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Claymore Anime vs Manga – what’s different? Which is better?

Claymore, Vol. 2: Darkness in Paradise

With manga that has been turned into anime, there is always an argument about which is better. Claymore is no different.

Claymore is one of those anime that has some glaring differences between the manga version and the anime version. Each version has its own merits and we’re here to break it down for you.  

Of course, manga & anime both have their own unique style and appeal to different audiences. While anime is generally more popular with younger audiences, manga appeals to a wider range of people – especially in Japan. While many otakus are generally into anime before the manga, you can’t just do away with the other. This is so especially if there’s a huge difference between the manga and anime versions!

Differences between Claymore anime & manga illustration

The Illustrations in the anime

Claymore Complete Box Set: Volumes 1-27 with Premium

One of the reasons Claymore is such a well-loved anime is because of its illustrations. I personally really enjoyed the graphics of the anime. I believe you could consider its graphics as some of the best of its time. It really does come across as sumptuous, despite being an anime released at a time when there weren’t complicated gadgets to make things easier for animators. 

Claymore’s animated version is absolutely superb for its time.

You can really see that the producers and the animators didn’t skimp on the budget when developing the details of animated Claymore’s illustrations. 

The details in the animated fight scenes can really put you on the edge of your seat. The fine details of the characters are aesthetically immaculate, making them even more appealing to the audience. 

The Illustrations in the Claymore manga

Claymore, Vol. 1: Silver-eyed Slayer

While the drawing in the manga version is still pretty good, there are just as many parts where I feel it could be  improved. But then again, the manga was released in 2002, and its production even started earlier than that. So perhaps we need to cut it some slack for its time.

Don’t get me wrong, the manga version is still pretty good – in my opinion, even better than most of the manga that has been recently released. 

But I am saying that when I tracked down Claymore’s manga after finishing the anime, I did let out a big sigh when I realized that the manga version is just not as good as the animation in terms of drawing. 

However, if you can pass the aesthetics of the drawings in the manga, I think you’ll soon realize that the manga version is more powerful than the anime version in other ways.

One thing we need to keep in mind is that fewer people are working to develop the manga than in the anime. The anime version is really well-budgeted, and the entire production in Claymore is well-executed (except, perhaps, for the ending!) 

When I consider the aesthetics of the manga and the anime, I have to highly recommend starting with the anime before you approach the manga version. You really can get a better overall visualization of the story, especially the fight scenes.  

Claymore anime vs. manga story – the finer story details

Claymore, Vol. 19 (19)

When you watch an anime, you generally assume that you have all the important information included in the plot. But in reality, you generally find out that there are some details that are left out in the anime that were in the manga. 

This is a common problem with manga that have anime versions. It’s one of the reasons why a lot of otakus search out the manga versions of the anime they love. 

But in Claymore, with a few exceptions, the anime version is very true to the manga. 

The main plot differences between Claymore manga vs. anime

Claymore, Vol. 23 (23)

One exception is the backstory of how Miria almost awakens. 

In the manga, the story is very short. You barely get any detailed information, aside from the fact that Miria almost awakens and that Ophelia provokes her into awakening. 

In the anime, the back story is well integrated into the main story. The anime gives more information as to why Miria almost awakened, and to how she is able to suppress her awakening. 

This detail makes a huge impact in the following scenes where Clare fights Ophelia. 

But, other than how backstories are integrated into the story, the anime is almost exactly like the manga.

Differences between the story ending of Claymore manga vs anime

Claymore, Vol. 11: Kindred of Paradise

The ending of the anime version of Claymore is one of the biggest disappointments for hardcore Claymore manga fans. There are just too many details that are way too far off from the original story.

 It’s as if the anime is intended not to have any continuity at all. This is why many fans strongly believe that there won’t be any more episodes of Claymore coming our way any time soon  – although many of us hope there will be another season for Claymore.

The diversion of the story starts after the defeat of Regaldo – the silver-eyed lion— in the Battle of the North. 

In the manga, all the surviving warriors hide from The Organization. They do this by making them believe that all the warriors from the Battle of the North campaign have been wiped out by the army of awakened beings that devastated the town of Pieta, in the country of Alfons. 

After the Battle of the North, the 7 warriors out of 24 that survived the carnage take pills to suppress their aura. They hide themselves for 7 long years before coming back to fight both the organization and the awakened beings. 

Claymore manga vs. anime: Galatea

In the Anime, Galatea is sent by the organization to Alfons. Galatea is sent to monitor what is happening on the battlefield against the army of awakened beings.  Galatea observes everything and finds out that Clare has partially awakened. Priscilla manages with great difficulty to reach Pieta. 

When Priscilla and Clare try to find each other, they end up in a volcano. Galatea reveals herself to guide Miria, Deneva, and Helen to where Clare is. This whole episode exists only in the anime and cannot be found anywhere in the manga. 

Claymore manga vs. anime: Jean’s Death

Jean’s death is one of the most tragic parts of the entire Claymore anime. If there’s one plot point that the anime really does justice, it is the death of the character of Jean. 

