As a wistful conglomerate of both originality and clichés alike, my feelings about Claymore are, needless to say, quite mixed. With more ups and downs than sand dunes in the Sahara, the storyline continually fluctuated in maintaining my interest, a sign which generally causes me to drop a series before its finality. However, Claymore is unique in that the series doesn't stand still for very long, and by dissecting the plot into miniature three to six episode arcs that emphasize character growth and interaction, it prevents itself from falling into ruts and quickly becoming stagnant.
In layman's terms, Claymore takes place in a somewhat stereotypical world where demons have invaded the realm of humans and maliciously slaughter and consume people for not only their sustenance but also their enjoyment. To combat this, mankind has created fierce half-demon, half-human warriors who have sworn to use their demonic powers to hunt down and destroy the forces of evil. Ironically, though, despite the fact that the story initially sets itself up around this premise with a weak "monster of the day" theme, it quickly changes course. The vast majority of Claymore actually encompasses the trials of a number of the sword-bearing beauties (all Claymores are female) as they struggle to cope with their lives, their powers, and their obligations to their duties. With very little humor and only very vague inclinations toward romance, Claymore is almost entirely drama oriented with a large abundance of, as you might expect, action. This is most certainly a welcome trait, as too often I find myself confronted with serious anime series that mindlessly try to throw in thematically inappropriate scenes in order to appeal to wider audience. Claymore shuns this concept entirely, so if you want a serious anime that remains so from start to finish, definitely turn your head in this direction.
The series follows one Claymore in particular, Clare, who finds herself struck between coping with the horrors of her past and dealing with the pitfalls that confront her from day to day. After finishing one her jobs killing a demon tormenting a small village, she is followed by a lone boy whose family was slaughtered by the creature, and despite her resistance to his kinship, he ends up tagging along with her. For a lone-wolf mercenary whom the entire world shuns in fear, this obviously causes her to experience a number of emotions unfamiliar to her such as family and friendship, which causes her to call into question her reasons for being alive - is she simply a mindless killer or is she just as human as the rest of mankind? The series manages to approach the subject without swaying ignorantly one way or the other, and presents an overall logical, human set of experiences that she must confront and deal with accordingly.
Overall, despite the huge number of action scenes, the animation for Claymore is fairly average. If there's one thing I loathe about any series with swords, though, it's "black screen ‘n slash" fight scenes. Aside from a handful of instances where the bar was raised offer some explicitly detailed duels, for the most part the visuals in fights were all very linear and predictable, only instead of black screens we have sword whirlwinds. Though it didn't really bother me much at first, by the end of the series I found myself seriously disappointed, as it felt I was just watching the same general fight scene over and over with each episode. To be fair, though, the characters involved in each fight are constantly shifted as the series progresses, so no two fights are complete carbon copies of one another and the outcomes are by no means guaranteed one way or another from the get-go. The fight scenes became boring to watch, and the only enjoyment I managed to siphon out of them was the end result and its impact on the progression of the story.
Another complaint of mine, though, were the bloody awful designs of the Awakened Beings. Let's just say there were enough freakish elements in each of them that if I were stranded in the artic and needed to eat them for food, I could have a feast three times daily and even share some with all the polar bears. Hell, I was half expecting some of them to pop out Starbucks signs as appendages and threaten their opponents with good coffee at some junctions. I seriously think they made all of them have tentacles just so that the hentai doujinshi fan artists would have some material to work with, as the absurdity just didn't seem to have any real purpose. In my humble opinion, some consistency in design would have gone a long way in raising my appreciation for the series.
While certainly no Juuni Kouki, Claymore's soundtrack does a decent job, but I felt a more "classical" feel would have been in order. For a series with a medieval setting, the musical score just didn't seem to fit in a number of situations. It wasn't a huge flaw, but when a series emphasizes drama in a medieval setting, tracks with more modern feels just don't convey the same emotional undertones. That said, however, the majority of the series' tracks were all well composed, and there isn't much else I can really fault it with save for Raki's voice, which cracked a little too much for my liking.
