Anime Review : Kaze no Stigma

So as I looked at the stack of new releases from FUNimation for this week, I reached a dilemma. I only have time to watch one series, and neither one of these selections particularly caught my interests. So I posed the question to my Tweet Peeps, the people who follow me on Twitter, “What should I review?”

“What’s Kaze no Stigma?”

“Hmm.. Kaze no Stigma sounds interesting.”

“Why don’t you check out Kaze?”

The consensus was pretty clear. I have never watched Kaze no Stigma or have even heard about it up until now. But then again, it looked like neither had most of my Tweet Peeps. So I popped in the series completely blind about what it was or what to expect.

And unfortunately, I found out that maybe there was a reason why I have never heard of this before… (-_-)

The Kannagi family has had a long running history in the Fire Arts, the magical power to control fire and to use it as a weapon. As a child, Kazuma was destined to become head of the Kannagi family until he lost a fight with his younger female cousin Ayano.

Disgraced and disowned by his family, Kazuma gives up the flame and studies the rival discipline, the Wind Arts. But now members of the Kannagi family are being killed off at the hands of the Wind Arts, and they suspect it is their own black sheep seeking revenge upon them. But Kazuma is innocent, and in order to prove it, he must return home to face his family in person.

I always like to start off with the positives, so the one thing I’ve got to give this series credit for is that it looks very good.

I think that they must have rendered the background with the help of 3D graphics because those images were very rich in colors and very sharp with textures. It’s not realistic enough to give off the impression of an Appleseed or an early Gonzo series, but it’s still more detailed than your average background.

The foreground images and characters are done in the more traditional 2D animation style, so there is a very profound difference between the two layers. But instead of clashing with each other, they compliment very well to make one pretty looking anime series. I loved seeing this up-converted onto my HDTV.

But besides for the eye candy, I really can’t see why this series would be worth watching. I found it to be an absolute snooze fest of a generic title.

I think the major problem with Kaze no Stigma is that it tries to be many things. It’s an action series. It’s a mystery thriller. It’s a comedy. It’s a paranormal investigation. There are so many genres and tones being thrown around that it never settles on one and doesn’t handle any of them very well at all.

But on top of that, the pacing is just bad. Everything is just drawn out with long winded explanations and repetitive story telling. Very little is actually accomplished in each episode, and very little is presented to hold your attention through each episode.

There are the occasional interesting action sequences, a bit of nice fanservice, and the overall story did seem to pick up a little in the latter half of this 13-episode volume. However, the pacing just kills whatever momentum is built up. Boring story, unlikable characters, lame humor… this is just not a good title. (-_-)

* * *

The Good: Impressive visuals, wonderfully rendered backgrounds mix nicely with the flat foreground.

The Bad: There’s nothing that is particularly interesting about the story and the slow pacing just adds to the boredom.

Final Verdict: Kaze no Stigma is a snoozer of an action, supernatural, magical, comedic, blah blah blah title. Just skip it and get back to watching Romeo x Juliet. ;-)

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