Despite my gut-instinct to walk away from an action heavy title that I thought was made specifically for friendless young adults who spent more time with a computer/tv than a girl (IE. shows like Naruto, Bleach, etc), I turned out to actually enjoy the bulk of Claymore as a series. I know many people dislike the show due to a subpar ending (Not poorly written, just sort of a cliff-hanger. Perhaps open to a sequel? Fingers crossed!).
Story: 8 out of 10
The story behind Claymore is a fairly simple one to follow. The setting is a medieval-esque, European feel world, and demons are on the prowl. Unable to defend themselves, humans are butchered left and right until a mysterious organization creates half yoma (demon) half human warriors known as Claymores (or, silver-eyed witches).
Our story follows Clare, and a young human she rescues/takes in named Raki. Throughout the storyline, we are subjected to both hope and despair constantly, and to some degree, the show may have turned out incredibly dull if it hadn't been for a very sweeping plot. I cannot jump into what happens, due to spoilers, but Clare sets out for revenge, and boy is it a great ride there.
The storyline for Claymore rubs many people the wrong way for being either "realistic, or nihilistic" in a metaphorical sense. Clare is constantly trying her hardest, and is constantly being reminded that she is NOT the strongest character in the world. The same goes with Raki who tries his hardest to protect Clare, but never gets a tiny bit close to being strong enough to do so. Still, somehow they manage, and for that, the story does indeed present us with hope. It's hard to explain, but I think there were very mature undertones to the series that many may have skimmed past looking for a cheap action thrill.
Animation: 8 out of 10
I was hard pressed to answer this one, because in truth, the character design and landscapes of this series are absolutely stunning. The character anatomically have a unique edge to them, and the Awakened monsters are all for the most part, unique as well. I sort of got an Evangelian vibe to some. Unfortunately, the "gore" is a cheesy as it gets. Spray cans exploding every time they get cut. It quickly becomes annoying, but not enough to ruin the entire series, of course.
Sound: 5 out of 10
I've seen this alot throughout early 2000's anime, but sound department just was hardly even recognizable to me. The same opening and ending song for 26 episodes. Adequate voice acting, but still a few miss-cast voice actors. Just an average sound department.
Characters: 9 out of 10
Characters if the highlight of the series. Every single character is presented to us as following. The Claymore will think as if a monster, and sooner or later, will discover that they are in fact human. This is a repeating theme, in that the essessnce of being a human is the motif that pushes the story along. No matter how outmatched, the will to survive that humans possess is shoved down our throats at every turn. Had this been a series of humans fighting demons, I would have honestly been irritated, and tossed into the pile of "shonen-rubbish" that I have been aquiring lately. But, when placed up with half demon, half humans, the idea of using that willpower becomes incredibly intriguing.
The series has tons of stand-alone characters, but what makes the series great is the friendships and bonds that form along the way. The relationship between Clare and Raki is absolutely fantastic (although I'll admit, kind of wish they carried out the romance as they teased us with early on :[ Who knows, maybe I'm just a romantic.), and the bonds between individual Claymores is brilliant. Clare long-standing love for Theresa, Clare awkward sense of kinship with Elena, the grouping of Helena, Deneve, and Miria as partially awakened, and of course, the relationship between Clare and Jean. All are fantastically well-thought out friendships that evolved with the plotline. In fact, it's downright impressive that in only 26 episodes they forged so many believable friendships.
But even minor characters show fantastic ties with others. The peculiar, and depressing relationship between Raki and Priscilla is very dynamic. He hates her for being a yoma, but at the same time, he knows that they both went through the same situation in life, only he had Clare to protect him. In an odd sense of duty, he feels the need to protect her, even if she is evil. The peculiar acquaintance he makes with Isley, and all the cryptic advise he gives Raki makes you wonder what exactly is going on inside the head of this powerful being. I think I've rambled on long enough, but I will sum everything up in one final parting sentence. Tour-de-force job on the Character Department creators of Claymore, well done.
Overall: 8 out of 10
Overall, Claymore is a hit or miss with many people, and the ending doesn't help matters. I hope everyone will give this series a chance, but if they'd just put out a second season, I think it would be well received by veteran fans, and newcomers alike.