Yeah, the ending of the previous volume was a real bummer wasn’t it? Seeing Miria get chopped down after heading off to crush the Organization by herself, you’d think a valiant warrior like herself deserved a more glorious death than that. One where we get to see the body. Anyone familiar with certain genre conventions will have picked up that there was something more going on there, but it also sets up a rousing, game-changing conclusion that’s sure to have any fan chomping at the bit to see what’s going to happen next. Granted, the setup for the twist is pretty half-baked as we’re provided with an explanation for it, but it involves mangaka Norihiro Yagi “telling” us that this is what these characters felt rather than showing how their minds changed with this new information.
That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise since Yagi has consistently shown himself to be better at plotting than characterization. It’s been twenty volumes and outside of Claire, Helen, Deneve, Miria, Galatea, Tabitha and Miata, I can only differentiate most of the supporting Claymores by their hairstyles than their personalities. He does make an effort with Dietrich, the single digit from the Organization who has been dogging/helping the cast for the past few volumes, to give her a distinct backstory which should keep her from disappearing amongst the masses.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is the first volume to not feature Claire at all. Currently... indisposed in a creepy stalemate with Priscilla, her absence turns out to not affect the book’s momentum at all. That’s less due to the *ahem* strong personalities of the supporting cast, but because Yagi keeps the story chugging along with a clear goal and some potentially nasty surprises. (Next volume: Zombie Claymores!) I’ll be looking forward to it because in spite of its flaws, the title remains a consistently entertaining B-plus-movie of supernatural fantasy action.