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"Eyes as blue as the azure sky. That is the symbol of a '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 (Opening Narration)
Four years ago, Kazuma Kannagi was defeated by his cousin Ayano Kannagi for the right to be the successor 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 these 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...
Adapted into anime from a series of light novels by the late Takahiro Yamato.
- Adaptational Heroism: Kazuma is an Anti-Hero and Jerk with a Heart of Gold regardless of the adaptation, but the anime makes him a notably more heroic character. In the novels, he's very violent, killing a lot of the antagonists and injuring many others along the way, while in the anime he more often than not incapacitates them and frequently shows sympathy towards the villains as well.
- Affably Evil: Bernhardt Rhodes and Lapis are both quite polite despite being evil.
- Anti-Hero: Kazuma in the novels is a Type IV, through the anime tones this down a huge amount, to the point that he's more of a Type III. 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?"
- Badass: Kazuma IS this trope given human form. Even when he's at his weakest, Ayano's most powerful attack didn't even scratch him. When he's at full power he one-shots demon gods and then casually mocks Ayano.
- Before he gained his powers, he was a Badass Normal, stated to have been extremely talented at practically everything (Martial Arts, studying etc.) other than the hereditary fire magic of his family. Unfortunately for him it simply wasn't enough for his parents.
- Badass Adorable: Ayano and Ren
- Badass Family: The Kannagis, the Tsuwabukis and, if Catherine's words are to be believed, the McDonalds.
- Battle Couple: Kazuma is often paired up with Ayano for missions.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason Kazuma saves Misao; she saved him from bullies when he was younger.
- 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.
- Bishonen: Kazuma
- 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)...
- Breather Episode: Episodes 8 & 16.
- Byronic Hero: Kazuma fits all of the requirements.
- Cherry Blossoms: The opening and episode 8.
- Can't Take Criticism: Catherine McDonald has shades of this. When Ayano describes the McDonalds as 'some random family' and Kazuma points out that killing Yoma is stroking her own ego rather than actually training, she instantly demands that they take it back, and when Kazuma points out the flaws in her strategy (namely, her over-reliance on Metatron and trying to win the battle with her first attack), she silently expresses her anger, believing he has no right to point out what she's doing wrong despite acknowledging that he's right.
- The Clan: Lots of 'em.
- Cloning Blues: Ayumi. She was only created as a sacrifice to prevent Mt. Fuji from erupting, and would die soon even if the ritual didn't take place. Thus, she was unable to continue her sweet subplot with Ren.
- 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.
- Cry Cute: Ayano in episode 8, though it's Played for Laughs.
- Cute Little Fangs: Ayano
- Cute Shotaro Boy: Poor little Ren.
- 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 trolls the hell out of everyone and walks away with the series's best lines.
Takeya: Come with us quietly or else, Kazuma.
Kazuma: Would it kill you to say 'Please'?
Ayano: Watch it. You're driving like a maniac. Can't you slow down a little?
Kazuma: Sure, as long as you don't mind that Ren and your family will probably be all dead by the time we get there.
Ayano: Why does everything have to be a disaster with me?
Kazuma: Maybe you're the disaster. Ever think of that?
Catherine: That vulgar peasant doesn't stand a chance against me. I could destroy her in my sleep.
Kazuma: Yeah, in your dreams, maybe.
Ren: How can I eat anything after hearing that? Does this mean we're now going to have to start calling Detective Tachibana 'Mom'?
Ayano: That's so gross. Why couldn't she have just lied to us?
Kazuma: Yeah, yeah, you're both scarred for life. Now, can we eat?
- Dead Little Sister: Kazuma's failure to protect his lover in the backstory led him to undergo Training From Hell.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Subverted with Kazuma and his father.
Ayano: How could you ruin such a moving moment?!
Kazuma: Didn't realise there was a moving moment.
Ayano: That's because there wasn't one. I was just stupid enough to think that maybe you and your father had come to an understanding! That you were only using your fists to share your feelings.
Kazuma: Yeah, that does sound kinda stupid, actually.
- Played straight with Ayano and Catherine, however.
- 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 classmate Kanon tends to beat up his male classmate Tatsuya a lot. Ayano tries to do this to Kazuma, but he usually dodges it.
- Dueling Shows: This with Shakugan no Shana.
- Elemental Powers
- 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.
- Unless you count Misao, after making a pact with the youma.
- 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.
- Face Heel Turn: Kazuma, for a few episodes near the end.
- Fancy Dinner: At an expensive restaurant. It doesn't end well.
- Fiery Redhead: Ayano is a literal example of this.
- 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 can do if you give him a keyboard and an internet connection.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Oh boy, loads of it. This subtitles don't really match up with the dubbing. For instance, and Misao says something about how she's willing to do anything to thank him. In the subtitles, it outright says she's willing to sleep with him.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kazuma's eyes turn blue when he taps into his peak power and red when he switches to his Super-Powered 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.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Turns out, Kazuma knows all too well how Ren feels about not being able to save Ayumi- it's a reflection of his own failure to save Tsui-Ling.
- Hellish Pupils: Ayano
- Heroic BSOD: (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.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Ayano, Yukari and Nanase form a three-way version of this. Yukari and Nanase in particular, since the scenes where they aren't together can be counted on one hand.
