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Claymore: Volume Five, Sisters in Arms

1 rating: 3.0
Anime & Manga movie

A brutal scourge stalks the land. Yoma, monsters driven by a hunger satisfied by only one quarry – Humanity. The dark breed knows but a singular foe: Claymore. Human-Yoma hybrids of extraordinary strength and cunning, the Claymores roam from skirmish … see full wiki

Genre: Animation
1 review about Claymore: Volume Five, Sisters in Arms

Pale Girls, Wicked Battles, and Endless Intensity

  • May 17, 2009
Rating:
+3
My enjoyment of the Claymore series actually caught me off guard a bit considering the dark and slightly disturbing nature of the preview clips and trailers. Coming off as an almost animated version of Van Hellsing or Underworld in its promos, it turns out the show actually brings some truly unique and memorable elements to the gothic horror genre.

Funimation is about to release the fifth chapter of the show on DVD under the title: The Sisters in Arms. Released as a single disc (in a standard sized DVD case), this particular chapter of the saga consists of episodes 19-22 and comes in at a runtime of 100 minutes even. As has been standard practice for Funimation's 4-episode releases, this particular set includes some pretty slick extras including a subtitled interview with the show's art/ settings developer Nobuhito Sue Kusanagi and a full audio track commentary with a few of the English voice actors over Episode 19. Finally the disc includes textless songs and a crop of current Funimation Trailers.

The show wears a well-deserved TV MA (17+) rating due to its use of graphic violence and gore. The language isn't anything to be concerned about and there are is no nudity or sexual scenarios throughout.

Considering that this set picks up at the nineteenth entry of the show, it goes without saying that this probably isn't the wisest point for beginners to enter the saga. Despite this reality, I did just that and found catching up via the net to be a worthy investment of time. The tale centers on a group of colorless women defending a land plagued by Yoma, which are shape-shifting nasties that have the ability to take human form and thrive on ingesting human innards.

No ordinary pale girls, these Claymores, however as they are in fact only half-human and half Yoma themselves. Their beastie-half provides them with superhuman abilities (among them is strength, endurance, special attacks and healing capabilities), at the cost of a constant risk of "going too far" in a battle and hence allowing the Yoma portion of their being to consume them.

Should this happen, a process called awakening here, they are to be slain by their own commanders-in-arms on the spot. As such the show presents a unique tension in the thralls of battle, as the temptation to push the limits of their bestiality is a constant concern.

Fighting the Yoma can best be described as a physically grueling hack-fest with blurring blades from multiple Claymores chipping away at the oftentimes-massive forms of the flesh-eating monsters. By this point in the show's grand story arc, the giant (and fairly slow-witted) Yoma are actually being used as dispensable distractions to the Claymores while the true brains behind the bad guys plot an ever-dastardly plan of human destruction. The good news for the viewer is that this means some wickedly cool battle sequences where many (and I do mean many) lovely Claymores meet their gruesome demise.

While the story is actually the tale of one particular Claymore, an emotionless cutie named Clare, the Fifth Chapter doesn't overly concern itself with her presence as previous chapters have. Instead the first two episodes of the set come off as quite grand in terms of scale (a massive good versus evil conflict) while the remaining pair deal with an truly awesome battle between the few remaining Claymores and a gnarly Yoma called the Silver Eyed Lion King (Rigardo). Calling this sequence intense is certainly an understatement!

The show's art is fittingly appropriate with shadowy backgrounds, eerie lighting, and clear-cool skies. The character art is deliberately pale, bordering on black and white in fact, which goes a long way to provide an almost vampire-like appearance to the Claymore girls.

The soundtrack is made up of intense musical numbers and subtle stray electric guitar notes that are so well integrated that they tumble away into the creepy sounds of the night.

In all, my only complaint about Claymore Chapter 5: The Sisters in Arms is that ends too quickly and quite abruptly at that. As a general rule I shy away from 4-epsiode releases (preffering to wait until after a show is released on DVD in its entirety) so as not to put myself through the torture of waiting patiently for the next volume to drop. However, I just may make an exception for Claymore; yes it's that's engaging. The only question that remains is how long before Chapter 6 hits the streets?

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