I haven’t done a weekend review for an anime series for a while, so it’s time to clear that up with another anime review.

Houko Kuwashima as Clare
Aya Hisakawa as Priscilla
Hana Takeda as Deneve
Hiroaki Hirata as Rubel (Clare’s handler)
Kikuko Inoue as Miria
Koji Yusa as Isley
Miho Miyagawa as Cynthia
Miki Nagasawa as Helen
Motoki Takagi as Raki
Nana Mizuki as Riful
Romi Park as Teresa

Directed by Hiroyuki Tanaka
Animated by Studio Madhouse
Based on a manga by Norihiro Yagi

Available from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu-Ray, RightStuf on DVD or Blu-Ray, and for streaming on Hulu.

The Premise

In a fantasy world, civilization is menaced by monsters known as Yoma. While weak Yoma can be defeated by a group of highly skilled humans, as they grow in power, they reach a level that no human can hope to stand against. The only hope that humans have is with the Claymore – women who have had Yoma tissue implanted in them to give them superhuman abilities. However, the Claymore also walk  a fine line – if they push themselves too far and lose control of their powers, then they too risk becoming Yoma. Thus, they are ostracized and rejected by society.

In this world, a Claymore named Claire saves a young man named Raki from a Yoma, and after Raki is cast out from his own village (because his family is dead), Raki decides to follow Claire and assist her to the best of his abilities.

High Points

The last arc of the show is incredibly intense, with a vibe that feels like a combination of Assault on Precinct 13 and Zulu (without any of the dubiously racist under/overtones).

The show, frankly, feels like an intense, less nihilistic, shonen version of Berserk, with the states of the male and female characters being somewhat reversed – in the sense that female characters in the show are more physically powerful and durable than the male characters, and the female characters have significantly more agency than the male characters do.

Low Points

So, what, exactly is the organization that operates the Claymores’ goal? On the one hand, from what we see, Claymores are spread fairly thin. Up until the last arc of the series, the most Claymores we see at once place at the same time is three, maybe four. On the other hand, they have no problem with dumping a bunch of “expendable” Claymores in the path of an advancing army of Yoma and Awakened ones. Also, we really have no sense of the size of the land that the Claymores are patrolling for Yoma. It seems large and vast, with travel between towns taking days or more, but this still doesn’t make the size clear.

Scores

Originality: While, like Berserk, this is a swords and sorcery series, it’s incredibly different than most of the genre. 5/6

Animation: The animation is generally very good. A few fights rely a bit too heavily on speedlines for the background or for characters limbs, but it’s generally a very good looking show. 4/6

Story: The story is pretty well written (with the exception of the low point). 4/6

Emotional Response: The characters are very well written, thus leading to some real tension when we see them in peril. 5/6

Production: The music is very good, and in particular, the designs for the various towns in the series look absolutely fantastic, with a lot of attention to detail. 4/6

Acting: This show got a lot of the Japanese female VA big guns out (which makes sense, with all the major female characters in this show). 5/6

Overall: This is a great show for people who liked the action and style of fantasy story that Berserk tells, but without the grimdark tone and misogyny. This is definitely worth giving a shot. 5/6

In total, Claymore gets 32/42