Claymore: Fighting for a Cause

Content Note: Violence, Partial Nudity

Claymore Recap: Clare and Priscilla have awakened and are fighting on the mountain outside Pieta.

Claymore, Episode 25: For Whose Sake

Episode 25 is an episode that I can only think of as a character study, an episode that explores each character thus far and what motivates them to continue this deadly fight. It's the episode before the end, the second-to-last, and I think it's worth exploring the people within.

Priscilla revels in her awakened form as she fights Clare, seeing Clare almost as an afterthought to her own musings. She sighs that it has been "a long time since my mind has felt so free and clear," and yet she fights out of fear of Teresa, out of fear of "traitors" as she has long since categorized the yoma who appeared to be her own father.

For the many times she insists that she's not afraid of "Miss Teresa", it is nonetheless clear that she is afraid, deep down inside. Her emotions and memories are a garbled tangle: she sees Clare as Teresa, she sees Teresa as the killer of her family, she welcomes Miria and the others as "newly initiated" Claymore and introduces herself as Number 2. When Miria and the others attack her, Priscilla pouts: "You people are the monsters.. All I did was eat a bit of offal. I am far from being a yoma."

Priscilla is a child trained to be a warrior and given a body that she simply did not have the ability to control. She's as much a victim as anyone else in this series, and yet she's a victim capable of destroying almost the entire world in the wake of her rampages. She's the epitome of the Organization's brutal and careless training; a cautionary tale of why the system is fundamentally broken.

Miria explains to the others the significance of Clare's heritage, that she is half-human and half-Claymore instead of the usual half-yoma. She questions why Clare is ranked at the lowest when she is clearly so much more powerful than many of the others in the Organization. Helen agonizes that she promised Clare that she would die as a human and now that promise may no longer be possible. Deneve, still carrying a second sword from the fallen Undine, simply keeps quiet and runs alongside the others.

These three were thrown in with Clare when the Organization decided to test them or kill them, by delivering them into a trap with a male Awakened Being. The women realized that all four had experienced awakening, that all four were trouble-makers within the Organization. Either they were being groomed for something secretive, or they were being actively quashed -- and neither option appealed to them. But even as they were thrown together against their will, they formed a bound with one another in order to survive and thrive in their world with no loyalties and few friends.

Raki and Jean continue slowly up the mountain, slowed by Jean's wounds and Raki's human limitations. Raki asks why Jean cares so much about Clare and Jean replies simply that Clare saved her life: "I am taking this life that she saved and giving it back to her." Raki replies that he was also saved by Clare, many times.

Raki and Jean are two sides of the same coin. Jean wants to die for Clare; Raki wants to live for her. Jean explains gently to Raki that what Clare is doing is not very different: "Fighting for someone precious is what Clare is doing right now. She fights for the sake of the person she lost, and for the sake of the person she doesn't want to lose." Clare is fighting for the memory of Teresa and for the hope of a life with Raki.

Clare fights on futilely against Priscilla, and then watches -- wounded -- while her friends fight in her place. She is frustrated that she cannot help her friends and prays to Teresa, asking what she has become and whether it was all worth it. "If I can't kill Priscilla, then this was all for nothing," she thinks, bitterly. Slowly, the visions of all the people who have died flash through her mind: Teresa, Elena, Ilena, Ophelia... so many dead, and so many more will die if Priscilla cannot be stopped.

"I will kill you... I promise you," Clare vows, but I think she's no longer fighting for Teresa, or at least not wholly. Now there is Miria and Helen and Deneve before her; she senses Jean and Raki coming quickly from behind. Clare's fight is now one of protection, instead of revenge, and she has something more to hope for as a cause than just a check mark next to her lifelong goal.


Beguine said...

Completely off topic, but I remember you mentioning your frustration with the delay in the Harry Potter books being made available as e-books on a post about ableism last week. They're out as e-pubs now:

Ana Mardoll said...

Yes! I'm so excited, I've already bought the set and loaded to my reader! Thank you!

Bificommander said...

