Anime Impressions: Claymore (Episodes 1-26)

WARNING: SPOILERS!
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)

Warriors. Female warriors. I’ve always loved reading/watching their stories, from Black Lagoon’s Revy to JLA’s Wonder Woman. In fact, the first anime I ever owned was Project A-ko . I then moved on to Sailor Moon and other mahou shoujo anime. Now there’s nothing wrong with sailor senshi and whatnot, but I hungered for a bit more action, and introduced myself to the world of Dragonball Z . Afterward followed Naruto and other action packed Shounen Jump series.I have to admit, I’ve been interested in reading the Claymore manga for a while now. The artwork seemed strangely soft compared to other manga, and this unique style is well integrated into the anime. The only problem I do have with the art design is the eyes for the men are too round and dark, giving them and odd, doll like appearance:

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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:

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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.

Plot Stuff:

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):

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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

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About romeomoon

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an Associates of Science and Art and a Bachelors of Science and Art. I'm the creative lead of the Lounge L33ts podcast, a regular guest on An Unearthly Podcast, write anime reviews and short stories, and create artwork in both digital and traditional media. I am a full time staffer for the Geek.Kon convention in Madison, WI. I am also an avid player of Massive Multiplayer Online Games and live stream various MMORPGs.
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