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Literature / Kaze no Stigma

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"Eyes as blue as the azure sky. That is the symbol of the 'Contractor'. Entrusted by the Spirit King of the Wind with the powers of his domain. I bear this mark: the Stigma of the Wind."
Kazuma Yagami (Opening Narration)

Four years ago, Kazuma Kannagi was defeated by his cousin Ayano Kannagi for the right to be the possessor of Enraiha, a sword passed down in the Kannagi family, a powerful and prestigious clan of fire mages. His pathetic defeat and complete failure at the fire arts resulted in his banishment from his family and unspoken exile from Japan.

Now named Kazuma Yagami, he suddenly returns after four years for a casual demon-hunting job, only now, he's somehow become a snarky, crazily-powerful wind mage who easily manhandles demons and his former family alike. And about this time, Kannagi members just happen to start being murdered by a powerful wind mage...

Kaze no Stigma ("Stigma of the Wind") is a series of Light Novels written by Takahiro Yamato and illustrated by Hanamaru Nanto. The novels were published from 2002 to 2010 for 12 volumes; the story remains incomplete after Yamato's death in 2009. It was adapted to a 24-episode anime in 2007.

This series provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Kazuma, through the anime tones this down a huge amount. In the novels, he is far more violent and tends to kill most of the antagonists (and severely injure many others along the way).
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Who are you protecting now, Kazuma?"
  • Arrogant Fire Magic Clan: Being descended from a mage who made a contract with the Spirit King of Fire has given the Kannagi clan very big egos. Except for Ren and Juugo, everyone in the Kannagi family has some degree of a superiority complex. They believe fire to be the most powerful element, thinking lowly of wind magic in particular. A branch family member even goes so far as to think the lives of Kannagis are inherently worth more than the Fuugas.
  • Badass Adorable: Ren
  • Battle Couple: Kazuma is often paired up with Ayano for his missions.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason Kazuma saves Misao, she saved him from bullies when he was
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: According to legends in the novels, King Solomon and Moses were both Contractors, too, just like Kazuma.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ayano and Kazuma have a shining example of this trope.
  • Berserk Button: Kazuma really hates those who perform human sacrifices.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Ren, Kazuma, and Ayano. Alternatively, Yukari, Nanase (who has blue hair), and Ayano.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Ayano's father uses the excuse of hiring Kazuma as Ayano's bodyguard to keep the two together in hopes of pairing them off. Though Kazuma is wise to the scheme from the very beginning and tends to let Ayano learn lessons the hard way (both for her own good and for his own amusement), it still works.
  • Breather Episode: Episodes 8 & 13.
  • Captain Obvious: People spend a little too much time talking about things that are self-evident. We know she's using earth magic, Ayano. The giant stone spikes are a big hint.
  • Cherry Blossoms: The opening and episode 8.
  • The Clan: Several of them, but most notably the Kannagis.
  • Clothing Damage: Ayano's clothes get shredded in a fight with the first Big Bad, and of course she accidentally ends up straddling Kazuma as Ren runs up...
    • Her dress also gets heavily damaged during her fight with Katherine and Metatron.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Ayano
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Kazuma's failure to protect his lover in the backstory led him to undergo Training from Hell and becoming a pretty brutal Anti-Hero.
  • Date Peepers: Although she vehemently denies it, Ayano goes into Clingy Jealous Girl mode in episode 5 when she sees Kazuma with another woman. And again later when he's with Misao. She even calls Ren up to help her spy on him.
    • Ayano's two friends spy on her while she's on a date with Kazuma in episode 13.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Who else but Kazuma? He snarks the hell out of everyone and walks away with the series' best lines.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Averted.
    Ayano: I thought you were saying with your fists what you couldn't with words!
    Kazuma: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Catherine, being an American, is completely shocked by the existence of unisex baths in Japan.
  • Diagonal Cut: Done to high-rise apartment building. All other Razor Wind attacks start out this way but quickly gets diced in the follow up.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male:
    • Ren's female schoolfriend tends to beat up his male schoolfriend a lot.
    • Ayano tries to do this to Kazuma, but he usually dodges it.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Each of the four elements has its own strengths. Fire is good at raw power and purification. Wind is good at reconnaissance and concealment; Kazuma uses it to fly, but maybe he's just awesome like that. Earth can detect people touching the ground and cause earthquakes. Water mages don't appear in the anime.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Nanase Kudou.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Ren.
