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REVIEW: Kaze no Stigma DVD part 2

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Joined: 22 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:10 am Reply with quote
Kaze no Stigma was a pleasant surprise, I was worried that a show like this which was very under-promoted by FUNimation meant that it was not going to be good, they didn't even announce a cast list and so it was a huge surprise when I was shocked why Funimation didn't even bother promoting this series, especially when everything was handled well.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:15 am Reply with quote
Pretty good review, I agree with you that the best half of this anime would be the 2nd half. It got more serious, more entertaining and showed another side of Kazuma we didn't know about.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:56 am Reply with quote
Fletcher1991 wrote:
It got more serious, more entertaining and showed another side of Kazuma we didn't know about.

Definitely, besides being more serious, it at times it became almost shocking. The way things ended between Kazuma and Tsui-Ling more than rattled me. I found myself sharing Kazuma's feeling of horror that spoiler[he could not do anything while the love of his life was sacrificed / murdered right in front of him.] Scenes like that definitely brought a new level of emotion to the series.

I wondered if the series would have had a second season, if the fan interest or original televised ratings were there to justify it. The reason for my thinking is that towards the end of the last, big battle, Kazuma finds out spoiler[ that Tsui-Ling's final thoughts of him were ones of hate or disgust, at least that's what the chief antagonist (whose name escapes me at the moment) says to him. (whose to say that wasn't a lie to affect Kazuma)]

Not a bad series, it's a shame the author, Takihiro Yamato, is no longer with us. Sad It could have been interesting to see how things played out.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:03 am Reply with quote
Really sad news to hear about Yamato-san's death.

I'm not sure if anyone here saw this story (below) previously - it was published a couple of years ago in Anime Insider mag, as part of the "Flash in Japan" series I used to do. We interviewed Kaze no Stigma's director, Junichi Sakata, just after the show had commenced its run on Japanese TV.

Not sure I'd write it up this way these days (it seems a bit of a cliche stylistically) but the heart was in the right place... Wink


“Burn baby burn!”

So sang The Trammps, in their 1970s standard ‘Disco Inferno’; it’s also what Danny DeVito’s Penguin muttered in Batman Returns (1992). More recently, former Black Panthers in Oakland have cooked up a hot sauce also called – get this – “Burn Baby Burn”.

Although its title - Kaze no Stigma, or Stigma of the Wind - would lead you to believe another basic element blows through its content, the “burn baby burn” turn of phrase is reignited, in spades, in Gonzo’s latest series.

It’s based on the original manga by writer Takahiro Yamato and illustrator Hanamaru Nanto (Miwaku no Sanji Kyokusen), which first sizzled shelves back in 2002, and still smolders five years on.

The narrative pursues the rough-hewn path of our focal protagonist, Kazuma Kannagi. He used to love toying around with fire, and in fact it’s a family business – the Kannagis are all reputable fire-starters with a talent for En-Jutsu, the fine fire arts themselves. Kazuma’s own talent never quite sets the world on fire, if you excuse the pun, and just a few years back he was vanguished in pyro-combat by his more talented cousin, Ayano, in a duel for the right-to-wield Enraiha, a symbolic sword passed down through the Kannagi clan.

Kazuma’s defeat meant more than just extinguished dreams.

He was banished by his dad, Genma – and it’s this seemingly stern family patriarch that fills the role of favorite character for the anime title’s own director, Junichi Sakata.

“Why? Well, he’s the closest to my age!” Sakata laughs in retrospect.

“In truth, he dotes on his son, Kazuma, but deliberately pushes him away. I love this perverse side of him. In his character setting, he’s supposed to be much more powerful than Kazuma, and it’s a pity that we don’t get to see this powerful side of Genma - not even in the original manga.”

Sakata sees the individual character developments throughout the series, in particular those of central players Kazuma and Ayano and, to a lesser extent, Genma, as the ongoing strength of the story, as well as providing some surprising ethical twists.

“I think Kazuma has a much more difficult personality than Ayano,” he muses.

“I’d say the protagonist differentiates Stigma of the Wind from other titles. Although Kazuma is the hero of the story, he is not necessarily the typical “defender of justice” figure. His intentions are self-centered, and they’re based on what he wants to do. For example, he forgives Misao Ogami because of his partiality to her - despite the fact that she was responsible for the death of thousands of people in the past. Although my personal ethical point of view would be otherwise, the worldview of Stigma of the Wind allows this to happen.”

In very Shakespearean fashion, it’s also a bit of a vengeance tale. Kazuma, burned by the experience of exile, hocks his soul to the spirit of the wind, recants his aptitude for fire, and returns as a skilled master of Fu-Jutsu - the wind arts – with, amongst other new gifts, the ability to fly, and a new variant on the old invisibility trick.

It’s also a drawn-out, slowly smoldering love story; no surprise, really, considering that the series has been scripted by Mayori Sekijima, who wrote the anime screenplay for Tsukuyomi: MoonPhase.

The anime is less murky than the original source material, and although the body count is relatively high, it isn’t the conflagration that the manga weaves. And there are other, more essential ingredients here… like a recurring male mojo motif, and bizarrely timed teatime interludes - indicating a more playful sensibility.

“When Gonzo asked me if I was interested in directing Stigma of the Wind, it gave me a chance to read the original manga for the first time,” Sakata reveals.

