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I typed this up back when I was watching the Claymore anime for the fourth time. Thought I'd share these theories on the origin of yoma and the setting of Claymore.
Early on in Claymore, the architectural setting is almost certainly based off of the medieval architecture of the island of Cyprus. Half the island is Greek and the other half is Turkish. If you search "Cyprus village architecture" on Google images you will see the resemblance, though there is a lot of modern stuff thrown in too...so only pay attention to the medieval things:
Google image search
The huts and stones, and definitely the windows of huts looks just like they do in Claymore.
Cyprus is an island with strong medieval and knightly history. If you look at the rooftop scene in episode 3, they look just like the Cyprus medieval rooftops. Another striking thing is that there is no religious ornamentation in the church. In the history of Cyprus, when the Turks took over Christian towns they would strip churches of all religious ornamentation. I wonder if there is a connection here.
The architecture of the fancy inn that Teresa and Clare were staying in episode 7 was definitely French. I'm wondering if there is some connection between the whole "marked for death" story in Claymore, and the valkyries in Norse mythology.
Note that there is also Greek mythology of the undead coming back and preying upon members of the same family (esp. immediate family members), and these vampire-like demons in Greek mythology reside in Cyprus. This is just like when a Yoma is disguised as Raki's brother and eats his uncle and then tries to eat Raki. This is also like when Priscilla walks in on a yoma disguised as her father eating her family. These creatures are called vrykolakas (βρυκόλακας) in Greek mythology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vrykolakas
Aside from the thirst for blood and flesh, and the behavior of eating immediate family members, the vrykolakas resemble Yoma in what I have bolded from their description:
"The Greeks traditionally believed that a person could become a vrykolakas after death due to a sacrilegious way of life, an excommunication, a burial in unconsecrated ground, or eating the meat of a sheep which had been wounded by a wolf or a werewolf. Some believed that a werewolf itself could become a powerful vampire after being killed, and would retain the wolf-like fangs, hairy palms, and glowing eyes it formerly possessed.
The bodies of vrykolakas have the same distinctive characteristics as the bodies of vampires in Balkan folklore. They do not decay; instead, they swell and may even attain a 'drum-like' form, they have a ruddy complexion, and are, according to one account, 'fresh and gorged with new blood'. People with red hair and gray eyes at this time in history were thought to be vampires according to accounts near the region of modern Serbia. The activities of the vrykolakas are nearly always harmful, verging from merely leaving their grave and 'roaming about', through engaging in poltergeist-like activity, and up to causing epidemics in the community. Among other things, the creature is believed to knock on the doors of houses and call out the name of the residents. If it gets no reply the first time, it will pass without causing any harm. If someone does answer the door, he or she will die a few days later and become another vrykolakas. For this reason, there is a superstition present in certain Greek villages that one should not answer a door until the second knock. Legends also say that the vrykolakas crushes or suffocates the sleeping by sitting on them, much like a mara or incubus (cf. sleep paralysis)—as does a vampire in Bulgarian folklore."
The superstition that people with red hair and gray eyes were really vampires may be the origin of the Claymore's "silver eyes". Also, as the vrykolakas were said to have glowing eyes, even the Claymores eyes glow when they unleash part of their Yoma side.
Last edited by Irene; April 02, 2014 at 11:03 AM.
My impression of the Claymore world is it's sort of caught awkwardly between medieval mediterranean Europe, somewhere semi-arid and hilly, and 19th/early 20th century interior design. The latter can be particularly amusing: check out Isley's totally badass china collection (background of panel 4), the quite literal lampshade behind Sophia in panel 2 (it's not the only one), and the national obsession with hanging pictures on walls.
Check out the wikipedia pics for 'Victorian Decorative Arts'.
Last edited by Number A; April 02, 2014 at 04:48 PM.
Your presentation is very elaborate Irene. The similarity you found between yomas and Greek old stories from folklore raised my interest.
I found by mistake some information about this subject while searching through Celtic tradition and culture.
The connection is present more in the choice of name but it could be something:
In old Celtic folklore it was believed that some wells were magic and had goddesses in them. Those goddesses, from what I understood, could turn into fish.
These fish were thought to be bearers of "iomas" a "light that illumines" , which apparently means the wisdom that comes from something supernatural.
I forgot the original website where saw the information, but here is something similar for those interested:
Last edited by Number A; July 02, 2014 at 02:31 AM.
I think besides the many past culture, folklore and traditions, even the naming of characters are greatly influenced. Look at the names used, many of them have the Mediterranean origin. Hence we see the names in Greek, Latin and French.