  • Everyone Can See It: It doesn't take long for everyone (except Ayano, of course) to see the attraction between Ayano and Kazuma. Yukari and Nanase are constantly pointing this out.
  • Faceā€“Heel Turn: Kazuma, for a few episodes near the end.
  • Fancy Dinner: At an expensive restaurant. It doesn't end well.
  • Fiery Redhead: Ayano, fire magic and red hair equals a Fiery Redhead.
  • Flaming Sword: Ayano has Enraiha. a wooden sword always in flames.
  • Free-Fall Fight: Ayano versus Kazuma. She jumps straight off a building too.
  • The Gadfly: Kazuma specializes in trolling Ayano and messing with her head in increasingly amusing ways, taking full advantage of the feelings she doesn't even know she has. Makes you wonder what he could do if you give him a keyboard and an internet connection.
  • The Glomp: How Ren greets people he likes.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kazuma's eyes turn blue when he taps into his peak power and red when he switches to his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Poor Nanase and Yukari...
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Ayano gets really, obviously jealous of any girl who seems interested in Kazuma or vice versa.
  • Hellish Pupils: Ayano
  • Heroic BSoD: In the novels, Ayano, after her friends shrink back from her in terror when she first demonstrates her power in front of them. She then gets enveloped by a puny slime monster that shouldn't have had a chance, and Kazuma has to bail her out and restore her confidence.
  • Heroic Resolve: Awww, isn't that cute, wittle Ren wants to save the day...
  • Hero Insurance: Often played straight, but averted in at least one instance where the Kannagi family covers damages caused by one of the fights.
  • Hold the Line: Ayano has to buy Kazuma some time against the first arc's Big Bad while he charges up a special attack and just barely makes it. Subverted afterward when he reveals that he had been ready to attack for quite some time but wanted Ayano to get knocked around a bit some training in.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 16.
  • Human Shield: Ayano jokingly uses Ren as this in episode 7 in an attempt to stop or at least delay Kazuma long enough. However, neither Ren nor Kazuma takes it very seriously and the scene ends up being Played for Laughs.
  • I Have No Son!: Genma says he has only one son Ren, and is technically right as he has legally disowned Kazuma.
  • Indirect Kiss: Happens when Kazuma asks Ayano to hold his canned coffee for him while dealing with some rabble.
  • Indy Ploy: Ren to Ayano: "Oh great. Please tell me you have at least some idea of what you're gonna do..."
  • Informed Flaw: Wind magic is considered by the Kannagis to be completely inferior to fire magic, but in the series itself, there is very little evidence that this is the case. Wind magic users wield a huge amount of abilities, such as barriers, flight and even invisibility, while the only things fire magic can do are purify and destroy. Additionally, not only is Kazuma the most powerful character in the series, but a single (empowered) Fuga clan member was able to kill 5 Kannagi family members effortlessly. So exactly where the Kannagis got the idea that wind magic is a "lesser art" is anybody's guess.
  • Intimate Healing: Done by Kazuma to Ayano when he gives her medichine through a kiss.
  • Jerkass: Genma has all but one Pet the Dog moment in the whole series, which he dolled out before the series even began. Beyond that, he's a callous, arrogant man who insults his son, acts cold and indifferent towards everyone and constantly values family traditions over proper human decency.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kazuma... though it's really hard to see early on.
  • Kaiju: The beast sealed beneath Mt. Fuji is a dead ringer for Gamera.
  • Kamehamehadouken: Utsumi does this after receiving demonic powers, although the chant is A-ki-ha-ba-ra!
  • Keet: Ren again.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Growing up, Kazuma was regularly beaten and tortured with fire by Kannagi children ranging from 5 year olds to teenagers, because of his lack of powers.
  • Kissing Cousins: Ayano and Kazuma are second cousins.
  • Lap Pillow: The very last scene of the sixth novel; an injured Kazuma is resting on Ayano's lap.
  • Legacy of Service: The first Arc is powered by the rebellion of a family of wind-ninjas who have been serving the Kannagi Clan for centuries, and have finally gotten tired of it.
  • Lightning Glare: Ren's two schoolfriends do it to each other in episode 13 at the theme park.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Ayano wears her school uniform all the time, even when she spends the day out of school. Lampshaded in episode 13, when she takes her time choosing between three identical outfits.
  • Love at First Sight: Ren towards Ayumi. It ends sadly but not for naught.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Kazuma, in the last arc of the anime.
