Character Appreciation: Claymore

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Since I don’t have anything else to say about Nabari no Ou to make an analysis out of, I thought I’d do another one of these this week.

As the title says, this is intended to be a series of posts to appreciate anime characters that have made a lasting impression on me. I’m going by series for now since that seems easier but I expect there will be mixed posts somewhere down the line. The five listed here are also my top five favorite characters from Claymore.

Claymore, which I’ve reviewed here, is a dark fantasy story about a group of women whose bodies are modified to fight monsters called yoma. I greatly enjoyed this anime despite its disappointing ending and a considerable part of my enjoyment is owed to the show’s varied and riveting characters. Read forth so that you can see me fawning over them.

(Spoiler warning! Better read this only if you’ve finished the anime/manga)

 

01 Teresa

teresaEven if it’s a rule, whether or not I follow it is up to me. Whether I obey the rule or break it and get killed by my comrades is my choice.

Teresa, a.k.a, Teresa of the Faint Smile, is from of one of the older generation of Claymores. She was the No.1 of her time and rather insanely overpowered to the point that when she went rogue, even the four Claymores immediately under her in ranks were doubtful as to whether they could put her down. Nicknamed for the faint smile that she’s said to sport when cutting down yoma, Teresa is pretty much the most powerful Claymore introduced in the series and the only reason she’s killed I because of a very underhanded tactic on her opponent’s part. Teresa’s entry into the story marks the point where I actually got invested in this anime. Up until that point, I was just watching the action with mild interest at best. But then the flashback into Clare’s past began, Teresa showed up and I was hooked.

Teresa, in the beginning, is stoic and cold, hardened by a life of murdering monsters while being a monster herself. When a little human girl (Clare) latches on to her due to what Teresa assumes to be hero-worship, she is none too gentle about rejecting the girl. That’s why it’s so touching and heartwarming to see Teresa soften and melt under the unconditional affection Clare shows her. I have a soft spot for cynical characters with a gentle side and Teresa fits this role to a T. Her ruthless, badass fighter side stands in sharp contrast to the almost maternal care she displays towards Clare. Naturally, I found her death devastating. I’m tempted to read the manga just so I can get more of Teresa.

02 Clare

clareDon’t be so quick to throw away your life. No matter how disgraceful or embarrassing it may be, you need to keep struggling to find your way out until the very end.

Clare is the protagonist of Claymore. As Clare’s body is modified with Teresa’s flesh rather than that of a yoma, she’s initially considered to be weaker than the other Claymores. Holding the lowest rank of her generation, she starts out as an utterly average fighter whose desire to kill one of the most powerful yoma in existence seems to be practically impossible. Clare, like many other anime protags, is primarily driven by revenge. She wants to kill Priscilla, the person who killed her guardian figure Teresa. But as Priscilla is insanely powerful and Clare is decidedly not, most of the story focuses on how Clare’s experiences challenge her convictions and how she grows stronger with each one.

My favorite thing about Clare is her sheer determination. Even as a child, she’s shown to have resolve and persistence that are nothing short of extraordinary. This carries over into adulthood as well, as seen in the way she relentlessly pursues her goal despite the numerous obstacles in her path. Every time she falls, she gets right back up while also learning from the experience. Her strength of will is very admirable, made even more so by how she’s not consumed by her thirst for vengeance despite how badly she wants it. She manages to be consistently kind and empathetic. A notable aspect about Clare is how her passionate heart is hidden by a cold exterior. She could easily pass for a stoic ice queen until things get personal.

03 Jean

jeanI already lost this life. I do not intend to stretch it out at the cost of my honor.

Jean enters the story pretty late and doesn’t last long before the high mortality rate of the Claymores catch up with her. She’s a high-ranked Claymore who is captured by an Abyssal One shortly after her introduction. What follows is some hardcore torture for the purpose of getting her to become an Awakened Being. She resists and despite almost fully changing, she retains her humanity and is rescued by Clare. As the quote above suggests, honor is a pretty big deal for Jean. In fact, she reminds me of a knight with her strict adherence to codes of honor and combat. Therefore, she starts following Clare to repay the debt of saving her despite Clare’s insistence that nothing of the sort is required.

