Teresa. Galatea. Riful. Miria. These are some of the most memorable characters of Claymore, the dark fantasy anime series based on Norihiro Yagi's manga of the same name. And by no mere coincidence, they are all women. In fact, one of Claymore's most compelling aspects is that it has so many fascinating female characters, including Clare, the protagonist of the series. Of course, male characters such as Raki and Rubel are also distinctive.
Clare, the main character, has dedicated her entire life to vengeance. As a young child, after being orphaned by a Yoma, she began to travel with Teresa, the No. 1 (and most powerful) Claymore at the time. Though they spent only a short time together, they developed a profound and long-lasting bond. When Priscilla, the No. 2 Claymore, beheaded Teresa, Clare decided to become a Claymore herself in order to gain enough power to avenge her fallen friend. She brought Teresa's severed head to the Organization, and had Teresa's flesh and blood implanted into her own body.
When the series begins, she has the lowest rank of all the Organization's warriors (No. 47) due to the perception that she is weaker than a normal Claymore, since she is only one-quarter Yoma instead of half. She is extremely focused on her mission of finding and killing Priscilla, but is hindered by her low rank and perceived weakness.
As a lowly No. 47, how could she have any hope of defeating an Awakened Being, let alone one of the most powerful that have ever existed? Clare often doubts herself, but she never loses her single-minded determination to find and kill Priscilla. Due to her deep desire for vengeance, she takes many reckless actions without thinking the consequences through. She is even willing to abandon her humanity to complete her mission. Consequently, the Organization is a low priority for her, and she does not hesitate to disobey direct orders if they do not align with her goals. Still, she has a sense of deep compassion for her fellow warriors and always tries to help those who cross her path. She is courageous and never backs down from a fight. Even if she presents herself as being taciturn and aloof on the outside, on the inside she is full of passionate emotions, which overflow sometimes.
When Clare meets Raki, a young human boy who insists on traveling with her—much like she had insisted on traveling with Teresa—her icy exterior begins to thaw. She begins to reveal hints of the innocent child she used to be. Throughout the series, Clare and Raki come to care deeply for each other.
Clare also develops friendships with other Claymores such as Jean, Miria, Helen, and Deneve. Even Ilena, who was in the original team of Claymores sent after Teresa, helps Clare by teaching her the famed Quicksword technique. Raki, of course, is the most devoted of them all. These relationships serve to humanize Clare and remind her that she is not alone in her journey. Even though she can be hotheaded and overly willful at times, the knowledge that she has the support and loyalty of her comrades helps her to grow stronger.
Teresa, also known as Teresa of the Faint Smile due to the faint smile she always wore when she fought, was the most powerful Claymore that ever existed. She was easily ranked No. 1 of her generation, and displayed many ruthless characteristics in accordance with her skills. However, her encounter with Clare opened up her heart and allowed her to show her maternal, compassionate side more and more. Although she believed that Clare would be better off living a normal human life, Clare still insisted on following her. When a group of bandits threatened to harm Clare, Teresa became enraged and slaughtered them all, despite the rule that Claymores should never kill humans. Clare was now the most important person in her life, and she was willing to break the Organization's rules to protect her.
Because of this incident, the Organization sent an execution team after her. However, Teresa was so powerful that she easily dispatched the first team that was sent. The next team consisted of the four most powerful Claymore apart from Teresa, which included Priscilla and Ilena. Teresa still dealt with them easily enough, even sparing their lives. Priscilla refused to give up, however, and pursued Teresa again. In the ensuing battle, Priscilla lost control of her yoki and started to awaken. She begged Teresa to kill her before she completed the process. Teresa was about to comply, but Priscilla suddenly attacked, seeing that she had let her guard down. In this manner, Teresa died—not in an epic battle of equals, but rather in a moment of compassion that she would never have indulged prior to Clare's influence. Clare recovered Teresa's severed head and brought it to the Organization to start her own journey in becoming a Claymore.
