When a shapeshifting demon with a thirst for human flesh, known as "youma," arrives in Raki's village, a lone woman with silver eyes walks into town with only a sword upon her back. She is a "Claymore," a being manufactured as half-human and half-youma, for the express purpose of exterminating these monsters. After Raki's family is killed, the Claymore saves his life, but he is subsequently banished from his home. With nowhere else to go, Raki finds the Claymore, known as Clare, and decides to follow her on her journeys.
As the pair travel from town to town, defeating youma along the way, more about Clare's organization and her fellow warriors comes to light. With every town cleansed and every demon destroyed, they come closer to the youma on which Clare has sought vengeance ever since she chose to become a Claymore.
The Claymore manga was written by Yagi Norihiro from May of 2001 all the way until October 2014. Yes, it just finished. Roughly midway through the manga's run, in 2007, it got an anime adaptation from Madhouse. Now, I have not read a single chapter of the manga, so I'm not going to notice how faithfully they adapted the portion of the manga they adapted. The question is, does the anime manage to be interesting and coherent with what it does use?
In the world of Claymore, monsters called “Yoma” roam around the land disguising as ordinary humans and eating their guts. In order to combat
these beings an organization with no name creates warriors that are human-Yoma hybrids, the titular Claymores. Our narrative follows a particular Claymore named Clare as she travels the land, fighting Yoma and completing missions for the organization. You quickly learn that there's a particular Yoma she's chasing after to take revenge for the death of someone she loved. Unfortunately, the one she's chasing is a particularly powerful variety called an awakened being. So, how does the series manage the premise?
Let's start with the problems. The biggest one is the ending. Now, let's be as fair as possible. There's no way they could go through the story of the entire manga, even if you only include the bits that had been released at that point. That being said, the part they do end on is kind of rushed and very much unsatisfying. A lot of the story is also pretty standard action fare. It isn't really bad, but it does nothing new either. Clare goes to a place, fights a thing, gets stronger, lather, rinse and repeat.
Now, there are some good things about the story too. The episodes that deal with Clare's back story are quite brilliant. The series also does build up a world that has a lot of potential intrigue, although it isn't nearly taken full advantage of in the anime. The series is also good about introducing major plot points well in advance of the point in the story that they become really important.
Most of the major characters in Claymore are quite interesting. The Claymores are nicely varied and the best character moments in the series are among them. The biggest issue with them is that most of their basic back stories are all very samey, at least the ones you see. Dead family because of Yoma and then she became a Claymore. I suppose it does make sense given the sacrifices they have to make to become Claymores. Doesn't seem like the thing you'd get into if you had a loving and supportive family but it still gets a bit repetitive when the series wants you to feel sorry for a particular character because of her tragic past that happens to be virtually identical to the tragic pasts of all of these other characters. The antagonists do have some depth to them too, which is nice for an action oriented series. The secondary characters are largely under-developed, but most of them serve well enough for what they need to do.
After all that let's get to the big problem the series suffers from in terms of characters, Raki. Just imagine the most obnoxious, useless sidekick character you can think of and you've probably got a character similar to Raki. He's a young boy who gets rescued by Clare and then starts following her around while contributing nothing of value to anything. As a narrative device, he serves two purposes. The first is to give the series an excuse to explain information about the organization. Which could have been done without him if they'd been clever with their dialogue. The other purpose he serves is to give Clare an anchor to her humanity. Although I would argue that they could have easily made her a stronger character by giving her a more introspective anchor, like her memories of Teresa or her own determination, and dispensed with the twit altogether. But instead we had to have this obnoxious brat with no good dialogue or moments. I don't know what ultimately happens to him in the manga, but I hope it involves death by fire.
There are plenty of positives about the art. The action scenes are magnificent. The backgrounds are vivid and nicely detailed. They also do put effort into making the Claymores look different in spite of them all having the same outfits, hair and eye colours. There are two major problems with the art, though. The first is the way they do blood. This is one of those series where blood frequently spurts from wounds as though it's shooting out of a high pressure hose. Furthermore, the lighting in some scenes makes the Yomas' blood look like a neon purple hue. Which is practically guaranteed to drain the tension given how silly it looks when a liquid that strongly resembles grape kool-aid is spraying into the air. The second problem is the outfit that claymores wear. It's a tight, white bodysuit with a cape and the only armoured bits are around the shoulders, fingerless gloves and making up the skirt. Now, they can regenerate quite a bit of damage but it still makes no sense for them to leave quite literally all of their vitals exposed. Nor does it make sense for them to wear something that's going to ride up in the worst ways into battle.