In the manga, Jean dies after her stomach is gouged out by Regaldo. She dies in an instant which causes Clare to go on a rampage and partially awaken. 

I have to admit, I felt really disappointed reading this part of the manga. Jean is an integral character, especially to Clare. But for some reason, she is just so easily killed off in the manga.  

In the anime, Jean still receives the same mortal wound, but she doesn’t die. And, really, this makes sense. Jean is a top-ten ranked warrior which makes her far superior to any ordinary warrior. She even receives a far more lethal wound in the “Witch’s Maw” scene. So, to me,  it doesn’t make sense that she would die so easily in the manga. 

After Clare half-awakens and hunts Priscilla, Raki and the wounded Jean follow Clare into the mountains. Their goal is to bring Clare back alive and human.

When Clare is about to kill Priscilla, Raki intervenes to stop Clare from killing Priscilla. Unfortunately, Clare is unable to control her Yoma powers and eventually attacks Raki. Raki is saved by Jean by taking on Clare’s attack. Jean is tragically impaled as part of the process. Jean forces Clare to match her Yoki power and, in the process, succeeds in restoring Clare to humanity. 

This causes too much strain for Jean’s body to survive and she passes away. This leaves a great scar on Clare. Clare vows to live her human life to the fullest, in honor of Jean’s sacrifice. 

Claymore manga vs. anime: Raki’s reunion with Clare

Raki’s reunion with Clare in Alfons represents a big difference between the Claymore manga and anime. 

In the anime, Raki follows Priscilla, who has escaped to hunt humans. Raki eventually finds out that Priscilla is an awakened being. In spite of this, he still can’t leave Priscilla .Raki feels pity for her. Priscilla continues her hunt and ends up in a village close to Pieta where a slaughter of 24 Claymore is under way. 

When Priscilla senses Teresa’s aura within Clare, Priscilla resumes her awakened form to hunt Teresa. Raki follows her to Pieta and ends up seeing Clare in a half-awaken form. When Clare goes off to kill Priscilla, Jean and Raki chase after Priscilla and Clare.

In the end, Clare and Raki reunite and hide themselves from The Organization. 

All of this is dramatic and heartwarming in the anime but you’ll find no such thing in the manga!

In fact, at this stage in the manga Clare and Raki are far off from meeting. It’s only in the very later part of the manga that Clare and Raki reunite. 

In the manga, Priscilla also never meets Clare in Alfons. Only after the death of the 3 Abyssal ones is Clare able to meet Priscilla again. 

Claymore manga vs. anime: Miria returns to the Organization 

In the ending part of the anime, Miria decides to return to The Organization in order to gather more information. She pretends to be a loyal warrior while she plans to act as a mole.

Again, this is unique to the anime. 

In the manga, Miria hides from The Organization with the rest of the 7 surviving warriors in the north. It is later revealed that she has planned this period of hiding, from well before the time of the fight with the army of awakened beings happens. This is because she knows that the organization has sent the 24 warriors to Pieta in order to die. 

Claymore manga vs. anime: Helen and Deneva

Helen and Deneva also have different endings in the anime version of Claymore. 

After fighting Priscilla, the four warriors (Clare, Miria, Deneva, and Helen) go their separate ways. Clare decides to live her human life, Miria spies on The Organization, and Deneva decides to train some more. Deneva has no plan to return to The Organization.

Helen vows never to return to The Organization and decides to stay with her best friend, Deneva.  They both go into hiding from The Organization to avoid being purged.  

As mentioned earlier, none of these ever happen in the manga. In the manga, all the surviving warriors go into hiding from The Organization, by suppressing their auras. 

Claymore manga vs. anime: Priscilla

Although I feel that many things go off the rails in the ending of the anime, one thing that the creators managed to nail is Priscilla’s ending.

After losing a lot of Yoki power, and ending up in a weakened state, Priscilla doesn’t die. In fact, after the commotion of reverting Clare to her human form, Isley is able to snatch Priscilla back to safety. Both of them leave Pieta and Raki to Clare.

Despite the differences here between the manga and the anime, the fact that Priscilla is still alive and away from Clare in the anime is a good sign that the creators are leaving room for something to work on. The mere fact that Priscilla is still alive gives direction to Clare’s journey to avenge Teresa. 

Conclusion

Claymore, Vol. 18 (18)

Overall, the anime version of Claymore follows the manga quite religiously until the last 3 episodes. Here, the story abruptly diverts from the manga. 

The anime ending left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans who read the manga. 

For those who haven’t read the manga, the anime version actually comes across well to the very end. 

The ending in the anime seems like it’s intended to have a pleasant closure. Clare and Raki find each other and the other warriors go on with their lives. 

It’s easy to assume that the producers of Claymore anime have no plans to continue the series, because it would mean that they need to make a major diversion to get back in line with the manga. Nonetheless, many fans are hopeful that a new season will be created! The director would just have to find a way to get the story back “on track” somehow…

I count myself very much as being among those “many hopeful fans” who hope to see the Claymore characters return soon!

Contributor

Article by John Salinas.

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