Blu-Ray: Claymore Collection
Told across 26 episodes, Claymore is an epic tale of good verses blah blah blah. Typical of most anime, Claymore is littered with unexplained creatures and mythology that we, the viewer, are expected to accept as ‘the way it is’. Fortunately Claymore’s story is allowed to unfold slowly, giving us plenty of time to catch up on just how things in this world work.
In this medieval-like world people live in fear of creatures known as Yoma: Shapeshifting beings which feed off the innards of humans. They don’t even cook them, they just eat them right out of the places where humans like to keep their innards.
Considered a necessary evil by the population of this world, is a clandestine organisation known as The Claymores: A group of female super-warriors who are summoned to any region where the inhabitance are being threatened by Yoma. These Silver-eyed Witches (as the Claymores are also known) are highly skilled at finding Yoma — who have the ability to take over a human body — and behead them, usually after lopping off an arm or two first. They do seem disturbing fond of severing limbs. The Claymore’s supernatural abilities are actually gained by imbibing the blood of a Yoma during their training. An unfortunate side effect is that they can only use these powers for a finite time before they lose control and become a Yoma themselves.
The series focuses on Clare, a low ranking Claymore warrior. And Raki, a boy left orphaned after a Yoma killed his family. Traditionally the Claymore warriors lead insular and detached lives, but a bond forms between Clare and Raki. Having that connection gives Clare an anchor in the human world and allows her to push her abilities further than any other Claymore has before. During this time she, along with several other Claymore warriors, discover that the organisation has been keeping secrets from it’s own members, but before they can discover much more an army of beings, more powerful than the Yoma they have been fighting, begins amassing in the North and this threat must be defeated at all costs.
At its core this is a story of relationships, redemption, revenge and r… erm, racrifice. All the sorts of things that make for an epic tale. And Claymore does manage to come off as epic, despite all of the usual translation issues that stall just about all anime. I don’t just mean the translation of dialogue — of which there are two very different versions (one in the subtitles and the other in the dub) — but in the story rhythm too: Characters often stop mid action sequence for long-winded and utterly pointless dialogue sequences. Of course, these are either the things you love or hate about anime.
Refreshingly, despite being fairly ill-equipped as far as armour is concerned, this series spares us most of the typical exploitive shots of the female characters. And while it can be a little difficult to tell them all apart at times, they’re all given strong, distinct personalities.
Towards the end, the series gets a little too involved in long battle sequences, which can take several episodes to complete. But I’m just being picky now. Claymore is dark and pretty twisted at times. It’s full of all manner of weird, horrible beings, and has a great, classic, character driven story at its heart. I know I’ll be shot for saying this, but this is one series that I’d love to see made into a big budget movie… But, it would take someone like Guillermo del Toro to get all those creatures just right! [source] [watch trailer]