|Crusader Reviews: Claymore||4 out of 4 users found this review helpful.|
Note: The review processes for this series consisted of watching the English dubbed version from start to finish in three separate sittings over four days, without skipping any episodes or skipping ahead in the episodes themselves.
Claymores are lead by a secretive organization that receives requests from villages that believe they have a Yoma problem, and then send out various Claymores depending on how big of a threat the organization believes is in the village. Once the Claymore has found and killed the Yomas in the village they leave immediately for their next assignment, while a mysterious man dressed in black comes to the village a few days later to collect a fee for their services. If a village refuses to pay the stranger in black then their village becomes black listed, and no matter how many Yoma attack the village they will never get help from a Claymore again. Despite what the Claymores do for people most of them still refuse to trust Claymores and are generally afraid of them, as they believe they are just as evil as the Yomas and that they are simply pretending to help people to gain their trust only to turn into Yomas themselves and kill them.
The plot of the anime revolves around one Claymore in particular by the name of Claire, and a young boy named Raki (Rock-e) that tags along with her after she kills the Yoma that slaughtered his family. The story unfolds initially around the development of these two characters as they try to understand why the other is doing what they are doing, and how they really feel about each other. About half way through the series though the story takes a bit of a turn, when you learn the origin of Claire, and how/why she became a claymore. After these episodes the story about Claire and Raki becomes more of a side note until near the end of the series, which becomes a story about revenge, justification and redemption for events that happened in Claire’s past.
This is one of those shows that would do better from being reviewed on its first half and its last half separately, as the two halves vary greatly in quality. I found the series could change drastically from episode to episode, with many of them having me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what’s going to happen next, to please god just end it all ready.
The show starts off very nicely introducing the main characters of Claire and Raki, with a good couple episodes before they meet to familiarize the viewers to the world of the anime, and explaining why Yomas are such a great threat to humanity that they need Claymores. After the first four to five episodes I was hooked on the series and wanted to know more about the interesting characters, the Yomas and what it really meant to be a Claymore. Unfortunately by the end of the series most of the answers I got, while not necessarily bad, did come off as ether cliché or unfulfilling as revelations to what started out as an interesting and deep world. Another of the big problems I found is about half way through the show took a complete left turn and essentially forgot about most of what the whole start of the story was about, Claire and Rakis’s relationship with each other. Instead they started to explore Claire’s past and explained how she became a Claymore, and set up her motivations for the turn the series takes in the middle and what the last half of the series becomes.
Sadly this is where the show started to fall apart for me. They begin to introduce a plethora of characters that are near impossible to tell apart from each other that fill a generic and stereotypical role; the hot head, the wise teacher, the quiet one, the one that just wants to fight etc. The worst part is that as a viewer you are suddenly bombarded with all of these characters that essentially all look and sound the same, and whose only purpose to being there appears to be to overwhelm you with new characters to learn about as filler for episodes, only to have them die a few later.
While the review does sound very harsh towards the series I do want to point out that it certainly had a lot of good qualities going for it as well.
In the end I would say Claymore is an Anime in the Fantasy genre that had the potential to be a must watch classic series, with its great acting, great animation and a great premise. Sadly it fell short of itself by trying to extend what should have been a fifteen to eighteen episode series into twenty six episodes with far too much filler. It is a shame that the show went in the direction that it did, with one over the top fight after another that was constantly trying to one up the big fight before it. By the end of the show when Claire finally gets to her big final battle it has been cheapened by the stream of episodes before it consisting of nothing but one unbeatable bad guy fight after another. This lead up sadly finishes the series on a very anticlimactic and bland ending that comes off as having no real feeling of a conclusion to the characters that you had invested so much time into, and what the series began as.