Tag Archives: Claymore

Time for a serious post: Claymore 12 – Eternal Tombstone

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All right, time to get serious. Clare is on the run, she is being chased by Ophelia, and she has to leave Lucky, or rather, the two have to go their separate ways.

In this episode, Clare, played by Kuwashima Hoko, showed some hints of emotion. Hoko-chan did particularly well near the end, when she said a grim and emotionally restrained prayer for Lucky to a certain “god of Labola.” We get no references to any gods except in this episode, I wonder if in the manga there were some references?

When one’s creating a world, he or she has to put down details that he or she didn’t at first thought of. I personally found the prayer, which is like a reference, a little sudden. I mean, if she simply said: “God” then I can understand, because that’s like a convention in almost any storytelling, save fantasy stories (Claymore is a fantasy story – I guess) but she said a certain name – god(s) of Labola. We got no references but this one. I wonder if these gods will play some role later?

Back to Clare. She is sent to Ophelia by the Organization and supposed to fight alongside her against an “Awakened,” but in fact, as we’ll see later, Ophelia was good enough for the job on her own. For some reason, I’m beginning to think that the Organization’s keep on sending people who has the awakening experience to their deaths. That may be a good idea for the Organization because those who have completely awakened are almost indestructible and cannot be fully controlled, unless high ranking (single- digit-numbered) Claymores are sent to them. However, it’s rather clear now that Clare and others (including Miriya the Mirage) who decided to get together and find out something about the Organization are being set up in a certain way. This, makes the shonen fallency more reasonable (you know, keep fighting, leveling up and all that) – after all, to survive, it seems to me that Clare will have to kill or permanently disable Ophelia, and anyone else stronger that the Organization will send after.

What the organization is trying to do seems rather simple – keeping all under control and when there are some who aren’t or who can’t be under control, let them get together and kill each one another. Thinking from a group point of view, I personally don’t see this as a bad thing because while the aim of the organization seems to be getting rid of demons and protecting humans for a fee (although, what Teresa said before makes me wonder if the Organization created the demons after all, and decided to become the merchant of death…), it is true that the soldiers they use can be even more deadly then the demons, and it looks to me that the organization really don’t have the physical power to confront people who aren’t under control, so making them fighting each other is the best way to keep them under control. It’s an old strategy employed by many kings, emperors and leaders before.

Eventually, however, some of the awakened women who are not demons will have to get to the core of this Organization. What is entirely clear is that this is more than a tale of revenge – this is better thought out than an average shonen anime, which after the tale of revenge arc ends the author then thinks of some greater plots/schemes on the spot to keep readers/viewers. For this one at least, it’s better plotted, better thought out, and better organized. However, I don’t think anything truly shocking in terms of overall plot and scheme will jump out later and surprise me.

At the end of this episode, Ophelia is more monstrous than the demon girl, and Clare is on the run, separated from Lucky. Before the end of the episode, Clare prayed for Lucky to certain gods. Oh, and there was the shonen Otaku fulfillment similar to Misato kissing Shinji scene. I guess many men’s inner child wish for an beautiful older woman to take care of them. Or this is a Japanese cultural thing. Not too sure, but the idea of a tall, leggy, pale supermodel like woman bending down and kissing someone (OK, me) is certainly very appealing. Even though in real life, I would rather be with someone at least 3 years younger and shorter than me. In any case, what will Clare do to defeat Ophelia (I guess a power up and leveling up is in order, eh)?

97% recommended for your daily anime diet.

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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All Right! Claymore did pick up! EPS5

Teresa before giving the coup de grace

After anticipating something good for Claymore, I finally got rewarded.

My friend Mike always says that he usually watches 6 eps of a show before he makes a decision whether to continue watching or not. I guess I have far less patience and even though it’s usually very difficult to drop a show once I started watching it (unless the show really pisses me off, is really bad, or if I fall asleep while watching it with or without alcohol) I usually just stay with it anyways. Anyways, onto Claymore EPS5.

This episode gives no hint that it’s a flashback of Claire’ s past. It began rather ordinarily – by that I mean, a Claymore lady cutting up a monster. But very quickly we get to see that Clare isn’t the Claymore who’s doing the cutting, but a woman with long hair. Could I have realized that she’s not Clare without the long hair? Probably. There’s something different about the way this woman, Teresa, is drawn from Clare. Although I’ve got to say, like one of my old rants, that the character designs in a show seems to be based on one mold (literally), and the faces and body shapes of the characters are like clones. However, in the case of Claymore, that’s not quite true, and other similarities can be forgiven, because this group of swordswoman are meant to be killing machines, after all. They’re trained as a group of soldiers fighting monsters. Soldiers are trained to be uniform. But anyway.