Jean is someone who quickly became a favorite of mine despite her relatively minimal screen-time and lines. The little we see of her was more than enough to make a lasting impression. Jean is likeable, downright adorable (though that might be just me), with her earnestness and loyalty. She’s an honorable warrior but doesn’t hesitate to cast aside her old ties for the sake of her savior. Her stonefaced countenance belies the kind, fair person underneath. It was entertaining to watch her blind loyalty to Clare grow into more genuine affection. It ended on a tragic note because Claymore is that kinda show sometimes but even the angst was handled quite well, one of the few things that made sense in the disastrous anime finale. In fact, Jean herself is one of the few things that made sense in the finale. I also ship her with Clare sue me she’s a better option than Raki on any day

04 Ilena

ilenaSeeing the same thing at that time and place, either moving forward or running away… I suppose that’s what separates those who are fit for battle from those who are not.

Ilena is one of the Claymores from Teresa’s time and was ranked second (and then third) in her generation. Like Teresa, Ilena first shows up first during the flashback arc. She, along with three other top-ranked Claymores, is assigned to hunting down and killing Teresa. For a while, it seems as if Ilena is killed by Priscilla but a chance encounter in the present time brings Clare to her. She mentors Clare for a while, teaching the latter her signature technique and eventually sending her off with a very odd parting gift. As in she cuts off her one remaining arm and gives it to Clare as a replacement for her lost arm. Yeah…

Ilena is something of a stickler for rules as she thinks that Teresa should allow herself to be killed as per their Organization’s decree irrespective of whether or not she deserves it. But that attitude seems to disappear after the fiasco with Priscilla and Ilena’s own near death. Ilena is of the calm, quiet archetype. She seems to be a highly pragmatic person, prone to carefully evaluating situations and acting accordingly. She’s also quite smart and perceptive which helps with the aforementioned attributes. She herself admits that she feels very little in the way of passion and her largely unaffected disposition plays a significant part in her fighting style as well. But despite of this, she’s not heartless which is made clear by her treatment of Clare.

Also, I just can’t not respect a person who can manage to squeeze into this with just one arm. Some mornings, I can barely put on a shirt with both.

05 Miria

miriaMiracles aren’t meant to be wished for. They’re meant to be created by our own power.

Miria is a Claymore from Clare’s generation. Though ranked pretty high, Miria’s doubts about their controlling Organization’s motives and her inquiries into the matter land her on their shitlist which then leads to her being sent on a suicide mission along with Clare and two others. Since we wouldn’t have a story otherwise, the suicide mission turns out to be a success and the four Claymores part as friends… and then reunite some time later on another high-risk mission. Poor girls can’t catch a break.

Miria, known as Phantom Miria for her signature speed-based fighting style, is remarkable for her initiative. Despite the risks, she doesn’t hesitate to do the right thing even if that involves going against the very group that made her what she is. She’s not reckless in her pursuits, instead using a more surreptitious and thoughtful approach. Miria is also a very good leader which is particularly evident in the fight against Rigaldo. She genuinely cares for her sisters in arms and most of her rebellious actions are oriented towards the well being of her comrades. Even though Miria is a character who almost fades into the background when sharing the stage with some of the show’s more noticeable personalities, she is nonetheless an important figure who is commendable for her compassion and bravery.

Making this into a Top 10, we have:

06 Ophelia – Seven shades of hot crazy but I like her anyway

07 Galatea – Who doesn’t like a polite and serene gal who’s also badass

08 Isley – He’s a dick but he’s a likeable dick

09 Deneve – More on the quiet side but charming all the same

10 Flora – Cute, sweet and will kick your ass with a smile

I think the anime’s premature ending and my reticence to read manga has deprived me of a number of great characters in this series. I’m still hoping for another season even though chances of that happening are practically non-existent.

 

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About D

Just another avid anime fan.
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16 Responses to Character Appreciation: Claymore

  1. I must admit, I really like Claymore as a series, but the ending felt a little like a cop out to me. I’d be interested in reading the manga too though,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. raistlin0903 says:

    Okay, this has to be some kind of sign. I might have the chance to buy the entire manga box set of Claymore. But as I can only spent money once, I have been doubting whether or not I should buy it. And now I see this post😀 As it contained a spoiler warning I did not read it entirely, but looking at the art for (what I assume to be the Anime) it looks very nice. Have you by chance read the Manga too, and is it worth reading?

