One more shonen convention for your reference: an angry protagonist becomes stronger and will overcome his opponent by the end.
Goku gets angry at the “death” of his friends; he becomes super saiyan 3. Seiya gets angry at the death of his comrade, he bust through his power limit and uses the comet punch. Other shonen shows generally follow this convention. It’s used to the satisfaction of the audience, who probably feels the anger and the sadness the protagonists feel. This parallels the anger the members of the audience feel when they face some kind of tragedy individually or collectively, but in real life, besides being angry, sometimes no one can do a thing.
In shonen anime, there is something one can do; something to fight against, to get back at for all the pain, hurt, suffering caused – a boss character.
However, by using the power of anger in real life, mistakes are made, the innocent are hurt, and the real life audience member bears mental anguish for God knows how long.
In this case, Clare is dangerously closer and closer to the “dark side”. Only her own will can aid her in her struggles against her opponents.
The Shonen Thesis is this – that toughness, mental strength, and growth through learning (though maybe undesired), will lead to accumulated experience and power to deal with something worse that comes along later – in this case the ultra-powerful Ligardes.
Utilizing everything she learns from her experiences Clare fights two opponents: Ligardes, and the power of fully awakening. It’s a battle against the physical and the mental; against the awakened being and the awakened power; without and within.
As Deneve said in episode 20, the desire for blood becomes great.
However, the shonen thesis often gets abused when the protagonist gets knocked down for the millionth time in one show, and the enemy powers up for the 100th time in another. The process of important growth is squeezed into very few important battles, and the process of being knocked down and getting up again becomes a prolonged nightmare of endless repetitions of almost the same motions being played for the sake of making the show longer and milking the fights for all they’re worth. Done for the sake of earning a few more yen and (these days) dollars.
Claymore refuses to muddle and abuse the thesis. Everything that Clare does is well used; every time she goes down, she stands back up and learn from her mistakes right away. Her growth don’t come so super sudden in one episode; she slashed and clawed and ached her whole way to get to this point. Claymore shows clearly without melodrama that Clare’s grueling work pays off. Of course, she mostly learns super fast, especially under extreme stress. But this formula doesn’t get abused here.
Why does she, or rather why do they go through all that pain and suffering? Because they have to. Because that’s the only way that they can actually do something against great evil.
This leaves us with one last perhaps small question: What can Raki, the “actual” shonen character (being a young guy), do facing this great evil? This evil attacks from outside, in the forms of awakened enemies, and from inside, in the form of one you care for losing control of the yoki and becomes an awakened. What can Raki do?
That, my readers, is the one small piece but perhaps important and overlooked piece of puzzle I’m currently searching for. I only hope Madhouse can do something with this interesting little dilemma and not mess it up. Because if they do mess it up, they shall have fucked up answering one of the most hard to answer questions that a normal human being can ask:
What the hell can I do when it just seems that I’m so fucking powerless against it all?
“She said to me, even now, there is hope left, but I cannot see it. It is long since we had any hope.” – Boromir talking to Aragorn, at nightfall in Lothlorien
94% to 99% recommended for your daily anime diet depending on the way you shall look at it. The animation is awesome, the struggles are great. But whether this episode is rather too conventional or not I leave it up to your judgment.
[Editor’s note: Woohoo! Jean is alive, Jean is alive!~ And the Lion dude is dead, and the lion dude is dead~ Can’t believe I forgot to celebrate!]
(The quote used is from Lord of the Ring.)
5 thoughts on “Claymore 23 review pt. 2- the Defining and the application of the Shonen Thesis”
Hmmm I found it interesting that Clare’s awakened legs where that of a horse.
It reminded me of an old scott-eng legend that spoke of a fight between a unicorn and a lion. Apparently depending on the symbol it utulizes and the version it is said that the lion (England) won, this is the tale that speaks for history.
However, the one my grandma always told me when I was just a baby filly myself, was that the Unicorn represented Spring and the Lion was Winter. The unicorn bravely fights off the Lion and thus Spring comes in, but she dies of her wounds letting place to Summer.
I wonder if it has anything to do with Claymore at least partly.
Anyways that’s just me I have a strange mind XD
But I have to say this was a very exciting episode!!! I have to say that because I read the manga like an idiot I’m not too worried about Clare, but since the Anime seems to have swerved and headed towards a new plot it makes me kinda nervous.
Might I add that Raki’s flashback AGAIN was unecessairy. Ruffles me feathers everytime. I find that just repeating his promise out loud is sufficient.
And I’m curious about Priscilla’s acting up. I’m wondering if somehow she’s recognizing Clare (which would be scarry as hell) or if she’s slowly remembering that fateful time, when she awakened (and killed Teresa T_T) okay I’ll shut up before I start rambling on and ranting.
Thank you for your review!
I really liked your review. I enjoyed the quotes and your view on Claymore, Too bad they ruined the fight lol. The one thing I was waiting for and they threw it out the window.
Amaya – interesting legend. There’s something to be learned everyday.
The segment on Raki is probably meant to make Otaku guys feeling good about themselves – not able to do anything in real life but sure can promise!
Smurph172 – you think they ruined the fight between Ligardes and Clare? I’m interested in hearing why that is.
To answer your question you asked Smurph172: In the manga, Clare had to do something else to defeat Rigardo which i was also looking forward to =/
That legend Amaya talks about is truly interesting. Especially since Rigardo is from the north (where its like winter because of the snow) and Clare just came from the south (where it was kind of like Spring).
the manga added more I guess is the best way to say it before he died. This something made that awesome amazing. I’m happy they at least got the legs awakened. I can give you a link to what should have happened but I’m not going to say it at this moment because they might add it in one of the future fights I believe she will be fighting.
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