Beginning with Teresa killing the monster with a smile, and then it was explained that she can easily defeat any monster without using demon power, which makes a person’s face twisted and ugly. But she doesn’t need to use it so she can look beautiful while doing it. It’s all in a day of a supermodel’s work – even if the work consists of cutting demons into little pieces!

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After, the show never gets bogged down by anything. The pace is light and the two women seiyuus really carry the episode forward. Teresa, played by Romi Paku, slashed and spoke with a equally magnificant flair, and stunned both the demons and the villagers (and me) with her femme fatale grace – grace isn’t quite it when it comes to her way of talking. To me, she sounded more like a leader of female gangs, without the gang talk. But she had that heartlessness and contained wildness in her voice. She doesn’t sound particularly cold or anything, but it’s quite distinctive.

The other seiyuu on the other hand, said nothing at all save for few small uttering of sounds. She was the complete contrast of Teresa. Kuwashima Houko managed to use few utters of sounds to bring the shellshocked and muted young Clare to life.

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I kept thinking, I’ll probably use the commercial break to get something to drink, and I did think that a commercial break is coming (it’s a fansub but usually there’s a break – a still frame [Editor’s note: an “eye catcher” Thanks Threed]  – that tells the viewers commercial is coming), but before I can take a break, the eps was over and the song began to play.

Clare chose to follow Teresa, who was not thrilled at the idea of being followed by someone. Despite Teresa’s repeated attempts at getting rid of Clare, even kicking her, she keeps up with Teresa, who finally gives up and takes her along. Teresa decided to call her Clare, which happened to be her real name. We see that a connection is made there and this time, a small part of it coming from Teresa, who was rejecting as hard as possible.

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That gives us a reason why later, Clare decided to take Raky/Lucky/Rocky along. The relationship between Teresa and Clare parallels Clare and Raky’s. In this eps, we see that nobody cares for Clare in the village she was in because she was kidnapped by a monster to bring to the village, and we assume that her parents were killed by the monster; we see that she hugs and tries to hold on to Teresa; and we saw at the end of eps 4, Raky held on to Clare, and Clare awkwardly with a blank expression, tries to hug back (my guess is that Teresa never did hold Clare, and Clare did all the hugging).

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What really impressed me was the fact that the episode didn’t have a lot of action, but the pacing was tight enough that I got through it without wondering if they were going to drag it on. The fact that the gang appeared and a subplot seems to be developing from there really helped. If it were just all the antics of Clare trying to follow Teresa, like Raky trying to follow Clare, I would’ve been bored.

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So, I’m looking forward to more. I read some of what will happen next and I’m eagerly waiting to see what happens.

Claymore – quick thought

WOW!

I know this sounds really dumb, but…wow…what a beginning! Just what I expected from MADHOUSE. The show gave me a little bit of the feeling of Berserk. But the era isn’t filled with evil…just yet. The first “Claymore” woman that appears is Clair. She’s played by one of my favorite seiyuu – Kuwashima Houko. She completely struck me down with her absolutely cold and other worldly performance – yeah, I know these descriptions sound so cheesy, but the meaning behind them fits her character. As the village head of the village that asked her to come and exterminate the monster/yoma/akuma/demon/whichever says in the show: “I thought she’d be more human! She’s just like a monster!” Fortunately for us drooling over woman warriors, she’s good look and distant, with just the right tough of evil flair – nothing like growling teeth showing demons, but just cold enough. And I thought Mirelle in Noir during the first episode had cold eyes (they were icy blue). Clair’s are silver. Really cold, distant, unhuman-like.

Just the right type of woman for people like me (OK, now that sounds creepy). But yeah, seriously, MADHOUSE animation never goes bad. The blood is there but stylishly done. The fight scenes…gosh, it’s MADHOUSE, it’s sword fighting animation from MADHOUSE, what do you think?

So just to add another thought on the probably extremely high thought pile – AWESOME. Just AWESOME. Now, El Cazada on the other hand…I’ll save that for another time.