Holy crap, Raki was almost as annoying as Rumina from Tokyo Underground. I swear, if I hear one more "Clare!!!" I'm going to beat my head in with a block of granite. While his character presence was needed for the series, his personality could have (and should have) been entirely reworked. For some inexplicable reason the writers decided to throw in the "I will protect you!" cliché onto his character, which makes entirely no sense given the context of the series. For reasons beyond my understanding, Raki doesn't seem to realize that Clare is a Claymore trained from a very young age in the arts of war and imbued with superhuman, demonic strength, and that he is a wimpy civilian boy who just happens to be tagging along with her. It's pretty much the equivalent of me trying to rationalize that I can destroy a tank with my bare hands. It made him an utterly stupid and obnoxious character, and I think the series could have done well without his over-the-top ignorance.
Excluding this bumbling sack of crap, however, the rest of Claymore's cast isn't half bad. Though the quality in the character designs slipped a bit toward the end, for the most part they do a suitable job at eliciting empathy throughout the course of the series. To put it in context, consider that many of the girls have very generic back stories and that I am about as compassionate as a rabid dog is friendly, and I think I make my point. If solid drama is to your liking, you'll definitely enjoy watching all the various Claymores grow.
All in all, Claymore ended up as another average/slightly above-average anime that could have done a lot better had it exploited its strengths more instead of falling back on its cliché safety-cushion plot elements so often. Because the series doesn't actually end, however, and that is set up to lead into a second season, it's hard to really pinpoint any final faults in the character designs. The end of the series in many ways seems like a beginning, as a huge number of very intriguing questions were left unanswered and leave a lot of room for the series to end with a bang. There is still a lot of potential tucked away in the story, so keep your eye on this series as it progresses into its next season - it very well could end up being on your top ten list in the near future.
Claymore has a unique-ish premise. Yoma roam the world, disguising themselves as humans in order to feast on human guts. The "Organization" has developed half-Yoma, half-humans called claymores to find and kill the Yoma. Claymores can use their Yoma energy to gain power, although if they use to much they will "awaken", losing their humanity and turning into a Yoma themselves.
The beginning of the story is fairly dull as it introduces the main characters Clare, a claymore, and Raki, who becomes attached to Clare after she saves him from a Yoma attack that killed his family (the classic "my life is ruined" beginning). After a few episodes, things improve as the story picks up many years ago to explain how Clare became a claymore. The story is good overall, but the series ends kind of awkwardly (the ending is different than the manga, apparently). The main bad dude decides he's tired of fighting, and everyone goes on their merry way. Lame.
Claymore does a decent job developing characters. Clare's motivations are well-explained and we see her developing her skills and relationships with other characters. Each claymore has her own unique abilities, and the series makes it a priority to compare different fighters and explain whatever clever techniques are used in battle. The series usually takes some time, through flashbacks or other means, to give you an understanding of each of the major characters.
On the other hand, various characters' actions feel crafted to take the story in a particular direction, including Priscilla, Ophelia, and Ilena. One particularly useless character is Raki, whose only function is to prevent Clare from awakening. Enemies, aside from Priscilla, are underdeveloped characters. There are also lots of completely mismatched battles in which a powerful enemy kills bunches of unnamed characters without a problem but takes their sweet time with the protagonists, leaving enough time for them to kill said enemy.
Claymore's soundtrack is unremarkable. Lots of generic classical pieces and very 80s sounding synthesized stuff otherwise. The opening and ending themes are okay. Sound effects were good.
I sampled the English dub and it was terrible, so watch it subbed.
Claymore came out in 2007. This is when anime like Code Geass, Darker than Black, and Gurren Lagann debuted. In comparison to these, while character designs are decent, the animation in Claymore feels very static. Sword slashes are blurs of light drawn over another character, and there's lots of "floating in space" motion of, e.g., detached heads across a painted background. The animation in Claymore looks more like something from the late 90s. It's like a Berserk that's less stylized, which is a shame because Madhouse is capable of great animation, like in Redline or Summer Wars. Even Trigun and Death Note by Madhouse have more fluid animation.
Despite all of its more technical flaws, Claymore managed to keep my interest like Dragonball Z does - tons of fighting, suspense, likeable characters (mostly), and a plot that doesn't completely fall on its feet. The atmosphere of the series is much darker, however, and there is lots of dismemberment, blood, gore, and other fun stuff (although, this would be more effective if the animation quality was better). The series is willing to pull suprise reversals on you to add some unpredictability, and I generally found myself itching to watch the next episode.
There are lots of comparisons to Berserk, which is primarily due to all the bloody fighting and the similar medieval time period, I guess. But Claymore is less refined in its animation and its fights are less tactically clever. I would say if you like Claymore, you'll like Berserk, but if you like Berserk you may feel a bit disappointed with Claymore.