  • Mage Species: Mages come in four varieties, each of which is inheritable. The Kannagi clan began as a fire clan when its head made a contract with the Fire Lord, gaining the Enraiha sword and ensuring that his children would be fire mages, too. Specialties also exist within each element, such as focusing on curses, barriers, summoning, or just fighting power.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kazuma, particularly with regards to Ayano. After watching the anime, one might get the impression that he deliberately put Ayano into desperate situations so that she could develop her powers.
  • Mask Power: Averted: Kazuma runs into a masked, theatrical bad guy, recognizes him as a former minion to a guy he defeated in his Backstory, makes fun of his costume, and gets ready to kick his ass.
  • Masquerade: Magic, demons, and whatnot are kept secret from the general public. Stretches disbelief in the modern setting, considering the demons the mages are hired to exterminate and the occasional reckless mage. A giant flaming statue commanded by an heiress with the high ground fighting a demon down a city street—not to mention the occasional collapsing hotel—can not be that easy to cover up.
    • In all fairness, Catherine's recklessness when it comes to public uses of her powers is actually noted by the Special Investigations Unit (who know about magic), and the police go to great pains to cover up public uses of magic, releasing doctored footage of building collapses and cordoning areas off in order to prevent public witnesses when there are huge magical battles about to go down, with the forewarning of the Kannagi family. That said, it'd be kinda difficult to explain the Pandemonium arc away as explosions and a lightshow.
  • Maybe Ever After: How the romance arc of the anime concludes.
  • Might Makes Right: The Kannagi have this philosophy. Kazuma even tells them that because they ignore right and wrong, the Kannagi subsequently have no right to complain foul when someone bigger and stronger pushes them around.
  • Mind Probe: Used by Kazuma's evil side. Makes Kazuma's eyes glow stronger and the victim convulse.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Kazuma is lured back to Japan at the beginning of a series to set this up. Given that he is an extraordinarily powerful wind mage with a very good reason to hate the Kannagi clan (the feeling's mutual), most of the clan naturally turns against him when family members start being murdered once he returns.
  • Missing Mom: It appears that Kazuma Ren and Ayano where only raised by their fathers. To be fair, Kazuma and Ren's mother does show up...for all of 30 seconds in a flashback.
  • Morality Pet: Kazuma's brother, Ren. Kazuma tends not to be very interested in saving the day until Ren gets into trouble, as he tends to do from time to time.
  • Noble Demon: Kazuma plays the part of a mercenary, is not above extorting gold out of pixies (who share his wind-alignment), enjoys pushing Ayano's buttons, and is content to sit in the background while others run around... but in the end, he's a pretty nice guy.
  • Not a Date: It's not a date, it's a mission... that just happens to be at an amusement park with no demons in sight. Powerful fire mages with flaming swords need bodyguards too, really. Ayano's father engineers these convenient missions in the hopes of pairing her and Kazuma off; Kazuma isn't fooled but goes along anyway for the money and amusement of trolling Ayano.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kazuma's dad disinherited him after he lost the succession "duel" against Ayano. His mom refused to give him any sympathy either, both denying that he was their son. Kazuma immediately sends his dad to the hospital after their reunion. It's a subversion, though. His father disowning Kazuma was to protect Kazuma and allow him to truly grow: had Kazuma remained a Kannagi, he would have been bound to become a sub-par fire mage. Considering how the family is structured, this would have put him in a very poor position. By being disowned, Kazuma was then free to find the branch of magic that best suited him: allowing him to become a master wind mage. In several scenes where Kazuma's father voices his private thoughts, it's clear he's rather proud of his prodigal son.
  • Pet the Dog: Kazuma visiting his father at the hospital after beating him in battle, and telling him to take care of himself; practically magnaminous behavior considering he was disowned by the old man.
  • Playing with Fire: The whole Kannagi family (except Kazuma) use fire magic due to the fact that the first Kannagi made a contract with the spirit king of fire .
  • Prodigal Family: When the exiled Kazuma appears back in Japan, his family members are at first indifferent —why would they concern themselves with the weak former heir they already replaced and banished?— but when Kannagi clan members start to die by the hand of a powerful wind mage, they start hating him as he fits the murderer's description.
