OP: “Raison D’être” by Nightmare
ED: “Danzai no Hana~Guilty Sky” by Riyu Kosaka
Story Overview (from Wikipedia because I have no free time for my own written summary):
The setting of Claymore’s story is a fictional world with medieval technology. Politically, it appears to consist of a large number of scattered, apparently independent, towns. In this world, humans coexist with creatures called Yoma sentient monsters that feed on human innards. The Yoma, being shape-changers, can take on human form and live in disguise amongst humans. By consuming the humans’ brains, Yoma can also absorb their memories, allowing them to disguise themselves as specific people without alerting any of their close friends or family.
A nameless and highly secretive organization has created an order of superhuman warriors to protect humans from the Yoma. These warriors have come to be popularly known as Claymores, after the immense claymores they wield. Villages being attacked by Yoma hire Claymores to kill the Yoma for a large fee.
This organization creates the Claymores by implanting Yoma flesh and blood into humans, creating hybrids that are more powerful than the original Yoma, in addition to their weapons training and possibly greater intelligence. A Claymore’s standard abilities include overall enhanced physical prowess (most noticeably, strength), faster healing, limited shape modification and the ability to detect other demons and hybrids. They all wear the same armor and use large claymore swords that normal humans lack the strength to wield, and are characterized by their silver eyes and hair. However, the Yoma powers of each Claymore will increase over time until the Claymore loses all humanity and becomes a powerful, highly intelligent, and incredibly bloodthirsty Yoma called an Awakened. They also constantly run the risk of speeding up their transformations into Yomas if they overuse their powers. A good Claymore will ask a friend (usually a fellow Claymore) to kill them if they sense they are “Awakening” so they would not become a Yoma.
The secret organization is contacted by the town council about Yoma killings and will then send a Claymore to kill the demons, although not every hybrid does so willingly. Upon a successful kill, it then sends an agent to charge a large fee for its services. A town that fails to pay will never receive further assistance and will be left at the mercy of the Yoma. It has been insinuated that the organization themselves send Yoma to the towns that could not pay. The organization is often strict and harsh; hybrids who break the rules (for example, by killing a human, even accidentally or to protect others) will be hunted down by their fellow hybrids. Claymores who cause trouble or Claymores suspected to be on the verge of Awakening will be sent on suicide missions without their knowledge or consent. Various characters throughout the series suspect the organization of being much more sinister than it appears.
Despite saving humans on a regular basis, Claymores are often alienated from and feared by humans due to their incredible powers, their relation to Yomas, and generally aloof attitudes. Humans will often call them “silver-eyed witches” or “monsters”. Surviving family members of a Yoma’s masquerade are often banished from villages for fear that they might be Yoma too. Females who suffer this fate are often forced to become Claymores to survive. Claymores often live unhappy, lonely lives due to their solitary lifestyle and the knowledge that they will eventually die or become monsters. Presumably from one or more of their Yoma blood, their training, and their harsh lives, many Claymores are generally serious and at least outwardly cold. Others become hot-tempered and easily angered, while some other Claymores develop an incredible thirst for blood and become bloodthirsty killers who enjoy taking life, more savage than the Yoma they hunt. Almost all of them avoid any sort of companionship with humans.
The story of Claymore follows the adventures of the Claymore warrior Clare. The plot follows her as she fights Yoma and struggles to hold on to her humanity. Starting in the 3rd volume, there is a flashback to her childhood on how she was ‘adopted’ by the Claymore Teresa. After Teresa rebels against the organization and is subsequently killed, Clare volunteers to become a Claymore using Teresa’s flesh in order to take revenge on the Awakened who killed her. With determination and her human friend Raki by her side, Clare overcomes her low demonic power by honing the skills she inherited from Teresa. As the series progresses, she becomes a stronger and stronger fighter, gradually earning the respect of strong allies and coming in conflict with the shadowy organization, the top Claymores who support them, and many powerful Awakened.
Combined with a serious atmosphere of women with big swords, man-eating demons, mild blood, and the old “older sister, younger brother” relationship, Claymore is a series that I would keep on watching. I felt that the character Clare had a mysterious aura surrounding her that would make you just want to watch to find out. The first episode seemed a little fast-paced though. Heh, I remember when someone compared this to Berserk… it’s nowhere near the quality and is almost nothing like Berserk! >.>
I also found it messed up that the villagers threw Raki out of the town just because he saw a Yoma, afraid of him turning into a Yoma. But it’s in human nature, right?
Overall; decent series.