They did get some really good actors. Kuwashima Houko, who also showed up in last week's review as Kita Michiru, voices Clare. Paku Romi, Mizuki Nana, Orikasa Ai, Takayama Minami and Inoue Kikuko all give great performances. The one weakness is Raki's actor, Takagi Motoki. That isn't to say he's a bad actor, I really haven't heard him in enough roles to make a good judgment, but he plays a character who spends the bulk of his dialogue either crying or being vaguely perky. As such, he doesn't get the chance to demonstrate any real range. The music is pretty standard stuff, except when it comes to tragic or intense scenes. The composition work in those is really good.
There is a bit of les-yay in this series. Clare's attachment to Teresa comes across as a young girl's first crush. Jean and Clare get some subtext laden moments. Several of the other Claymores get scenes with each other that could be read as having romantic undertones as well. Particularly Helen and Deneve. That being said, the series ultimately does nothing with these relationships that's definitive, so it's ultimately left open to interpretation. So I'm going to give it a ho-yay factor of a 3/10.
Claymore does have quite a bit that's good. A lot of the characters are well done, the premise is interesting, the acting is largely good and the action scenes are awesome. However, it also has a lot of issues. It ends at a bad point, Raki exists, there are questionable art decisions, Raki exists, it draws on quite a few cliches and Raki exists. In the end, the series is still decent enough for what it is but it's certainly not a classic or among the best. My final rating for it is a 6/10. If the premise sounds interesting or you're looking for something relatively quick with some good action, check it out, unless you don't want to deal with an annoying sidekick. Next week I'll look at another request, Welcome to the NHK.
Claymore is a Shounen, Action, Adventure anime in a Fantasy, Medieval setting. The story basically revolves around a specific Claymore "Clare" and her companion "Raki" as she goes from town to town, slaying monsters known as Yoma.
From the beginning the story is very easy to follow. You have Claymores (strong female warriors) and it is the job of these Claymores to slay the Yoma. The story basically follows Clare as she travels to slay these Yoma, which get increasingly difficult to defeat as the story goes on. As a character Clare is developed so well that your opinion of her will change constantly throughout the
series. Knowing her past before she became a Claymore and her current self makes it hard to believe that those two are the same person. What's disappointing is that some of the other main characters are not as developed as Clare but at least they produced good enough results. Raki being the main supporting character is really the only annoying character and doesn't really bring much to the story. As the story goes on it changes completely from the original hunt and kill Yoma, onto a more interesting and compelling storyline with amazing battles.
The fight sequences are just amazing and what helps it is the superb animation quality, thanks to "Madhouse" (also producer of "Death Note"). A lot of detail is put into every aspect of animation, with amazing lighting effects, detailed backgrounds and realistic character models. It is great to see all this kept during the bloody fight sequences however I do feel some corners are cut which just loses some of its essence (e.g. when the arms move so fast it does the typical DBZ speed attacking effect).
The music is fantastic with a magnificent orchestral score mixed in with some wicked bass and rockin' tunes. It's perfect in setting the right atmosphere; drama or action, it does well in both however there are times, mostly during fights, that the music can get a little messy.
Overall this ends up becoming an interesting anime that actually brings something new to the saturated shounen anime market. It manages to stay true to the manga storyline throughout however the story ends up moving at a very fast pace but the benefit of this is that every episode counts and there isn't any screen time wasted by: pointless flashback, training episodes, prolong deaths, etc. It's a shame that the anime deviated from the manga slightly near the end, which is bad news to manga fans and it means there's less chance for it continuing.
When you first start watching the show you're greeted by a strange looking creature feasting on a dead human corpse. Unknowingly, a tall slender figure appears right behind him. He senses this new danger and turns to fight this opponent. But hidden behind this slender gorgeous figure is a sword just as tall as her. She unsheathes her massive weapon and a vicious fight ensues...
That is the backdrop of what you are going to be experiencing. Fortunately (or unfortunately), that should leave you wanting for more. This story is set in a fantasy land set in medieval times where creatures called Yoma hide within
Many (but not all) of the normal humans fear the claymores because they are made of half of what they are afraid of: the Yoma. But they are a necessary evil since they are the only ones strong enough to combat these horrible beasts. Not many people know much about Claymores. Just as mysterious as they sound, you will know very little about the inner workings of their organization, except for a few important rules. This story surrounds one character only known as Clare and basically shows how one becomes a claymore. From human life, to selection, to training, to assignments, and then to tougher assignments... typical shonen anime right? They way they tell Claire's exploits is a pretty good idea. They pretty much "Tarantino". That is a great way to explain how this universe works, well I enjoy moves told in this fashion too (some folks won't). This shows how emotion plays an important role in the show how their human half creates many internal conflicts with themselves.
