on 2 January 2010
On the face of it, Claymore is simply another anime series about the hunting and slaying of nasty monsters. It is well directed with fast moving action, some excellent animation, a straightforward plot, good screenplay and some interesting characters - and on this level it succeeds quite well. However, look a little more carefully, and one finds that it also possesses some quite satisfying depths in certain areas.
The artwork is unusual and extremely effective, employing bold drawing of the characters, often contrasted with pale colours occasionally fading almost into black and white, and incorporating monochrome tints and pale washes. The colours are well chosen, however, and this approach makes it even more striking when vivid colours are suddenly introduced for certain scenes. The lighting is also notable, often dramatic and sometimes spectacular.
Superficially the plot premise is fundamentally simple and often violent, as vicious, evil monsters are slain by claymore wielding heroines, but the character development is quite strong - many of the main characters displaying unexpected complexity - and ethical issues, as is frequently the case with anime, are not far beneath the surface. In fact, much of the series' plot and to a certain extent the characterization, revolves around the concept that power wielded in the name of Good can be corrupted into Evil if it becomes too great. That the characters in the story are morally aware is demonstrated by remarks such as Jean's : "I have no intention of compromising my honour just to live a long life".
Qualities like these manage to lift this Anime above the average, and, in my opinion, will further enhance the reputation of those brilliant women at Clamp, and all those connected with turning the manga into anime.
My initial four stars becomes five because I like the artwork so much, but even if the art doesn't work so well for you this is still an above average series.
It's all killer and no filler in this dark-fantasy anime series, as episode after episode features bands of half-human/half-demon female warriors in a medieval setting hacking limbs and heads from purple-blooded creatures known as Yoma that terrorise small villages, eating the inhabitants.
There's more however than merely copious bloodletting in the storyline, the Claymore warriors acting under the command of a mysterious Organisation who seem to have a secret agenda of their own, sending selected warriors out to the wilderness to face even more deadly creatures out there. The amazonian Claymore warriors also have their own issues to deal with on account of in-fighting over rankings, and the always constant danger that over-extension of their powers will eventually transform them into Yoma themselves one day.
The pace never once lets up in the 26 episode series, the Madhouse production team constantly finding inventive ways to animate the story with meticulously designed and coloured settings, dynamic action sequences and an appropriate score that lifts it in all the right places.
Even within the limitations of a battle-heavy storyline, there is a lot more personality revealed in the individual backgrounds of Clare, Teresa of the Faint Smile, Raki and several of other warriors, all of whom have their own histories and personal traumas that bring them and the series to a powerful and touching conclusion.
Spread across 6 dual-layer discs, Manga's DVD collection gives the series an outstanding widescreen presentation, with the original Japanese language track in 2.0 and an acceptable English dub in a powerful 5.1 mix. Extras are not extensive, with repeated textless opening and closing sequences, but there are good informative interviews with the director and his production team, and galleries of the impressive design elements.
on 3 March 2010
One of the best anime series ever produced, Claymore is truly a masterpiece. Dark, deep and violent, Claymore has a serious storyline which stands out in a world filled with battle anime and teen angst. Not to say that it doesn't have it's own battles or struggles, but Claymore lacks the constant "power-up" episodes that fill most other anime. It's storyline is succint and multi faceted, one of the most intriguing since Death Note. The characters are well written and just as well acted, with the English Dub actors managing to maintain a level with the Japanese leading to one of the best voiced anime available.
Claymore is an anime that does exactly what it says on the tin. Exceptional storyline, intriguing characters and excellent production make this one not to be missed.
on 8 July 2016
Firstly, ending on a high note is the only reason this isn't going to be rated two stars.
Many high school students, at least in my day, and apparently still now, will be drawn to watch programmes they can call "dark" and "edgy" , which they will then insist is the best thing since sliced bread, largely because high school kids are judgemental over such things as what TV shows people watch.
If you think gore, nudity, vulgarity, hopelessly bleak settings and/or the idea that humans are such horrible creatures make something good, you'll enjoy this.
