Shocking Excitement – the powerful apprentice turn evil! Can Teresa actually be killed? Claymore ep7,8

snapshot20070621144913.jpgWow, what a shocking term of events. [Note: I didn’t get this out weeks ago, and Claymore is already 5 eps ahead of this, I’m on 11…but I just wanted to finish this.]

A powerful apprentice’s power gone wrong, and the world is forever changed. No, I’m not talking about Star War prequels. I’m talking about Claymore, ep7.

The invincible Teresa killed – is it even possible? Only if you catch her off guard, and we’re talking about completely off guard.

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This show is just full of surprises, one of the surprises is that they had Hisakawa Aya to do the apprentice 0 Filicia’s s voice – she sounds more like a spoiled girl gone wild – think a sword-toting Arimi from Marmalade Boy or a dark side of Sailor Mercury, or a nasty and older, deadlier version of Skuld (as if she isn’t already annoying enough).

Teresa decides to go her way, and a team of Claymores comes to take her out. She triumphs. Our emotions and hearts follow her path of new found purpose – being a big sister to the only young girl in the world that understands her pain.

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She had been embraced by Clare all these time, receiving Clare’s compassion. In the beginning, Teresa was kicking it away.

Sometimes when one takes care of another, one gets comforted. It’s a rather strange concept that I think a lot of Otaku including myself are having trouble to understand. For me, I’m Yuuta in Video Girl Ai (yes, I just glorified my own dateless-ness), and at worst, his classmate that overuses the other video girl. However, Claymore basically demonstrate this strange and yet powerful previous mentioned phenomenon within 2 eps without actually talking about it in any grandiose way. Here, Romi Paku (she’s of Korean heritage) does a great job of being strong, jaded and emotionally cold with a touch of chilling irony in her smiles, but her character is really just like a lot of loners – they just need somebody to prick a hole through the right weak spot in the wall to make it crumble.

When Clare met Lucky, she immediately recognizes that this is somebody she needs to have around. Of course this show is ultimately aimed at young men and boys, so the sidekick would have to be a boy, a young teenager. But the need of a loner is the same.

Back to Teresa’s downfall. Well, technically there isn’t one. There was no tragic flaw in her that would ultimately set her up for her death, and for everything in the story arc so far, she’s invincible in the Claymore world. Her demise only happens when someone more powerful comes and kill her. Eventually that’ll happen anyway. In this case, the Filicia “awakens” and decided to forgo complete humanity.

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It all happened so fast that I was caught off guard. The shocking factor is there, but this also falls into the classic shonen anime/manga flaw – your strongest character becomes absolutely nothing to the point of powerlessness when the next strong character shows up. It’s difficult to compare powers, anyway – Dragon Z and the series followed tried to put some kind of measure in but I found it all very contrived and silly, and even repetitive – gee, didn’t Vegeta had the power to destroy planets even before he fought Goku for the first time? Or even if not, don’t they blow huge holes in earth all the freakin’ time after Dragon Ball kinda stopped and went on to be Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Alpha or whatever?

It’s true that in battle, one mistake could kill ya. In this case, Teresa was completely caught off guard and didn’t expect the Filicia would be so strong and becomes evil so fast. I was surprised as well and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing – there was no solid, and to me, convincing development in the apprentice’s character that would convince me that she would turn evil. In Star Wars, we got to see Anakin’s slow decent into the dark side (or I say, cool and ass-kicking side) of the Force (however, Yoda rocked).

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It’s also true that this show isn’t about the apprentice girl. However, I also think Hisakawa Aya’s voice really doesn’t belong to a shonen show like this one here – yes, it’s a shonen show. Just listen to the beginning rock music and watch the sequence! Just look at these character with huge ass swords! Bloodthirsty demons that eat livers! Powering up! Leveling up! These are all attributes of a classic shonen show. Except in the modern Otaku world, women are being placed in these shows. It’s like we have not one Xena the warrior princess but many Xenas in one show – supermodel versions of Xena with nice hair, doll-like faces, nice body, and even nice feet; all thin, elegant and emotional less a lot of times (I guess except when smiling or crying). But back to her voice. Aya-san used to do shojo stuff, and I think her voice is permanently shojo – OK, with the exception of Chloe in Noir. But Chloe didn’t have to say a lot and she really didn’t act much until she got pissed that Kirika “loved” Mirelle more than she “loved” her. Looking at the roles Aya-san did made me wonder why they cast her as the apprentice girl.

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I didn’t say that she doesn’t make a good demon girl, however.

Looking ahead to later episodes, Inoue Kikuko is great for Miriya the Mirage. Her voice, her pitch, her acting for me is dead on. Smart, surprising, but with a low profile and being low-keyed (for a good reason – for anyone who hasn’t seen the later eps, please do check them out).

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All in all, the show has been developing nicely. It’s quite good for a shonen show with some twists and good characters and plots. It still doesn’t compare to Berserk but then again, these shows really have nothing in common at the core. A solid watch 95% recommended of your daily anime diet.

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