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September 13, 2012

Anime Review: Kaze no Stigma

If you just want pointless action, epic battles, kick-ass moments, and elemental powers, Kaze no Stigma has it all. Lots of fan service here to be had and enjoyed generally by the shounen group.

Kaze no StigmaSynopsis:

Yagami Kazuma was originally part of the Kannagi family, a respected family of fire users who have an affinity to fire. However, after being easily defeated by his cousin Ayano and having no talent whatsoever in fire magic, Kazuma is banished and casted out from his family. 4 years later, Kazuma finally returns to Japan, this time as an exceptionally powerful wind user. A series of murders on Kannagi family members have occurred with his arrival. While most of the family including Ayano is convinced Kazuma is the culprit, he honestly isn't. These events begin an all out war against the Kannagi family, with Kazuma and Ayano right in the middle of it. Based on the novel by Takahiro Yamato.

Review:

If you want some intense action and plenty of fan service, Kaze no Stigma has everything you need; except a decent story. To start things off, the story basically starts of with Yagami Kazuma already as the most powerful elemental user in the anime. Since he was cast off from his family four years back, he returns in revenge for what happened. However, things get complicated when some members of the family are killed and he is to blame. After a while, things get sorted and misunderstandings are cleared. In the end, Kazuma ends up being a contractor doing jobs for the fire family along with Ayano (with whom he secretly likes but in return she hates him). All this happens in the first few episodes and after that random enemies just pop-up from nowhere and try to disrupt the peace and harmony of the family for no apparent reason. After those, you have a few pointless filler episodes such as your standard comic relief beach and hot springs episode. Towards the end, things get tense as you discover a few plot twists throughout the anime. I have to say though, after building up such an awesome climax, the anime ends with such disappointment as if it did not answer anything at all.

The art was really well illustrated and animated. The characters all looked great, and the locations and scenery was simply highly detailed. The battles were well animated and the elemental powers looked quite natural and realistic. However, you may note that some fire and wind skill animations seemed a bit re-used so you may have to get used to that. Other than that, everything was well compiled. Kazuma and Ayano looked cool and cute respectively.

The theme songs were quite appropriate for the anime, although they weren't that memorable. The anime did lack some proper sound effects and background music in some battle scenes. I felt that the music needed to be better to suit the epic battles on screen. The voice acting was great and suited the characters really well.

Kazuma is pretty much your cool and overly powerful main character that doesn't really misuse his power (which is a good thing) and he is quite kind hearted inside even though he doesn't show it. Of course, that attitude of his creates much misunderstanding and confusion which makes the anime really interesting to watch how he interacts with the other characters (especially Ayano). Ayano on the other hand, is more of your naive, outgoing, tsundere-like girl which gets embarrassed easily. She tries not to show her girly side, but ends up having to do so. As for the other characters, they are your standard support characters that don't really do much.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and decent anime to watch. It presents itself like a cliff. Starts of quite good and stays that way for a while, then at the end, it just suddenly drops into an unexplainable ending. It was as if the ending was too rushed, and the story did not have enough time to wrap up. Whether there will be a sequel or not is highly unlikely. Apart from that mishap, everything else was quite excellent from the art and the voice acting to the character representations. Kaze no Stigma is definitely recommended for shounen otakus for are into this sort of stuff.

STORY: 6
Starts of quite good and somehow just drags on till a slightly disappointing ending.

ART: 8
Quite good and highly detailed. The character all looked great.

SOUND: 7
Voice acting was appropriate for the characters but the anime did lack some suitable sound effects and background music in some scenes.

CHARACTER: 7
I would say that the characters were quite entertaining and it was interesting to watch their itneractions with one another. Kazuma is just too cool.

ENJOYMENT: 8
It was quite enjoyable watching the fan service and comic relief moments. The battles were quite good and the characters were appealing.

OVERALL: 7
In the end, it was all down to the story. If only it was better than this anime would have rated higher.

Chrome for Android updated with stability and security fixes

Chrome
Google Chrome for Android has been updated on Google Play. This is the first such update since Google's mobile browser exited beta at Google I/O back in June. There are no major feature additions in the new version 18.0.1025308, but there is a selection of fixes for "medium"-rated security issues, as well as stability fixes.

The new Chrome update seems to speed up the loading of image-heavy sites like your regular news website.

If you're already running Chrome, head to the "My Apps" menu in the Google Play Store to grab the new update. Note that you still need to be on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or 4.1 Jelly Bean to install Chrome.

[via Android Central]