But in truth, this is largely full of, in the early episodes, inane dialogue, often of the variety a writer(s) often use when they apparently need to spoon-feed dialogue to an audience incapable of following what's going on without being told.
Characters often say things everyone present should already know, almost as if they're aware an audience is watching them. In the seventh episode, the one that almost made me stop watching, some super-experienced Claymores are explaining to each other why a city is filled with Yoma. Later on in the same episode one of them starts to monologue about the talents of the people in her group, to the people in her group. Because they really needed to know what their own skills were.
Again, this is only said for the sake of dumping information on the audience, and its done with all the grace of a drunk elephant stomping over packed car park.
The sad thing is they can allude to things without neon signs (e.g. "as long as your guts are inside your body [the monster] will be after you" or something to that effect, answers the question of why Yoma keep leaving such near-intact bodies of their prey). But mostly they didn't make the effort.
Then early on, an origin story is inserted, because, you know, they just hadn't over-explained things enough. In truth it had more substance than most origin stories, but it was still annoying.
Some action scenes may be interesting at first, but inevitably seeing people get cleaved, stand there for a couple of seconds, then spray blood out of the wound gets repetitive.
The organisation behind the Claymores is obviously evil, and none of the Claymores seem particularly bothered about being manipulated by it .They're also imcompetent - for example, when a Claymore is about to turn into a monster, they're supposed to send a message to another Claymore who travels to them and kills them... even though the transformation can be over in minutes.
There are some good points - despite the annoying dialogue, there are some emotional moments, and the voice actors and animators managed to make the characters somewhat endearing. Even though its never as shocking or surprising as it wants to present itself as, it can still get exciting at some points. It managed to a decent sense of scale and such, with various characters being introduced for tiny story arcs and then dismissed.
on 10 June 2010
I trully enjoyed this series, a realy nice story line with some intriguing caracters (except for Raki who is incredibly annoying with all his whining and crying). There's some low to moderate amount of gore present and some lost limbs and stuff like that, but i din't find it exagerated (most of it is purple anyway).
However, the reason for the 3 stars is that this Anime is not complete, although the discs contain all the episodes launched until now, the story is not concluded. I searched for the manga and apparently this Anime only covers 11-12 volumes of the manga books. The manga itself is not concluded yet, and you might have to wait a while until that is finished and you can see an ending to Claire's story. Altough i don't regret buying this I do hate the fact that the story is suspended like this.
In conclusion: if you want a finished storyline you'll have to wait some more as this is only about 2/3 of the story.
on 2 June 2011
Recommend it to anyone who likes anime really. The story is pretty solid, the characters are all very likeable (except for Rocky, hes likeable but he has moments where you want to leap into the tv and smack him in the face. I wont give anything away but he gets pretty annoying towards the end.)
I wont comment much on the plot ill just say its very good and has some nice twists, if i say more it will take away from the viewing experience. maybe its a personal prefrence thing but i liked watching it knowing absolutely nothing.
The action is very fast paced with a decent amount of gore, nothing that will make you cring and look away. There are a lot of nail biting edge of the seat moments, no character is guaranteed to make it out of a fight unharmed, you always get the sense that they could perrish at any moment which is very good, not something you see too often.
Someone stated in their review that the series lack character development which i think is 100% un-true, you learn enough about all the characters to care about their well being and mourn their loss.
The series would be perfect if it didnt leave you soo hungry for more, the story has a lot of room to continue. i hope they make more but knowing mad house who knows (still waiting for hellsing ultimate to be dubbed -.-)
on 11 September 2010
I checked this out as I like anything knights/ninjas/samurai based and thought the idea of female knights with special powers called claymores would be fun (I enjoyed Visionaries as a kid). The first couple of episodes were nicely animated but didn't really have me gripped as I thought the boy was a bit whiny and the concept of killing the same monsters every episode potentially dull. Then there's the second story-arc which follows another Claymore and has a neat twist at the end that got me very interested. The third arc goes back to the title-claymore and it becomes clear it's not going to be the same type of monster every week. It also becomes clear that the Claymore organisation is not as noble as it first appeared and from this point on the show goes from strength to strength with some excellent battles and character development. The show only drops off in quality towards the end where it becomes clear the writers rush in order to finish the show, whereas they would have been far better off leaving it unresolved in the hope of finishing it off with a seond season or OVA. Hopefully one day we'll get to see a reinterpreted ending in the stlye of Fullmetal alchemist: Brotherhood. Otherwise we'll have to settle with this great action series with a slightly different setting and approach to most of the shounen anime around.
