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claymore manga volume 1 cover

Anime/Manga about half human/half yoma(monster) female warriors

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It's not about the trip, it's about the destination. 29%

  • Jul 4, 2011
Rating:
+1
I got interested in Claymore some months back because the premise looked really good since I'm into entertainment about inner conflicts, which is essentially what this anime is about. I got this one as a birthday present last year and after finally finishing up the semester, I watched it in the last several days. Claymore started off well, but as you can tell by my rating, it had an unpleasant fate in my eyes.

STORY

The plot to Claymore is that in its fantasy setting, there's a breed of animals that runs around the land called the Yoma, and they're nearly unstoppable by regular people. The only warriors that fight them are female half human/half Yoma breeds called the Claymores. This tale centers around a Claymore named Clare, whose had a horribly tormented past, and after having a mentor slain by a beast in the past, she's on a quest for revenge. However, she must be able to control her releases of Yoma energy if she's not to be consumed by her Yoma half.

CHARACTERS

The characters in this anime thankfully, for the most part, have depth. I found Clare's and Teresa's characters to have lots of meat on them and had some touching moments to go with each other. They have rather good histories, which was good enough for me to care about them. I though the parallel characterization between Clare and Teresa was interesting and in Teresa's case, pretty darn touching. In both cases, you see the two as cold characters who are only bound by their orders and code of honor, but when two children (Clare for Teresa, and Raki for Clare) follow them, they initially think they're horribly misguided kids who think they killed the Yoma to save their lives. However, during several scenes of undesired bonding, they being to see each other as the same in that they're all alone and tormented in the past. The depth between the two species, the humans and the Yoma, was also good in that there's moral ambiguity between the two. The best example of this would be in the segment of the series covering Teresa's character since she gets stuck in a bind when she sees human bandits raid a village, but is bound to the Claymore oath that they never slay a human being. Teresa breaks the oath and butchers the bandits, which would be the catalyst to her eventual demise later at the hands of a Claymore-turned-awakened being (another demonic species in the series), Priscilla. The writers managed to plot and flesh out the characters well enough so that we can get some emotion out of them, like when Clare finds out that her only friend, Elena is marked for execution because she reached the event horizon and can't revert back to a Claymore state. However, some characters have some decent back story to them, but these positive traits are nullified by their personalities. The best example would be of Raki. While in the beginning, we do feel sympathetic for him after we learn that his family is butchered by the Yoma, but throughout the rest of the series, he decided to get characterization lessons from Shinji Ikari and Vash the Stampede from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Trigun (respectively). In other words, he's basically a non-stop whiny little snot-nose. I know that he lost a lot in his life in the series, but the creators really should have employed subtlety in the "whiny" part of it because while I'm all for realistic depictions of characters, they shouldn't make you want to go "Issac Clarke" on them (unless if they're antagonists, in which that would be a good case for that desire).

APPEARANCE

The animation, for the most part, is decent. The frames usually move smoothly, but I noticed some scenes where the movement of characters feels chunky (though these are usually few). The artwork, on the other hand, is really, really good. The medieval-style villages are very detailed and vibrant with color; the same can be said with just about everything else in the environment. The characters have a good attention to visual detail as well, and in the case of the Claymores, was a pretty good feat since they all have the same clothes and anatomical characteristics (mainly with the blonde hair and pale skin). Kinda like Trigun, the folks at Madhouse Studio did a good job in the art department, but failed with everything else (which is pretty rare for Madhouse, which usually puts out really good stuff).

SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack is another mixed bag. I felt the opening and closing themes were pretty well done, especially with the closing theme which has a very Celtic feel to it with the wind instruments and (I think) bagpipes, which matched the anime's fantasy setting very well. However, the background music can be better. The score at times felt too out of place in some areas where something grim would happen and a more cheerful-sounding score would pop up, making the tone very awkward. The music itself gets kinda repetitive throughout the series as well and after the twelfth episode, you'd be wishing for some new background music.

REPETITIVE DIALOGE AND EXPOSITION

Claymore unfortunately suffers from some large amounts of redundant dialogue that really should have been truncated. The explanations for the workings of the Claymores and the biological workings of the Yoma seem repetitive and run on too much (though not on a Christopher Nolan level, it's still pretty bad), when they simply could have used basic terminology and used images to tell. Remember people, "show, don't tell" is a good rule to stick by when writing books or creating film (live action or animated). Also, how many dang times do I have to hear the Claymores say "I can't personally accept payment, a man in a black suit will collect that." The dialogue for this anime really needed a second draft.

BAD PLOTTING AND BAD ENDING

[This section contains spoilers, so if you don't want the anime ruined, skip this.]