According to Ilena, Teresa's once-deadly warriors instincts began to dull after traveling with Clare, leading to her own death at the hands of an awakened Priscilla. Teresa died because she was no longer the merciless, unstoppable warrior she had been before she met Clare. She still had the same skills, but she chose to spare the lives of the Claymores sent after her instead of eliminating the threat. Yet, Ilena thought that Clare had given Teresa true happiness, and a reason to live—for herself, and for Clare, rather than for the Organization. Thus, although Teresa met a grisly death in the end, she cherished the time she spent together with Clare. Surely, she would rather have been soft and full of love, instead of the perfect warrior with no meaningful purpose. She and Clare changed each other's lives forever, and Teresa's legacy lives on in Clare, who now has someone of her own to protect and love.
Jean is the No. 9 Claymore of Clare's generation. She is captured by Riful and Dauf, and tortured until she awakens. However, even though her body is awakened, she is still able to hold on to her human mind, and begs Clare to end her life when she appears. Instead of killing her, Clare manages to pull her back to her human form, and she vows to return the favor in the future. She, Galatea, and Clare briefly join forces to battle Dauf and Riful. However, when the battle ends, and Galatea tries to bring Clare back to the Organization as a deserter (because Clare had been MIA while searching for Raki), Jean sides with Clare, and Galatea gracefully retreats.
Jean and Clare are both assigned to the Northern Campaign. She is named one of the five team captains by Miria. Although ranked higher than Clare, Jean feels indebted to her because she had been saved from becoming an Awakened Being, and respects her immensely. She feels it is her duty to fulfill her debt to Clare one day.
Ilena was the No. 2, and then later No. 3 Claymore of Teresa's generation. She was demoted when Priscilla rose to the No. 2 rank. Along with the other top-ranked Claymores, she was sent to execute Teresa, but was easily defeated. After Priscilla awakened and killed Teresa, Ilena attempted to fight her with the remaining Claymores. Priscilla proved too powerful, however, and killed all of them save for Ilena, who was gravely injured and also lost her left arm.
Presumed dead by the Organization, she deserted and escaped to start a new, peaceful life in a remote valley. When Clare and Ophelia come near Ilena's hiding place during their battle, Ilena emerges to assist Clare, whose limbs have been mangled by Ophelia. After dispatching Ophelia, Ilena takes Clare back to her home. She decides to teach Clare her infamous Quicksword technique, after it becomes apparent that Clare will not abandon her path of vengeance.
Ilena quickly concludes that it will be difficult for Clare to master the Quicksword technique. Clare is too full of passionate emotions, while the Quicksword technique requires control and tranquility. At night, while they talk, Ilena tells Clare to live, as she is the only proof that Teresa ever existed. She also says she had envied Teresa for the beautiful love she and Clare had shared. Thus, she is happy to go to great lengths to help Clare obtain the power of the Quicksword technique, to honor Teresa's memory.
Miria, also known as Phantom Miria, is the No. 6 Claymore of Clare's generation. She is an excellent strategist and team leader, and inspires great respect in those who follow her. In turn, she cares deeply for her comrades, especially those whom she commands. These qualities put her at odds with the Organization, as she is too intelligent and caring to turn a blind eye to the Organization's blatant disregard for the Claymores' lives. Thus, the Organization views her as a troublemaker.
One of the events that most motivates Miria occurred when she unknowingly killed her friend Hilda, another Claymore warrior. When Hilda was at the brink of awakening, she gave her black card to Ophelia and asked her to pass it along to Miria, so that Miria could end her life before she passed the point of no return. Instead, Ophelia tore the card up. When Miria was later sent on an Awakened Being hunting party with Ophelia, she cut off the Awakened Being's head before recognizing it as Hilda. Ophelia taunted her about the killing. This event almost caused Miria to awaken, but she was able to stop herself by refusing to give Ophelia the satisfaction of killing two Awakened Beings in one day.
As punishment, she is sent on the Paburo Hunting Party, along with Clare, Helen, and Deneve. She immediately notes that Clare is a wild card who often disobeys orders. Although surprised by Clare's low rank, she still treats her as an equal, and insists that every team member is crucial. When she spars with Clare to determine her true power, she somehow gets the impression that Clare is much stronger than her performance indicates.
