I was not expecting anything from Claymore. I just wanted some action, and Claymore was as good as any. But it just blew me away. The moment I finished, I asked around, but it did not seem like a lot of people had watched it. So I’m back, doing what I like to do, bringing attention to lesser-known anime.
Claymore Anime is based on a fiction theory where ‘Youma’ exist, demons that can shapeshift and survive on human flesh. A Woman named Claymore arrives in Raki’s Village. She is a half-human and half-youma made by someone to exterminate these monsters forever. Claymore is a beautiful blond woman with silver eyes that carries a single sword with her. Claymore saves Raki and his family but soon after that, he is banished from home. He goes on with Claymore, also known as Clare, around the world in the quest to kill these monsters. As Raki finds out, there is a whole group like Clare. The quest goes on from here on.
When I finished watching Claymore, there were two thoughts in my mind: the first was how good it was, and the second was, what the hell was that?! I’ll be honest, Claymore has its issues, but that does not mean it is not worth watching either. I’ll talk about everything, so let’s begin!
Claymores are half-yoma half-human entities tasked with killing youma, creatures who eat humans. In this unforgiving world, we follow Clare, the weakest among the Claymores, and Raki, an abandoned boy who is rescued by the aforementioned Claymore. An organization overlooking the Claymores gives them the youma killing contracts. The pair then goes from town to town, exterminating yoma. Seems simple right? This is barely scratching the surface. The plot is the strongest point of Claymore and also its biggest flaw.
What? Did I say something strange? Well, it does appear that way, doesn’t it? Let me explain. At the adaption time, the anime caught up to the manga, and Studio Madhouse was forced to write an original anime ending. I’m not saying that the ending was bad, it was good, considering what they had to work with, but it leaves a lot of loose ends. The anime only makes up for one-third of the manga, so it is to be expected.
While the story does start innocently enough (as innocent as it can get in this world), it dwells a lot deeper in the later episodes. The world-building is amazing. There is a lot of lore too, so high fantasy fans will feel right at home here. Also, you can never guess where the plot might take you next, it is one unexpected event after another and always manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. I’m a sucker for good stories, and this is one of the better ones.
It might not seem like it at first, but Claymore has a lot of characters in the play, and all of them were handled expertly. They are very well-written, and considering the huge cast, I’m surprised they did not mess up in this department, except for maybe Raki. He is just annoying. They also do put effort into making the Claymores look different despite them all having the same outfits, hair, and eye colors. The antagonists have some depth too, and so do the side characters, which are good to see in an action-oriented series. Like I mentioned earlier, Raki is a problem, though. As the most useless sidekick, he specializes in whining. He is used as a narrative device, but they could have done it with some smart writing. At least we don’t see much of him.
Claymore’s animation, for its time, is breathtaking. Seems like Studio Madhouse never cuts corners. They have done a really good job, and every frame is a treat to watch.