Animated by Studio Madhouse, the king of anime series; so you automatically expect it to look nice. Directed by Tanaka Hiroyuki, whose only other work is the super action/gore Hellsing Ultimate. Plus the setting and the story make Claymore to sound a lot like Berserk, one of the most awesome shows of the 90’s. Thus the expectations were really high in this one and to the most part most viewers had very positive opinion about it. But since I am not most viewers and I am making an analysis and not stating an opinion, I say it could have been ten times better.
Claymore really is like Berserk, but with more boobs and less context. It hardly does anything with its potential. It is not also a good action show; just a gorefest with mostly lazy fighting scenes; so don’t go expecting something akin to Hellsing Ultimate. It is also not one of the better jobs Madhouse has done, since it lacks finer things such as fluent fighting scenes or creepy monster voices. It is also quite disappointing even if you just expect to see a faithful adaptation of the manga, since it covers only a small part of it and changes the end it in a way that makes a continuation imposible. So, no, it is not masterpiece level but at least it has its charm half the time.
Claymore’s strong point is not its story, which to be frank is simple, linear, deviates from the manga it is based on in a bad way, and ends in a rather open way. The basic premise is about fighting fire with fire and thus the monsters that plague humanity in this series are to be dealt by humans possessing monster abilities. It sounds interesting to build something around it but that only happens in terms of characterization amongst the cast and not in terms of world-building. So yeah, we have monsters and monster hunters and a Medieval-like world. If you expect anything more to it, you won’t get much. There will be very little info about why the world is as such. Where did the Yoma come from, where are the rest of the Claymores mentioned, what about the other organizations that are mentioned? The pacing of the story can easily be divided into short arcs with each one having its own set of monsters and settings. Each one adds something to the whole, but as I said, it only does it in terms of characterization and not world-building.
Characters on the other hand are the meat of the series, as most of the selling point is their psychoanalysis and interaction with one another. Claire, the main heroine, begins as a heatless killing machine and along the way we get to see a lot about her which make her far more than a robot without will, following orders and going around killing things just because she was ordered to do it. The same can be said about most other main characters, the rest of the Claymores and that annoying sidekick Raki.
A thing to notice is that this series reverses gender roles. The Claymores are all women yet behave as brute males, while Raki is a guy and is a spineless idiot who is better fit as a daddy’s girl. Feels weird but it is not negative.
What does feel negative is the adversaries, the Yoma, who to the most part are just mooks that exist to be killed or generic bosses. And as I said we get very little about where do they come from. Not only that, but they don’t really feel like monsters most of the time. Rather they are shape shifting cannibals with too human behavior for the gruesome creatures they are supposed to be. Makes them look stupid.
But who cares about them, the story is about the Claymores, whose worst enemy ends up being their own selves, as they slowly all turn to Yoma themselves. Yes, nice idea to build something around it but since the story ends openly, it kinda ruins it. Plus Raki is an extremely annoying character, unable to be sympathetic to anyone. He is supposed to be the guy who reminds Claire that she is still human and make her have cozy feelings and such but ends up being a burden. The only thing he does is nagging, making unrealistic remarks, standing in the way, and generally causing more trouble than help. Supposed, that is what it means to be human but come on; monsters are eating people alive everyday and he wanted everybody to be a big happy family. This stops being humane and ends up being utter bullshit. If humans are so naive, then hail to the cunning cannibalistic Yoma.
As interesting as the main cast may be though, it is left without complete catharsis, since the ending is open. They tried to wrap things up by not letting a major villain escape but it will still feel like they left a ton of things not looked into.
The art is very good as far as shapes and backgrounds go. High on detail with lots of filters and dark palette colors to transmit the feeling of a grim world overrun with dread and death. The aesthetics are great to transmit the proper feeling of the show but this is pretty much where the charm ends. I found the character figures rather unappealing, as the way the faces were drawn felt weird. Plus, all Claymores look too much alike because of their identical uniforms, weapons, hair color and eye color. So I hardly found them to be mesmerizing, or sexy, or that important to care about. Also the common Yoma are drawn too simplistic and human-like and it’s easy to see them just like brawn-skinned bandits with fangs, which hardly makes them scary. The action scenes are not that great. Although there is a lot of gore going around, most of it is limbs flying and fountains of blood gushing all over the place. Internal organ anatomy is way off and far from the cool splatter OVAs we used to have back in the 80’s. Most battles don’t last much either to get your blood boiling; it is mostly a tormenting build-up full of suspense that ends in a rushed and dull way. Also, there practically is very little actual animation to the fights as most slashes are nothing but frozen pictures with a silver line that is substituting fast slashes. It is usually followed by over the top amounts of blood, which as cool as they may be are still far from the retro goodies and their horrific entrails splattering all over the screen.
