Why did the Claymore ending fail?

Analysis

Spoilers for the anime ending. 

It’s hardly uncommon for anime to give its own twist to manga adaptations so that a season or series will not be left incomplete. Sometimes, these original elements work. Sometimes, they don’t. Unfortunately, Claymore belongs to the latter group. As I mentioned in the review, I don’t read manga much, so I don’t believe the anime ending was disappointing because it deviated from the manga. Rather, it’s the way the finale doesn’t quite fit the rest of the series that bothers me. There are a number of reasons for this.

01. Too much content

Claymore’s pacing has been of the slow and steady variety from the beginning itself. While I found this dull at first, as the anime progressed it was easy to see how the world-building and characterization benefitted from it. As a result, the sheer amount of things happening in the final two episodes is jarring. We have Rigaldo, Clare losing control, Priscilla showing up, the ensuing chase, their fight, Raki’s idiocy, Jean’s sacrifice etc There are a lot of intense events that as individual occurrences are of varying levels of quality but when taken as a single unit feels like the creators tried to cram too much at the end. This is the least of the ending’s problems though.

Ending 2

02. Priscilla

Throughout the series, Priscilla was developed as this immensely powerful Awakened Being, to the point that it became doubtful how Clare was ever going to kill her. She was a considerable threat and though she was absent for a large part of the show, her existence alone added some tension to the story. And then, after killing Rigaldo, Clare senses Priscilla and follows her, naturally resulting in a fight. It’s a good battle, or at least it is until Clare actually beats her. All that build-up and we see Priscilla defeated because Clare gets a rapid series of power-ups. Oh and also because Priscilla becomes terrified of Teresa whom she senses in Clare. Words cannot capture how flimsy this is. Yes, Priscilla is not mentally stable. But you can’t just create such an overpowered villain, foreshadow an epic battle and then conclude it in a way that’s not even remotely satisfactory. Even if I were able to accept that Priscilla was somehow beaten by partially Awakened Clare and Priscilla’s own fear, what happens after her defeat ruins what little credibility it retains. Which brings us to the next point,

03. Raki’s stupidity

The incident that cemented my dislike of Raki was Elena’s mercy-kill in the second episode. Him trying to restrain Clare was just plain stupid, especially since she had already explained to him why a Claymore had to be killed before Awakening. Not to mention that Elena herself wanted to die. Still, you’d expect that after being more exposed to the twisted world of the Claymores, he’d become more practical. Well, no. When Clare is just about to kill Priscilla – which is what she actually became a Claymore for- Raki jumps in front of Priscilla spewing what are supposed to touching words about the futility of violence. I think I literally face-palmed at that point. Not only does this deny the story even the semblance of a gratifying ending and leave yet another end loose, it is also an act of utter idiocy. But hey, what do I know. Maybe Raki bonded so deeply with Priscilla during all the time she spent smelling him that it was enough of a reason for him to deny Clare – the woman who saved him and cared for him – her coveted revenge.

Ending 1

04. Inconclusive conclusion

There is no sense of an ‘end’ to Claymore’s ending. It could function as season’s conclusion but as a series ending? No. There are far too many loose ends. What happens to the surviving Claymores? Will the Organization keep sending them on more suicide missions? What about the Organization itself and Miria’s investigation? What will happen with the Abyssal Ones and Priscilla? The questions continue. It’s been nine years and the manga is finished, so will there be a second season? Who knows.

05. The journey continues, aimless

At the end, we see Clare and Raki continue their journey, much like they did before Ophelia showed up and everything went to hell. My question is, what’s the point? Clare defined her existence as a Claymore with the purpose of killing Priscilla. Except that she didn’t kill Priscilla when she had the chance because her sidekick turned out to be a bleeding-heart fool. So unless Clare intends to seek out Priscilla again, which doesn’t seem likely, she has lost what drove her so far. ‘Live your life as a human’ is nice to hear but rather improbable since Clare no longer is human and is actively shunned by human society. Not to mention she won’t even age so a happy ever after with Raki is at best temporary. I understand that the ending is trying to be positive and peaceful but that doesn’t quite work out.

