Claymore Vol. 3 & 4 Review

There’s no letting up as Claymore reaches the mid-point of its 26 episode series. A group of Amazonian warriors of inhuman abilities, each bearing a huge claymore sword, Claymore’s are sent out by a mysterious Organisation on tasks to rid towns and villages of dangerous man-eating monsters called Yoma. The Organisation’s motives however are becoming increasingly suspicious, and some of the warriors, including Clare, have more serious challenges to face from other more dangerous creatures, and from dissident warriors from their own ranks. The danger of pushing their abilities too far and becoming monsters themselves also means that their powers must be tightly controlled.

New revelations continue to come thick and fast as the storyline progresses, Clare, having been put to the test alongside a select group of Claymore warriors, discovering from the outset of these episodes even more things she didn’t know about herself and the role she plays for the Organisation. Coming to a realisation that the greater threat lies within, Clare decides to forge ahead with her own mission, one that ultimately takes her north with a group of high ranking Claymores in search of a deadly Creature from the Abyss. The series maintains this kind of pace throughout, neither just playing out according to rote, nor pausing for interludes, but steadily delivering further revelations as the conflicts get deadlier and bloodier.

The animation also keeps up pace with the dynamic storyline, matching the blistering content with excellent effects and bold colouration, the series constantly remaining inventive and particularly imaginative in its superb designs for ever new and threatening monsters. As the number of Claymores seen in the series grow, their generally impassive demeanour and their physical similarity can sometimes make it difficult to differentiate one from another, but they nevertheless retain an edge of tragic melancholy for their fates that manages to bring a welcome a sense of humanity to all the monstrous activities.

The Disc: After the initial 10 episodes on Claymore Vol. 1 & 2, the remaining 16 episodes are divided between collections Vol. 3 and 4 and the final set of Vol. 5 and 6. As with the first set, the usual conversion issues apply, but other than the occasional interlaced frame causing some motion issues, the video quality is excellent throughout, the colour schemes in keeping with the tone of the series, the image appearing relatively smooth and stable.

The audio choices are between a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 and an English 5.1 track. I would have preferred the Japanese track, but the English dub with its dynamic surround mix is reasonably well voiced and certainly preferable to the terrible, stiff, literal translation displayed in horrendous bright yellow subtitles. Apart from the useless Textless Openings and Closings and hard-on-the-ears Commentaries from the American voice actors, there are some good interviews with the Sound Director Yasunori Honda and Art Director Manabu Utsuzuki.

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