Animania: Claymore (Review)

So, Claymore was an interesting show. Honestly, as someone who loved the Witcher series, and has known how long that series existed, I couldn’t help but notice that the baseline of Claymore is a direct ripoff of the Witcher ideas, with many things reversed. However, on its own merits, Claymore is an interesting tale of a heroine who is not only strong, but struggles to survive in a world that ultimately hates her, and her organization regardless of how much they need them.

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One thing I will say is that Clare starts off as one of the most boring protagonists ever. Flat and one note, it was very hard to get behind her because she had no personality. She was Geralt without any of the charm. However, after a few episodes Claymore began to distinguish itself as a very interesting tale of man vs monster. Fighting the Yomas was always a very fascinating experience, and it was cool to see a lot of the normal humans tagging in and assisting her along the way. The show also does a good job of reversing the normal tropes of males rescuing females and making it a strong female lead rescuing a male consistently.

However, about halfway through the story loses steam again. So many plot threads are opened, but they’re never really addressed throughout the rest of the series. There’s a mildly satisfactory ending, but not necessarily one that assists in telling a cohesive narrative that we’d want to continue. Unfortunately, over and over again the story submits to ex machinas and consistent last minute saves that become all too predictable throughout the flow of the show. I wish there was more substance, but the mysterious shadow organization and its roots take a backseat often to the very boring tropes that consistently play into the show. A revenge tale, an extreme lust for vengeance, these are at the heart of the narrative, but they’re nothing that we haven’t seen before.

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I haven’t read the manga, but apparently there are some pretty solid deviations from the original story. Some are artistically chosen to help keep the flow of the show going, but apparently other ones definitely are at the show’s detriment. The ending of the show is also a huge looming cloud, and with no season two, we have to hold the creators accountable for such a flacid finale. While I did have a good time, I felt that the unsatisfactory resolution was one of those things that can only really be explained by baiting the watchers to go and read the manga, or forever have many unanswered questions.

Finally, I was not a fan of the art. Animation during battles was fluid enough, and a smooth sixty frame animation helped to keep me engaged. However, character designs on characters like Raki often left characters feeling extremely disfigured. Also, it’s very hard to tell who is who until they call out the names due to the extremely similar designs of the Claymores themselves. Everyone is either a short or long haired blonde without too many other distinguishing features, and during chaotic fights its hard to tell who is who.

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All in all, Claymore is a good time waster. It’s not the classic I was expecting it to be, but it’s also not terrible. It’s something that I wouldn’t watch again, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a continuation to see where the story goes. Although it doesn’t look too likely at this point, I suppose that we have to take the show as what it is for right now, a good show that definitely doesn’t surpass the bounds of excellence, in my opinion.

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