Claymore Volume 3

‘Claymore’ volume three is basically Yagi coming back into form. This volume begins to really unravel Claire’s past whilst simultaneously setting up her future. The conclusion to the long and drawn out story arc contained within ‘Darkness in Paradise’ ends also in good form with the last scene (seven scenes in all) really sealing Raki’s position on his feelings for Claire. The conclusion also leads nicely into the rest of this volume’s content contained within the four scene ‘Teresa of the Faint Smile’.
‘Teresa of the Faint Smile’ tells the story of how Claire is initially discovered before becoming a Claymore and it is very emotional and very good read. The story not only acknowledges the emotions behind orphans of Yoma attacks but also exposes the emotions of a Claymore, and despite this quite detached and unemotional exterior there is a longing for company and a question as to why Claymore “are fighting to protect creatures like this”.
Yagi has raised the bar to rejoin the first volume and has crafted a brilliant story in this third volume of ‘Claymore’. In spite of this the sixth scene of ‘Darkness in Paradise’ which is the same fare as the previous volume, from there on in the reader gets a glimpse as to the emotional needs of a Claymore.
The character’s purposes in the story are becoming clearer but they still live in the shadows compared to Claire, the protagonist. Raki’s place in the story is becoming clearer. By the story’s conclusion it is evident that Raki is not just there to be a cook, and his and Claire’s relationship is symbiotic, where both characters are just as important as each other in spite of the outward appearance that Raki is reliant on Claire, rather than Raki just being a parasite.
Yagi also creates Teresa; a brilliant move to underpin the idea of just how detached a Claymore is from their human emotions. Teresa is Claire’s antithesis and this is demonstrated by the way she handles villagers and Claire herself. It is brilliant to see just a hint of a Claymore’s Yoma persona also. Yagi uses Claire as a device to demonstrate this and to highlight just how lonely a life a Claymore leads.
Teresa herself grows as a character during the course of ‘Teresa of the Faint Smile’ from this quite brash and reasonably hedonistic and changes into this deep and needy character who’s relationship to Claire is also like that of Claire and Raki’s a symbiotic one.
It is this development throughout the manga that makes brings the series back on track and cements the position of certain characters and their relationships. Much like scene four, in volume one, the greatest moment in this volume is the end of scene fifteen where Teresa realises that she needs Claire just as much as Claire needs her. Yagi has had a good innings in this book in terms of reinforcing his shaky foundation and ensured a reasonable foundation on which to build on in future volumes.
Yagi’s plot in this story is also reasonably good compared to the over-simplistic and poor plots of the first and second volumes respectively. The imagery in this book is not as stark as in previous volumes but the mercenary who’s hand is cut off by Teresa is quite scary and complements the feel to the question as to why the Claymore “are fighting to protect creatures like this”.
In conclusion a really good third volume to complement a brilliant set of characters established in the first volume. This volume really picks up the baton from a poor second volume and really runs with it. Yagi has written a superb volume, arguably not an episode of ‘Lost’ but, which is complemented by a good characterisation and a good plot. All in all the best volume yet.    

8 / 10