Following on from the death of Elena and Raki becoming Claire’s cook they both travel to Rabona which is a holy city where there is a huge religious community. A Yoma is present here however holy and Claire, who herself is part Yoma and therefore unholy, must work undercover to expose and destroy the Yoma.
Norihiro Yagi’s trump card here, to differentiate the plot from the same basic formula as volume one, is to disable Claire’s abilities to sense the Yoma facilitating a need to find the Yoma “the Old fashioned way”, i.e. by searching.
In this sense Yagi creates a reasonably good foundation for chronicling the first five dark scenes of “Darkness in Paradise”. His ability to create a dark and repressive atmosphere is brilliant through both his fantastic imagery but also through forging characters that actually care about the city and would readily die for its survival.
The story itself is still far too centred around Claire, that is natural though she is the protagonist, however the fact that Yagi is able to add a dash of characterisation to characters that really care about the city is building upon the shaky foundation Yagi left after the first volume. However does the reader really care about the Rabona or its inhabitants? No, not really. There is merely a dash of characterisation that Yagi adds to characters, actually I did not care whether the two knights who helped Claire in the closing pages of part of five remained alive or died.
Even Claire’s development feels constricted because Yagi is challenging Claire to be what she is not: fully human. She has to go undercover and fails miserably, she still has to use her senses to detect the Yoma’s aura rather than performing the “old fashioned way” of trying to detect the Yoma.
This volume is average and Yagi is trying to prove to us he can diversify however he is slave to his basic formula of Claire arrives, Claire finds Yoma, Claire defeats Yoma, Claire leaves and in spite of the fact that the “Darkness in Paradise” Arc is not yet finished there is a slowness and an average feel to the arc. Yagi is not exploiting what made the first volume a reasonably good read; that synthesis of Claire’s character and past being unpeeled and set against a fantastically dark atmosphere where the story is not so long and drawn out.
So in conclusion volume two of ‘Claymore’ is mediocre and slow, the characters are still uninteresting and paradise really is not paradise. Volume two is a reasonable read, but nothing to write home about. Yagi needs to take his creation back to scene four and the emotional trials and tribulations of being a claymore, for example longing to be human or trying to restrain the Yoma within, not the constant low octane fights being graced in volume two.