Here we have our second full review, Kaze no Stigma. My husband loved this series from the beginning because, as I said before, Kazuma is an undeniable badass, so we watched it over the course of a few days. I’m gonna try and structure this review a little bit better than the last full.
What they did well: The first thing that I think this series did really well was breaking the character stereotypes. I’ve already gone over how awesome Kazuma is so I’ll forgo repetition and move on to Ren. If you pay much attention to the pictures in these posts you may have noticed that Ren’s has changed. In my 5 ep review I said Ren seemed to be our resident squishy character. I thought this because in the first 4 episode he hugged people, cried for practically no reason, and got kidnapped. Classic squishy. So I chose a picture that reflected that opinion. But going through the rest of the series Ren proves that he isn’t very squishy at all really. In episode 5 he started fighting, which I though would be a one time event. But later he gets an entire plot centered around him fighting for a girl he likes and from there he starts escalating in cool. He does get kidnapped again towards the end, but he gets kidnapped by Bernhardt up there, the series villian, and only because he discovers his evil location before anyone else has even told him there’s evil afoot. And he doesn’t really get kidnapped in the helpless sitting around looking pitiful sense anyway.
Then there are Nanase and Kanon. Kanon, by the way, is annoying to try to find a picture of, there being an entire anime by the same name. They share a panel in the lineup because they are technically minor characters. But while I first assumed that they would only play the part of ‘Ayano’s friends’ and really have no importance at all, they kind of pulled out of that role a little at the end. Yes they were ‘Ayano’s friends’ and they played that role as one would expect, but they also each had pretty well defined personalities and played an important role in the final story arch. Kanon in particular took the initiative to spy on the bad guy (not Bernhardt, but an unknowing subordinate) and give most of the characters crucial information.
The story was also pretty engaging. Most of the story arcs were sort of episodic in nature but they were still entertaining to watch and they each had some small piece to contribute to the endgame. There were in fact only 4 episodes that I classify as filler and didn’t really enjoy watching all that much.
What they didn’t do well: At the same time, there were some character stereotypes that never cleared up. Ayano began the series as the useless girl, the weakling trying to prove her strength, and the one I forgot in the first review – the girl who doesn’t realize she’s in love even though everyone else knows. And she never got over it. Okay, you might make an argument about the ‘useless girl’ stereotype. She technically gave the final or nearly final blow to just about every big bad in the series…but each time required Kazuma’s help to attain enough strength, or finish it off for good. At then end, when she achieves the divine red flame she uses it to….do nothing really. And when they face off against the final big bad she tag-teams with Kazuma and Ren and doesn’t seem any stronger than either of them. And she stubbornly refuses to acknowledge her feelings throughout. Admittedly, I didn’t like Ayano from the beginning, so maybe I’m being a little harsh, but that’s how I saw it.
We also had Kirika in the mix. Kirika was one of the two characters that I said in the 5 ep review would be important but hadn’t been named yet, the other character was her assistant and not really important. Kirika was supposed to fall into the ‘busty blond’ stereotype, but even then she seemed to fall short. She was the head of the police’s special magic unit or something like that, but she did almost nothing the entire series. Even at the end when she was in charge of the investigation of the big bad, she got all her information from everyone else and then sent them to go and do the work.
Then we have the series itself. Now I really did enjoy this series. As I said there were 4 episodes that were basically just filler and the rest was plot things. But we get to the end and Bernhardt gets away, his organization is experimenting with a demon-human hybrid that they have not launched yet, we know practically nothing about why Tsui Ling was sacrificed, and we have no idea how or why Kazuma made a pact with the Spirit King of Wind. Actually, related to that, there was a line in the last episode or so that implied that he didn’t actually make any real contract, he just woke up one day (after his girlfriend was brutally sacrificed for…what exactly?) with the power to control wind…which, if that was really their intent, is the most obnoxiously stupid thing I’ve ever heard.
They set the series up for a second season but as far as I can tell there isn’t one, and that’s just annoying.
Overall I liked this series, I’d recommend giving it a watch if you have time. However, be prepared for a bit of a let down as far as a solid wrap-up goes.