In pt.1 I mentioned about impossibly strong characters, and here I’ll talk about a couple rather minor things that I find not entirely satisfactory. 1. the impossibly strong, even god-like opponents. 2.the impossibility for me to compare/understand strengths and differences in strengths.
I’ll actually go with number 2 first. Riful and Duff are strong – super strong to the point that they make Ophelia the Awakened, who used to be no. 4 on the Claymore strength list; Irene, who supposedly practiced her techniques for many years even after losing one arm; Priscilla, who by using surprise, seemingly had no trouble taking out Teresa; Teresa, who used to be number one on the Claymore ranking, looking quite weak by comparison. Or can a comparison be made? There isn’t a clear distinction of how to rank powers of the Claymores, the Awakened, and the Abyssal Ones (thank you, Random Curiosity, and if not you, thanks to whoever first used this term in English for these characters in Claymore).
That’s really not that important to some extent. DBZ tried to assign power levels to everyone, but when a new opponent comes out, his (or her) power level usually blows the previous power level highs out of the water like nobody else’s business until another new opponent comes along – the whole process repeats over and over again so many times it gets ridiculously tedious and stupid. However, as a human being and a somewhat calculating one at that, I sometimes feel I’m on a layer of very thin ice when I’m trying to gauge the power of these characters (why? It’s not like I’m gonna have to fight them!). I personally demand some kind of measure that can help me to determine the strength of the characters so that I can kind of tell what kind of power clashes will happen and what likely the outcomes would be. It’s not exactly that I want to accurately predict the ending to a show, it’s more like knowing more precisely the strengths of the characters makes it easier for me to understand the character as a whole (maybe this is RPG influence).
I was told that Duff can probably squash the male awakened from quite a few eps back like an ant. That kind of threw my perceptions about characters into haywire. My questions would be (and try not to leave spoilers in comments if you can help it, folks), how’s Priscilla’s power compare with Duff? With Riful? What if the Abyssal Ones ever decide to end this world? Who could stop them?
I know the last one is a stretch at this moment. I’ve come to care about these things because this show is a great show that draws me in, and I’ve had trouble to take my focus away from Clare’s own, dare we say, “little” vengeance quest? What that means to me is that the overall world and plot was very well thought out. The world of Claymore is complex with many characters, goals and desires, and many different elements. What happens to Clare is just part of this big and wonderfully complex world.
Onto number 1 of my very minor dissatisfactions – the impossibly strong opponents.
Riful is a god. In fact, it just dawned on me that the Abyssal Ones are gods. They’re the gods of the Claymore world. Or at least demon gods. They’re clearly not on the humans’ side and they each harbor awakened ones and demons, which means they probably don’t give a lick about humans. I can’t help but automatically see them as villains. One gets an incredible frustration when the villains are super strong and cannot be defeated by what one perceives as the “good guys”. At least I feel very frustrated. But to be fair, in the Claymore world there aren’t really “good guys” and “villains”, but just characters motivated by their own personalities, desires and goals.
To me, it feels like we’re watching aces in combat with each other, with people as doormats (think Amuro Ray/Kira Yamato/Heero Yui against Char Aznoble/Rau Le Creuset/Zechs Merquise, and all the common soldiers that gets blown away by the hundreds). For some reason it’s not a pleasant feeling. The only bright spot is Clare, who fights to maintain the humanity inside herself and the humanity outside herself, which also includes herself. She’s not completely apart from it, though she does rise above it from time to time for fighting the necessary evil that inspires, trains, and even encourages her to fight for the humanity. The humanity does not understands her and also her comrades, but she and her comrades still do the necessary task to help the humanity out. Yes, for a fee, but don’t the police and the military in real life do these tasks for a fee, too? Are we not grateful most of the time anyways? Before I get too deep into something else completely, let me continue my discussion on point number 1.
Duff is insanely strong. Galatea, number 3 on the Claymore list, Jean, number 7 (I believe), and our heroine, Clare, who obviously has an extreme powerful potential (a common device for all shonen shows) almost completely lose to him. They are on the brink of being utterly annihilated and all they do seem to cause no damage on him. I’ve never enjoyed the type of warfares/battles where I get to see the same thing happen over and over again, and the opponent doesn’t even get scratched. I saw too much of that in DBZ and Saint Seiya, especially in DBZ where one fight can drag out for what counts as almost half a season in many other shows. I’ll admit, however, that I personally just doesn’t enjoy seeing impossibly strong opponents. Perhaps seeing these characters remind me of my own weakness against things in this world, and they prevent me the quick and easy satisfaction of seeing the protagonists and her friends winning with one super attack – not an easily conjured up super attack, mind you, but a super attack after enough beatings received. DBZ often pushes and goes way pass the limit of how much beating I can look at without throwing my hands in the air. I mean, after the 100th time Gohan/Tenjihan/Trunks/whoever uses a desperate super attack on Freeza/Cell/whoever, and Freeza/Cell/Whoever still look unscratched, save some dust on the body, I just change the channel.
I want the story to go on, already. Here I commend Claymore because Duff doesn’t last 5 to 10 (more like 10 to 20 eps in DBZ) eps before he is down. But I guess I’m just not good dealing with frustrations.
Next, Riful. The “demon goddess” in my view. She easily saves Duff, which is fine and expected, but she completely dwarfs Duff in size! And she’s apparently ultra-impossibly-super strong. To follow the Claymore pattern: 1. the bigger you’re the stronger you usually are as a part of the Awakened “community”. 2. Being part of that “community” often means that, more than one Claymores come together actually can’t kill you; in the cases of Ophelia and Teresa, one of them is actually enough, but they’re supposedly super strong, and because I’m never sure how the Awakened are ranked, I just don’t feel comfortable about the battles.
Jean’s coup de grace gets easily thwarted, which is OK because she practically had no power left, and Riful doesn’t kill any of the Claymores – she says she doesn’t want to do it (and the day is saved! Thanks to…Riful’s playfulness? Riful’s strategy? Riful’s purpose for these Claymores?) so I guess that’s that. Not exactly lucky since the “demon goddess” has already said that she has no intention of killing.
The outcome of the battles against Riful and her minions gives me a sour and somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. It sure gives Clare a very bitter taste in hers. For the same reason I feel frustrated – these opponents are practically gods! They’re too strong!
After Riful leaves, Galatea flatly tells Clare that she’s taking Clare back to the Organization. Clare refuses, and Jean shows her noble character by standing in front of Clare and blocking Galatea. Galatea is pretty cool, too. She simply decides to go back and report that Jean and Clare are dead. That does one important thing, however, which is that now these two are officially out of the organization and cannot go back for help or resources even if they ever have desperate needs, and also, next time Galatea sees them, she’ll have to kill them.
This ep really shows me the shining merits of Claymore. Everything is so well developed and behind our main character’s quest there is clearly a much larger picture. I’m looking forward to the Northern Campaign.
98% recommended for your daily anime diet.
(For part 1 of the review click here.)