Their fight with the Awakened Being is more difficult than expected, as it is extremely powerful. After they defeat it, Miria tells the other Claymores of her suspicions. The Organization has set them up for failure, since they have all partially awakened at some point, and they are all troublemakers in one way or another. She advises them to lay low while she gathers more evidence against the Organization. She also tells them to avoid the five top-ranked Claymores, which include Galatea, Ophelia, and Rafaela. She warns them to steer clear of Ophelia, especially.
Miria is next seen as the commander of the Northern Campaign. She organizes the warriors into smaller teams, led by the five most highly-ranked Claymores present. She plays a crucial role in the ensuing battle at Pieta.
Although Miria is determined to reveal all the secrets the Organization has been hiding, in order to do justice to Hilda's memory, she still gives her all in every battle. Her duty to her fellow Claymores compels her to fight to protect them, even though she disagrees with the methods and callous manipulations of the Organization. She is devoted to her comrades above all else.
Helen is the No. 22 Claymore of Clare's generation. Unlike most other Claymores, she has a very vibrant, seldom serious personality. She loves eating, and can often be seen munching on apples. She tries to enjoy life as much as possible, and cheers up her fellow warriors when they are feeling down about their doomed mission at Pieta. Her optimism and cheerfulness are a welcome change from some of the other Claymores' aloofness. She is very loyal to her friends. However, she can also be overly judgmental, hotheaded, brash, and aggressive.
Helen is sent on the Paburo Hunting Party with Miria, Clare, and Deneve. When she finds out Clare is No. 47, she laughs and complains about having such a low-ranked warrior on the team. However, when Clare proves herself in battle against the Awakened Being, Helen regrets her previous bullying of Clare. She happily joins the others in crossing their blades in an oath to survive and meet again. At the Northern Campaign, she fights alongside the rest of the warriors, together with her constant companion, Deneve.
Deneve is the No. 15 Claymore of Clare's generation. She has a calm personality, which serves as a foil to Helen's more fiery one. As a defensive-type warrior, she has superb regeneration abilities. She used to feel ashamed of the cowardice that caused her to value her own life above vengeance against the Yoma that killed her family. Thus, when she fought, she would have little regard for her own life, thinking she was worthless. That suicidal kind of fighting ends when she meets Helen, who tells her that it's natural to want to live, as she is only human, after all. From this point on, a deep bond of friendship is created between Helen and Deneve.
After the Paburo Hunting Party, Deneve also goes to the North to fight in Pieta. Her team captain is Undine, who she initially dislikes, due to her arrogance. Later, after learning of the reason for Undine's behavior, she begins to respect her. Her captain's undying devotion to her fallen friend inspires her to follow the same path, so that Deneve also becomes a dual-wielding warrior.
Galatea is the No. 3 Claymore of Clare's generation. She is known as God-Eye Galatea for her remarkable ability to sense yoki at extreme distances. Thus, the Organization utilizes her skills to spy on other Claymores and report on far-away events, such as the Paburo Hunting Party, which she observes along with her handler, Ermita.
She is sent to find Clare after her disappearance following the Awakened Being hunt with Ophelia. At the Witch's Maw, she rescues Clare from Dauf's clutches. They, along with Jean, defeat Dauf, partly due to Galatea's ability to manipulate others' yoki. After Riful lets them go, Galatea tries to bring Clare back to the Organization, but Jean's interference prompts her to retreat. Later, when Rubel assigns her to watch the battle at Pieta, she seems to be disillusioned by the Organization's disregard for her fellow warriors' wellbeing. As she walks through the snow, she silently wishes Clare good luck.
Ophelia is the No. 4 Claymore of Clare's generation. Her family was murdered by an awakened Priscilla, so she, like Clare, desires vengeance against Priscilla. She is supremely sadistic, and takes great pleasure from the suffering of others. Miria despises her for her role in Hilda's awakening and subsequent death. Ophelia disdains normal Yoma hunts, and is only interested in killing Awakened Beings, due to her past experience with Priscilla. Thus, she prefers to let her fellow Claymores awaken, rather than give them the mercy of a human death. She enjoys playing sick games with her victims, is obsessed with blood, and will even kill humans for fun, despite the rules.
