Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Claymore DVD vol. 2 Impression

Claymore volume 2 from FUNimation continues the story of Clare as she travels with Teresa. The organizations number one fighter, Teresa, becomes attached to the small girl who will not leave her side. Numerous attempts to dissuade her from following have no affect and eventually Teresa names the girl, Clare, and is surprised to hear her speak as Clare has been silent since their first encounter. After another run-in with the bandit whom she removed an arm from, Teresa takes Clare to a small village where she proceeds to wipe out the Yoma only to find that by doing so the local bandits move in to burn and destroy the city, a city where Teresa has left Clare in the care of the locals. As she returns the bandits know she cannot attack them as Claymore are forbidden from killing humans upon penalty of death. The connection Teresa has made with Clare, the girl with the same look in her eyes, goes beyond this mandate as Teresa finishes the one-armed bandit who is about to ravage Clare and then proceeds to obliterate the entire band of bandits. Her fate sealed, Teresa and Clare continue their journey and when Teresa is surrounded by Claymore, seemingly ready to accept her execution she has a change of mind, resist and continues to journey with Clare.

Next, Claymore ranks 2-5 come to confront Teresa and while she does best them the new, young number two goes beyond her limits of power and Awakens, destroying not only (SPOILER) Teresa but the other Claymore leaving only Clare alive. From this point on Clare is determined to become a Claymore to hunt the Awakened who took Teresa’s head. Present day now and an impatient, lowly ranked Clare, finds herself assigned to a team of four on the hunt for a Voracious Eater, a male awakened who is more that a match for the hunters, but not all is what it seems as Clare shows a power perfectly suited for fighting an awakened being. As the fight continues the episodes come to an end in volume 2 of Claymore.

Wow, lots of story points in this, just the second volume of Claymore. First the animation is still solid, not movie quality but well at the top of a series that should have a 24-26 episode run. The voice work is surprising well done and just emphasizes the quality the anime industry is seeing here in the states. FUNimation has a nice stable of voice actors working their titles and the experience really shows here in Claymore. Story wise this DVD spends a generous amount of time on Clare’s past, but it’s very important as it introduces Awakened beings, changes that take affect when a Claymore increase their power output as well as why Clare is who she is, why she became a Claymore. These episodes don’t feel so much as a flashback as a series all their own. The present day hunt and history on male Claymore is also important as well as what this particular Voracious eater says, what he tries to bargain with. Claymore rankings and special abilities are touched on over each episode showing there is more to this group than mindless hunters, there is an organization at work guiding each and keeping them in line, eliminating them when needed.

Overall Claymore on DVD is as solid as the manga (from Viz) with no drop-off in story and plot points. The animation and voice work satisfy with only a few weird audio tracks, background music that don’t quite seem to fit. The pacing of the story is solid and after watching viewers will feel like they’ve have more than just two volumes, I did. Hard to categorize Claymore, so if you like a unique design style, fast-paced sword fighting and monsters then Claymore is a must. Mature, yes. Excellent addition to any anime collection, no doubt.

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