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"Claymore" Chapter 4: Still Sharp

by on May 6, 2009

After separating from Raki in the previous installment, Clare has gone undercover to acquire information as to his whereabouts; however all does not go as planned. Learning of a fellow Claymore captured and tortured by an awakened being, the deserter Clare teams up with Galatea, the organization’s #3, to free a former sister-in-arms. In a twist of an ending, Clare finds herself ever closer to extracting her revenge on Priscilla.

In a slight change of pace, this chapter of the series is primarily an action-packed set of episodes. In fact, this disc contains what appears to be the single longest fight in the entire series up to this point. It can be said the difficulty that Clare and Galatea have fighting Dauf—a former Claymore who awoke—stresses both the physical capabilities between those who have awakened fully and those who have not, as well as the real world differences in strength between males and females: if intentional, a clever intertwining of detail.

Without blowing too many spoilers, let it be said that by the disc’s fourth and final episode, Clare’s objectives have forced her north, where she joins an army of Claymores to protect a city from a horde of powerful awakened beings. It’s a perfect set up for another action-packed volume in the upcoming volume 5.

The latest volume keeps the plot moving forward despite the incredible focus on action. Introducing new concepts and characters, it gives the viewer a deeper look into the pasts of the organization’s Claymores, and at just how horrifically powerful the awakened beings are.

Animation and music continue to be both fitting and fantastic. For a series of Claymore‘s length—despite being a Shônen title—the producers obviously had a little more room for consistent and well-articulated animation design, which allows the viewer to concentrate on the moment instead of being distracted by any terribly off-putting mistake in design. The music continues to work well for the series’ many haunting scenes of revelation and action; however, the situation doesn’t allow much room for tones extending beyond an omnipresent dark and gray feel.

FUNimation also continues their splendid vocal work. I am truly stunned by the number of women FUNimation is able to pull in from its Texas pool. In addition to being able to call in big names like Laura Bailey, Colleen Clinkenbeard, and Wendy Powell, FUNimation’s directors have also called in new voices for the occasion, including Brittany Karbowski (of Darker than Black) and Trina Nishimura to voice prominent characters whose arcs should reach beyond the confines of this four-episode chapter.

The US distributor also continues to provide a consistent look with their Claymore DVDs, with the typical black case as well as cover artwork that accords with the previous edition. Extras include the usual fun audio commentary (this time featuring Laura Bailey, Jean, and Leslie Patrick, voice director), trailers, textless versions of the themes, and an interview with the art director, Manabu Otsuzuki.

Claymore is rated TV-MA and contains extreme violence, mention of rape, and torture of women. Please use discretion when renting, buying, and watching.

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