She first meets Clare when she is paired with her for an Awakened Being hunting party. Immediately, she begins to show her monstrous personality. She cuts off Clare's legs, then suggests a game: Clare must reattach her legs before Ophelia kills Raki in a swordfight. Clare manages to escape with Raki when the Awakened Being interrupts Ophelia's game. Ophelia kills it, then pursues Clare to continue where she left off. She cuts off Clare's right arm, shredding it, then cuts off her left hand as well. Ilena saves Clare before Ophelia can finish her off. After a long, epic battle, Ophelia decides to put her faith in Clare and allows her to take on the responsibility of revenge against Priscilla.
Rafaela is the No. 5 Claymore of Clare's generation. She confronts Ilena after the retired warrior comes out of hiding to train Clare. She also later accompanies Rubel to deliver an ultimatum to Clare and Jean, after the battle at the Witch's Maw. He tells them that they either go to fight in the Northern Campaign, or be executed for desertion. He mentions that Rafaela could defeat both Clare and Jean without any problems.
Flora is the No. 8 Claymore of Clare's generation. She is Miria's second-in-command, and also the team captain in charge of Clare, during the Northern Campaign. She has great respect for Miria, and defends her strategy when Undine criticizes it. After the first battle, she challenges Clare to a duel to test her Windcutter technique against Clare's Quicksword technique. However, the duel is interrupted by Jean. When Clare explains her quest for revenge, and the gift of Ilena's training, the three of them make a pact to survive the following battle.
Undine is the No. 11 Claymore of Clare's generation. She uses two swords, one from a fallen friend, who died protecting her. Her arrogant and overbearing attitude toward weaker Claymores is due to her feeling of guilt from this incident, and her desire to protect the weak.
As one of the higher-ranked Claymores sent to the Northern Campaign, she is assigned to be one of the team captains. She criticizes Miria's plan of putting weaker Claymores in the same teams with stronger ones, since it puts them in great danger. She and Deneve develop respect for each other, after sharing their respective pasts. She inspires Deneve to begin dual wielding.
Veronica is the No. 13 Claymore of Clare's generation. She is one of the five team captains during the Northern Campaign. As a defensive-type warrior, she doesn't mind being injured in the place of others with less capable regenerative abilities.
Cynthia is the No. 14 Claymore of Clare's generation. She is a defensive-type warrior, and appears to be particularly close to her team captain Veronica, under whom she fights in the Northern Campaign.
Tabitha is the No. 31 Claymore of Clare's generation. During the Northern Campaign, she serves under Miria, and keeps her up to date on the status of the other warriors. She has great respect for her commander.
Yuma is the No. 40 Claymore of Clare's generation. She is sent to fight in the Northern Campaign, despite her low self-confidence in her abilities. She is the only Claymore to sustain a serious injury in the first battle of Pieta.
The Awakened Beings:
Priscilla is the main antagonist of the series. Despite her physical appearance as a young girl, she is extremely dangerous and mentally unstable. Her experience with Yoma began at a young age when she killed the Yoma who had taken over her father's body, after she witnessed him eating her family. This event caused her to despise all Yoma, and cherish human life. Thus, when the Organization sent her, along with the other top-ranked Claymores, to execute Teresa, she was disgusted to learn of Teresa's slaughter of human bandits, and eager to serve justice.
Although Teresa easily defeated the team at first, even sparing their lives, Priscilla would not give up and continued to pursue her. She was again outmatched, but this time she began to awaken, due to releasing an excessive amount of yoki. While trying to hold on to the last vestiges of her humanity, she begged Teresa to end her life before she became a monster. When Teresa dropped her guard, Priscilla killed her, and fully awakened.
After this, Priscilla went north, hungry for human flesh. She killed and ate all the humans she encountered, save for young girls. Subconsciously, the human inside her wanted one of those young girls to grow up and become a Claymore powerful enough to stop her, and end her destructive rampage.
