Claymore, Chapter 2: The Point of No Return – DVD Review

claymore2

Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $29.98 US
Running Time: 115 minutes
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: December 16, 2008

Those that defy and those that follow.

Raised by radical ex-hippie parents, I grew up with the mentality that you either follow along with the herd or you defy the structured order to seek out your own path that would lead to freedom or your own undoing. Mind you, this didn’t mean I gave myself free reign to defy the law but rather it meant that I had the permission to live life the way I wanted to live it. In this regard, I identified with the Claymore named Teresa who, in Claymore, Chapter 2: The Point of No Return, turns her back on the Order she had so faithfully served.

In fact, Chapter 2 broke my heart but not because of what occurs in the first three episodes of this five-episode disc but what it meant to Teresa to do what she did. The second chapter begins with Episode 06 with Teresa of the Faint Smile watching over the frail little girl she has come to name Clare. Yes, this is the very same Clare we met in the first episode and the episodes make it very clear from the start. Much like Clare did with Raki, Teresa has taken the young Clare (voiced by the ever-so-wonderful Cherami Leigh) under her wing. Protecting the young human girl is something that is out of character for a Claymore but she does it anyway for Teresa’s own reasons.

In the forest where the two travelers sleep, a bandit approaches Teresa and rips away at her clothing savagely while Teresa does nothing to stop him. You see, Claymores follow a set of rules that must not be broken for fear of punishment and one of those rules is that a Claymore must never hurt or kill a human no matter what. Before the bandit could try anything, however, it is Clare that comes to Teresa’s rescue and manages to fight off the attacker. Yet when the same bandit turns his attention on Clare, Teresa springs to life.

While seeming emotionally detached and cold like most Claymores, Teresa’s concern for Clare becomes apparent and she decides to leave Clare with a good family in the next town where she kills a Yoma threatening the very forest near the town. Of course, Clare doesn’t want to part from her new guardian but stays only because Teresa explains that a Claymore’s life is never a safe one. As she begins her journey away from town, Teresa manages to spot a group of bandits riding for the very same town. With the Yoma dead, there is nothing to hold back the bandits attacking the town.

It is during a massive massacre that Teresa decides to break the rules of her Order when she sees that Clare is once again in danger. Teresa acts without hesitation and the violence she commits is brutal and without mercy. It’s clear that she would soon be called upon for her punishment by her Order and so she does show up to meet her sisters and their contact. The penalty is death and just as Teresa’s fellow Claymores strike her down, Teresa defies the Order once again and takes out her fellow sisters without killing them.

“I will pay for what I did,” Teresa tells them, “but not today.”

And so begins Teresa’s journey with Clare as a pair of wanderers. It’s unfortunate, however, that their new life doesn’t last very long. You see, Teresa’s defiance makes her a wanted criminal in the eyes of other Claymores and we are quickly introduced to a team of four Claymores given the order to collect Teresa’s head. Among the seasoned and high-ranking Claymore’s is the newly installed Number 2 who is an amateur named Priscilla who starts crying because she arrived at the appointed meeting place late. Seen as a weakling by her other two sisters, there is more to Priscilla than meets the eye.

When they do manage to track down Teresa, the battle that unfolds is both fierce and bloody. While Teresa does have the advantage during the fight with all four Claymores, it is Priscilla that suddenly unleashes the full potential of her powers … which has some rather unfortunate consequences for the Claymore that happens to do this since they can never go back to being human. It is during this battle that tragedy strikes and an Awakened Being is born. I won’t go into it too much but by the end Clare finds herself the lone survivor. Believe me when I say that the events of the battle will definitely leave you stunned.

In the last two episodes, the older Clare is contacted by the Order and given the chance to join a team dispatched to a forest where an Awakened Being is rumored to be roaming. Thoughts of her past and Teresa flood Clare’s mind and she accepts the mission only to find that her sisters of the blade question the very idea of such a lower ranked Claymore is joining them. When they do find the Awakened Being, they discover a most unusual surprise about their opponent. On top of that, the monster is a formidable opponent with enough tricks to give the team a real workout.

Claymore is the type of series that isn’t short on surprises and even more so in this second chapter. By witnessing the tragic events that unfold in this one, we come to understand Clare a little more in a chapter that makes this a story with a lot of substance and great action. We are definitely looking forward to more from this series.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: B+
Clare’s past comes into focus in the first three episodes of Chapter 2 and it paints a rather lovely yet tragic picture that helps shape the type of Claymore that Clare has become when she grows up. Given a chance to go up against an Awakened Being, Clare sets out on a mission with fellow sisters of the blade that don’t see her as an asset to the team. It’s great stuff, indeed.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
Like the first chapter, Claymore is one seriously gorgeous anime and thankfully the DVDs do justice to the animation. This is definitely one of those series that would look amazing on an HD setup.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
There are certainly some strong performances here in terms of the voice acting quality in both the English dub and original Japanese voices. The soundtrack is also quite stellar and I love the ending theme song called “Danzai no Hana” by Riyu Kosaka.

EXTRAS: B
Aside from the trailers and textless opening and closing theme songs, the best bonus features on the disc just so happens to be the fun audio commentary for Episode 08 by two of the English dub cast members and the really interesting interview with Claymore director Hiroyuki Tanaka.

OVERALL: B+
One of the most powerfully emotional chapter’s in the series so far, Chapter 2 of Claymore will not fail to surprise and it certainly will have your eyes glued to your screen. While I enjoy the manga series a tad better than the anime, the excellent production values and wonderful animation make this such an irresistible series that definitely should not be ignored.

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