- Hidden Depths: Yukari and Nanase, of all people, are revealed to have these, with Yukari being an improbably good reporter and Nanase being very popular and athletic.
- 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 bitsome 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 medicine through a kiss.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Make no mistake, Kazuma is a rude, selfish, arrogant man who constantly makes harsh comments about everybody, but the things he says tend to be true far more often than not. An example is when Juugo had figured out the Fuga clan's plan of retribution against the Kannagi family. While Ayano believes their rebellion is completely unjustified, as in her eyes all they've ever done is help the Fugas, Kazuma points out that the Kannagi family has looked down on them for centuries simply for practising a brand of magic they view as inferior, comparing it to his own situation. He even goes so far as to say he doesn't blame the Fugas for what they're doing, and that he instead blames the Kannagi family for pushing them to the point of wanting revenge. And, as Juugo acknowledges, he is absolutely right.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kazuma... though it's really hard to see early on. Catherine as well.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Genma.
- Kaiju: The beast sealed beneath Mt. Fuji is a dead ringer for Gamera.
- Kamehame Hadouken: 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.
- 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 Crazy And Evil: Kazuma, in the last arc of the anime.
- Love Triangle: Ren and his two best friends (a guy and a girl), and Kazuma with Ayano and Katherine (both type 3).
- 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.
- Market-Based Title: A weird aversion. The English dub is marketed as Kaze no Stigma, despite the fact that it's perfectly easy to translate as "Stigma of the Wind."
- 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.
- Maybe Ever After: How the romance arc of the anime concludes.
- 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.
- The novels reveal that Ayano's mother died in an accident, the same one that crippled her father.
- Morality Pet: Kazuma's brother, Ren is this to him. 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.
- Never Our Fault: Most of the Kannagis aren't the least bit sorry for how they treated Kazuma, claiming it was his fault for being weak.
- No Romantic Resolution
- 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.
- Not So Different: The reason Kazuma shows sympathy for the Fugas- he was looked down upon for not using fire magic as well.
- Ojou: Catherine
- Only in It For the Money: Kazuma. "It's the fundamentals of business," after all.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Ayano and Ren are serious victims of this; they're both competent fighters in their own right, but you really wouldn't think it with Kazuma by their side, as he's far more powerful than both of them. In Ayano's case, this is a deconstruction, as the large gap between her power and Kazuma's has left her with serious self-esteem and confidence issues.
- Panty Shot: Ayano, who wears short skirts, and stands next to a powerful wind mage. Also, she seems to love high-kicks.
- 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 him 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.
- Personality Powers: Kazuma and Ayano both have this: Ayano, a fire magic user, is short-tempered and impetuous while Kazuma, a wind magic user, is cool-headed and rational.
- Pet the Dog: Kazuma visiting his father at the hospital after beating him in battle, and telling him to take care of himself; practically magnanimous behaviour considering he was disowned by the old man.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Lapis.
- 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 .
- 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 is 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.
- Technicolor Fire: Most Kannagis use standard yellow-orange fire, but 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 made him crippled.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kazuma gives a verbal beat down to the Kannagi family 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 completely agrees.
- 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: Yukari and Nanase subvert this. At first, they appear to exist only to reflect 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.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Ren and Kazuma. Makes perfect sense, since the former's a pre-teen and the latter's a fully-grown man.
- Shipper on Deck: Juugo, who frequently tries to get Kazuma and Ayano together. Ren as well.
- Yukari and Nanase are also huge Kazuma X Ayano fangirls.
- 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.
- Stock Sound Effects: Plentiful. Starts in the first minutes of the first episode and continues all the way through.
- Super-Powered 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 Tsuwabukis who believe they must perform sacrifices), leading the latter to challenge the representation of Mt. Fuji.
- 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.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Kazuma.
- Tareme Eyes: Ren
- The Clan: Several of them, but most notably the Kannagis.
- The Glomp: How Ren greets people he likes.
- The Tease: Kazuma
- The Thing That Goes Doink: The Kannagi family have one.
- Those Two Guys/Girls
- 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.
- Training From Hell: Kazuma pushed himself to the brink of death on an almost weekly basis after Rin's death.
- Troll: One of Kazuma's most defining characteristics:
Catherine: Who are you?! That was impossible
Kazuma: I'm just a pathetic wind user who can't apologise.
Catherine: Answer me, seriously, dammit! No ordinary wind user could have defeated Metatron like that!
Kazuma: You're saying I'm extraordinary? Nah, the truth is I'm just better than you.
- Tsundere: Ayano. She doesn't fool anyone though: her friends have fun watching her antics. Catherine also qualifies.
- The Unapologetic: Kazuma. Kirika claims he doesn't even know how to pronounce the word 'Sorry'.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Ayano considers the Fugas to be this, as in her eyes all the Kannagi family has ever done is help them. Kazuma strongly disagrees.
- 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.
- Values Dissonance: An In-Universe example; Catherine, being an American, is completely shocked by the existence of unisex baths in Japan.
- Verbal Tic: Catherine: "...desu wa."
- Witch 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.
- 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.