Come with me!

shared: July 25, 2014 and 3045 notes · via / source
tags: spirited away,  chihiro,  haku,  


you know there is a difference between liking/disliking a character as a person and liking/disliking them as a character

and you don’t have to necessarily feel one way about one and feel the same about the other. for example, you could absolutely despise an…

ちあまこ | ルニア::アレア [pixiv

shared: June 8, 2014 and 88 notes · via
tags: jeanbaby,  claymore,  


Northern War Captains Veronica, Undine, Jean, Flora, Miria


Claymore: Clare by setsuna1111
shared: June 5, 2014 and 902 notes · via
tags: clare,  claymore,  


Never read/seen it. But there is a HUGE amount of writing on it. 

One review:

There’s a lot of things in Claymore that would have a feminist going “What?” Frankly, I, myself, went “What?” at a lot of it. The organization that makes the claymores is comprised of old men, the girls who are to become claymores are orphans who are taken in or even bought, they aren’t seen as human beings for the most part, merely tools, etc. etc. etc. It’s all there, the basic typical trope of how women can’t be strong unless something equally horrible has happened in their past, etc. etc. Also, two of the strongest female characters in the manga basically have the mental maturity of very young children. It’s a familiar norm that’s existed for a long time in fantasy where women being actual fighters is concerned (and not healers, princesses in need of saving, etc.). There’s also the usual manga trope of a weak character who gets amazingly strong during a battle because either somebody they care about dies, or they nearly do, and so on and so forth. There’s really nothing new here.

And yet, regardless of all of that, I find myself enjoying the story quite a lot. It started out pretty mediocre, both in plot and art, but I ended up reading all that’s available and still want to read more. I think it boils down to the fact that regardless of how stereotypical many of the characters’ backstories may be, regardless of how stereotypical many of the plot aspects may be or may turn out to be, I still very much like how the characters interact with each other. And as much as a recent revelation (chapter 79, what the heck?) gave me serious pause, I like the sense of where the story seems to be going. At the very least and despite whatever remaining stereotypes may yet find their way into it, Claymore has captured my interest with the simple seeming concept of a group of women finding a common bond and standing up for themselves regardless of how their fates may turn out in the end.

This Review: says

…Normal humans are naturally quite outclassed even by the weakest warrior. Their attitude toward powerful male monsters is identical to their attitude toward powerful female ones. The male, in another word, asserts no power over the women of Claymore. There’s no romantic pull, no sexual pull, no anything. The male is incidental. It’s there. But nobody gives a fuck.

but goes on to conclude that:

It’s still not a wonderful, feminist thing. Not by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, it’s problematic, male-gazey, and sometimes not even all that well-written. Any woman-positive gesture is incidental.

While this review says:

Nevertheless, though Claymore‘s women characters get a much better deal than they would in most other shōnen series, the series’s treatment of gender remains flawed. Yagi gives his readers truly compelling women characters–smart, strong, independent, driven–that subvert a lot of the shōnen genre expectations for the women characters to be token, disposable, or both. But who is he really writing for? Or more specifically, who is he drawing for? Fifteen volumes in, I’m ridiculously fond of Claymore‘s women warriors, but I still have a sneaking suspicion that Yagi’s target audience does not necessarily include me.

[Warning: The remainder of this post will have some spoilers.]

As I mentioned above, the series takes off in volume 3, when Yagi delves into Clare’s origin story. Over the course of that arc, we learn more about the previous generation of Claymores, and in the subsequent arc, Clare meets and forms bonds with her comrades from the present generation of Claymores. The connections between Claymores take center stage; Raki, the young boy who is Clare’s sidekick in the first two volumes, is pretty much forgotten by the story for chapters at a time. Instead we get Clare and Teresa; Teresa, Ilene, and Pricilla; Clare, Miria, Helen, and Deneve; Clare and Ilene; Clare, Jean, and Galatea; Clare and Flora. The list goes on and on.

All of this is easily enough to make Claymore the most female-positive shōnen series that I’ve ever encountered. In comparison, a series like Fullmetal Alchemist has its share of great women characters, but none of those characters are as central to the story as as Clare, Teresa, Miria, et al. are to Claymore. And let’s not even get into the dubious treatment of women characters in most Weekly Shōnen Jump series.

The main problem with Claymore is, well, the art. Even while the plot turns on the strength and determination of the Claymores, the art treads a dangerous line between celebrating the female form and objectifying these women’s bodies. The fan service isn’t enough to throw me out of the story entirely, but sometimes it’s too close for comfort.

Some of the problems with the art are not as bad as other. For example, all of the Claymores, with the debatable exception of Undine, have the same body type. They have big breasts and tiny waists, and their characteristic armor sets off their figures very noticeably. It’s not as exaggerated as it could be–I’ve seen a lot worse T&A in both manga and superhero comics!–but it’s enough to be mildly annoying. Women’s bodies, even those of athletes and soldiers, vary more than that. Still, this is less bothersome than it could be because Yagi is clearly celebrating the Claymores’ strength and power when he draws them in action. For example, in their post-timeskip black leather, the seven survivors of Pieta are undeniably sexy, but they don’t seem like anyone’s playthings. When they show up to save the day–which they do not infrequently–they get the sort of power shots usually reserved for male heroes in manga.

The bigger problem with the art lies in the depiction of the villains. The main villains of the series, male and female, are former Claymores gone bad. (The present Claymores are all women, but the first generation of Claymores were men.) Their humanity has been consumed by their yoma power; they’ve Awakened. The Awakened forms of the female Claymores are both monstrous and highly sexualized in a way that the male Awakened ones are generally not. For example, in volume 14, the main villain takes the form of a seductive nude woman standing on top of a mountain of tentacles. (Yes, tentacles.) Not only does Yagi create a very problematic connection between female sexuality and evil in his story; the way he draws the female Awakened ones is clearly pandering to the heterosexual male gaze in a way that is sort of a slap in the face to all his other readers.

Ultimately, all this is disappointing because Yagi is clearly capable of more subtle storytelling. For example, there’s a scene during The Slashers arc where Miria is being tortured by the male Awakened One that Miria’s team is hunting. The violence is clearly sexualized–it’s a metaphorical rape–but that fits the undercurrents of the story. Similarly, Yagi is definitely aware of some of the gender issues in his series setup, such as the strange power dynamics between the female Claymores and their male handlers within the organization; sooner or later; as a reader, I get the sense that sooner or later he is going to do something with it.

shared: June 5, 2014 and 5 notes · via / source
tags: claymore,  norihiro yagi,  

ときかけ | のりたま [pixiv]


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