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I’ve been trying to think of some sort of quote/lyrics about signs but best I’ve got is Britney Spears so I’ll refrain.

      I haven’t actually read the manga but after finishing the anime, I read through the TV Tropes page (yeah I have that weird habit)which was spoilery as all hell and it sure sounds amazing. The anime is great as well except for the rushed original ending whereas the manga seems to follow a more organic route.

      Like

      • raistlin0903 says:

        Haha, had to laugh at that Britney Spears comment lol 😂 Well….I think I’m going to give it a try. The box looks pretty amazing, and so does the Art, and I can get a pretty good deal for it as well. Thanks for your comment and the great post 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. remyfool says:

    (I hate to be that guy but I think you forgot Jean’s quote, I think)

    I never got around to watching the anime and hearing about the cruddy endings had me thinking it’s best if I don’t. But the manga was amazing and I’m glad I stuck with it for all these years. I totally understand your TVTropes skimming tendency, too, haha.

    This was a great list. It’s hard to top Teresa and Clare! However, I would have to say my favorite Claymore was Clarice who shows up after the timeskip (and thus isn’t in the anime).

    Have you ever wondered what sort of ability you would have if you were a Claymore? Whether you’d be an offensive type or a defensive type? Maybe even a sensor type? I know I think about this hypothetical question every so often, but I still haven’t made up my mind, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      Don’t hate being that guy. Thank you for being that guy – I can’t believe I missed that, it was my favorite quote)

      Is it odd that I actually remember Clarice pretty well (from TV Tropes that is). She’s the colored Claymore, right? I can see why you’d like her, even from what little I know, she sounds lovely.

      That…is a very hard question. Offensive types are the ones fixated on revenge/killing yoma when they turn while Defensive types are more focused on survival,right? Considering the general background of the Claymore verse, I’m the kind of person who’d be furious enough to want vengeance but I’m also very into self-preservation so… yeah I don’t know. \_(ツ)_/¯

      Liked by 1 person

      • remyfool says:

        (Oh, alrighty. It is a great quote!)
        Yup, that’s her. Hmm I don’t think that’s weird since she sort of stands out. To be honest, some of the Claymores sort of blend for me. I need to revisit that character page! But yeah I always always have a soft spot for characters who put the needs of their loved ones before their own well being. I’m such a softie.
        Mmm you’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m still stuck answering that question even though I’ve had that question in my head for years, haha. Both definitely have their merits.

        Liked by 1 person

      • D says:

        I’ve always been impressed by how Claymore makes each of its characters stand out despite lacking anime’s usual method of distinction, i.e, varying hair and eye colors. But I don’t know if I’d remember them that well if I read the manga though.

        They really do. Though I must say that the whole regeneration thing is pretty convenient. Otherwise you may end up in Ilena’s predicament…

        Liked by 1 person

      • remyfool says:

        It was a bit of a challenge (for me) when they were all in black and white. But I bet the studio did a better job!
        That’s true. But then there’s still hard limits to regeneration if I recall correctly. Speaking of Ilena, I was so sad when her sneak attack on Priscilla failed ;__;

        Liked by 1 person

      • D says:

        At that point, I was in shock like “Holy shit Teresa actually died!?” to care that much but I was pretty happy when she showed up later like a knight in skimpy armor.

        Liked by 1 person

      • remyfool says:

        Fair enough. A knight in skimpy armor is the best knight…if she doesn’t actually see combat. Teresa could just wear a t-shirt and shorts and dominate still, though.

        I’m not sure if my memory serves me correctly, but I thought the reasoning behind her name was cool. Usually they get a nickname that’s characteristic of their style or whatnot. But Teresa? She excelled in everything and just smiled while making you wonder why you were even born, so they just went with that. What a badass.

        Liked by 1 person

      • D says:

        She sure could. I think it was something like that, yeah. She was so damn good in everything that the only characteristic they could use as identification was that smile. And it wasn’t even an actual smile! Overpowered characters are really hard to get right but they did well with Teresa.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. raistlin0903 says:

    Completely off topic, but I don’t know where to put it otherwise: but I have just nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award you can find it here : https://raistlin0903.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/the-blogger-recognition-award/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Annual Roundup: 2016 | D Talks Anime

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