilla and Raki last longer.
    Dauf completely obey to Riful.
    Those aren’t the traditional male characters we usually saw in anime.

    The Claymore society seems (we didn’t really see the quotidian of citizen) pretty traditional. But if the circumstances give a chance to women, we can see they are as good as men.
    At the end, the one who freed the country was women who rebelled. It’s even possible that some of them rule the country with men in a peaceful way.

    To conclude, I think Claymore is a really good manga and show women on a really good light.
    We have female characters who can fight as good as men, strong friendship between women and good woman leadership. Considering the manga industry today a manga like Claymore is very rare.
    I think men could have a better place, but well when we saw a very popular manga as Parasite where women are only love interests and maternal figure (and have stupid behavior), I think this manga can make people think a little.
    (English is not my language)

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