Creator: Norihiro Yagi
Director: Hiroyuki Tanaka
Episode Count: 26
Audio: English, Japanese
Number of Discs: 3
Certification: 15 (BBFC)
Release Date: 30th January 2017
Released By: Anime Limited
Claymores are the female knights that hunt monsters known as Yoma; creatures that disguise themselves in human form whilst also surviving by consuming human flesh. Clare is one such Claymore, working to eradicate Yomas in towns that request their assistance…. for a price. Events unfold to show us what happened in Clare’s life to bring her onto this path of destruction, constantly testing her limits and coming face to face with monsters. Raki, a young boy whom Clare encounters on one such job, joins her on her journey. He soon discovers the secrets and origins of the Claymores…
Claymore is officially ten years old and I would definitely categorize it as a much-watch anime. Intended for older teens, the action was brilliant, gripping and fast paced. We begin by meeting Clare, a Claymore with impressive combat skills, who singlehandedly takes down all Yomas that she senses. Claymores, unfortunately, are seen as monsters who fight monsters. They are not recognized as fellow humans, which is even more poignant when you get to know the particular characters in the show.
Clare has an intense backstory, which is largely explained throughout the show, although the story of her time before the Claymores is a glaring omission. This is something I personally wish was included in an OVA. Clare herself is a strong, independent fighter, with a tragic backstory. She is different from the other Claymore, as you might expect, which is revealed later in the show. She meets a teenager called Raki, who falls victim to Yomas attacking his village. Feeling like he owes his life to Clare, they end up travelling together. Raki only wants to protect Clare, who he sees as being the best fighter around. Upon meeting other Claymores, the truth is revealed about where Clare stands in the ranking in the Organisation, the shadowy entity that Clare is beholden to. We meet numerous Claymores in the show, and we see them surpass their limits, sacrifice their lives all whilst putting everything on the line to protect the innocents. This also comes with the downside of a superior attitude, which does not endear them society as a whole.
As Clare travels across her section of the country eradicating monsters in towns that ask for the Organisation’s expertise, we are treated to numerous high-intensity action scenes. A high price is requested for her services, but there is no competition as Claymores are trained and ‘created’ especially for this. The Yomas are demonic beings that both eat humans and disguise themselves as humans, letting them stay hidden in towns and eat whomever they want in secrecy. Claymores can sense who are Yomas and have the skill to kill them. With swift battles, decapitation, limbs flying everywhere and numerous gruesome deaths, Claymore is certainly for an older audience.
Claymore is a 26-episode dark adventure anime, produced by Madhouse, a Japanese animation studio, founded back in 1972. Now in its 45th year, they are well-known for the following titles: Barefoot Gen, Black Lagoon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Death Note, Metropolis and Millennium Actress. Their catalogue also includes the mesmerizing Wolf Children, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. Claymore is directed by Hiroyuki Tanaka, who has worked on many of Madhouse’s projects. He has worked on various animes in the years, including Yuri On Ice, Ninja Scroll, Chobits and Attack on Titan to name just a few. Claymore, however, is the first anime he has directed, and he has done a fantastic job. The animation isn’t pretty, leaving the characters looking pale and dull, but it reflects the time period well with its medieval architecture. The style also matches the grim tone, and reminds me of Attack on Titan to a degree.
Bonus Features Include:
Character Cast Auditions
Interview with Director Hiroyuki Tanaka
Interview with Sound Director Yasunori Honda
Interview with Art Director Manabu Otsuzuki (Kusanagi)
Interview with Art Settings Nobuhito Sue (Kusanagi) Original TV Commercial
The Collector’s Edition comes in a digipack with art cards and a 100-page art book.
Claymore is a must watch anime for adults and basically anyone over 15. It is definitely a show I can suggest to those that need an anime to prove to their friends that it certainly isn’t all pretty girls, boobs and school romance stories. Bring them the gore I say! Claymore is available to buy now from Anime Limited in the Limited-Edition Collector’s Blu-Ray (pictured above).