Suddenly, the possibility of using this as an anime blog arises. Scary thought, ne?
So, in this unlikely-to-remain-updated-regularly journal, I shall take a quick look at the Claymore anime that is being released this season.
There were two things that attracted me to Claymore: the first was the setting. It's been a while since I've seen any cartoon that seriously tried to set itself in a medieval fantasy arena that wasn't Japanese Feudal. Moreover, however, there's the artwork: although the first episode doesn't seem as well done as later episodes, overall I like the artistic style, especially the set pieces. It's a refreshing change from the tall and stocky of Hellsing, or the cheap, cheerful classics that are Bleach and Naruto. The character proportioning is much better, although the face could still use more detail; moreover, the backgrounds and settings are very nicely drawn. There's occasionally a nice use of colour filters too.
Slim-Fast, now available for warriors
To the general plot, I'll put it simply: gal warriors, with swords, hunt demons. Generally, they're semi-human, having eaten demons to gain their own powers themselves. One particular warrior, Clare, picks up a boy called Raki, which is - of course - unusual for these warriors. They're basically mercenaries rented out by some Organisation (pretty evil, I'm guessing) to protect the townsfolk.
Spoilers from here on in: Clare has a particular vendetta against the more powerful demons, since one of them killed Obi Wan Kenobi Merlin Dumbledore the warrior who took her in, Theresa.
Now, some more specific thoughts about the individual episodes thus far.
In the first episode, the Claymores are seen as having silver eyes. Do we know why? Not particularly. Clare comes off as extremely methodical, mechanical, calculating, precise, etc., when speaking with the town's spokesman: either the demon dies, or she does. Nice to know they've received the standard army training to become emotionally null and all that. Raki seems to have some serious deep seated emotional problems, quickly latching onto Clare. Now, I find this a bit hard to swallow over the next few episodes: he's so intensely empathic towards each action that one wonders if he was hit over the head with a tub of oestrogen.
Anyway, the story progresses, and Clare eventually ends up taking care of Raki who is kicked out of the village because they have some superstitions about him becoming a demon. This seems ridiculous at first, but I suspect it is later explained by the rule that Claymores cannot kill humans: there's possibly an inaction clause in there, rather like Asimov's Robot laws? The townsfolk have a massive fear of Claymores. Given Claymores are part demon, I guess I can understand that, but mostly they save the townsfolk. It's surprising there's so much hate, but hey, if people liked Clare, maybe she wouldn't have such a stick up her... Anyway, as is predictable, Clare and Raki hook up for great adventures (and cooking).
Clare gonna cut a b*tch.
Which leads us to the second episode. I guess I'll postpone writing all my thoughts on the 10 episodes thus far because that would take quite some space, and I want a chance at readership...
Anyway, we are now shown that there are different types of demons, which is great and all. It really helps if you're going to do a monster of the week thing if the monsters are different each time! Anyway, Clare and Raki discuss where Claymores come from (you know, kids back then didn't understand that the birds and the bees involve eating demons), and when Raki expresses hunger, Clare decides to fling her big sword right over his shoulder to kill a desert crocodile (not a savannah croc, a desert croc). Why she didn't take two steps to the left and then throw it I'm not sure: at least that way she wouldn't have been scaring the crap out of her newfound cook-tagalong. Oh yeah, plus, she maintains a healthy anorexic/bulemic diet. Gotta keep that curvy form good for business, you see?
Clare heads off to chat with the man in black, who is basically her pimp. He just needs a feather in his hat and a little more fur trim, is all. She does the work, and he gets the money. Anyway, after a short chat, he gets her to turn around and show him the goods: make sure he knows how much to charge the Organisation's customers for her services. Apparently, she has two wounds: one recent (from the end of the first episode), and one - I assume - much older. No doubt some character exposition FOARSHADOWIN there. He's intrigued by her recent maternal instincts, perhaps worried that one of the townsfolk might have gotten her preggers, which would be really bad for business.
Anyway, basically, when the Claymores get worn out with fighting demons with their huge weapons, they send the Organisation their black card, which is kept inside their big sword. I didn't make it up, I swear. There's some nice green-tinted flashbacks here to Clare and her friend's early days, and their near-lesbian experiences as the Organisation preps them for the pimping. If I'm inferring correctly, gals are basically taken at a young age, and left - perhaps with another - in a load of cells in some massive hallway, so I assume the Organisation has a steady breeding upkeep of warriors to use in its neverending battle to save the people of this Unknown Continent from the evil demons for a fair price. Like I said, the Organisation is teh evils, amirite?
Some really pretty arts is here.
As I mentioned earlier, Raki's super-empathy kicks in when - after Clare has only explained her history with the other warrior to him in a few sentences - she prepares to engage in a euthanasia of sorts. I guess that makes him a pro-lifer or something then. Seriously, he's crying all over the place. I'm wondering if his surname mightn't just be Ikari or something. There's a nice bit about the battle on two fronts: fighting the demons you meet physically, and the demon inside mentally. Very poetic. Anyway, Clare kills her One True Friend in the world, and Raki cries like the mentally disturbed child he is.
And that's episodes one and two. Now, of course, I'm cynical. I like writing from a cynical point of view: it's fun. The first few episodes of this are fairly generic, but it is pretty well animated, and given the demon-inside-you nature, I suspect it'll get pretty dark later on. I'll get to the music in a later journal entry (I expect), but suffice to say, it's definitely a plus sign there: the background music and 'combat' music are orchestral, and usually enhance the feel of the anime. If you're tired of Naruto's huffing and puffing whilst staring the opponent down as they explain the specifics of their ninjutsu, or Bleach's anything-but-the-main-arc sideplots, and are looking for something with a few good fights to it, and perhaps a bit of backplot, you might want to check this out.
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