Music themes are very good and fit with the mood of the series. The dialogues are also ok as long as they are about mission information and character immersion. All the rest are a mess. Just like in any retarded shounen, the characters will be talking for 10 minutes during battles, revealing all sorts of information their opponent would have no reason to know, especially when all they plan to do is just kill him. The Yoma again talk like simple bandits, the illiterate kind, and hardly have any filter to make them sound like the monsters they are supposed to be. Also, Raki’s moral speeches are unbearable, as he keeps saying the most out of place things all the time. He is not the voice of reason or the good angel sitting on the right side of the brutal Claymores. He is a retard with zero understanding of reality and that makes him sound unbearable and a major mood-killer.
I don’t find much replay value in this series, since the story is too linear, simple, ends openly, and has Raki in it. My enjoyment is also low, as the negatives outnumber the positives. If this series had more animation, less retarded dialogues, a more complete world-building, and Raki would be dead from the first episode, then I would have given it a 10. I am aware that it is still a very famous show, and that lots of people still like it a lot. But it is only because some or all of the following reasons apply to them.
- They haven’t watched Berserk
- They haven’t watched the lolvely 80’s gorefests.
- They refuse to watch the two above because HURRR DURRR the visuals are dated so the shows can’t be good.
- They found Elfen Lied to be mature and thought-provocing because it had killer lolis.
- <s> They are tasteless retards </s> … errr, good dark fantasy anime are extremely rare to get.
Berserk (same thing; only better)
12 Kingdoms (great world building)
Serei no Moribito (great characterization)
Sword of the Stranger (great fluent animation in battles)
Guin Saga (generic but has its charm)
Alright give me a break first review. :)
First off I have to say Claymore is my favorite anime thus far. I have yet see anything that captures my interest, as much as this anime did, and so quickly. Claymore has an amazing storyline that keeps you guessing until the very end. This is a very compelling story that I think anyone can enjoy. I myself never thought I would like anime, and people don’t typically pin me as an anime watcher, but ever since I watched Claymore, I just want to watch more. I am really sad that this was one of the first animes I ever watched, because honestly I feel like nothing will compare. This has a lot to do with the fact that this is a very unique anime with a story unlike any I have ever watched. Yes there are many other shows with half demon roles in them, but none that were done in this way. The character development is so gripping you feel like you get to know each character so well. Each character has their own traits and personality, and this is something I really liked, and that they were not just your average personalities. I have found that other animes I watch can sometimes be hard to follow, but everything about claymore was presented in a way that made it easy to understand and follow. You learn so much about the world they live in and what is asked of them as “silver eyed witches.” Each town that is visited is unique and doesn’t look like another which was also nice. Claymore grabbed my attention from the very first episode and each one after that just had me wanting to know more. I don’t tend to like really “cartoony” amines and the way this one was done seemed so much more mature in the way that it was animated. The one thing I have found that that could be seen as a negative thing about this anime is the music. There is one reoccurring song in this anime that does get pretty old after a while, but it’s not a hard thing to look past. Although the songs were very repetitive they were used appropriately throughout the anime, and did their job accordingly. Altogether if you like a strong, awesome female lead, gory swordsmanship, and some suspense then I would definitely recommend Claymore.
This is by far, my fav anime... I stopped watching anime from the years 1995 to 2007.. I saw a few anime movies in that time, but I'd mostly lost interest in animes... It was this anime and Vandread that got me to start watching anime again, and its became my obsession ever since. Now I watch anime, everyday. I'm not really sure what about this anime that caught my interest, it wasn't the first episode, I actually saw several episodes into it, before I went an watched it all from the beginning, when Teresa was in the anime, the prequel if you will is when I first saw this anime. It wasn't the kiddie anime I'd seen years earlier, it was hardcore, gritty, action packed, an anime that had teeth, and wasn't made for children. Its the anime that got me to love anime all over again as an adult.