Monday, July 15, 2013

Kaze no Stigma

Kaze no Stigma, otherwise known as Stigma of the Wind, was a 24-episode anime series released from April to September of 2007. It follows Yagami Kasuma as he returns to his family, the Kannagi clan, after 4 years as a vagrant. Though he was banished for the inability to master his family's power, the Enjutsu (Blaze Technique), he has since changed his last name and mastered Fujutsu (Wind Technique). Though the family looks down upon him for this, they are eventually forced to accept him due to a need for his power.

Kazuma gets his immense source of power by being a Contractor; that is to say, he made a deal with the Wind God to use his powers. It has also been shown in the Light Novels and briefly late in the anime that Kazuma has mastered other forms of elemental magic.
Kaze no Stigma was based off a light novel series that was sadly cut short in March of 2010, after its author died the previous summer. As such, the anime only covers part of the series, and ends feeling rather unfinished, as if a second season was planned but never came to be. Though the ending was bittersweet, the series itself was nicely done, though a bit pervy at times (as is to be expected from light novels, as most of the time their subject matter runs a little hotter than the average manga). The anime covers a couple plot arcs, from a rash of murders to a doomed love story. All the while, Kazuma is partnered up with his little brother Ren and second cousin Ayano, the new heir to the Kannagi family sword after defeating Kazuma 4 years prior. Ayano at first hates Kazuma and loathes having to work with the flippant traitor, but eventually develops feelings for him (making for a rather awkward romance).
Ayano has a bit of a temper.
Kaze no Stigma has an alright soundtrack, not particularly memorable. The opening got on my nerves after awhile, but not enough to really be a bother. The voice acting is your standard fare; being distributed by Funimation, I suppose it gets caught up in their flurry of titles. The animation and art style suits the fast-paced action: lots of bright colour, triads, and characters are sometimes catagorized with a colour based on their power (Kazuma's wind powers give him lots of blue, Ayano's bright reddish-pink hair being a sign of her firey personality). As the show progresses, flashbacks are shown alluding to Kazuma's mysterious past, which are eventually talked about but not always resolved.

The three make a great team.
If I had one beef with Kaze no Stigma (besides the unfinished nature, but that's not really the series' fault), it would be the relationship between Kazuma and Ayano. I realize that in an action series with plenty of fanservice it helps to have a romantic angle, just to balance it out, but making them cousins (even second cousins) just creeps me out. It didn't work with the Sailor Moon dub and it doesn't work here. If anything, it serves to distance the viewer from the series due to the awkwardness of it all (unless, y'know, that's your thing).

Kazuma enjoys teasing Ayano, which is cute and funny when it stays that way.
Kaze no Stigma is available from Funimation in North America, or from Exiled-Destiny, Shinsen Subs, Reimu, Shinobi Fansubs, Z-Z, a-S, AMF (Spanish), Jisedai no Fansub (Spanish), and Zone Underworld (Spanish).

This happens quite a bit.

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