Isley sent his lieutenant Rigardo to kill her, but Rigardo was defeated. When Isley himself went to fight Priscilla, she blew away half his torso before breaking down and regressing to the appearance and mentality of a human child. Presumably, the trauma of having had to kill the Yoma disguised as her father, as well as her beheading of Teresa, still haunted Priscilla and caused her to desire a new beginning, free of the memories of her tragic past. Like a lost child, she cried for her mother and father.
Since then, Isley has kept her at his side, aware of both her tremendous power, and her fragile mental state. She becomes very attached to Raki, of all people, possibly due to the lingering scent of Clare (and thus, Teresa) on his person. However, although she seems like an innocent young girl most of the time, she is still a deadly Awakened Being.
Isley is the Silver King of the North. He is one of the three Abyssal Ones, or former No. 1 Claymores who have awakened. As the No. 1 of the first generation of Claymores, which still included male warriors, his comrades included Dauf and Rigardo. After awakening, he took control of the North, while the other two Abyssal Ones, Riful and Luciela, controlled the West and the South, respectively. They all wished to expand their territory, but due to the presence of the other Abyssal Ones, they were forced to bide their time, and wait for the balance of power to shift.
This occurred when Isley encountered Priscilla. Finding such a powerful companion on his side, he decided to raise an army of Awakened Beings in the North. In response to this, the Organization sends a group of Claymores, including Clare, to battle his army. The fighting begins in the town of Pieta.
Meanwhile, Priscilla comes across Raki wandering in a town nearby. Isley decides to take Raki with them and train him in swordsmanship. He sends Rigardo, along with the rest of the Awakened Beings, to fight the Claymores in Pieta.
Rigardo, also known as the Silver-Eyed Lion King due to his awakened form, was the No. 2 Claymore of Isley's generation, and his lieutenant after they both awakened. He resented Isley's higher rank, and once challenged him to a battle to determine who should be the true No. 1. After Isley defeated him, he agreed to serve under him as his lieutenant, despite their mutual dislike for each other. Although seemingly serene outside of battle, he is a hotheaded fighter, easy to provoke. In the battle at Pieta, he goes straight for the five team captains, then begins to fight a partially-awakened Clare. During their battle, he is excited to fight such a worthy opponent, and unleashes his full power.
Riful, the Abyssal One of the West, was No. 1 of the second generation of Claymores. Although she appears as a young, harmless girl, with a whimsical and playful personality, she is actually extremely sadistic and cruel. When Clare first encounters her in the Witch's Maw, she is torturing Claymores until they awaken, in order to recruit more Awakened Beings for her own army, having heard of Isley's recent alliance with Priscilla. When a Claymore does finally awaken, if she is unimpressed, she orders her consort Dauf to kill them right then and there. She also sends Dauf to dispose of Clare, thinking her too weak to pose an entertaining challenge.
Galatea appears to save Clare. When Clare frees Jean, one of the Claymores being tortured by Riful, the three Claymores together overwhelm Dauf and are about to defeat him. However, Riful intervenes. Thinking the three make promising candidates for her Awakened army, she decides to let them go so they can get stronger before she recruits them. She also tells Clare what she wants to know about Priscilla and Isley, having promised that she would answer her questions if Clare managed to land one hit on her.
Riful was the youngest Claymore to ascend to the No. 1 rank, as well as the youngest Abyssal One. Although she is embarrassed by Dauf's stupidity and continually mocks him for it, she nevertheless seems to care for him, intervening to save his life. The last we see of her, she is strengthening her army, in the event that Isley may attempt to take over her territory in the West.
Dauf was the No. 3 Claymore of Isley's generation. He is Riful's highly devoted consort. Although she often mocks him, he depends on her to an unhealthy extent, and fears that she will leave him. Despite being physically powerful, he is unintelligent and requires assistance from Riful in battle. Isley and Rigardo were his former comrades, but he appears to hold no loyalty towards them. Instead, he is Riful's obedient servant, and does all she asks of him, including torturing Claymores into awakening.
The Abyssal One of the South, Luciela is only mentioned, never seen. Presumably, she is aware of the movements of the other Abyssal Ones, along with their followers. It is unknown whether or not she is also amassing her own Awakened army.
