So, what do you get when you combine Teresa’s flesh and Irene’s right arm with Claire’s body?
You get a huge power up for Claire! OK, OK that’s not funny at all. But that’s not the point of this eps. Even though it is important.
What is more important in this eps, at least to me, is the admiration and friendship that Irene offered.
From Irene’s talk, it seems that she secretly admired and feared Teresa – the noble and skilled but once cold and distant, even a little cynical Claymore.
Teresa, the noble Claymore. In the story she used to slew monsters with a smile.
Teresa, the skilled Claymore. She used to slew hordes of monsters without a sweat.
Teresa, the cold and distant Claymore. She used to not care if men wanted to ravage her, except perhaps with just a slight regret that she vowed to save these men as well as the rest of humanity.
But she saved Claire. That was a worthy save.
I think Irene knows that. However, she first tells Claire frankly that because Teresa took Claire along, Teresa’s power dropped and that’s why she was killed by Priscilla (I’m not sure if I can buy that). To explain that a little bit – Irene says that because Teresa took Clare along for the journey, Teresa’s power dropped, and that’s how Priscilla could kill her.
There aren’t any indication of rankings for the awakened. We don’t know if the awakened Priscilla is stronger than Teresa or not. To me, the eps where Teresa got killed, it seemed like Priscilla used surprise as her weapon against Teresa. Could Teresa avoided the surprise attack if she didn’t travel with Claire? I really don’t know, but I’m sure that’s not the point here.
What Irene wants to communicate, and does, is that the happiest and the warmest time Teresa had before she was killed was the time she spent with Claire. “It was the happiest time Teresa had closest to her time before as a human.” Irene said.
Back to Irene. She saved Claire in last eps. Then she began to teach Claire her high speed sword attack technique.
In order to use that technique, a Claymore has to be deadly calm and ice cold. Claire can’t do these things. She has emotions; she just often pretends that she doesn’t. To help her survive and grow stronger, Irene actually severed her own right arm! She told Claire to attach that arm to her body!
I won’t say Claymore is very bloody; I’ve seen anime way more bloody to the point of disgusting (Elfin Lied being the perfect example of overboard in bloodiness). But it has enough blood sometimes. What touched me is that Irene offered her remaining arm, and told Claire that she doesn’t need it anymore. Ignoring the normal impractically that comes when a human being or humanoid loses both of her arms, Irene has to know that she’ll be in grave danger later because of that – and trouble indeed comes to find her, in the form of the number 5 Claymore on the current Claymore ranking chart, whose name is too difficult for me to remember. More on that later.
So as the title says, Claire is now kind of like Frankenstein. She has Teresa’s flesh, and Irene’s right arm, and she’s a Claymore. Except it seems like she was never fused with an actual monster. But that, conveniently (although the process of Irene giving up her remaining arm was touching and did make my blood boil a little because I was touched), after getting Irene’s right arm, she can now use the high speed sword technique well. I don’t know, I always get the impression that practice makes perfect (something Allen Iverson didn’t understand), but in the case of Claymore, it seems like having the body parts of someone who used the technique well and learn to control that part is the key to success. It’s kind of creepy but since this is an anime, I’ll let it pass. Now, onto Ophelia Orochi.
Ophelia is a great character that you love to hate, but near the end of this eps, you couldn’t (or I couldn’t) help but feel for her. Looking at her in the classic shonen anime perspective, she’s the enemy that unwillingly becomes a helper, and even a key figure, in the hot-blooded main character’s path/journey to his goal (in the case, her goal). It looks like the awakening of Ophelia actually gave her some sanity back, and makes her think about some very important things, one of which is her brother’s reaction before he told her to run away, when Priscilla as the horned monster destroyed her home. The awakened form for Ophelia is fittingly, an Orochi figure (the Japanese mystical snake figure), but also Medusa, without the snake hair – it’s just like her character, crafty, smart, venomous and a little slick.
Ophelia’s reaction upon seeing herself in the reflection of the lake isn’t surprising at all. She hated the awakened for a similar reason that Claire is trying to find Priscilla – Priscilla the awakened (Ophelia didn’t know her name) killed someone dear to her (her brother – she has a bro-con). While Ophelia is driven insane by the event, Claire is driven with vengeance because of a similar event. They actually have something in common. A cheesier and less intelligent show may have to use that to help the plot. Claymore doesn’t have to. In fact, Ophelia kind of redeems herself, with some unintentional help from Claire – Claire is a real shonen character at heart – hot blooded and emotional, and charges forward without giving up most of the time. Of course, when things look impossible, ex deus machina come and saves her – but that’s not the point here.
Ophelia is able to squeeze her human side apart from her monster side. When she saw Claire giving up, she “encourages” Claire as if she couldn’t stand it anymore by speaking what herself wants to say to her brother after all these years. That line in my opinion, is a great line to all who thinks about letting their lives go easily. “If you just throw your life away, what are these you leave behind going to do?”
Claire thought about Teresa, and Irene, who gives her all to her (a typical shonen, and even Sailor Moon device), but that’s not enough. It’s not until Ophelia gives her a verbal kick in the ass that she recovers and starts to attack again. Ophelia becomes more like her trainer and friend in this way.
Ophelia’s life ends in a rather touching way. She slowly sinks into the lake thinking back to her brother’s last smile. He had protected her from death. she finally remembers that smile…
I really shed a tear in my heart for her. She’s a great character without any stereotypical actions or cheesiness, and her redeeming scene, although a little abrupt, is still worthy of going down as one of the best redeeming scenes of shonen anime history. It is sparkled by Claire’s refusal (or I also think it’s stupidity) to just skip the entire snake body and go for the vulnerable human part of Ophelia. Perhaps this is in a way, a metaphor of saving Ophelia’s humanity. That a sick person needs help, but the sick person has to do something to help herself as well, perhaps by being vulnerable. In this case, Ophelia comes up with her last challenge, in which she doesn’t exactly has the complete upper hand. Claire is a classic shonen hero, except she’s a supermodel like girl voiced by Houko-chan. Both Houko-chan and her character have nice feet, btw. Clare defeats Ophelia, and saves her soul, or as Clare says: “I’ll take your soul with me on my journey.” Anyway, speaking of seiyuus, the seiyuu for Ophelia deserves a round of applause for her awesome job voicing the character.
There’s not much more to say about this eps. We see that the current number 5 is going after Irene. Without her arms, what will Irene do? One of the commentators to my last post said that even offensive Claymores can regenerate their arms, but the process takes weeks, and their arms become really weak because they won’t be able to channel their yoki through these regenerated arms. Even if that device is actually going to be used in the anime, that still won’t help Irene, who has to somehow deal with number 5 (played by Yukino Satsuki, who played Otohime Mutsumi in Love Hina, Chidori Kaname in Full Metal Panic, and Kagome in Inuyasha among other roles), who, according to Irene, is too strong to be merely number 5. We don’t get to know why that is in this eps.
There’s a little bit of fan service in here, where Claire’s naked butt and back is visible, but for some reason, I found her back looking rather artificial. I can’t quite explain what it was. But overall, this is a very shonenesque (yep, I invented that word) eps, except all the shonen mentors, enemies and protagonist are all women. But the men still control the secret organization. None of that, however, deters my enjoyment of the show. The pacing is perfect as usual, and this time, I knew it was over but I wanted it to continue, and I was surprised how fast it was over anyway.
94% recommended (the fan service here really doesn’t raise my score)
PS. the seiyuu for Irene (Takayama Minami) is the same person who played Delandu in Escaflowne, and used to be the singer of Tw0-Mix (I believe the group broke up), who performed the OP for Gundam Wing.