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Norihiro Yagi won the 32nd Akatsuka Award for his debut work, UNDEADMAN, which appeared in Monthly Shonen Jump magazine and produced two sequels. His first serialized manga was his comedy Angel Densetsu (Angel Legend), which appeared in Monthly Shonen Jump from 1992 to 2000. His epic saga, Claymore, is running in Monthly Jump Square magazine.
This nondescript but pleasant manga is set in the generic fantasy landscape where little medieval towns are separated by large tracts of wilderness, and monsters must be dealt with by traveling for-hire monster slayers. The monsters here are Yomas, shape-changing creatures with a taste for human innards; the slayers are Claymores, young women who have been injected with Yoma blood so that they can recognize and kill the monsters-but who then must struggle to keep their own humanity. In the episodes in this volume, a young boy watches one Claymore arrive in his village and do her thing. He sees her as a person rather than a creepy semimonster and follows her after he learns her name, Claire. The rest of the book shows Claire and her naive tagalong going through a series of confrontations with Yomas, in the worst of which Claire is summoned to kill her best friend, who feels herself losing control over her Yoma side. The elements of this story certainly aren't fresh nor is the art especially striking. However, as it goes along, the book does generate sympathy with Claire as slayer/victim, maiden/warrior, savior/fiend, showing that even tired material can still be interesting when presented unpretentiously. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.