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Beginner's Guide to Claymore

Will explains why you should give this serious swordfighting-centric series a chance.

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).

The Story

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.

The Characters

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.

Why Watch?

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.

Verdict

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.

-Will McQuigg ( sotyfan16) is your everyday anime/manga enthusiast. You can also find him on Twitter ( bildo_88).

Dunchadon July 18, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.

I had no idea Claymore was by the same guy who made Angel Densetsu - such a hilarious manga. Main reason I had no idea, is the large gap between the art styles - he definitely improved a lot.

Claymore is being published monthly, meaning the story progresses slowly - but the story is finally getting to the good parts in my opinion, so I can definitely join in on recommending the manga to anyone who finds the premise interesting.

Kyreoon July 18, 2011 at 6:17 p.m.

Who is this Guest Author? Will Smith from Tested? Either way, I found this article enlightening.

sotyfan16on July 18, 2011 at 6:41 p.m.
@Kyreo:

-Will McQuigg ( sotyfan16) is your everyday anime/manga enthusiast. You can also find him on Twitter ( bildo_88).


I wrote it. Glad you liked it.
Neverprayingon July 18, 2011 at 11:48 p.m.

I did not like this show. Raki pissed me off.

Pabonedon July 19, 2011 at 5:03 a.m.

The funniest line in the show Is when some soldier dude tells Raki to grow up big and strong! "Creepy" anyways never be really into Anime but Once I started watching this series I couldnt stop till I reached the end. I liked that theres a lot of women in this series because if I'm gonna watch something for that long, I rather have the lead be a girl.

NickLon July 19, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.

I used to find anime kinda boring until a few weeks ago my friend told me to watch this one. I finished it in 2 sittings. The english dub isn't actually that bad, but Raki can be annoying sometimes.

This is a great anime for anyone who wants to jump into the world of anime. And it's on netflix!

kwyrton July 19, 2011 at 1:03 p.m.
I watched this anime a couple of months ago on Netflix. I enjoyed it for the most part although I agree that Raki can get rather annoying. He is irritatingly whiny. My only other complaint is, for whatever reason, I never really felt emotionally invested in the characters. Luckily there is TONS of action to make up for it. The story is interesting as well. Really hope they make more of this series so I can find out what is really behind the Organization.
YOUNGLINKon July 19, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.

Anime IS BORING! I swear i'm not trolling, just signed up with Whiskey Media and had to check out all the sites. Good day to you all :)

Oyon July 19, 2011 at 4:17 p.m.
Yeah! Claymore getting props!  Great anime.  Hope they make more episodes...
FCKSNAPon July 19, 2011 at 5:52 p.m.

I'm gonna be one of those a-holes that say skip the anime entirely and just read the manga because... just skip the anime and read the manga. The anime felt so lifeless and sterile compared to the manga. The action scenes didn't really justify an animated adaptation. Just my two cents though.

argcomicfanon July 19, 2011 at 7:24 p.m.
This didn't really convince me to watch Claymore...
takashichea moderator on July 19, 2011 at 7:32 p.m.

I definitely try it. I saw EgantheVile1 and others working hard on it. Usually I follow the wiki users, businessmen/ and women, and reviews to try out something new.

Claymores are women because men have too great a tendency to go over their limits

What do you mean by that? Do the guys die?

sotyfan16on July 19, 2011 at 8:05 p.m.
@takashichea:
I didn't go into detail because it's kind of a big reveal in the show. So if you want to know why then watch the series and/or the Dunce Cap episode I linked at the end of the article.
sotyfan16on July 19, 2011 at 8:07 p.m.
@argcomicfan:
What were you looking for to be convinced?
EganTheVile1on July 20, 2011 at 12:44 a.m.
Left out Teresa, she is kind of a big plot point of the start of this show
sotyfan16on July 20, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
@EganTheVile1:
I linked her in the article. I left her out because while she is important to the drive of the series, her character only appears in a couple episodes and I didn't want to give much away. Her involvement in the story is part of the intrigue from not knowing until you watch it.
ironapolloon July 21, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.
interesting
tacosRcoolon July 22, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.
Claymore is pretty awesome
Desisashion Sept. 13, 2011 at 4:07 p.m.

exactly i would suggest anybody who loves anime to check this out 
 
but this leave me thinking that in the manga when Clare defeats pricella (where in the anime i would consider it non canon) I expect that it would be more epic and totally different than how the anime turned out and still be satisfactory to the audience ya know 
ALdragon17on Sept. 25, 2011 at 7:47 p.m.

I thought for moment it was going to be some dudes with swords from Scotland doing battle with some monsters. Well, I still enjoy the anime and hope some day they continue on what they left off. Claire is pretty cool and the kid was great. If they never meet, I think she would turn out to be Priscilla.

Dig Deeper into Claymore

Based on manga of same name, Claymore tells story of Claymores, female warriors with sad fate to hunt the beings known as Yoma.

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