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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Claymore, Vol. 3: The Hunter Is Prey
Claymore, Vol. 3: The Hunter Is Prey
FUNimation // Unrated // February 3, 2009
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted January 31, 2009 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

When FUNimation announced that it acquired the rights to Claymore the hardcore anime community cheered, but avid otaku didn't really know how to react. It's not a massively popular brand, and it's definitely far from mainstream franchises that typically catch the average anime viewer's attention (in other words anything that appears on Cartoon Network). However, those who knew Claymore was something special hit it right on the nose. The series came out here in the States not too long ago and the first volume was a big success.

Originally airing in Japan during 2007, Claymore is a 26 episode series that stemmed from a manga of the same name, which began in 2001. The show features some intense action coupled with fantasy elements, an interesting concept, well-developed characters, and a dark edge with lots of gore. Each of these components comes together to set Claymore apart from the rest of the current market. It's a throwback to darker series of the past and its approach is very reminiscent of Berserk. I'd go further to say that if you've seen that classic and enjoyed it, then stop reading this review and pick this one up post-haste. It's very similar in many ways.

Up to this point Claymore has been one hell of a ride. The show started out with Clare being introduced to a young buy named Raki, who basically decided to become her manservant. Considering Clare is a Claymore (half-woman, half-demon, all badass) their relationship is rather strained at the beginning, but eventually we are given some insight into her background. The show shifted gears to reveal more information on the relationship between Claymores and Yoma, as well as the underground society that governs the conflict between them. It's there that we were introduced to Teresa and shown some of Clare's history such as how she became who she is today.

Rather than recap everything that happened from the first two volumes I will say that the third picks up right where the second left off with the hunt for something known as an Awakened One. Clare's involvement in a Claymore team trying to track down the Awakened One presents some very interesting moments. The whole affair is brought to a close at the beginning of this third installment, and it's every bit as bloody and glorious as you'd hope it would be.

The battle with the male Awakened One leads to several questions, as well as injuries among the girls. As they discuss the events of what happened it is revealed that they all share similar experiences and it's their pasts that brought them all together. This opens the door for more mysteries of the show, but before we get to see those come to fruition Clare heads back to town to join up with Raki again. Once they're reunited they head out in search of another Awakened One, but this enemy poses more of a threat to Clare than the previous one did. There are lots of surprises in store here and I don't want to spoil them for you. Let's just say that Clare comes to blows with a superior ranked Claymore, and it's not pretty.

Though it only offers four episodes instead of five, the third installment of Claymore is no less gripping and dramatic as those that came before it. Clare is such an interesting character to get to know and the Claymore is a fascinating group in their own right. Every episode ups the ante, proposes questions, and drops intriguing tidbits of information along the way. There's the building sensation that something epic is on the horizon and until those final climactic moments Claymore remains a show that's worth investing time into. Consider it highly recommended, especially if you enjoyed Berserk or are just looking for a solid, violent anime with a great story and well developed characters.

The DVD:

Video:

Presented with its original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, Claymore is a nice little treat on DVD. The artwork, design, and animation from Madhouse Studios are incredible, though I will say that some of the styles are a little generic. As far as the transfer here is concerned, the video quality holds up decently, but it's not flawless in its presentation. The picture is grainy (some parts are worse than others), there's some slight aliasing in parts, and the image isn't quite as sharp as it could have been. Otherwise compression artifacts aren't really an issue, and the colors appear natural and vibrant. This is a nice looking show, but it could have been spruced up just a little more.

Audio:

Claymore hits DVD with English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 language tracks. As far as the dubbing quality is concerned I found that the Japanese selection definitely was the better of the two. Some of the English voice actors just don't present well, or capture the feel of the characters quite right. The Japanese language, however, does just that and hits all the right dramatic notes. Technically speaking, the 5.1 Dolby Digital track is much more robust than the 2.0 offering thanks to a better sense of immersion during battle sequences. Whichever you're looking for, voice quality or sound quality, each track has something different to offer.

Extras:

Claymore's third volume offers the clean animations and trailers we've grown accustomed to. Like the other installments there is an original interview segment here with a member of the Japanese production team. This time around the interview features Sound Director Yasunori Honda, and though this offering isn't quite as interesting as what we saw last time around, it's still appreciated. Rounding out things is another English cast commentary which is hit or miss at times, but ultimately entertaining.

Final Thoughts:

When the second installment of Claymore ended I was anxious to get my hands on the third. Now that the day has finally arrived I can honestly say it was worth the wait. The four episodes here provide a fantastic amount of content from the close of the previous arc to presenting another one, and then giving us a reprieve by the volume's end. This show continuously improves upon itself and the mythos grows with each episode. If you haven't seen the series yet, you definitely owe it to yourself. It's a violent, yet gratifying journey through a fantasy world which is very reminiscent of Berserk. Check it out and you won't be disappointed.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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