Facts:Little bit of romance, little bit of keeping the streets of Tokyo clean from menace. 24 episodes, on Hulu, Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Amazon at the very least.
KnoS is adorable and fun. Given the plot synopsis, the disowned son of the head family of powerful fire magi, after the traumatic death of a lover and after gaining massive amounts of new power, comes back to a father who doesn't respect him and childhood bullies who don't know the situation has changed, this could have gone in very dark directions. But, aside from a few flashbacks and an incident mentioned in a prior post (as well as the follow-up not mentioned in that post that involved fetish gear and implied rape of underage girls), the show manages a light tone. The fighting veers towards the representational, rather than the realistic, and the little arcs resolve themselves far too cleanly. But the point of the show is the romance between Ayano and Kazuma (Either first or second cousins, but which is unclear) that develops as they face adversity and grow as people. Kazuma is suave, sexy, and infinitely watchable while Ayano tends towards the ditzy, though unlike a certain other female protagonist who will go unnamed (because I have forgotten her name and don't care enough to dig into last week's review) she has a certain level of strength and intelligence that allows her to participate in the battles on her own terms. Overall enjoyable, though not worth watching twice.
Flaming Wooden Penis:
There really isn't much to say about KnoS, it sets up the plot pretty early and follows through with feeling. And generally I don't like Freudian analysis of anything, but there is just a little bit distressing about the gender roles this show that should not go unnoticed.
- First, the
peniselephant in the room, when Ayano pulls out her magic sword (nothing wrong, or inherently phallic in that, they are ancient and noble weapons) she goes through her sword pulling ritual. There is something pleasantly poetic about a flaming wooden sword that almost made me look past the ending pose, but the show absolutely insists on featuring the pose whenever Ayano is asserting herself. I don't know how you are supposed to hold a sword like that, but I can't imagine any male dominated martial art where the resting pose of a weapon would be to grind it upon your clit and have it stick out from your pelvis like a giant flaming dildo.
- When Lapis appears, she wields her sword in the same pose. It is substantially larger, and Ayano starts to doubt that she can beat Lapis for Kazuma's affections.
- Ayano's fighting style, and indeed all her movements, are very active, while Kazuma only rarely moves during a fight and always walks in a suave, controlled manner. This leaves Ayano as the active partner and Kazuma seeming like a "tuna fish".
To be clear, I don't think anything is going on and all of these are innocent stylistic choices. I am just saying that the fanfic community has plenty to work with here. Especially the part that likes reading about attractive, stylish, powerful men being penetrated by a fiery redhead with a three foot flaming penis. Oh, dear, I think the internet has ruined my innocence.
This is a not-uncommon genre. Buso Renkin is much sillier, and Kekkaishi is a bit less mature, but both are obvious next steps. If you really only liked Kazuma, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan might be enjoyable, and if you didn't like Kazuma then leave this blog right now, loser. In a lot of ways, this feels like the longer weekly shows like Fairy Tail or Soul Eater, and if you liked this but have been put off by the backlog, it might be worth investing the time in those two (Fairy Tail is much better).
It's fun, it's cute, smiles all around. Kaze no Stigma is hardly art, but a solid choice for fans of magical romantic adventures. I didn't want to leave the characters at the end, which is always a good sign of a good time.
Purely based on how much I enjoyed it, I give Kaze no Stigma a 7/10.