Nowadays is quite common to watch anime. Even people who are not particularly interested in it have watched at least one or two shows, and that is not surprising at all as we can say that, unlike the past when it was starting out, anime is pretty much mainstream now. Modern anime shows can get really popular worldwide and perhaps the clearest example of that is Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack On Titan). Everyone seems to either be obsessed with the show or at least know someone who is; the fact that we are so interconnected in this era makes it easier for anime to go viral, but what if I were to tell you that there are some great shows that despite being quite good they seem to have been forgotten?
Well, Claymore is one of these forgotten treasures and today we are going to dive into it and talk about one of those hidden gems in the anime medium.
Claymore is a medieval dark fantasy story. It begins with a simple concept: humanity is constantly attacked by monsters called “yoma” and these monsters eat people and are too strong to be defeated by regular humans. Plus, they can disguise themselves as regular people, so they go completely unnoticed. In order to face every yoma out there, there is a secret organization that creates special warriors (female warriors); these warriors do not possess an official title, but humans call them “claymore” due to the swords that they carry with them.
Again, it’s a simple concept, but the greatness of the plot is shown while the story progresses. At first, it looks like just another shonen anime, nothing particularly outstanding; the main character (Claire) is not exactly the most charismatic character ever, and the story seems to be quite simple. However, we can see right away that the tone of the show is pretty different than most shonens out there; Claymore doesn’t have “funny scenes”, the characters do not have the classic exaggerated reactions that we usually see in most animes, and their behavior is much more realistic. We can see from the very first episode that Claymore has something different to offer.
It’s classified as a shonen, but it can perfectly be considered a seinen because of the tone of the show. The “Dark fantasy” tag fits Claymore perfectly and you can almost feel the pessimist atmosphere in places, even when on the surface it looks like another good vs evil story because there are no heroes; humans see any claymore as just another monster, they fear them and try to avoid them as much as possible. “Silver eyes witches”, that’s what they call them because of the way they look. Even after saving a town, the perception of the claymore can still be negative.
Once we pass the first episodes and we begin to dive into the story, the plot becomes more and more interesting. As different secrets appear multiple possibilities for the course of the story arise, keeping it interesting enough so we can’t wait to know how the story will envelop.
We follow the story of Claire, a girl that lost her parents because of a yoma. At first, it seems that Claire doesn’t have much to offer, she seems weaker than the other members of the organization and therefore not as useful, but we start to get more interested in her once we know her past and her purpose. We can say that Claire’s goal is to get revenge for someone she loved and that is the main reason why she chooses to become a claymore. Despite the desire for revenge, while the story progresses we can see how Claire finds other purposes too as well as other reasons to exist.
Claire may not be the most emblematic of the protagonists, and sometimes we can find her to be a little immature when it comes to controlling her emotions in certain circumstances, but her development as a character is quite natural and organic and the way she gets stronger doesn’t feel like just a plot convenience, it feels genuine (no crazy unreasonable power-ups), and that makes her a good character.
Claire is not the only good character, in fact, there are more than a couple of great, memorable, and charismatic characters, each one has their moment to shine, and they certainly do. Something that also makes Claymore special is the feeling that no character is completely safe, the “plot armor” is a thing in pretty much every anime, but while watching (and reading) Claymore it feels like even the most important characters can die, which make things more interesting.
Is Claymore Worth Watching?
Claymore has had great reviews and more than enough audience since its release. Actually, people like the story so much that manga sales increased a lot, and fans were waiting for the second season to come, but unfortunately, this never happened. The one thing negative about this anime is the fact that it was canceled after only one season; the cancelation was due to different circumstances that involved budget issues and a couple of problems with the adaptation, but even so, the first season is worth watching; plus, if you enjoy the story, you can read the manga to know what happens next.