Claymore: Never Knowing When

Claymore Recap: Clare, Miria, Deneve, and Helen have defeated the male Awakened Being, but are badly wounded for all of their efforts. 

Claymore, Episode 11: Those Who Rend Asunder, Part 3

Episode 11 is something of an exposition chapter to bring everyone up to speed in the wake of the Awakened Being battle.

Miria is a tactician, so she immediately hones in on the suspicious aspects of their battle. The four of them were sent to battle an Awakened Being, despite their rankings being (except for Miria's) unusually low for such a difficult task. This could perhaps be excused if the Awakened Being was particularly weak, but this one was not: he was one of the oldest and strongest of the monsters, simply by virtue of him being a male.

In addition, due to his age and the longevity of his life in these mountains, it seems impossible that the Organization didn't know the magnitude of the assigned task. In which case, Miria has to consider: was this a test, or is the Organization deliberately trying to get them killed?

Other pieces of the puzzle come together. Helen's limb growth ability is off the charts, especially for her relatively low rank. Deneve's healing abilities are equally overpowered and would tax most healers to the limits of their yoma powers. And then there's Clare... Clare who is the weakest of all the Claymore and yet can telegraph the attacks of Awakened Beings well in advance and can easily avoid being hurt in vital areas. This is the technique that made Teresa the strongest of Claymore, now being used by the supposedly weakest of them all.

There are two mysteries here: Why does the Organization want to kill them? And why are these four so unusually powerful? There are two answers that may be intertwined: They are all four trouble-makers in the Organization and they have all four nearly Awakened in battle. Each of them has traveled to the brink of her limits and somehow managed to not turn into the warped, human-eating monsters that Awakened Claymore usually become. Miria theorizes that they are partially Awakened, or half-way Awakened, or... or, well, she doesn't know. No one does; Awakened Beings who still look and act and behave as Claymore aren't spoken about freely in the Organization. For all these four know, they could be the only ones... or their experience could be more standard than they realize.

The other three are disturbed by the news that they may be partially Awakened... and that their full Awakening may be inevitable over a function of time. Deneve, knowing that she will die if she doesn't try, decides to make a test of the hypothesis: she'll push herself to the brink during her healing. If she Awakens, then so be it and the others must kill her; if she does not, then Miria's hypothesis that they can bring themselves back from the brink without becoming monsters is valid. Deneve is taking a huge chance, but the alternative is no chance at all.

And yet, I find the question that Deneve asks intriguing. "Are we supposed to sit around waiting to become some hideous monster and not do anything about it?" Miria responds calmly: "The fact of the matter is, we have no idea when or how we'll turn." She's speaking to the four of them, to their unique circumstances as Partially Awakened, and yet hasn't this always been true for the Claymore? A very few of them sense their turning in advance, with enough time to issue a black card to their most trusted friend, but the bulk of them are taken by surprise in battle or succumb to their wounds after the fact. The mere existence of Awakened Beings proves that most Claymore have no idea "when or how" they turn. And Clare promised us way back in the very first episodes that every Claymore reaches her limit; it's just a matter of time. They can only hold back the monster inside them for so long... or so experience has taught them.

This situation is different, of course. The four partially Awakened Claymore are treading -- as far as they know -- new ground. They don't know what to expect, and they have no way to ask for advice. They have every reason to feel overwhelmed and frightened and I don't want to diminish that. But at the same time, from a certain point of view, their situation has not changed. They're battling their inner demons in a desperate struggle to retain their humanity as long as they possibly can. And thus there's a certain irony when Miria advises them to act like everything is normal, because in a way, everything is.

The biggest difference is that now -- for perhaps the first time in years -- the four women are suddenly seeing how utterly messed up the whole thing is.


Ben said...

