Yoma (妖魔) are a kind of yōkai from Japanese folklore, variously translated as demons, devils, ogres or trolls. They are popular characters in Japanese art, literature and theatre. Depictions of Yoma vary widely but usually portray them as hideous, gigantic ogre-like creatures with sharp claws, wild hair, and two long horns growing from their heads. They are humanoid for the most part, but occasionally, they are shown with unnatural features such as odd numbers of eyes or extra fingers and toes. Their skin may be any number of colors, but red and blue are particularly common. They are often depicted wearing tiger-skin loincloths and carrying iron clubs, called kanabō (金棒?). This image leads to the expression "Yoma with an iron club" (鬼に金棒 Yoma-ni-kanabō?), that is, to be invincible or undefeatable. It can also be used i nthe sense of "strong beyond strong", or having one's natural quality enhanced or supplemented by the use of some tool.
Traditional HistoryEditThe traditional yoma "oni" is sometimes speculated to be derived from on, the on'yomi reading of a character (隠) meaning to hide or conceal, as oni were originally invisible spirits or gods which caused disasters, disease, and other unpleasant things. These nebulous beings could also take on a variety of forms to deceive (and often devour) humans. Thus the Chinese character 鬼 (Mandarin Pinyin: guǐ; Jyutping: gwai2) meaning "ghost" came to be used for these formless creatures.
The invisible oni eventually became anthropomorphized and took on its modern, ogre-like form, partly via syncretism with creatures imported by Buddhism, such as the Indian rakshasa and yaksha, the hungry ghosts called gaki, and the devilish underlings of Enma-Ō who punish sinners in Jigoku (Hell).They share many similarities with the Arabian Jinn.
In the Claymore, Yoma are beings that feed on human flesh and blood. They can shape-shift into human form that allows them to live among humans. The Organization creates them by rounding up orphan boys and sending them to the North while the girls are sent to the East to become Claymores. They are created by combining the flesh of both a humanoid and an "Awakened" Asarakam, which forms a parasite with transfigurative abilities that is capable of infecting the brains of unsuspecting human hosts. The end result is a Yoma.
Awakened BeingsEditOutside the Organization, a third type of Yoma, known as "Voracious Eaters," are alleged to be long-lived Yoma of extreme power and appetite. But this spin is meant for public consumption (a cover-up).
Within the Organization itself, they are called Awakened Beings, former Claymores who have lost control of their Yoki, changing into a massive Yoma-like form, and far more powerful than either Claymores and normal Yoma. While Yoma often have few variations in terms of looks, the shapes that the Awakened Beings can take on vary greatly, from bestial features to seemingly inorganic or even totally alien structures. Some Awakened Beings have animal shapes, while others look like enlarged normal Yoma with specialized traits, such as Dauf.