But here’s the review anyway.
One of the more popular mainstream anime titles in 2007, Claymore is enjoyed by both males and females alike. The original manga, by Norihiro Yagi and serialized in the now-defunct Monthly ShounenJump, is a dark fantasy one featuring women half-demon warriors, the eponymous Claymores, bound to a mysterious syndicate. The syndicate issues orders to these warriors, to slay the man-eating demons which plague their world. But it isn’t that straightforward as the half-demon warriors do have a tendency to become full-fledged ones themselves if they lose control. The story mainly follows one youthful Claymore, Clare, on her mission to seek vengeance.
Claymore was already very popular because of its great battle sequences, beautiful ladies and riveting plot twists, despite the overall story being just as simplistic as the average Shounen Jump series like Naruto and Bleach. Its graphic violence, which often explicitly shows appendages torn off and organs ingested, is also another boon for the readers yearning to graduate from the pop-corn nature of the other Jump comics. In 2007, Madhouse released the anime version of Claymore, to mixed reviews.
While the anime drew quite a strong following to the series, loyal readers of the original manga was appalled at the changes in story, characterisation and most of all, the anti-climatic final battle and abrupt ending. Nevertheless, the overall popularity of Claymore was still significantly boosted.
In December 2007, Megahouse released a 1/8 PVC figurine of the protagonist Clare. Megahouse’s Excellent Model series generally releases mid-to-high quality figures of action/sci-fi manga and anime characters. This is in stark contrast to many others in the industry, which focuses on “moe” figures of erotic game females and other characters which appeal more to the hardcore otaku. This is the reason why I’m such a big fan of the EM series and Megahouse, even if their general worksmanship is a tier below the top firms such as Alter and Maxfactory.
The figure retailed at 5500 yen (72 SGD), quite a reasonable price considering its overall quality and number of parts. The figure sold extremely well, and is sold out at many places.
Clare stands at 18 cm, and is clad in her trademark gray Claymore bodysuit complete with silver armour. The silver armour, on her shoulders, wrists, skirting and boots are plastic painted with metallic silver, such that it is quite a matt finish. This is great, as nobody expects iron armour to be shiny except for ceremonial purposes perhaps, and this is faithful to the original character.
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Her right shoulder armour can be removed, as it is attached via a peg to her right arm. The right arm comes in two versions, the first being Clare’s original arm and the other, Irene’s arm which was given to Clare after her own was destroyed. Yes, arm transplants are apparently the norm in the Claymore world. Irene’s arm differs in that it is covered in leather strappings while Clare’s original arm has the grey bodysuit and armour. Personally, I’m a fan of asymmetry and thus the Irene arm is put on for my own figure.
The other removable parts are her cape, which doubles up as a sword holder, and her sword itself. Her sword is painted in the same colour as her armour, and very sharply moulded. The most obvious feature is its awesome length, which is slightly longer than Clare herself. While probably not feasible in real life, the idea of a slim girl wielding a huge sword is a very attractive one, probably accounting for a significant portion of the series’ popularity. Clare can either hold her sword or stow it on behind her cape. There are however a few issues with regards to this.
Nowhere on the box or in any instruction manual states how to insert the sword into the sword holder. I tried just sliding it in, and the metallic paint got scratched severely on the blade. It took me a long time to realize that the hilt of the sword could be removed from the blade and the two pieces reconnected inside the holder. I wish Megahouse would put some instructions, as I expect plenty of people to have the same problem as me. The 2nd issue is the actual sword holding. The grip, to put it bluntly, sucks. The sword falls out easily and the sharp end on the hilt scratches the cape if you aren’t careful.
Clare is attached to her white ABS base via just two pegs on her right leg. This seems to be sufficient to maintain her upright posture. Her base is rather dull though, but typical of the Excellent Model series – just a plain base with the logo of her series.
The best part of this figure is probably the face. The manga and anime version of Clare has actually significantly different faces, and the figure seems to follow the manga-style just that slightly more. Her eyes in particular are sculpted very differently from the run-of-the-mill figures, with rather deep pits and a sideways oval shape. To put it simply, it looks like a doll face rather than an anime face and this is the style which Claymore really should have. Clare’s nose is extremely pointy as well.
Overall, the sculpting and paintjob is quite good on this figure, and the interchangeable parts do provide some variety. Her pose is average. The issues with her sword can be ironed out once you have figured out what to do, so that isn’t a lasting problem. I would strongly recommend all Claymore fans to purchase this figure, if they still can, that is.