This section right here is where most of my negative rating comes from. While the plotting was good enough in the first half, but in the last half (especially on the last blu-ray disk), more conflicts arise and they don't resolve all of them at the end. I know that when they made this anime, the Claymore manga wasn't finished, and it's a common practice in anime to create an anime series based off an incomplete manga, but I'm sick to death of fans using this as a defense. Titles like Battle Angel and Shigurui: Death Frenzy have proved that a really well-plotted anime can be created out of an unfinished manga by knowing their plotting limits and restructuring the anime's story and content to best suit the medium. Around the middle of the series, a potent villain named Isley is introduced but at the end, he's not really dealt with for better or for worse. Also, the ending battle between Clare and Priscilla was one of the worst I've ever seen. Just when Clare is about to slay the detestable Priscilla, whiny little Raki has to jump in front of Clare and give a melodramatic tear-laden speech about how if she kills Priscilla, she becomes no better than the Yoma and another Claymore named Jean steps in to take the fatal strikes pointed at Raki and Priscilla. Isley takes Priscilla away and the remaining Claymores resign from their positions and go their own ways. The end. [Reaches for barf bag and vomits.]

TONAL CONSISTENCY

One of the things that mainly lured me into this anime is the tonal consistency confirmed by other anime fans and if you don't know me already, this factor is a MUST for me since I can't stand anime that's on the dark and serious side but has unfitting moments of slapstick, goofy faces, and cheap sexual jokes. Thankfully, for Claymore's few but fatal flaws, this isn't one of them. So at least in that respect, people were listening to me.

FINAL WORD

In the end, much like Witchblade, Claymore really pains me because unlike MUCH more loathsome anime like Elfen Lied, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Tenchi Muyo, Claymore actually had a decent amount of good qualities lacking in typical anime fare but really hurt itself by not re-drafting the story so that the main points would be resolved at the end and not have the typical and cheap "If you want more, read the manga!!" feeling typical in most full-length anime series, and it would have really helped if they took out the "You're no better than the bad guy" speech at the end battle along with the repetitive and occasionally lengthy exposition as well. I say go watch Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, Shigurui: Death Frenzy, Battle Angel, and both Batman and Spawn animated series for much more fulfilling adult animated entertainment.

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November 30, 2011
just re-reading your review (I rated it before but didn't comment). I finally finished this and I agree with your write up. It was decent, but a little too much praise was given to it by anime fans. I think I'll save my $$ to buy better anime, unless I see the bluray on the bargain bin for $ 20 or less...
November 30, 2011
Thanks for the comments, Woopak. Just curious, what is your rating on this one?
December 01, 2011
If I was going to review it, I would give it a 3-3.5/5. I liked parts of it and it started out strong, but the dialogue was obligatory. I did like the Japanese dub better though, it just seemed to stretch out many parts.
 
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More Claymore reviews
review by . August 24, 2010
posted in ASIANatomy
This type of anime while attractive to most is not the typical genre I am drawn to but no doubt can it pull you into the fantasy genre of anime. I actually ran into this series on the 5th episode on a Tv station and went looking for the beginning and it was surely worth it. Claymores are humans mixed with beasts or monsters called Yoma and they are trained to seek and destroy the Yoma that feed on human innards. The Yoma are quite creepy, often going completely bananas over human …
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
Forget those times your parents told you "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey." because a quality anime has a quality journey AND destination.  Claymore, on the other hand, has a fairly solid journey but a TERRIBLE destination, and it's that terrible ending that's made me rate this quite lower than I initially did.      Ignore all the gushing praise for Claymore and go for Shigurui:  Death Frenzy and Ergo …
review by . June 01, 2009
So after watching the latest episodes of bleach and naruto, I was wondering what other anime out there was good.  So I asked a friend for some suggestions.  He recommended a few comedies that I would like but I asked him if there were any with a nice plot and very serious without that "bulging eye" humor stuff in it.  So he said try Claymore.  So I added into my queue on netflix and waited for it to be delivered.  When it finally arrived, I put it aside without much excitement …
About the reviewer
David Kozak ()
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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Wiki

Claymore is a dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Norihiro Yagi. The series initially premiered in the now defunct Monthly Shōnen Jump in the May 2001 issue. When the magazine was canceled in June 2007, the series was temporarily moved to Weekly Shōnen Jump. When Jump Square was introduced in November 2007, the series was moved to it and is still on-going. The individual chapters are published in tankōbon volumes by Shueisha, with 18 volumes released as of July 2, 2010.

Madhouse adapted the first eleven volumes of the series into a twenty-six episode anime series. Directed by Hiroyuki Tanaka the series premiered in Japan on NTV on April 3, 2007 and ran until September 25, 2007. A CD soundtrack for the anime series, and a CD of character songs using the anime voice actresses were released on July 25, 2007 and September 27, 2007, respectively.

The Claymore manga is licensed for an English language release in North America by Viz Media, which began serializing the title in its Shonen Jump manga anthology in the April 11, 2006 issue. It released the first volume of the series on April 4, 2006 and has released 16 volumes as of June 1, 2010. The anime adaptation is licensed for release in North America by Funimation Entertainment, which has released the first DVD for the series in Fall 2008 and released the entire series on Blu-ray in Spring 2010. Madman Entertainment has licensed the anime for release in Australia and New Zealand and the anime is sub-licenced ...

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