Sunday, January 6, 2013

Anime Review: Kaze no Stigma

Somehow, I find myself flooded with various anime and video games I can choose to review from. Hopefully, this will mean I will not run out of ideas for this series for a long time. Of course, as soon as I say that I will probably start forgetting stuff, and will begin the process of running out of ideas again. Anyway, with that in mind I'm planning of trying to keep a routine where every other week I review an anime and on the other every other week (is that how the phrase is suppose to go?) I will review a video game. This will probably last only a month before I am forced to break it because some of the games I play take FOREVER to beat (I'm looking at you Shin Megami Tensei). In any case, today we are looking at an anime about smoking hot girls and breezy assholes... Wait, huh?


The Kannagi family has a long tradition of fighting the evil spirits and monsters by use of their Fire Magic. To them, mastering what they view to be the superior magic art is a matter of honoring their family tradition, failing to master it is paramount to bringing shame to the entire family and is punished by being disowned and losing all familial ties. This is a fact that Kazuma Yagami knows well. Failing to master Fire Magic, Kazuma was thrown out of the Kannagi family and the inheritance of the head of the house as well as ownership of the magic sword Enraiha was passed to Ayano Kannagi. Now a few years later, Kazuma returns to Japan having mastery over Wind Magic, only to find that some one using his own magic art is attacking the Kannagi family. Can Kazuma prove his innocence to the family who abandoned him and to Ayano who hates his guts for being more powerful while using an "inferior art"? Does Kazuma even care about what happens to the Kannagis? Watch Kaze no Stigma (The Stigma of the Wind) to find out.

Let me start out by telling you why you should watch this series, it is because Kazuma is an asshole. He doesn't care one lick about anything that is going on, and would happily leave everything alone if he wasn't getting paid to actually do something. Kazuma is a complete asshole; however, he is a loveable asshole. He is cynical, jaded, and reacts to most situations as a "Yeah, I can do something about this, but it is more entertaining to just watch this unfold." Ayano on the other hand is complete Tsundere (and if you don't know what that is you haven't watched enough anime), which ultimately means that Kazuma knows just how to pester her for maximum personal enjoyment. And that is pretty much the main reason to watch the series, Kazuma pestering Ayano. Outside of that, the series is your standard supernatural action/adventure series with a romantic subplot between the leads and plenty of comedy to spice things up throughout. It is a good version of this type of anime, maintaining consistent logic with it's supernatural elements and none of that silly "I was only using 10% of my true power" crap with their power levels, and, with the exception of the very last episode, never had an incomprehensible "What the hell is this?" plot element. However...

Not visible is the hulked up nerd that they are looking at... I'm not making this up.
It is still a rather basic, by the books supernatural action/adventure series. Almost everything within the series is something you have seen before in some other series, including the heroine's "helpful" friends, the foreign rival both in skill and in romance, and a number of side character who either have only a single personality trait or a single role to play in the series. Despite the more refreshing take on the level of acceptance of magic in this universe (where people can just throw fireballs and few would bat an eye), nearly everything feature in the series is a cliche. True, Kaze no Stigma handles these cliches rather well, but still the series suffers from a lack of identity. Nothing really stands out as unique or superior to it's peers, meaning that it can be completely missed and you would be no worser for it.

As I said, the series doesn't do anything that is unique, it is your standard supernatural/action/adventure/romance/comedy anime (and it is rather surprising how many anime falls into that cross section of genres). That being said, it is still a well put together series that is thoroughly enjoyable. It shouldn't be a #1 anime pick, but if you have time to kill and it was cheap (Kaze no Stigma is in FUNimation's S.A.V.E. group), you can't go wrong. Recommended.

Until next time.

-Crescent, I have a pixie and I'm not afraid to use it!

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