Series Review – Claymore

Claymore is a show that’s hard to define. The manga is easier to define. The manga is intelligent through and through. Its emotional impact is consistent and the plots are always good.

In my opinion the anime doesn’t lose to the manga in these departments. But because some kind of closure is necessary for a TV show, it kind of hurried itself a little bit and almost takes the easy way out.

It starts out as a simple show about demons eating people and warriors paid to destroy them. But it grows into something deep and thoughtful that explores human weakness and things that people do to act strong despite the inherent weakness in human beings.

All the pain, suffering, and disappoints are necessary for growth in a world filled with evil, and these things are the essential fuel to fight against the cause of evil. The demons are just allegories of evils in the world that cause people to do things to others in order to feel better, or to have the feeling of resolution. One evil causes another, one destroyed family in term, causes the death of a loved one, a destruction of another family, a trip for a person to the insanity of soldiers’ dark side, and then finally it leads to a squire’s receiving of a precious gift.

At its best, this show even echoes themes in Lord of the Rings, at its worst, at least this show doesn’t provide an easy way out of everything, pain, hate, suffering, and all that’s wrong with its world.

Warriors come and go, but some of them leave deep marks in our hearts by their loyalty and a sense of debt and duty. These warriors never die, they just fade away into the distant underworld.

We can only hope they shall reach the Elysian Fields reserved for those who are honorable, and have fallen in battle against the dark forces so foul and strong that normal humans fall hopelessly under their flesh tearing appendixes.

The living warriors walk on, learning from their mistakes, surviving under the policy that their cruel masters make while disregarding their lives. The decisions of the organization have sent many warriors to their needless deaths.

These warriors – Claymores, fighting under extraneous circumstances, misunderstood and sometimes hurt by the very people they risk their lives to protect, and being overused and thrown away by their masters, still walk upright and proud, attacking demons encountered, supporting one another when the pain of growth and transformation frightens their tender, caring and passionate souls, and mourn over the gravestone made hastily with the large sword over the body of their fallen comrades – some of which are loved by others, and definitely will be missed by the observers (us).

But others will not be remembered at all. They will truly fade into the recesses of the dark world that we the viewers are fortunate enough to get glimpses of.

I gasped at Teresa’s death; I bit my lower lip when Ophelia finally understood her brother’s last wish; I screamed and mourned at Jeane’s sacrificial last act for Clare.

I applauded at Clare’s strength in her heart; I admired Teresa for her ease and elegance at slaying the evil ones; I saluted Irene for her offering of friendship and her remaining arm.

Although this show doesn’t have the intricacies of Lord of the Rings, but it has certainly played the chords of my emotional strings delicately and yet shockingly.

I shall be in a certain kind of despair at missing the show but also a certain kind of satisfaction as I look on with the Claymores to the future – in which they shall encounter many more trials and troubles, and fight through it all, being the better humans with stout hearts beating inside their chests and hot blood running through their veins.

“If it were possible, let not one warrior here perish.” Amen.

99% recommended for your daily anime diet because I’m biased. So sue me.

10 thoughts on “Series Review – Claymore”

  1. Eh. I still think this series is best describe as an Excellent series that was nearly completely ruined by a horrible, cliched original ending.

    What’s even worse, is for all the “closure” it gave, they might as well have stayed with the Manga storyline and just ended it after the post-Pieta time jump with a shot of the “Fabulous Seven.”

    At the least, that would have kept Isley and Raki’s characters less mutilated for the time being. Would have been more badass, too.

  2. I agree with the mutilation part. After reading the gaiden I realized that Priscilla has the power even beyond Isley, that makes Priscilla the “final boss” so to speak. In trying to get an ending, Madhouse did a lot of cliches. However, I personally think Raki, from what I can see, really grows up a bit and after the truth about Claymores, demons, and the awakened really hit him hard, he still ends up doing the “cliched” trying for a peaceful solution, or at least trying to stop the killing. For this show, that was sufficient for me.
    Having seeing only up to vol. 10 of the manga (I’m trying to support the artist and not read the scantalation), I eagerly await Yagi sensei’s unfolding of the story.
    This “Madhouse ending” ensures that they can stop without making anymore and not leaving the series looking like chopped off at the end, and yet it’s still open enough for a second season, if the reruns and DVD sales are popular. I think this mastery of forging an ending just may help them like what Sunrise did with the original Gundam, which of course, begin the path tha Gundam took to become one of the all time anime classics.

  3. Raki doesn’t grow up at all. If he did, he would have let Clare finish off Priscilla, both in order to let her keep her promise and reason to live, and to prevent the lost of hundreds, if not thousands of lives, that Priscilla will take later.

    They could have ended it with about as much closure by sticking to the manga and ending it at the shot of seven. Now they’ll be forced to go with an anime original storyline if there’s another season, and Raki will be stilted, mangled character at the least.

