Claymore Volume 27 Review

“It’s been a long time since I let myself run wild.”

This is the final volume of an intricate manga with epic, interwoven stories building throughout. It would be beyond ridiculous to start here. Read from the beginning.

I’ll be sharing thoughts on the series as a whole here with as few spoilers as possible.

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Perfect. This is the perfect end to the story of Claymore, and I’m amazed at how many remaining surprise Yagi had left up his sleeve. “Silver Eyed Warriors” is the final arc and is a fitting culmination of all the layered, intertwined stories building to this point.

Claymore started a little slow but was laying critical groundwork, which all paid off down the stretch. And even in the middle once things got going it was an incredibly compelling manga filled with nuanced characters, gruesome action, and a multitude of brilliant twists and surprises. This has become my favorite manga and while it’s bittersweet to see it end I’m thrilled to see it remain gripping and engrossing to the very last page.

Highest possible recommendation.

Claymore Volume 26 Review

While volume 26 technically starts a “new” arc, this is the penultimate volume in a series filled with layered storylines going all the way back to the beginning. Don’t start here.

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The entire volume is comprised of The Blade From Far Away (parts 1-6), which sees the remaining warriors employ a desperate gamble to oppose Pricilla’s near omnipotence. The plan is not without complications and cost.

The way in which Yagi has orchestrated these final conflicts and woven in a multitude of long running, diverse agendas and twists is masterful. Foreshadowing and clues that have been laid in little by little of the course of the series become illuminated in hindsight and add great depth to everything. And in a series with several shocking yet logical surprises, the end of this arc provides the greatest yet. I think my jaw’s still on the floor.

 

Claymore Volume 25 Review

“We will protect your spirit.”

Not only does volume 25 open with the end of an arc started in volume 24, we are approaching the end of a layered series filled with storylines building all the way back from the beginning. Don’t start reading here.

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Army of the Underworld (part 6) closes the arc started last volume featuring the Abyssal Ones joining the battle with Cassandra while two great powers battle elsewhere. The shifting alliances and developments here directly lead to the next story.

Sword of the Dark Deep (parts 1-5) sees Rabona under extreme attack while another battle ends decisively and a third rages on in the distance. Yagi’s incredible balancing of story and action is on full display here. Among all the chaos and gruesome fighting several long running plot threads are resolved spotlighting characters than have been in the background recently. The depth of the characters and their motivations is wonderful and the implications and ramifications of what happens here are heart-wrenching.

In addition to all of that, vital background is woven in explaining the factors that resulted in the strongest creature ever created by the Organization, as well as some important glimpses into its psyche.

This volume was just perfect in both exploring outstanding mysteries and bringing everything towards the final stratagem. Just fantastic stuff that has me beyond excited to read the last two installments.

Claymore Volume 24 Review

“I… hate you.”

Not only does volume 24 open with the end of an arc started in volume 23, we are well into the third or so major shift in a series filled with layered storylines going all the way back to the beginning. Don’t start here.

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Mark of the Warrior (part 5) closes the arc started last volume featuring the fallout from attacking the organization and the return to Rabona. This arc is largely setup but is still excellent and this closing chapter cranks up the tension while introducing some new players that could have great impact going forward.

Army of the Underworld (parts 1-5) sees an eclectic collection of forces battle the remaining resurrected Abyssal One while a threat from the past engages the corrupted Priscilla. In many ways this is the most interesting story yet, with several agendas at play and unexpected results and revelations. There’s also a key flashback for a major character and an important connection made between the pasts of others.

This volume progresses the overall story quite a bit, while providing ton of action and interesting new plot threads. Things are definitely moving forward and building towards the next major confrontation, which looks to be the climax of the series. As the long as the quality and momentum stay as high as they are I’ll happily read on as long as the story goes.

Claymore Volume 23 Review

“Miracles aren’t something you wish for. You seize them using your own strength!”

Not only does volume 23 directly continue an arc started in volume 22, we are well into the third or so major shift in a series filled with layered storylines going all the way back to the beginning. Don’t start here.

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Claws and Fangs of the Abyss (parts 7-8) deals with the aftermath of the fierce battles with the trio of resurrected number ones, the deepest secret of the Organization, and preparations for what’s next. It wraps up recents plot threads nicely and also features a reveal that has been foreshadowed throughout the series.

Speaking of long kept secrets, Mark of the Warrior (parts 1-4) discloses behind another one that traces back to the beginning of the series. Its resolution is reasonable enough and well presented here. The remainder of the seven and Raki head back toward Rabona to try to face the remaining Creature of the Abyss before it can unleash an even greater evil. A little slow in parts, but it’s laying foundation for the next stage of the story.

The beginning of endgame for the series can be felt here. Some potentially important side characters are introduced, we get a lot of good moments and exchanges between our main protagonists, and the dangers and intrigue continue to scale surprisingly well given everything we’ve already seen. There are some threads that are becoming overdue for development / completion, but we seem to finally be getting back to them in earnest.

It’s impressive that I can easily say even after so many volumes I’m still very much looking forward to the next.

Claymore Volume 22 Review

“One moment is enough.”

While volume 22 technically starts a “new” arc we are well into the third or so major shift in a series filled with layered storylines going all the way back to the beginning. Don’t start here.