There's mainly one main character and like 40 supporting characters. Unlike most anime out there that keeps EVERY character alive, this one actually does the dirty deed of killing off characters, which I enjoy very much. Not the killing part but more of the reality of it. Friends live and die just as willingly as the enemies. And that is very refreshing in the sea of Naruto's and Bleach's. You'll actually get a good amount of face time with all the claymores they present to the viewers. You'll still remember who favorite ones are. This is one of the very few anime that I actually remember most of the characters' names. Not only does each one have a unique look and attitude, but they also have specific powers that separates them from them all. Half way through the anime, im sure you will find a handful of favorite blond warriors. My personal favorite is Clare.
You can't mention anything about the artwork without talking about the character design. I think this is one of the best character designs I've ever seen in an anime. Not just because it mostly consists of beautiful slender blond haired sexytime warriors but, in the variety of how different each warrior is from each other. From hair style to warrior insignias, to even the swords they carry all have subtle details that u can easily remember or recognize. Even their "alter-ego's" are unique to each warrior. And you cant have medieval fighting giant monsters without great backdrops and this show has those in spades. As many fight scenes there are in this show, the backdrops are just awesome. From abandoned towns, to forest fights at dusk, to even fights in dark dreary caves, they're all situated in different places. Sure they sound very typical but with as many variations in the villains they fight, they all feel very fresh when watching them. The background animations like the random civilians, breaking objects, sparks, and fire embers are all here. They don't look anything impressive but they do add wonders tot he fighting. Most notably the blood... and this anime shows them by the bucket load. It never stays away from violence and thats what makes this show great. Not many current anime shows this much gratuitous violence and its very refreshing after watching a few dozen slice of life school comedies.
If there was anything to complain about the show, it would have to be the sound effects. You can tell most of the stock sound effects were from other shows and movies. Most notably would be the Star Wars laser fire sound when a Claymore "transforms." When I first heard it i was laughing so hard. On top of that other sound effects are just very normal like growling and sword clanging etc. The music is also a little on the weak side. They could have done better with some of the 'theme' songs like when clare 'gets angry' or when she 'learns a new skill' the songs appear pretty weak. But they do break out in some serious guitar riffs and rock instrumentals, which are pretty impressive compared to the other music in here. But the opening songs and closing songs are one of my favorite parts of this show. J Rock is really catchy and seems very fitting for this show throughout. Hell, I have it playing in my car as we speak!
The story was very interesting through the first 20 episodes. Representing a little shonen with Clare's development cycle. But the end sorta feels like they're selling the series a little short. At this ending i felt kind of cheated just like what i felt on the ending of Code Geass. If you want to watch a good story driven show this is a good one to watch, but be wary of Raki and the ending.
Oh by the way, please try to watch the entire show before you go and give it 10's or whatnot. The last 4-6 episodes will disappoint, I guarantee.
There are these women, Claymores. They are feared across the country, for they are half-monsters. And what do they fight? Monsters. Yes, they save the people from monsters, but are regarded as ones themselves. Irony, huh?
The story follows one of these women. She meets a normal human kid who isn't afraid of her, and they end up as traveling partners. At first, it starts as a standard "good-guys-killing-monsters" show, but it goes deeper. I've always felt that the organization for whom the Claymores are working isn't quite good, but let's just leave it at that. The story, as I said, develops
as time passes, and we get to know more characters, maybe a bit about their background, and it all culminates with a real neat final fight.
The animation in this series is simply... just.-... unique. I haven't seen anything like it, and I don't think I will. It gives me this really weird feeling, but that's good. It's really nice, and definitely one of a kind.
I really enjoy the music in this series. It's really, really nice, and it fits perfectly with the current scene.
The characters are also, um... well, not that much, really. They're kind of okay, but I find the male lead to be veery annoying.
Oh and this anime has a realistic power growth and difference. That's something I really like. Kudos to that!
Final thing: This anime seems very unfinished. After watching it, I thought: "Isn't there a season 2?" Well, one has to come. The end was just too open.
Nothing makes an anime scarier (or more thrilling) than those that feature grotesque beings terrorizing everything -- including us viewers. This in-depth look at these utter monstrosities will reveal why these horrific beasts are, in fact, so frightening.