Japanese Title: Claymore
Watched in: Japanese & English
Length: 26 episodes
- Brutal action with interesting abilities and monsters.
- Unnerving soundtrack.
- Bloody hell, will someone kill that kid already?
- Poor exposition techniques.
- Animation shortcuts in the action.
- Unfinished threads.
Claymore is set in a world of bloodthirsty youma and warrior women who roam the land hunting these demons. Clare is the newest and lowest ranked of these warriors called Claymores – named after the giant swords they wield. Claymores are half-youma themselves; they live in constant danger of the youma half taking control, though it always happens eventually, at which point another Claymore sister will hunt them down.
The Claymore lore is the most interesting element of this anime. Claymores follow a strict code. They have little human about them and are cold by nature, which makes it unusual when Clare picks up orphaned boy Raki on a mission after a youma ate his family. That was her first mistake. Her second mistake was not running him through in the first episode. I hate that kid. He is a whiny, useless brat, who claims to be her cook, but he only cooks once, and most ironic of all, Claymores barely need to eat. His true purpose is to question Clare’s every action and motivation as if that is any of his business. Clare should decapitate that brat and put his head on a pike as a warning to other writers on what happens when you write such a terrible character.
Clare has a relentless determination as she carves demons, each fight a challenge for any Claymore – limb dismemberment and bifurcation is a common sight here. Meanwhile, Raki, a human who can’t fight to save his life, fancies himself Clare’s saviour. I almost forgot, another Raki irritation: exposition. The plot finds contrived ways to get Raki into a conversation that exposits lore – why tell that kid anything anyway?
I like the freaky monster designs. Even the Claymores turn demonic in combat when they access their youma side to grotesquely augment strength and regenerate damage. The women don’t suffer from the Beauty Is Never Tarnished trope.
Claymore is all about action, in the end, and you can expect to find plenty throughout Clare’s adventure. She encounters many other Claymores to learn from in her quest to avenge her figurative mother, Teresa (my favourite character), defeated by a former Claymore turned full youma. Each Claymore has a specialty in how they fight and sport some cool abilities, even if the animation quality can’t always supply the illustrations they deserve.
If you search for deep characters, you won’t find them here. If you desire a multi-layered plot, Claymore won’t deliver it to you. However, if you want brutal action accompanied by dark lore and powerful women with just enough to make an engaging tale, then look no further. Sometimes, action is enough for entertainment.
Art – Medium
Claymore has a nice, grim art style, but its battle anime budget resulted in too many animation shortcuts – repeated blur attacks, action flashes, cutaways before impact. Not as bad as the likes of Dragon Ball Z, and the action events are engaging, but a higher production could have gone a long way. Cool, sallow, hardened character designs for the Claymores (they must pluck their eyebrows a lot).
Sound – High
Good acting in either language, though, like most anime of this kind, Claymore doesn’t have the script for greatness. Love the Gothic horror metal (is that a genre?) soundtrack – ED song akin to Attack on Titan’s OP is great.
Story – Medium
Warrior women roaming the land to hunt demons; that is Claymore. Not the deepest premise, but it makes for an engaging action series. I do want to murder Raki, however. Stab him right in the face.
Overall Quality – Medium
Recommendation: For action fans only. Claymore sports better fights than most action anime, so if that sounds good to you, then have at it. I watched it start to end without regret.
Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)