“I felt that it would make a fun anime, so I decided to take the job.”

There are specific reasons for the show’s success in this country, according to its director, and he cites the individuality of the characters as principle amongst these.

“I believe the characters appeal to Japanese audiences. Each and every one of them, including Kazuma Yagami himself, is unique,” muses Sakata – and then he stoops to add still more fuel to the fire: “As for Ayano, I don’t think the audience has ever seen as aggressive a heroine in other animation titles.”

Burn baby, burn – indeed.

Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:25 am Reply with quote
Kaze no Stigma is one of those "good average" shows that I talked about earlier in the Dragonaut review blog.

The setups and style is used SOOO much that we pretty much know whats gonna happen.
However, if they throw in a new gimmick, or mix up the execution a bit, AND not overuse them to death, then you got yourself an enjoyable series.

Not brilliant like Key said, but fun, possibly relaxing, and an overall good time.

What hooked me was Kazuma. And Ayano.

I never saw Shana, so I couldn't compare them, but Ayano's personality mixed with Kazuma's created one of the better anime relationships I've seen in a long time!

The ending was very acceptable to me, as it doesn't leave things completely resolved but ends things on levels that viewers can appreciate.

Kaze no Stigma basically is another reason I love Gonzo so much: Sure they don't make the bees nees like they used to, but at least they make fun enjoyable series that still, for the most part look and sound good.

Great review, Theron. Great job, Funi! And great job Gonzo.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:18 pm Reply with quote
Good review. I was thinking of buying this series, but the "selling point" of added fan-service makes it a "rent - don't buy" title for me.

It is nice to know about that kind of stuff, and I'm glad I waited for the review of the second set before buying the first.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:47 pm Reply with quote
This is a pretty decent series, nothing really standing out except the lack of glaring negatives that other series are often infested by.

While enjoyable, I have a hard time imagining that anyone would consider rewatching it with the many other legal streams and dvd purchases fighting for your viewing time. A year or two ago, I would have blind bought this, enjoyed it, then have it collect dust on the shelf. Rental is a valuable tool.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:30 am Reply with quote
There are 6 main books in the series and 5 short story compilations. I don't know exactly how much of that that the anime covered, but I'm pretty sure that it covered most of the main books. So, regardless of whether the author had passed away, it would be unlikely that we'd get a second season any time soon (which often means never). And with him gone, there just isn't enough material to do much of anything more. And without a proper ending (which I assume the books don't have since the series wasn't completed), doing more would probably just make it worse since it would be an inadequate add-on as opposed to a proper continuation with a strong conclusion. So, really, I don't that there's any real chance of there being another season of Kaze no Stigma.

However, I love what we've got. It always feels like it's missing that magic something which would make it truly great, but it's quite good nonetheless, and I quite like it. And Key's review covers it fairly well I think.

I'd love it if the novels got licensed, but with the current situation with light novels in the US, that would have been highly unlikely even if the author were still writing more. But with him dead, there's likely no way that it'll ever happen. We'll just have to learn Japanese or be happy with fan translations. At least this is one of the series which is actually getting fan translated. There are plenty which don't even get a bad fan translation, let alone a proper, official US release.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:01 pm Reply with quote
Wow, I remember this show...vaguely. A B- is generous, this thing was a total snooze-fest, predictable and trite. Definitely mediocre all-around, which to me says C+ or lower (not that there's a huge gap in those grades, but I can't help but feel that Theron overstressed the writing quality a little bit here.) You have appealing character designs (and characters if they'd ever develop a bit beyond stereotypes), and a recycled storyline--but at least one that uses magic which should let you do something at least a little interesting. Unfortunately any smidgen of originality shining through the darkness was quickly smothered.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:08 pm Reply with quote
rainbowcourage wrote:
Unfortunately any smidgen of originality shining through the darkness was quickly smothered.

Though that can be said about nearly every anime out there, they did have some originality, at least that's what I thought; that's Tsui-Ling. I was actually expecting her to spoiler[turn to his side, but she didn't and we ended up having a pretty cold ending], since I preferred her over Ayano. Well, I watched it twice, it kept me entertained, and it's not like many anime out there would survive a re-watch with me, well at least not in such a short period.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:22 pm Reply with quote
I thought this show was the definition of "it's OK", but I feel it has tons of rewatch value because of that; it reminds me of Ah My Goddess in that sense. I'm holding out for a complete collection because I learned early on in my viewing that watching a show fansubbed and then watching it dubbed is like watching two different shows. It's amazing.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:48 pm Reply with quote
The best thing about Kaze no Stigma is how relaxing it is to watch.

1. The story is familiar, but to strained or stessed. The characters are cool, fun, and refreshing to see.

2. The look is neat, colorful, and mostly smooth.

3. And the playout is straightfoward, paced well, and hardly no filler.

All of these points equal an enjoyable series!

Many people will constantly beg for 100% original series, and will ignore anything else.

But if one gets tired of learning new elements, specific laws of physics, and brain wrecking plots, one will search for a series that doesn't try too hard, and does it's job pleasantly, yet not confusingly.

Kaze no Stigma is such a series. Gonzo did a great job, and Funi did a great job. Oh, and key did a great job.

A B- suits this series fine. I'd give it an B, but that's because I really liked the Kazuma/Ayano chemistry!
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