You know, I don't see a huge difference between "partially awakened" and "Claymore". Admittedly, I know nothing about the series beyond what I've gleaned from your excellent discussions and a quick stop over at TvTropes, but it seems like there is simply a spectrum of states that a Claymore can be in. On one end of the scale, you have "fully human". This being as no yoma powers and is perfectly sane by the standards of her people. On the other side, you have "awakened". This being is essentially a super-yoma, and is quite thoroughly nuts. But why do there need to be discreet states in between? I feel like all Claymore are just wherever they happen to be on the scale (which, now that I think about it, probably has two dimensions with variables that are statistically, but not exactly, correlated).

Ana Mardoll said...

Probably the people in the Claymore world would agree with you. It's just that the 100% super-yoma-monster spectrum has a somewhat measureable concept of power limits (not unlike Dragonball Z in some ways) and -- to these four womens' knowledge -- it's never been reached before without the "monster" aspect of "super-yoma-monster" being triggered.

Now they're looking at being 100% super-yoma, but still "fully human" in terms of cognitive power and self-control, and they're thinking it's new ground.

SPOILERS: They're probably wrong about that. ;)

Orion Anderson said...

I'm not caught up with the show yet, so forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but the reasoning they are applying seems to be inconsistent. If I understand correctly, the logic goes something like

Question: Why would the Claymores send low-ranked fighters against a powerful ancient monster?
Answer: Because they wanted us dead.
Question: Why would they want us dead?
Answer: Because they knew we were extremely powerful.

That doesn't look very self-consistent to me. Are the characters still confused/panicked or am I missing something?

Ana Mardoll said...

It's a good question. They honestly don't know. It's possible that the Organization wanted them dead because they are troublemakers and prone to near-awakening. In which case the Organization doesn't know about the "Partially Awakened" and they just see the women as a threat to the internal order.

Or it's possible that they do know about the "Partially Awakened" thing and they wanted to either nip it in the bud or test how strong the women really are, since their ranking system has fallen short. This would explain why Galatea was called up to watch the battle and provide a report of what happened.

One thing is clear: the women who are partially awakened are still not stronger than the strongest Claymore in the Organization. This means that they're not stronger than ex-Claymore (Awakened Beings) who were the best Claymore of their day. Being partially awakened has made them stronger than they otherwise would be, but they're not the best of the best.

Bificommander said...

Hmm, it's a shame I don't remember the entire series from when I watched it. So I remember this scene where they decide they can't trust the Organization anymore (really, my suprise is that anyone trusts them at all. They couldn't be creepier if they tried.) but I forgot all the motivation. I agree though that it's a bit weird for them to be scared they're on borrowed time now.

Ben said...

Thanks for the clarification. So would this be like hitting ozaru form and still being able to think? Because as I remember, bad guys in DBZ* could do that, while the good guys (usually) couldn't. If that were the case, we would have three possible super-yoma states: standard awakened being who has no control over her actions, evil awakened being who is in total control and still wants to kill everyone we like, and good awakened being who is in total/near total control and wants to stop the badies.

*As to DBZ, I also remember reading that Toriyama blew up all the scouters specifically because he hated pigeonholing all of his ludicrously strong characters.

Bificommander said...

Side note on those scouters: I kinda liked them, but I could've respected the decision if it wasn't always so hideously obvious that one party in the fight was far stronger than the other. Like Naruto did early on, they could've had some nice fights where one side won because he was smarter, rather than that he had one extra level of transformation that multiplied their powerlevel by a nice even number.

The only time I can remember DBZ going for a 'stronger but not better' point was laughable, when the planet-crushing powerhouses that moved at a significant fraction of the speed of light even without teleportation were somehow hampered by increasing their powerlevel by making their muscles to big. Much like I didn't like the point in Claymore that men were stronger Claymores than women, because it seems silly that any human portion of their physical strength has a large effect on their total supernatural strength, I found it ridicilous that by that point their movement would be hampred by the weight of their muscles.

Anthony Rosa said...

By the way... I eagerly await the discussion of the episode after this.

I mean... I'm not gonna say anything specific due to the spoilers, but Ophelia is just... I'm not sure how to express how freaked out and disturbed I was without spoiling anything.

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