I should warn the prospective reader that there’s definitely SPOILERs here! I consider myself spoiler proof. After all, if it’s ruined just by someone telling you what happens, then it couldn’t have been very good to begin with, right? However, there are plenty of people out there who’d be very angry if they read on only to find a series spoiled for them. So here’s the warning…read at your own risk.
Claymore (Episodes 1-26)
Overall, they seem too feminine and stiff. The backgrounds are also painted lightly, making the characters and foreground pop. The “camera” moves with a strange stiffness common in digital animation production. The problem is that it moves too smoothly, and winds up making the animation look a bit rushed and/or cheap.
The story itself is full of cliches, but then just try making a fantasy/horror series that isn’t. Pretty much everything in fantasy has been done to the point where even satirizing it is pretty “been there done that.” Anime itself has become a bit worn out, so that it’s little more than a matter of combining different cliched elements until you come up with something that’s different.
I like the main character, Clare, despite the fact that she isn’t a hoodlum or a screw-up like other Shounen Jump protagonists. Her lack of emotion is compensated for by the other, minor Claymore and human characters. Indeed, most of the other Claymores, of which Clare is ranked 47th and last, display a varied amount of emotion.
I would have to say Helen is my least favorite. She is one of those smart-asses who bullies the protagonist until he/she is proven wrong about the other’s strength. At which point he/she becomes a trusted friend and ally:
I think I’d trust Helen about as far as I could throw her.
I’m really pleased that they could come up with so many different character designs, despite the lack of a color pallet for the Claymores. As you can see from the picture of Helen, the character design consists of almost no color, except for the blond hair. It’s easy to design without color in manga, when people can admire the line quality and shading at their own pace, but to do so in anime and still be able to hold the viewer’s attention must be very difficult.
Pretty much, the story is about Clare, a half-human, half-yoma, who is assigned by a mysterious organization to hunt out yoma. Along the way, she picks up a young boy, who seems to steadily fall for her (and, yes, they do eventually kiss). Now since she’s part yoma, she has to be careful not to go over her power limit, or else she’ll transform into a monster. The yoma form of each Claymore is different, and can be anywhere from a serpentine type creature to a mammalian type, a butterfly type, and beyond. All yoma, whether derived from a Claymore or not, eat human guts. Also, a Claymore that has surpassed her limit must transform into a yoma and can never return to either her Claymore state:
Priscilla (Claymore, Awakened, & Human States):
We find out Clare is after a former Claymore turned Awakened Being called Priscilla, who had murdered Clare’s mentor, Teresa of the Faint Smile. It should be noted that the manga is ongoing with volume 13 being released in Japan now. The series departs from the manga around episode 20, and starting with the 24th episode, becomes completely divergent. I was worried about this becoming too much like DBZ, what with all the talk about surpassing limits. My fears were somewhat justified when the fight between Clare and Priscilla moved to the side of a volcano in episode 25. And even more so when Clare bellows out in a monstrous voice, “PRISCILLA!” Yeah…cue the flashbacks of the battle on Namek. It ended pretty well, though. You can’t drag a fight out too long when there’s only two episodes left. Plus, they left the ending open with a lot of the main heroes and villains still alive. I don’t know how far off from the manga this strayed, but if it’s not too far, then they may be able to continue with another season. In the end, Claymore was a fun series when it followed the fantasy and horror cliches. I just wish it didn’t have to rip-off a sub-par anime as well. This leads to only an average product on the whole.
-Originally posted on the old Anime Impressions blog on Windows Live, then ported to Blogger on 12/21/2007