"Kaze no Stigma" ("Stigma of the Wind") is GONZO's animation of the light novel series. Unfortunately, the creator of the light novels passed away, thus abruptly ending them. We thank the creator for the series and hope he/she rests in peace.
Story: Ayano, heir to the mighty fire magic-using Kannagi family, gets a major shock when her cousin returns after a long absence. Due to the fact that he was unable to wield fire magic, Kannagi Kazuma (now Yagami [heh heh] Kazuma) was exiled. However, he is now able to harness the powers of the wind, another element entirely. Join Ayano and Kazuma on their romp through Japan as they solve mysteries from their trusty Mystery Machine with their pet dog, Renbert-Doo.
Sorry about that. Disregarding that slight misstep, they actually fight to protect themselves and their friends. Yeah. On the bright side, this is basically what happens through the whole thing (is that really good?). On the downside, it gets pretty stale.
Animation: Edit: DISREGARD EVERYTHING I WROTE HERE BEFORE! [...] NOW START REGARDING AGAIN! Character designs are completely uninspired: Ayano's pink, gravity defying hair and slender build are unoriginal. Kazuma's hair is a little more interesting, but kind of irked me out when I first saw it. And I feel like his eyes change color. Ren looks like a cute little boy. Catherine McDonald (ahem), the only American in the show, has blonde hair and blue eyes. Japan, here's a little tidbit--WE DON'T ALL HAVE BLONDE HAIR AND BLUE EYES. As a matter of fact, most of us don't. Background art is merely functional and everything looks anime-like.
The fights are of poor quality, and even simple character movements can look awkward. Another pet peeve is that often a character will stand still, with only his/her mouth moving. It just looks weird. And there are a few minor ecchi moments throughout. Catherine's ample bosom bobs up and down and up and down. There are quite a few panty shots, even though that's kind of normal in anime nowadays. In one episode, Ayano's long gown is cut so short her pantsu are visible from every angle. It feels completely out of place. On the other hand, the wind and fire looks nice.
Sound: The OP is annoying, and the engrish in it sounds ridiculous. The ED fares a bit better, but still kind of sucks. OST is just stuff played, save for a few good moments. The Japanese seiyuu do a fine job, with the exception of Catherine's voice and Ayano's voice. Catherine sounds too much like anyone else (meaning it's not bad, but not good either), and Ayano sounds like a girl half her age. However, Ayano's voice does grow on you. English VA is fine, though at times sounds too scripted. Catherine's voice is a HUGE improvement, with Caitlin Glass giving a great performance (which sounds NOTHING like Haruhi; I'm surprised, too). Ayano's fits more in English, I'd say. So I guess it's a draw. English and Japanese are both good, but nothing more than that.
Characters: Please note. There is practically zero development in the series, so I won't mention that.
Brown-haired boy: Yagami Kazuma; Pink-haired girl: Kannagi Ayano; Blonde-haired boy: Kannagi Ren.
Yagami Kazuma: His bad-boy personality is generic, but certainly works. For the majority of the series, he's very kind and it's obvious he cares for his brother and cousin. His wind magic is cool and he has a firm grasp on how to use it. He also happens to be obsessed with money. (As in, he likes it. Not Tendo Nabiki obsessed.)
Kannagi Ayano: Many people consider Catherine the official bitch of the show, but Ayano annoyed me more. She is dense as heck--it's so obvious she loves Kazuma and he loves her, but will she admit it? Hell no! Her Enriha (or however it's spelled), the sword of Excalibur fire, looks cool and all, but the stupid transformation sequence kind of ruins it. It could be so much worse (I sat through every single "Tokyo Mew Mew" transformation. It could be SO much worse), but it's still annoying.
Kannagi Ren: The kind little boy who loves his brother, his cousin, his friends, his countrymen, his subordinates--I'm getting carried away. He has so much potential as a character, but his lack of a third dimension made him an unsympathetic character.
There are more characters, but these are the "big three." The side characters are more interesting/sympathetic/better, though.
Overall: Not a great series by any stretch, but it's interesting enough to keep someone involved. Also note, it would probably fashion a higher rating had it been continued.
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