Yoma: the demon kind who feed off the flesh of living men. Only the warriors known as Claymores can stand a chance of slaying them. People are never too happy to see a Claymore, because where a there is a Claymore there is a yoma that needs to be dealt with. As half yoma themselves, they are seen as cursed; often receiving the label silver eyed witch. Likewise Claymores rarely treat people with familiarity or kindness, although they are forbidden by the Organization from killing people.
Clare is one such Claymore, although the least powerful one among the ranks. As we meet Clare, she encounters a young boy named Rocky who ends up her companion after being exiled from his home town. Claymores don't associate with humans much, and it's considered trouble for them to do so. However Clare herself has been seen as a trouble maker more and more. Clare became a Claymore with the intent on avenging someone who cared for her as a child, and Rocky reminds her of herself as a little girl. Clare's quest for revenge takes her through many trials, but more and more she begins to realize how powerful her foe really is. Even worse the Organization itself might be her biggest enemy. And each Claymore employed by them may turn out to be another ally or enemy as well.
At a very basic level, Claymore is a warriors vs demons story. Interesting, but it's been done before exhaustively. The more interesting points of this are concerned with the fact that Claymores are half demon themselves, and fated to eventually "awaken" into a yoma hybrid called an Awakened Being. This creates an atmosphere a bit different than simple gun-ho kill the demon type stories, as each Claymore has to come to grips with their hatred of yoma, as well as accept that they and their comrades are doomed to become them.
The governing theme behind Claymore dips heavily into the martial arts genre of anime. Each Claymore has demon powers, but each power is different. Clare's story evolves from her not only attaining new power, but from the various techniques she acquires. This works both for and against the anime. One clever aspect are the ranks of Claymores. At the top is number 1 down to number 47. It gives you a sense of reputation without really knowing much about many of the characters. The detrimental thing with Claymore borrowing from this genre are the dialogs during fighting. Not only to people talk a lot, there is an excessive amount of dramatic posturing, along with a never ending narration of what characters are doing. It gets a bit tiring, but not as bad as it could have.
The third aspect of Claymore has to do with political intrigues. Claymores are created by the Organization to fight yoma, but there is never any mistaking the Organization as being a benevolent force. Even the most obedient Claymores don't look favorably on their employers. Who are they? What are they up to? Hard to say. There is much hinted at, but not much explained. It creates an interesting tone in the background but doesn't elaborate on it much since that's not the central story here. It works quite well too.
So all in all Claymore is an impressive title considering it doesn't seem exceptional from outward appearances. While I found Rocky to be the most annoying of the characters, even he grew on me over time. In fact all the characters are fairly strong, much as they need to be in such a heavily character driven title. Animation and action were only decent. Some sequences were alright, but most weren't that spectacular. Oh, I suppose I should mention that this title is really really violent. The amount of blood spurting everywhere, people being impaled, limbs flying off (a lot) and just general carnage, make this a title that isn't for the feint of heart. It may not be the most graphic anime I've ever seen, but it's pretty high on the list by sheer volume of appendages that come off.
Claymore has been able to infuse different aspects of tried and true genres, but not falling into the rut of predictability either. The main detractors from the series are the excessive violence (if not your thing), and Dragon Ball Z syndrome. Some of the later episodes seem to have an excessive amount of filler talk and posing instead of moving the story forward. Also you'll probably hear someone mentioning they're sensing "the biggest yoki aura they've ever encountered" at least once an episode. Even so Claymore generally keeps a good pace. It's also not very conclusive by the ending. Not that the ending didn't feel like an ending, but there are a LOT of things yet to be done in the world of Claymore. My verdict: a decent title worth checking out.
Clare: All I need... is more...
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