The lesson that this situation is caused by the Organisation's methods would mean more to me if we ever got any idea why they use those methods in the first place. They seem to act like cartoonishly evil dicks for the sake of being cartoonishly evil dicks. It's not like ordinary youma seem so strong they couldn't possibly be killed by a squad of human soldiers. The biggest problem are the ascended beings, and those are only around BECAUSE of the Claymores. I understand that the manga at least gives us something the Organisation is preparing for, but I'm not sure they ever explain why they are so gung-ho on their nasty methods to go about that. Why execute the best Claymore you have? Because she killed a few other prototypical rape, burn and pillage robbers? Please, is anyone going to care? It's not like humans trust the Claymores NOW (and they'd probably be more accepting if you didn't train them up to be cold and harsh towards their clients). And the Organisation found this out instantly, but never noticed or cared about Orphelia's psychotic rampages? Probably the latter since they seem to have send Claire to her just to get rid of her.

I'm reminder of two zero punctuation reviews, of resident evil ("You remember those captain planet villains who hijacked an oil tanker and crashed it into the reefs to teach the seals a lesson in complacancy? You ever wonder why they didn't sell the oil at a huge profit and not get beat up by a man in tights") and Aliens ("So the bad guys said to themselves 'okay, the last 50 stupid evil guys that tried to harnass the Aliens as bioweapons all got their brains smeared out on crackers, but I think their problem was not being stupid and evil enough'"). I'm not as lyrical as some about the Serenity movie, but I'll at least grant that they gave the Alliance a motivation for their evil acts.

Ana Mardoll said...

I do enjoy a god Zero Punctuation quote. :D

I always thought the Organization was pulling a monster hunt scam. They've successfully marketed that only they can kill yoma, and they've essentially built a niche market with Awakened Beings.

They don't kill anything unless a contact goes out, which means that villages that can't afford to pony up the money, die. Teresa even hints that villages who refuse to pay up are destroyed soon after - by tipped-off yoma or by Claymore?

And I think it's interesting (and horrifying) that the Claymore are expected to submit to rape, but aren't allowed to carry their payments, because they might be robbed. I see that less as trying to get humans to trust them and more controlling the ultra-powerful-women-warrior-slaves the Organization has bought and created.

Bificommander said...

Hmm, creating a problem and then asking payment to solve it... Could be, but it sounds like rather small fries. The strongest Claymores are supposed to be very far beyond the weakest Claymores, and even those are stronger than normal humans. This Organization is essentially in possesion of the greatest military force we see in the world. Running a scam for occasional pocket-change payments from tiny villages seems rather small potatoes for someone with that much power and that much willingness to have innocent people die by youma's just for your own advantage. Just take over the damn village while you're at it.

It just bugs me that we get such assholish behavior with no justification or meaningfull protest on part of the Claymores. Is the idea that due to their brutal upbringing, the Organization hopes they never bother to talk to each other and conclude that the Organization is treating them like such crap? I guess that happens on a small scale in the anime, but even they just run back to the Organization. And said Organization seems to have no shortage of still powerfull Claymore's to help keep the other members down (and it's not because they get treated any better, as we saw in Theressa's example). And as you said, sending half your fighting force on a suicide mission is just bad buisness. In normal military operations a delaying action might be valuable, but the youma army isn't a conventional army. They don't expend supplies or lay timeconsuming sieges. They kill all the Claymore's, eat them, rest up and move on. You win a day, tops, and the preparation time for the mission took several days. The Claymores they send happen to include our protagonists who accomplish a lot (Taking out the number 2 or 3 of the army will certainly help), but seeing how the protagonists weren't expecting to do that well, I seriously doubt the Organisation was expecting it.

I'm reminded of a short manga series I have, Kazam. Not a bad series all in all. But the ending is weird. It takes place in a desert world, and an important character is a girl who can create water out of thin air. We find she's the daughter of another woman with the same power, who's bascially been locked up beneath the castle to generate water for the kingdom with the help of another woman with psionic powers. That woman went psycho, they beat her, blablabla. And then in the epilogue the new girl is just walking around freely in the kingdom and still providing water for it. So... why did they ever use the basement-setup? The kingdom isn't evil, and the psionic was only doing her job before she went on a rampage. There's no indication that there's any resistance to the new method once the psionic is defeated, nor that the kingdom suffers in any way by having poorer water access. And we never learn why they went with the terrible and psychologically damaging setup when apparently the friendly setup works just as well.

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