This is exactly what I've been dying to find for ages: a shounen manga with all the shounen tropes I love - martial arts, personal growth and pain written on the body, "I will get stronger," the truest expression of love being "if I go berserk, I want you to be the one who kills me," warrior camaraderie, character development expressed via fight scenes, training sequences, and heartbreaking flasbacks - but with female protagonists.

Claymore, I love you and hug you and squeeze you!

In a generic European medivaloid world, monsters called yoma impersonate and infect humans, sometimes taking over one member of a family, only to transform into monsters and eat everyone's guts. Only one force can stop them - the warriors called Claymores for the huge swords they carry. All Claymores are female, and have gained their powers at a dreadful price: they are part yoma themselves, and must constantly fight their own demon side. Eventually, they lose the battle, and must be killed by one of their own.

This is a story in which women and girls get all the fighting and angst and "am I becoming a monster" and same-sex soldierly bonding usually reserved for men. There's a moment late in the series when they're reading the roll call of Claymores, and it's something like "Alicia... Pamela... Kathy... Rafaela... Dorothy..." Just seeing all those women's names made my heart grow several sizes.

The women are not objectified in any way: no panty shots, no peek-down-the-cleavage - there are even some non-sexual nude scenes which are not fan service-y.

It's pure awesomesauce with a side of swordplay-induced limb loss. See tags to get a sense of all the parts that go flying. I probably missed some, even.

Click here to buy it from Amazon: Claymore, Vol. 1 (Claymore) (v. 1)

Spoilers!



Clare cradling Teresa's head was possibly the only case of head-cuddling that was tragic rather than hilarious.

I love that Clare had Teresa's flesh and Ilena's arm! What parts will be next?!

The creepy, apparently male-controlled organization is creepy. I hope they get their comeuppance. Rebel, Claymores!

I cracked up at Ophelia saying how bummed she was that everyone had a cool nickname except her - so she developed a bad-ass sword move just to justify giving herself a cool nickname.
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