When Clare is sent to Raki's village by the Organization, she meets Raki whose brother, unbeknownst to him, had been taken over by a Yoma. Afterwards, although Clare successfully defeats the Yoma, Raki is exiled from his village. Clare reluctantly takes him along with her as a cook. They grow close throughout the course of their travels together, and although Raki witnesses her killing on multiple occasions, he believes her to be a good, kind person. When they infiltrate the holy city of Rabona, which does not allow Claymores inside, Raki poses as Clare's brother to help her disguise.
Clare almost awakens while fighting the Awakened Being in Rabona, and asks Galk to end her life before that happens, so that she may die as a human. Raki begs her to live, confessing that meeting her was the best thing that ever happened in his life, and that he wants to stay with her forever. His heartfelt entreaty brings Clare back from the brink, and she recovers from the battle. Before they leave Rabona, the two soldiers who had assisted them in the hunt give Raki a sword and tell him to grow stronger.
Later, he and Clare are forced to fight the sadistic No. 4 Claymore, Ophelia. After severing Clare's legs, Ophelia taunts her by attacking Raki, whose skills are vastly inferior to hers. Clare is forced to watch in agony as she attempts to reattach her legs. Luckily, an Awakened Being suddenly appears, and Clare manages to escape with Raki in tow. At this point, they part ways, as Clare wishes to save him from Ophelia's wrath. She gives him a goodbye kiss, and promises that she will live to find him again.
Raki is soon captured by slave traders and transported to the north, where he escapes and meets Priscilla. Isley starts to train him in swordsmanship. As he spends more time with the duo, he learns of Priscilla's tragic past. They travel together in the direction of Pieta.
Clare tells him she is proud of him for surviving on his own all this time. He and Clare have grown truly close throughout the course of the series, and remain devoted to each other, no matter what else happens. Just as Clare changes Raki's life forever, so too does he change hers by reminding her of the humanity and love she had experienced with Teresa when she was a child herself. He gives her something to live for besides revenge, while she gives him something to aspire to protect.
Rubel is Clare's handler from the Organization. As a Man in Black, or Black Suit, he is very mysterious. Little is known about him. He helps Clare become a Claymore when she brings Teresa's severed head to him, and later meets her in various places to give her assignments. Despite their long acquaintance, she dislikes his shady, duplicitous personality, while he seems to take amusement from her rebellious and hotheaded actions. Indeed, he is rarely seen not smiling. His affable exterior belies the sinister character underneath. He is last seen with Galatea, spying on the Battle of the North.
Ermita is a Man in Black from the Organization, in charge of Galatea, Ophelia, and Miria. He gives Miria the name of Phantom Miria after watching her fight. Later, he spies on the Paburo Hunting Party with Galatea. He acts concerned when the Claymores start losing, comparing his duty to that of a parent. However, when Galatea tells him that the Claymores have survived after all, he proclaims that he would never be the father of a monster.
Orsay was Teresa's handler from the Organization. He was the one to send an execution team after her when she broke the rule never to kill humans.
Galk and Sid
Galk and Sid, two guards of the holy city of Rabona, first meet Clare when they spot her near the Cathedral during night patrol. After a brief fight, she escapes. The next day, they confront her and Raki at their inn, suspecting (correctly) that she is a Claymore. They don't have enough evidence to prove it, however. That night, they intercept her again as she heads toward the Cathedral, but she eludes capture and heads inside. The Awakened Being attacks, and almost kills Galk and Sid when they show up. Clare gets injured while saving their lives. This puts them in her debt, and they vow not to let her die before they can return the favor.
After she recovers from her injury, she successfully battles and kills the Awakened Being, this time with the indispensable help of Galk and Sid. After bidding Clare and Raki farewell at the gates of Rabona, they continue to protect the holy city with their lives.
Father Vincent is the priest from Rabona who commissions the Organization to send a Claymore to the city. He assists Clare throughout her hunt for the Awakened Being, and seems to be more open-minded than the other priests. He feels ashamed that he fears her so much, since she seems to have more care for Raki than for herself. As they spend more time together, he begins to accept Clare despite her being a Claymore, and is grateful to her for killing the Awakened Being.