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Claws and Fangs of the Abyss (parts 1-6) features the rebelling Claymores facing the full power of Dae’s three reanimated number ones. Cassandra and Roxanne’s internal struggle has them distracted, but they won’t hesitate to destroy anything else in their paths. And that still leaves the legendary Hysteria the Elegant. This story feels a little like filler in parts, but overall is still worthwhile and has the high quality action the series has been built on. We also get some more important clues about the Organization and the greatest threat they’ve ever developed, and a key character faces some hard realizations about her approach and choices. As interesting as Cassandra’s sub plot is, things shine more here once the reinforcements from Rabona arrive and the focus is back on the Claymores of today. The monsters are getting even more grotesque as we go and the battles are as violent and gruesome as ever. If you’re this far in the series it should be no surprise but I’ll reiterate that this conflict is not for the faint of heart. Or stomach.

Volume 22 is a solid entry in the series with some important character beats but I will admit I’m glad this particular section of the story is coming to a close and that it seems we’ll be moving on next volume.

Claymore Volume 21 Review

“I declare rebellion.”

While volume 21 technically contains a complete “new” arc it is an immediate continuation of the last one and the series is filled with layered storylines going all the way back to the beginning. This is not the place to start reading.

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Corpse of the Witch (complete: parts 1-6) has the approaching warriors running headlong into the Organizations desperate efforts to survive their assault. They encounter the horrifying Abyssal Feeders for the first time, but much greater worries lie as Dae unleashes his most depraved experiment yet. I found the battle a little drawn out here considering the end makes it clear the fighting will continue on a grander scale in the next arc, but it is still the highly inventive, tense and gruesome action we’ve come to expect in Claymore. The duel of speed is an interesting sub-conflict.

The story is quite focused on the background of three new characters, but such understanding seems likely to be important for the next arc and familiar faces do get a fair amount of screen time. There’s some particularly cool stuff going on with Raki.

There’s a slight shift in focus here that fits fine but I hope doesn’t pull us off to the side too much. That said everything still fits very well into the overarching story and the attack against the Organization is off to an epically violent start.

Claymore Volume 18 Review

“I have no interest in miserable weaklings like you.”

While volume 18 technically starts a “new” arc it is an immediate continuation of the last one and the series in general builds off all that has come before. This is not the place to start reading – go back to the beginning.

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The Ashes of Lautrec is the culmination the last several volumes have been building to and is the longest arc yet. It will span ten chapters (parts 1-6 here) and heavily involves all the major forces, established and new. Major changes and casualties are in store, with the shocking end of volume 17 merely the beginning. Besides just the incredible battles themselves, other big draws here are key reveals of true motivations and hidden agendas as well as finally getting a harsh glimpse of how the power levels of the seven, the Creatures of the Abyss, the Destroyer, Alicia and Beth, and another key awakened one truly compare.

This arc is a masterpiece of brutality, intrigue, despair, and sacrifice. It draws on story elements spanning all seventeen previous volumes and is as gripping as it is fittingly disturbing.

Claymore Volume 20 Review

“We learned it by seeing with our eyes, hearing with our ears, and feeling through our blades.”

Not only does volume 20 directly continue an arc started in volume 19 the series is filled with layered storylines going all the way back to the beginning. This is not the place to start reading.

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Phantoms of the Heart (parts 3-4) returns the warriors from the Western battle to Rabona, as we discover the fallout from both Miria’s choice to leave and Clare’s fight with the Destroyer and Priscilla. This is a step down in pace from recent events, but a breather was needed and a lot of needed information is filled in as we prepare for their assault on the Organization.

Remains of the Demon Claw (complete: parts 1-4) follows Deneve’s team through the mountains towards the Organization’s headquarters. Along the way they encounter some high ranking current warriors with interesting powers battling awakened ones. Word of their approach brings interesting preparations from the Organization, with the twisted scientist Dae given reign to unleash his most monstrous experiments yet. The twist that ends this volume is another completely unexpected masterstroke by Yagi. Logical but totally surprising and a severe manipulation on what we thought we knew.

Volume 20 slows a tad after the climactic Ashes of Lautrec arc, but there is still plenty of action and the closing hook ensures our next major battle is just moments away.

Claymore Volume 19 Review

“I wish everyone in my way… would disappear.”

Not only does volume 19 directly continue a major arc started in volume 18 the series in general builds off all that has come before. This is not the place to start reading – go back to the beginning.

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The end chapters of the massive The Ashes of Lautrec arc (parts 7-10) finish the Earth-shattering conflict between the greatest powers in the land. The ones left fighting are terrifying and near omnipotent, and a huge sacrifice will be required for anyone at all to survive. The all out action continues, more true natures are revealed this is a worthy end to this particular stage in the conflict and overarching story of the series.

The truly wonderful thing about Claymore is even with all the major developments, twists and closing threads in The Ashes of Lautrec and the preceding volumes it’s still clear there is a TON left to the story and it’s various mysteries and characters. Yagi wastes no time moving on to the next huge point of interest in Phantoms of the Heart (parts 1-2) by switching back to one of the few important established characters missing from the conflict in the West. Miria’s assault on the Organization begins in a quickly escalating conflict that features some of the most heart wrenching moments in the series. I have no idea where it will go from here and I can’t wait to find out.

A fantastic finish to the biggest story in the manga thus far and an equally strong start to our next tale.