on 19 June 2013
This series was an entertaining watch, though a few relationships felt a little contrived and I had to force myself through the last few episodes. The individual claymores, rankings and the organisation are revealed gradually and I found this to be a strength in the series. Clare's past is an interesting story and, for me, explained her relationship with Raki, but didn't make it feel any more genuine. The fighting is well animated, the gore being frequent but tasteful, and each claymore's strengths or powers keep the battles fresh.
People have mentioned that this series seems to progress into boss battles, this is true, and a lot of the later battles are fought by previously unknown characters who I just couldn't care about.
The English dub isn't amazing, and Raki is the most annoying character in the history of television...seriously!..maybe switch to the Japanese track.
Overall it's worth watching. The animation is beautiful and though the story has a mixed pace, it' still better than a lot of anime.
As a product, this is just an inch thick plastic case with the two double sided hinged holders inside. It's held together well so far but it does feel a little flimsy.
on 19 May 2011
I haven't seen a lot of series in the past, especially action series, but this one definitely marked me.
I love the soundtrack, the design and the palette that is used to describe certain scenes.
I don't necessarily agree with what some people say about character development, as I believe each character had it's own way of developing. I do believe that Raki was a strange kind of kid and although his story reminisces in some periods of the story with someone's story, he does get to be a little bit annoying. But every other character develops very nicely. I believe that even characters you don't see often, develop their stories and personalities in their own little way, by saying one line, meaningful enough for you not to need anything else.
It does have its fair amount of blood and gore and if you're not into that, then you will not like this series, but I believe that if you tend to like action stories and moreover action stories with girls, then this is definitely for you.
on 25 October 2010
I should probably confess that I read a fair amount of the manga (it's an ongoing series which does not appear to be approaching it's conclusion quite yet) before watching the anime. As I enjoyed the manga, I was pleasantly surprised just how loyal the series was to it, the only major difference being the final couple of episodes, but this likely also coloured my opinion of the series as a whole.
There are a lot of almost too positive reviews (in my opinion) on this page, so apologies but this one will likely be rather more critical than most.
The series is based quite closely on the first eleven books in the series and, but for a few changes (presumably enacted to bring the anime towards its alternative conclusion), pretty much everything is just as in the books. It is the contrived and rather too sudden ending which I dislike most about the series. The series is quite gritty, obviously violent, with a tendency towards the bitter-sweet. Without giving too much away, the author was not averse to developing some characters before sacrificing them in the passage of the story. On this basis the ending felt too hasty, leaving too many threads unresolved and, in my opinion, out of kilter with the rest of the series.
My second complaint relates to the English language dub (I'm not a great fan of the Japanese dub with subtitles for anime). Whilst the voice work for Clare and several other significant characters (Theresa, Riful etc) is generally excellent, Raki in particular just grates. There are a few other, less major characters where I think the voice work could be better - Flora and Miria spring to mind, but Raki is a pretty good reason to want to flip the mute button. The use of voiceovers/monologues and over-dramatic music at inopportune moments does not help either.
My only other whinge about the series is common to both the books and the anime, in that it begins to feel like the storyline just descends into a series of "boss battles" which begin to drag. The confrontation with Dauf is one I'm not particularly fond off.
Yet despite these grumbles, I would still heartily recommend the series. It's well animated, has an engaging storyline and has some very likeable main characters (Raki aside, who just isn't!). I have to say that I haven't seen too many anime series I would rate higher than this one (Black Lagoon and Ergo Proxy being the only two that come to mind) and I consider it well worth a watch even to people not used to the genre. At least there are no giant robots attacking each other!