Claymore: The Monster Of Memory

[Spoiler Alert]

I’ve noticed a running theme in a lot of anime. There’s always a distinctive focus on ones’ reasons for fighting. There’s always an episode or two in most action anime in which the characters look back and contemplate why they’re there and why they must fight, usually before a climactic battle or sometimes even in the middle of one. There’s usually very little variation in this formula, but having watched the anime Claymore recently, I was pleased to see that it really does do something different with it.

There’s an interesting quote from Claymore. When Jean explains Clare’s motivations for fighting, she claims that she “fights for the sake of the person she’s lost and the person she doesn’t want to lose.” This creates an interesting dichotomy, a choice if you will. She can choose to fight for the present and to break free of her past or she can allow her past to consume her, and in doing so become a bitter, vengeful monster.

Ophelia’s awakened form.

And when I say that she becomes a monster, I mean that quite literally. If one pays attention to the show, they’ll begin to notice a pattern to the awakenings. They very frequently seem to come with, or be greeted by an overwhelming surge of memories. You could even say that these memories are what keep the Claymores in an awakened state. When Ophelia transforms, she is torn by memories of her older brother and simply can’t escape from that. Not all of the Claymore are consumed by their memories, though. Jean is pulled back from her awakened state to discover a new opportunity for herself, a reason for her to fight in the present, Clare.

Priscilla angsting.

The most interesting characters affected by this dichotomy are Clare and Priscilla, and they act as neat little foils to each other. Priscilla is utterly consumed by her feelings of guilt and desire for revenge, and these feelings blind her and are what make her incapable of seeing that she has, in an ironic twist of fate, become the monster she sought to eliminate. The most interesting thing, though, is that Clare follows a disturbingly similar path. She too is affected by a blind desire for revenge, compelled to “fight for those she’s lost,” if you will, and almost loses herself to it and like Priscilla, becoming one with the monster she’s fought so hard to destroy.

Raki is mostly a pile of pusillanimous shit.

But Raki gets in the way. He represents the opposite side of the dichotomy, the choice to “[fight] for the person she doesn’t want to lose.” Raki is what pulls her back from the abyss, he is her reason for fighting in the present. That’s the whole purpose of his character, he exists to avert the tragedy of Priscilla in Clare. So, I think the lesson we can all pull from Claymore is that living in the past will only make us bitter. Instead we should focus on living for something in the present and making the most out of that. So go out and be merry, my friends. After all, you only live once.

YOL-chokes- I can’t do it guys. I’m sorry.

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