There are numerous terms that carry meaning in a real world sense as well as in the anime/manga realm. Today, a look is taken at one in particular: Claymore. The term itself has many descriptions ranging from a Bulgarian metal band to the antipersonnel mines. But there is one definition in particular that applies to the Claymore anime and manga; which is that claymore is a Scottish term for a two-handed longsword from the 15 and 16 centuries and translates to “great sword”.
Norihiro Yagi is the creator of the Claymore manga but before Claymore was Angel Densetsu, which ran in Shueisha’s Monthly Sh ō nen Jump from 1992-2000 to total 15 volumes. Mr. Yagi has been creating manga since 1990 but his most successful creation is Claymore. The manga started in Monthly Sh ō nen Jump May 2001 and is still ongoing with 20 volumes out in Japan and 18 in the US by publisher Viz Media. The anime was animated by Madhouse and ran for 26 episodes in 2007. FUNimation licensed the series in 2008 for US dubbing and the boxset can now be found in either DVD or Blu-ray format. Nothing extra has been done for the series but the franchise includes 2 CDs and a 2009 Nintendo DS game (Japan only).
Raki is a young boy who lives with his older brother because their family was eaten by a Yoma. One day a Claymore known as Clare arrived to fulfill a request to kill a Yoma. Turns out the Yoma was disguising itself as Raki’s older brother and was therefore killed. The town exiled Raki in fear he was a Yoma too. He eventually becomes Clare’s cook/traveling companion after she finds him in the desert. Claymore follows these two on a journey of killing Yoma but the real plot is for revenge and uncovering the truth behind the Organization, the group controlling the Claymores.
|Clare is a softhearted but generally emotionless Claymore with untapped power. Like Raki, she was also thrown out of her village and cared for by a Claymore. The Claymore she was with was named Teresa, the Number 1. Clare has the rank of 47, which is last. When she was a child she chose to become a Claymore so she could take her revenge for the death of the one closest to her.|
|Raki is a weak and whiny kid who wants to be strong so he can protect Clare since she saved him from being eaten by a Yoma like the rest of his family. For the time being, that is all there is to him.|
|Priscilla is formerly the Number 2 Claymore. During the battle ordered by the Organization to execute Teresa (the Number 1) she went past her limits and became an “Awakened Being”. She killed all her comrades after transforming and fled. While not transformed she takes on the form and mentality of a young girl.|
|Yoma are yellow-eyed, dark-skinned monsters that feed on human organs. They are muscular yet tall and lanky and can disguise themselves as humans despite having varying forms and abilities. Yoma have great healing abilities along with speed and strength. They are found by Claymores because of their ‘yoki’ (demon aura). Lastly, Yoma are primarily male.|
|Claymores were given their names because of the sword they carry but they also have the nickname, “Silver Eyed Witches” due to their silver eyes and white or light blonde hair. Claymores are the only ones capable of fighting Yoma because they are half human and half Yoma. Claymores are created, not born, by implanting the blood and flesh of a Yoma into a human. Claymores are women because men have too great a tendency to go over their limits. Claymores are ranked from 1-47 in order of strength and ability since the land is also divided into 47 sections.|
This series has nothing to laugh at unless the viewer has a twisted sense of humor. The story is a bit slow to develop and get going but the excitement doesn’t stop once it does. Long, intense sword battles are what make Claymore an exciting series. Yes the show is like an excuse to empower women to be badass but let it go because Claymore is one of a kind. Madhouse’s animation is very good as the coloring works very well and the characters look just like in the manga (if not better). The series is rated TV-MA for violence, blood and gore, some language, and some nudity. For the battle of sub vs. dub, both include talented voice actors so the choice falls upon you, the viewer.
Claymore is a fun series full of action and an unfolding plot of deceit. However, much of the good parts of the story take place in the manga where the anime stops. In fact, the first 24 episodes are based on the manga but the final 2 were made up because there was not enough manga material at the time! So for the full experience read the manga but to enjoy the fights better, watch the Blu-ray.
*Author’s Note: I have heard rumor that Claymore is getting a remake or second season. Either would work for me because the manga gets a lot better where the anime ends in terms of story and even action (yes, the action gets cooler and Raki isn’t a wuss!). If you have already seen the series or want a different take on the franchise, take a look at Dunce Cap: Big Swords, Badass Women, and Yoma where my cohost tj1987 and I share our thoughts.