Continuing the recent trend of bringing over older series to the United Kingdom on Blu-ray for the first time, All the Anime treat us with a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition of Claymore. Claymore is based on the manga of the same name by Norihiro Yagi and was originally released on DVD in the UK by Manga Entertainment. Let’s see how Claymore stands up in today’s anime world with its brand new Blu-ray release.
Synopsis: “A brutal scourge stalks the land. Yoma, monsters driven by a hunger satisfied by only one quarry – Humanity. The dark breed knows but a singular foe: Claymore. Human-Yoma hybrids of extraordinary strength and cunning, the Claymores roam from skirmish to skirmish delivering salvation by the edge of a blade.
Thus begins the twisting tale of Clare, one such sister of the sword driven by pain in both victory and defeat. A child silent and suffering hidden in her past, Clare’s march toward vengeance unfolds along a path marked by violence, solitude and scorn. In a land where even the predator is prey, the haunted hearts of hunter and hunted alike wear the scars of the age.”
Claymore is a series that I actually have a lot of familiarity with; I started reading the manga about ten years ago and enjoyed reading it until its conclusion. The anime, however, I have not had prior experience with but is one of those series that seems to garner a positive reaction, at least from those who have only seen the anime. Therein lies my first trepidation with the series as there is a number of popular anime series out there where the fans of their original manga counterparts dislike them with a passion. The anime-only fans blissfully unaware enjoy the anime adaptation regardless; take Tokyo Ghoul, for example, a series I personally only managed one episode of.
So, going in, I have trepidations about the series, I’ve been burnt before with multiple similar situations but nonetheless, I took the plunge. Now firstly as I have previously stated the anime is adapted from the manga of the same name which was, at the time, still an on-going series. This obviously meant an anime original end or some variation. The anime adapts about a third of the Claymore story and by the end of the series, we reach the first large plot marker. This does work well as an ending point, Madhouse did throw in a little extra anime original content, and assuming another season was on the way would have been a perfect endpoint.
Unfortunately, that never happened, whether one was planned I don’t know, as it stands it’s not a terrible ending. It could possibly have worked better had they left it more open rather than add in a very last-minute attempt at tying up the story. Overall it did a good job at adapting essentially the beginning of the Claymore story. I’m surprised they never revisited the series and continued to adapt the rest of the story given that it finished some years ago now. I personally would like to see a continuation knowing that this is only the beginning of the story and there’s a lot more to come.
Newcomers to the story may feel a little overwhelmed once past the initial introductory episodes as Claymore tends to introduce a large roster of characters that are very similar. Worry not, though, as the characters you’re meant to remember will stand out a whole lot more than those that don’t really matter. Expect to see a lot of characters come and go, and by go I mean get killed in bloody and gore-filled brilliance. There’s one character that seems to rub a lot of viewers the wrong way and that’s Raki, Clare’s stalker/pet, I personally don’t see the issue and he’s largely absent during the series only appearing when necessary. Outside of Raki though I found all the characters to be fairly interesting each with their own unique backstory and motivations.
Studio Madhouse is often known for their brilliantly animated series and while Claymore (for me personally) doesn’t seem quite up there in terms of quality it was produced just before the introduction of high definition anime. Did this play a factor in the visual quality of this series? Probably not but I feel it could have been a whole lot better had it been produced in HD. All the Anime’s website stated this release is upscaled 1080i, featuring a standard definition remaster. I haven’t seen Manga Entertainment’s DVD release but I was immediately surprised by All the Anime’s version as it’s upscale was clearly not as good as recent releases such as their Fullmetal Alchemist or Manga Entertainment’s Death Note. That’s not to say the visual quality was bad it just didn’t quite match the quality we have seen in other similar releases.
I decided on a whim to watch this entirely with the English dub and to be fair it’s a pretty decent one. There are a large number of recognisable names so I’m sure English dubs fans will find a lot to like here. The musical score is largely decent but I couldn’t help but notice a few odd choice sound effects and musical numbers especially those that would probably feel more at home on a 16-bit video console.
All the Anime’s release of Claymore comes in their usual Collector’s Edition fashion with a digipack, art cards and a 100-page art book all housed within a rigid box. The on-disc extras are more impressive than other recent releases as of late and include Actor Commentaries, 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 Commercials and Textless Songs.
Claymore is a series that was met with a number of trepidations on my part but thankfully they were quickly erased. Studio Madhouse has put together a decent adaptation albeit with a slightly mediocre anime-only conclusion. All the Anime’s release features an upscale that I found to be a little lacking compared to other recent releases of a similar nature but overall not a bad looking release. If you’re looking for a bit of blood and gore and an interesting storyline then definitely give Claymore a look.