I’m going to PMX this weekend along with the rest of the US crew–and so is Claymore‘s director and character designer, Hiroyuki Tanaka and Takahiro Umehara! As a matter of journalistic research and integrity, I’ve decided to watch the rest of Claymore, which I barely started when it was being broadcast, in rapid mini-marathons until the end of the week when they are set to do their panels at PMX. And I’ve decided to blog about it too, since what is an anime blog if not a record of what has been watched? This is for episodes 3-7.
I always suspected that Clare was not a Claymore from the start, but that she had a story similar to Raki’s–which is exactly what is happening at the close of this run of episodes. The way the internal conflict is reflected and staged by the nature of the Claymores–namely, being half-human and half-Yoma–is very effective, even though in the case of Teresa her sense of humanity forces her to go against the Organization. I really like how the nature of violence in a violent, pre-modern world is handled; much like Berserk and the real Middle Ages, this is a grim, violent time where bandits roam freely, people hardly ever leave their village or town, and the population lives in fear of demonic powers and monsters that lurk just beyond the edge of habitable civilization. Even the church, which though unspecified is clearly modeled after the medieval Catholic Church (priests addressed as “Father,” talk of baptism in episode 3), cowers in fear of the Yoma–which is surprising given that virtually every religion has exorcist rites. But I digress.
The show is not yet as complicated, or as stirring, as Ray and others have raved to me. But the emotional and physical conflicts are, while simple, elemental and stirring. Every Claymore must battle their demon natures, which is an automatic source of internal conflict. Most towns that commission the Claymores fear them as much as they are grateful to them. The Organization clearly does not seem to be entirely on the side of good. These early episodes focus a lot on the relationship between the Claymore as an older sibling figure to a younger child–Raki and Clare, Clare and Teresa. The goal seems to be to show that while Claymores are BADASSES–which is emphasized time and time again in the delicious battle sequences, much to my very male delight–they also have hearts which take time to unfreeze but are certainly there. This is setup for great dramatic sequences, though Raki at least is getting on my nerves. Badly. Clare is right–petulant protests that she is really a “gentle and caring” older sister and not the badass fighter she actually is is not going to work in the long run in saving her from becoming a whole Yoma. Even his frantic attempts to “protect” her, punching the guards and the like, comes off not as noble and brotherly but…just more whiny. They really shouldn’t have picked this voice actor to be the opposite lead to Chiharu in ef~a tale of memories. Now I can’t get Raki out of my head when I watch that show and hear his voice.
It’s safe to say this, though: I’m hooked. I had a hard time observing my new bedtime of 11:30 PM when episode 7 ended, since it was about to launch into a big battle between Teresa and her hunters. My health, alas, must take precedence over anime, as I have learned the hard way, but damn. I’m definitely watching more tonight. Maybe even marathoning even more, too…