 

Bonus: Jean

After harping this much about the defects of the climax, I’ll end the post with the one thing that I loved about the ending. Jean’s sacrifice is badass no matter how you look at it. She’s a character that appeared in only a limited number of episodes but her honor and loyalty makes her very likeable. Her death scene is arguably one of the best scenes in the series. She goes out with dignity while saving Clare the way Clare saved her. It’s a beautiful scene, emotional and bittersweet, and it almost manages to save the finale from being a complete mess.

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About D

Just another avid anime fan.
This entry was posted in Anime, Claymore and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Why did the Claymore ending fail?

  1. Karandi says:

    I agree that the ending of this series is the biggest let down given how amazing the series is up until that point. It really does feel like they rushed to get to some sort of resolution and then just let everything else disappear into nothing.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I remember being just so confused after it was over. There was no closure and the way they wrapped it up doesn’t even make much sense. It really is sad that such a good show ended like that.

      Thank you for your input.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow..I find it surprising that someone’s still watching this anime this 2016. I stopped watching on the 21st episode and I’ve been getting feedback on how different the anime was in the manga.This is a nice wrap up of Claymore’s ending! I should probably finish it now. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I have so many anime to catch up on that I’ve stopped caring how recent they are. I think about half of the titles on my ‘to-watch’ list are kinda old.
      And thank you for taking the time to comment! I really liked Claymore so it was pretty sad to see it go downhill at the end :/

      Like

  3. cauthan says:

    Got a good chuckle out of #3 accompanied by an audible ‘God dammit Raki’ haha. Certainly was a strange and problematic character for the show. This weird blend between being the viewer’s layman who we could see the otherwordliness of the Claymores through and this odd, pseudo-sentimental character that was supposed to ground Clare to her humanity. Didn’t turn out the best. The inconclusive ending bugged me too and I’ve thought for a while about picking up the manga and seeing if I liked it any more than the show but I have yet to muster the conviction or interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      “God dammit Raki” was my mantra whenever he showed up on screen, particularly towards the end. His role in the first episode was fine but as you said, when they tried to expand it via cramming a shitton of sentimentality and ‘humanity’ into him, it got pretty messy.

      I’m curious about the manga too but for some reason, I never manage to get around to reading any of the manga I’m interested in. At this point, whenever I consider reading one, it’s accompanied by that annoying little voice in my head saying “Suure, you’ll get around to it in a century or so.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • cauthan says:

        I know the feeling haha. A lot of ‘failed’ adaptations have made me want to check out if the source material avoided the same stumbling points but I’m always to eager to watch the next thing and never make time to sit back and read.

        Liked by 1 person

      • D says:

        Exactly. It doesn’t help that if we’ll probably be dead and buried by the time we run out of anime to watch. Probably not even then tbh.

        Like

  4. I loved the Claymore anime despite the meh finale. Sadly this is a common pattern with shows based on manga that is ongoing. One of these days I’ll have to go back to the comic and finished it off. Not seeing the action in motion sucks, but I am curious how the story plays out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I can never make myself read manga for long so usually end up searching out spoilers if the anime leaves me wanting. That’s what I did with Claymore and from what I found, it would have been great if we’d had a manga-faithful second season instead of that lackluster finale.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I just spotted this after it popped up randomly on an e-mail. Absolutely agree. Honestly, I would have been happier if Clare had become fully Awakened, killed Priscilla, then ended up being killed herself before she could become far too dangerous. That things ended the way they did was just so odd to me. The real shame was that I picked the DVDs up in a whim and a convention, and really enjoyed them overall. The ending wasn’t enough to put me off the show, it just felt like they didn’t really know how to finish it all off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I wonder how an old post popped up in an e-mail…

      You know, that would make a far better ending, especially if they scrapped Raki’s pointless last-minute involvement. A faithful manga adaptation would have been better but I guess they wanted to finish it in one season. Agreed that they didn’t do too good a job of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was a notification that you’d liked one of mine, and it listed some random posts at the bottom. :p
        Aye. Having not read the manga, I don’t have a clue what the originally intended ending was, but just something conclusive would have been nice.

        Liked by 1 person

      • D says:

        Ah, that makes sense. Guess wordpress can be nice and useful when it’s not eating my e-mails.

        I didn’t either but I spent wy too much time over on TV Tropes and the general impression I got is that the manga is pretty amazing. Slightly convoluted but still good.

        Liked by 1 person

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