  • Razor Wind: Favored attack of overpowered wind mages everywhere! Slice and dice everything from demons to hotels in seconds!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Juugo is this in spades. He's very fair with Kazuma, is willing to pay him if it will get him to help, treats some members of the family nicer even than their own parents and strongly disapproves of the family's arrogance and discrimination against others.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kazuma has this for most of the series, but the situation gets especially dire after his first visit to Pandemonium.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Misao, whose desire for revenge against Kazuma for his role in her brother's death goes so far as to kill hundreds of people without a second thought in order to gain enough power to kill him. She gets better
  • Satellite Character:
    • Despite being Those Two Girls, Yukari and Nanase actually subvert this. At first, they appear to exist only to comment on Ayano's Tsundere tendencies and growing feelings for Kazuma, but later their Hidden Depths are revealed and they grow into more of their own characters.
    • Kanon and Tatsuya, on the other hand, play it straight. Their constant fighting over who's Ren's best friend and who gets to spend more time with him is just about the only characterization they get.
  • Second Love: Ayano to Kazuma.
  • Shipper on Deck: Juugo
  • Shoot the Dog: Kazuma, more so in the novels of course. In the first, when he gets surrounded by the few members of the wind clan who remained loyal to the Kannagi family and were subsequently mind-controlled and given crude weapons, Kazuma simply slices off all their heads in order to terrify the others and avoid even more bloodshed. In the last anime arc, he shreds the humans who were irreversibly turned into youma.
  • Starting a New Life: Kazuma, after being banished following his failure in the successor tournament to one day lead the Kannagi Clan, decides to leave Japan all together, cut all ties to his family, and settle in China under his new legal name of Kazuma Yagami. However, things did not improve for him in the long run...
  • Stock Sound Effects: Plentiful. Starts in the first minutes of the first episode and continues all the way through.
  • Summon Magic: Certain magicians summon Spirit Beasts to fight on their behalf. The cost, however, is that most Beast Users suffer when their beasts are injured.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Subverted: Although he seems crazy powerful, Ayano notes that he is actually weaker than he was before, and therefore isn't so far above her in power that it's pointless to be scared of him. Judging by the lack of technique or his more powerful abilities, she's almost certainly correct.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Happens with nearly every human antagonist in the anime.
  • Take a Third Option: Kazuma and Ren believe in this (as opposed to the Tsuwubakis who believe they must perform sacrifices), leading the latter to challenge the representation of Mt. Fuji.
  • Tareme Eyes: Ren
  • The Tease: Kazuma
  • Technicolor Fire:
    • Genma and Ayano have been seen using blue and red flames, respectively. True to real life, Genma's blue flame is considered the most powerful fire in the clan.
    • Juugo, Ayano's father, has purple flame which is said more powerful than Genma's blue flame. The only reason why Genma is considered now as the strongest practitioner in the Kannagi is because Juugo has an accident which crippled him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kazuma gives a verbal beat down to the Kannagi when he explains why the Fuuga turned on them. For 300 years the Kannagi treated the Fuuga and their wind magic like second class citizens, when in reality wind magic has properties that are very useful in support to fire magic. He also proceeds to tell them the Kannagi beat down on the Fuuga because they were weaker. And so the Kannagi have no place to complain once a strong Fuuga did the same to them. Juugo agrees completely.
  • Those Two Guys
    • Yukari and Nanase. Although Nanase plays a larger part later on in the anime. As does Yukari, to a lesser extent.
    • Also "That one guy and one girl," in the form of Ren's admirers.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: The English dub is marketed as Kaze no Stigma, despite the fact that it's perfectly easy to translate as "Stigma of the Wind."
  • Training from Hell: Kazuma pushed himself to the brink of death on an almost weekly basis after Rin's death.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Averted, on more than one occasion Kazuma needs Ayano to keep the opponent busy while he charges up the contractor abilities.
  • Troll: One of Kazuma's most defining characteristics.
  • Tsundere: Ayano. She doesn't fool anyone though: her friends have fun watching her antics.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Ayano does not realize what she wants, she calls Kazuma a jerk, but tries to hold his hand at an amusement park, blushes all the time and flies into a towering rage if Kazuma makes a move on her or if she sees him with another woman.
  • Verbal Tic: Katherine: "...desu wa."
  • Wreathed in Flames: Most fire magic users do this at some point.
  • You Taste Delicious: While Kazuma was pouring some fine wine, some of it splashed onto Ayano's face. The powerful wind mage decides not to let it go to waste and licks it off his partner's face.

Alternative Title(s): Kaze No Stigma