  4. OK, well. I’m looking forward to the manga but not so much of the TV second season. I think learning about mercy and trying to prevent Clare from falling into the dark side was what made Raki more grown up. Vengeance doesn’t beget closure and it shouldn’t be the sole reason for living for anyone.
    It’s not like Claymore is definitely getting a second season. With your idea, the TV series would look a lot more open and if they will never make another second season, people who do watch the TV series but don’t read the manga will complain. In any case, I take it that because it doesn’t stick to the manga, you hate the ending. The only thing I’ll agree with you 100% is that they used too many cliched in building up to the ending.

  5. I hadn’t heard Clare’s normal voice in a long time (and I remembered it quieter and deeper than that though 0_0′) so I kind of jumped when I heard her mind’s voice go ‘Teresa’ and later on cry the death of Jeane.

    Well I’ll nodd at Madhouse for recovering from the previous episodes but I was still disatisfied with it. I wish they’d followed the manga more and I still was disconcerted by a few elements.
    I still could not understand Raki’s attatchement to Priscilla. I suppose because he saw her vulnerable and human side, he had compassion. However as a viewer of the show, founder of the Teresa-sama fanclub, and Clare supporter, to me Priscilla was everything that is evil and wrong and that her offences should not go unpunished. Defeating Priscilla, beheading her in the name of Teresa, that was the sole reason she became a Claymore. It leaves somekind of disatisfaction, a sense of something that hasn’t been accomplished. Personal vengeance is not a good thing, granted, however perhaps because it is rooted o deeply in my blood, avenging someone is honorable, and almost sacred. You can compare it to the Corsican ‘Vendetta’.
    However this episode also reminded me that Teresa had never wanted Clare to become a Claymore, and in fact after becoming attatched to Clare, wanted to quit her job and live as a human amongst humans. That was the key phrase which appeased my upset soul. That was Teresa’s true last wich I’m now sure of it especially after she Appeared at Jeane’s grave, smiling to Clare.

    As for Raki. Guess I can give him a few points for acting like Usagi in front of Uranus and Neptune (“I’m sure there’s an other way! A way where we don’t have to kill people!”) and he’s matured a bit since the beinning but I find that his whole evolution was a bit stagnant especially for a protagonist. Anyways he’s still the little runt to me :P

    And Jeane should have been dubbed “Jeane of the Noble Heart” or “Noblest Warrior Jeane”.

    I can’t wait for the next manga to come out. Yes I’m guilty of reading the scans, but I also buy the books afterwards when I can find them as I also want to support the author.
    It has been great reading your reviews

  6. As fo my review of the whole series…
    When I first heard about the manga, the anime hadn’t started yet but as soon as it did I pounced on it like a lioness.
    After the first epsiode I was hooked. Just the quality of the art really caught my eye, as for Clare’s character I thought she was so cool. As the episodes went by, and Clare’s past was introduced to us, I met Teresa. Heck I fell in love with her!, Cool, beautiful, strong, able to defeat some of the toughest demons out there without ever realising her powers. What a splendid sight. I rapidly got attatched to her character and she was taken away all too soon. Then we met others, Miria, Deneve, Helen, Jeane, Irene are those that probably stayed with me the most and Galatea was… Well almost as cool as Teresa in my eyes :P!
    A great motivator for me to follow this series besides the characters the artwork and the story was my eagerness at seeing what would beocme of Raki (who ended it being mostly just a bother to me) and my thirst to see Priscilla’s neck kiss the blade of Clare’s claymore which alas hasn’t been quenched.

    Had this show only been battle on battle on bloodshed with no or very little plot and with no depth or emotion, I probably would have given it points for the artwork but would have otherwise snobbed it. I can only appreciate more the amount of emotion in this series, as I was able to watch the RAWs and UNDERSTAND. Not word for word, and of course my little knowledge of japanese helped, but it was through emotion that I could understand the intention and the main message in a sentence or speech. Also this show gives attention to little details, sometimes going so far as to explain (such as the Apple).

    This is one of my favorite series surprisingly since it contains only tiny amounts of shoujo-ai, and being a Diehard Rabid Yuri fangirl, I can be very critical with non-yuri or shoujo-ai anime and though I can adore and appreciate them, I rarely ever rank them amongst my favorites.

    In the mean time I’ll keep readin the manga and hope that if they make a second season, they won’t mess it up!

  7. Yay!!! I loved Claymore too. If they dont make the second season of Claymore, then at least when the manga ending comes out, it will feel even better!

  8. I loved claymore to, and I would loved if they made a second season… because the end wasn’t very excinting… :(
    but I loved Claymore very much… was great :]

  9. I seriously love claymore!! It has a great storyline, original… and my BIGGEST favourite is Claire.. I mean i even adores the young claire… I mean if u were kept a prisoner by a youma and tortured by him but still had the kind heart to cry for Teresa who she just meet… She’s special. Her love for Teresa seem so pure n strong n i want to hug her… I wish the second season of Claymore will be made…

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