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Why You Should Watch Claymore
I’m still very new to the whole Anime genre. I wrote a similar article in the past about Why You Should Watch Witchblade and in that article I questioned whether or not that show would serve as a gateway to other anime shows. Turns out it did. However, not since that show have I found another that I really felt needed more attention. In Claymore, I discovered not just a great show, but one of the best.
Claymore is a fantasy themed storyline wherein the world is plagued by monsters known as Yoma. These creatures have a tendency to disguise themselves as humans and live perfectly normal lives until they need to feed. Of course, after they do, they leave horror and orphans in their wake. This is why the Claymore’s exist, an elite team of half human/half yoma women tasked with exterminating all Yoma. They enter town, kill the monsters and then move on, not accepting any reward, but always obeying the orders from a mysterious ‘organization’. Despite their good deeds, however, the Claymores are often as feared as the Yoma. Referred to as ‘silver eyed witches’ their emotionless demeanor and dependence on Yoma power to succeed makes them a threat to anyone who might get in their way. The show revolves specifically around Claire, a seemingly unimportant Claymore and the bond she forms with a human orphan named Raki. We see, through the boy, the strange laws the Claymore’s must abide by and it is also through him that we see their human side isn’t as repressed as they would have everyone believe. The show then becomes a winding path down Claire’s past and present, revealing a situation that is extraordinary, even for a world already filled with extraordinary things.
Claymore is a particularly dark show. The violence is disturbing, the characters are tortured and the monsters are seemingly unstoppable. It takes itself seriously, but never so much that it feels unjustified. Each revelation leaves you wanting to watch just another episode and the relationship between the characters (particularly Raki, Claire and Teresa) takes the show to another level of depth. We can actually see Claire’s internal struggle between the warrior she was trained to be and the bond she forms with this boy. It is made even more fascinating when Teresa, a previous Claymore, is introduced into the lore. The show really took the time to understand its characters and it is visible in every interaction.
The art style of Claymore is also very distinct, using largely muted color tones and an over abundance of grey and silver. It helps to put you into this world and the mindset of a bleak existence which, in turn, really emphasizes the importance of the claymores and their unending task. The action sequences are well executed, especially considering the various types of monsters our heroes are up against. They are also stylized, in the traditional anime style, which usually involves a lot of talking and charging things up. For the most part it works just fine, but I won’t deny that the two combatants, stopping to talk, got old pretty quick, as did any side character who explained to us (the viewers) what was going on.
If I had to fault Claymore for anything it would be that it feels incomplete. Many of the storylines were brought to some sense of a conclusion, but since it was part of a manga series before this, it feels like more of a season finale rather than a series finale. I suppose it is possible they will make more in the future, but I have no idea what the likelihood of that is. Another possible downside is the sheer level and brutality of the violence depicted. It is not for the feint of heart. As an example, many of the Claymores can survive certain kinds of dismemberment, so you’ll see a lot of severed limbs and the grotesque ways that their opponents try to prevent them from re-attaching them.
Despite some hanging plotlines, Claymore is still the best anime I’ve ever seen. It takes a seemingly ridiculous concept (Tiny women wielding massive swords against monsters) and turns it into one of the deepest storylines I’ve ever seen in a show like it. I don’t imagine there are a lot of anime shows that would sway over people who don’t like anime, but if one was ever capable of it, it would be Claymore.
For more great movies and television you may have missed, visit my feature: Why You Should Watch.