I generally have two kinds of experiences when reviewing a seriesI’ve already had under way. Experience #1 is, I put the disc in and forsome reason have the worst time even watching a single episode all theway through. I eventually make it through to the DVD production creditsand sit down to bash out the copy, but the whole experience has theaura of a chore. Experience #2 is, I put the disc in and after whatfeels like fifteen minutes I’m pasting the text into the CMS.
You get no prizes for guessing which of these two buckets Claymorefalls into. It’s been said that no good show is too long and no badshow is too short. We have only one volume of this series left to go,and I’m dreading it being over so soon—although given that the manga isstill an ongoing property, that doesn’t rule out there being anotherseason. Please, let it be so.
The fifth volume continues, but far from concludes, the plot arcinvolving the Claymores being summoned to a village far in thenorth—the sardonically-named Pieta (“Pity”)—to stave off an attack ofAwakened Beings. Those of you who have been following along so far willknow that Awakened Beings and Claymore are in fact one and the same,just at different points in their respective careers. The fight provesincredibly brutal, with many key members of the team—commanders andsisters alike—dying horribly. Their chances of survival, as explainedin one of the episode teasers, is zero. Such wretched odds neverstopped Claire before, and she steps up to the plate to give as good asshe gets. She gives quite a lot indeed. Maybe a little too much, as the last shots of the last episode on the disc imply.
Allthis is contrasted against and intertwined with a parallel plotinvolving someone we haven’t seen in a long time: Raki, Claire’ssidekick and maybe a lot more than that. He’s spared from what might bea very frigid death by a fellow who calls himself Isley. Tall, handsomein an androgynous way, he actually brings to mind Griffith from Berserk—andfrom what hints we have in this volume, the comparison is more thansuperficial. His skill with a sword galvanizes Raki into wanting tolearn said art from him, and much to his surprise, Isley agrees. WhatRaki doesn’t understand, and what he learns only too late, is thatIsley is the one responsible for this congregation of monsters in thenorth—and that the young girl he has under his wing is in fact ayouma-in-training.
What I’ve consistently liked about Claymore—all elements that were in the manga as well, so the anime is simply making good things better—ishow it starts with tropes that all too often just turn into the usualprogrammatic fodder and leaps over them. E.g.: “I need to be stronger!”A cigar goes to any anime fan who doesn’t wince whenever theyhear that line. But when it comes out of the mouth of someone you careabout, someone whose strength matters to you emotionally, it’s not acliché anymore. We’ve watched Claire throw all of what she is into thestruggles in her way, it’s hard to imagine where she might go fromhere. The answer, unfortunately, might well just be down.
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Other Lives Of The Mind