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Kaze No Stigma: Volume 1

Kaze No Stigma

2009 TV Series (episodes 1-12). Director: Junichi Sakata. 288 minutes. DVD, bilingual, $59.98. Distributor: Funimation.

The prodigal son returns.

Kazuma was once the heir to the fire-wielding Kannagi clan. But his inability to manipulate his family’s magic was too much for an impatient father. Consequently, he was sent packing with nothing but the shirt on his back and the beginnings of a very large chip on his shoulder.

Now, with wind magic at his fingertips, Kazuma is back. And his kung fu is not only strong, but he’s intent on unleashing it. This may be a family affair, but the score will be settled, and Kazuma will take his rightful place.

Okay, I admit the trailers for Kaze No Stigma aroused my interest. I was rather looking forward to taking a look. Unfortunately, all I can come up with is predictable and mundane as my primary adjectives. There’s a lot of action, and Kazuma’s use of the wind to create force fields, electricity, and breezes shaper than a katana is visually impressive. But this series is running on too many stock anime characters.

Kazuma is the typical, nearly invincible lone wolf surrounded by mediocre talent. The Kannagi, who are determined to squash his comeback, are hollow foils in the face of his wind magic. That is, except for Ayano and her flaming sword of fire – yes, that is an intertextual nod to Krod Mandoon. This arrogant redhead is filled with nothing but hatred for Kazuma. Is it just me, or has the romance already begun?

Perhaps the problem emerges in the transition from novel series to anime. This may very well be Kaze No Stigma “light.” Word on the street is that Kazuma of the novels is content with killing members of his own family to settle a grudge. In the anime he punishes rather than kills. Clearly depth of character and story has been reduced.

Anyway, even though I was bored with volume one, I expect Kaze No Stigma to find a fan base. Its fundamental elements are familiar to the anime genre. And it’s possible I was having an off day. Maybe I’ll like volume two.