Anime Review 17: Claymore, Slayers, Lupin the Third, and Simoun
I was really excited about this anime because it looks like it could be the next big thing. Being a Shounen Jump manga doesn't hurt, those have a history of becoming very popular, at least in the United States. Claymore seems to continue traditions started in earlier anime, adding a new level of emotional depth and artistic refinement to the shounen genre. I bought the first volume of the manga and after reading it, would certainly recommend it, and I'm seriously considering buying more of it. This manga was a thrilling page-turner.
In Claymore, there is a low-tech society of villages separated by wilderness. There are monsters called Yoma who prey upon villagers while taking on a human form, usually taking the bodies and copying the likenesses of a real person. In order to fight these Yoma, a secret organization has created the Claymores, a name for these women that have some Yoma and some human characteristics, who fight and kill the Yoma. The process of creating a Claymore warrior has only ever been successful with women, for reasons unknown (as of the end of the first manga volume). The action centers around one village boy whose village was attacked by a Yoma, and the village elder sent for a Claymore to defeat it. The Claymore, named Clare (I think it's spelled Claire in the anime) looks human, but is incredibly strong, easily wielding a heavy sword (which is what gives Claymores their names), identifying and gracefully killing the monster. Then Clare quickly moves on, but this boy follows her out of town, in an attempt to learn more about Claymores. Hints about Clare's past and the shady organization that created her are given, but I was left (after 1 volume) wanting to read more.
Slayers is an impressive 90's anime packed with adventure of the swords-and-sorcery variety, with a lot of humor thrown in. Lina Inverse is a cheerful, bright sorceress with a lot of cool powers, who is morally ambiguous (in the "I prefer the term 'treasure hunter' to thief' kind of way), and at first is mistaken for a kid by the main hero, who, despite being a good guy, is not that bright.
In the English dub of the anime, said hero is voiced by the actor who voiced Brock in Pokémon. So if you watched Pokémon a lot as a kid that makes it kind of funny to hear.
I would recommend Slayers for fans of the fantasy genre, definitely good for D and D fans, and for anyone who likes strong female protagonists.
Lupin the Third
Lupin the Third
Lupin the Third is about as old-school as old-school anime gets. Most humorous anime that make references to other anime, such as Shin-chan, make a reference to this show. Tv Tropes says it is for the "Seinen" or "men's" genre of anime what Astro Boy is for the Shounen, or "boy's" genre.
Lupin the Third is wildly unrealistic in classic action-movie tradition. The show was a long-runner with little continuity, but every episode is amazingly action-packed, like a half-hour movie. It's sort of cartoonish as if influenced by American cartoons that were popular at the time. It also seems heavily influenced by James Bond movies. The first episode was interesting to me because it featured an exciting car-racing scene wherein Lupin has to evade a booby-trapped racecourse while his girlfriend or whatever is being held hostage by his enemies, the shady Scorpion organization.
For it's time, Lupin III seems like good animation because they often animated things like cars and planes and other complicated machines that are now done with CGI in most anime. A little silly at times, but this over-the-top show is worth checking out as the original action and adventure anime.
Simoun takes place either in the very distant future or in another world. In Simoun, everyone is born female and gets to decide sometime after their 17th birthday whether to remain female or become a male for the rest of their lives, by visiting a magical spring. The title comes from the Simoun aircraft that the undecided teenage girls can pilot in pairs. They draw magical marks in the sky to create powerful attacks, which is called a Ri Majon. The children fight a war against an enemy that comes from a very different, more cruel society, who seek to learn the secrets of the Simoun technology in the hope of saving their world.
The anime is beautiful and the area the girls live is very scenic. Many of them go through tragedy by losing a partner in combat or to the spring. They tend to become romantically involved with their partners, so this causes them a lot of sorrow and heartache. I liked the costume and character design for this show. I would definitely be interested in watching more of the series to hear more from the girls' enemy's point of view and about what the other society is like.
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