Content Note: Intense Torture, Strong Violence, Sexualized Violence
Claymore Recap: Clare is on the run from the Organization and is looking for Raki. This is the first episode of the Riful arc.
Claymore, Episode 15: The Witch's Maw, Part 1
Episode 15 opens with Clare looking for Raki.
This is significant, and I think is derived directly from the lessons she learned in her battle with Ophelia and in her training with Ilena. Clare hasn't abandoned her mission to defeat Priscilla, but she's not pursuing it with single-minded determination anymore, either. She's thinking about the one person alive who cares about her, and she's going to make sure he's safe and well before she continues any further. It's a character growth that I appreciate.
In a large town, Clare decides to take a room at the inn to give her time to question the townspeople thoroughly about her missing "brother". And there's a nice little piece of world-building here: the innkeeper remarks on how strange it is to see someone searching for a lost loved one. "These days, even if parents or siblings go missing, it's normal to give up on them as a lost cause." I don't think this is a statement on how callous all the humans are in this 'verse; I think it's more a statement on how a dangerous world packed full of deadly monsters would naturally re-calibrate the thinking a little. In the Claymore 'verse, if someone goes missing, they pretty much are dead... and 'finding' them can be dangerous, since yoma so frequently take on the appearance of their victims.
This is one of those direct hints that maybe this world is so different from ours that the normal rules of 'morality' might struggle to apply here. I mean, sure it's wrong for the Organization to take orphaned girls and torture them against their will into powerful half-monster warriors, but isn't the orphan mortality rate something like 95% in this world? And doesn't it serve a greater cause, protecting future orphans from having to lose their parents? It's a thorny question.
Of course, another side of the equation is the question of whether or not the Organization makes the world worse. At the moment, all we know of are normal yoma, who vary in strength and size but can be matched individually against even the weaker Claymore, the Claymore themselves, and the Awakened Beings, who are powerful Claymore set loose to wreak havoc on humanity. As powerful as the yoma are against the humans, even the hungriest among them eat maybe a single human a day. The Awakened Beings, on the other hand, destroy entire cities in a day in order to slake their thirst. Are the Claymores a justifiable weapon against the yoma if they will inevitably -- on a long enough timeline -- turn into far greater monsters?
The innkeeper in the town warns Clare -- thinking she is human -- that there are Claymore in town. Claymores don't usually attack humans, of course, and they may be fighting on the side of humans, but it doesn't change the fact that they're still half-yoma.
When a Claymore staggers into town after being gone a half-day hunting an Awakened Being, and collapses bleeding in the street, it is Clare who rushes forward to catch the young woman and lower her gently to the ground. The other villagers hang back, confused and frightened and appalled. To us, the viewer, it's easy to think that they hang back because they are startled by the level of violence that has been inflicted on this young woman's body. After all, they're not warriors; Clare is. And yet... this world has been established as more violent than anything we know; a world where missing parents and siblings and children rate little more than a sigh and a shrug because they're probably passing through a monster's intestinal tract by the time you notice them missing.
Do the villagers hang back because they are horrified at the violence, or because they are afraid of the Claymore? They have a perfectly good reason to be afraid: wounded and dying Claymore are in serious danger of awakening, and though the 'official' word from the Organization denies that Claymore and yoma are related, one has to think that maybe these villagers might know a thing or two more than just the official story.
Does Clare rush forward and ruin her disguise because of an old sense of loyalty to her comrades, or because she thinks it's the right thing to do? The dying Claymore begs Clare to rescue her friends, who are all still alive in the clutches of the yoma. When the young woman passes, Clare asks the townspeople, "Someone please take care of the body. She's gone now, so you have nothing to fear. Give her a human burial." She asks them to treat the dead girl with more compassion than they felt free to give her when she was alive. And then, even knowing that it will delay or possibly prevent her from finding Raki, she heads towards the mountains. These Claymore may mean her ill, but she can't ignore their situation or leave them to die.