Kaze No Stigma

June 22, 2013

Let’s see. We’ve got a wind user and a fire user. There is also one that bends the earth element. So where is the water user? I would forgive you if you think I am talking about that elemental cartoon series on Nickelodeon. Kaze No Stigma has its main protagonists wielding the wind and fire element but it is not about rival elemental clans in conflict with each other. Kazuma Yagami was kicked out of the Kannagi family after losing to a distant relative to decide the next heir. His inability to control fire which is the pride of the family throughout the generations is like tainting the family’s name. But after he returns with the ability to control wind, he is dogged with accusations of killing clan members. He goes to prove his innocence and to clear his name. After which, he uses his power to help and protect others. Sounds generic? If you like some action and adventure with the supernatural power and some hint of romance (not forgetting the comedy too), then don’t miss this Shakugan No Shana clone. Oops. I mean, just watch it.

Episode 1
After Ayano Kannagi defeats a spider Youma with her flame sword, Enraiha, she joins her friends Yukari Shinomiya and Nanase Kudou to go karaoke. Kazuma returns to Japan after a long exile for his first job to exorcist a ghost from a wealthy man’s mansion. He meets a Kannagi branch member, Shinji Yuuki who isn’t too happy Kazuma is back. Arrogant Shinji starts his exorcising but this is no mere ghost and a Youma. The entire mansion is engulfed in flames as Shinji is knocked out. The owner becomes desperate and offers to pay him 100 times his fees. And with that, Kazuma easily exorcises the Youma with his wind power. Then he wakes up Shinji knowing he couldn’t have died from the fire because all Kannagi members are blessed and protected by the Fire Spirit King. Ayano realizes she stayed out too late of her curfew. Two hours late. She rushes back but is greeted by Kazuma’s young brother, Ren. He is excited after hearing Kazuma is back but Ayano can’t remember who he is. Except that she easily beat a guy in a single blast in an Inheritance Ceremony over Enraiha. Shinji reports his failure and Kazuma’s return to the head of Kannagi, Juugo along with Genma (Juugo’s cousin). Ayano and Ren also sit in to listen. Genma claims Kazuma is an embarrassment to the family as he lacks the ability to control fire and is no longer part of the family. Ren is his only son. That night, a wind user kills Shinji and two others. Hyoue Kazamaki of the Wind Fang clan who serves under the Kannagi family ascertains they were killed by very skilled wind users. Talk has been going around that it is Kazuma who has killed them for revenge for being kicked out. Shinji’s brother, Shingo seeks revenge. Ayano thinks to catch Kazuma and bring justice to him fast but Juugo doesn’t want her to act rash and that there is no need for her to act on this.

Once Hyoue has learnt of Kazuma’s whereabouts, Ayano sneakily has Shingo and Takeya Oogami to take her go ring in Kazuma for questioning. At the construction area, Ayano is suddenly whisked away in a wind barrier. She summons Enraiha to try and find a way out. Shingo and Takeya confront Kazuma about the family killings but he denies them. He refuses to go with them to talk to the family head because he is not part of the family and thus no obligation to do so. This riles up Shingo as he prepares to kill him. Kazuma uses his wind trick to blast them away. They may be able to shield themselves from the explosion’s heat but they are not invincible to the force of the explosion itself. Suddenly a mysterious force appears from behind Kazuma. It cuts the iron beams to fall and kill Shingo and Takeya before disappearing back into the shadows. Kazuma thinks it’s the Wind Spirit King and isn’t happy since this isn’t part of their contract. Once Ayano breaks free of her barrier, she misunderstands the situation and tries to slash Kazuma. Their first meeting in 4 years ended like this… Kazuma asserts he didn’t kill them. Proof? Figure out the rest yourself. Now you know why some just want to kill him? Kazuma makes his escape since he can’t stay and play with her. He notes that it is going to be an all-out war with Kannagi. Though interesting, he doesn’t like to be controlled from the shadows.

Episode 2
Ayano is pissed. Sure, it’s her fault for sneaking out but does daddy need to scold her and ground her? She’s taking out her frustrations by turning into a glutton. Her friends don’t understand why. Boyfriend problems? She? Got boyfriend? No way. Circumstantial evidence points that Kazuma is the one doing the killings and planning to start a war with Kannagi. Juugo remains cautious so Genma prepares to bring Kazuma back. Kazuma is surprised to get a call from Genma to meet. He remembers when he lost to Ayano, he was begging for forgiveness but Genma didn’t want weaklings and kicked out of the family. So Kazuma agreed to this meeting to find out if he has surpassed his dad. So at the park, Genma throws him the ultimatum to surrender. You think he would obediently do so? Bad blood still exists between them. Time for power fight. Genma clearly shows why he is the best fire user because all of Kazuma’s wind tricks won’t do. He even anticipates his combustion trick that done in Shingo and Takeya. Now Genma is going to show his true power as he summons Azure Fire, a powerful magic that only a powerful fire mage can summon. Kazuma also gets serious as he summons his wind power. Because of the nature of their elements, Kazuma summons his faster than Genma and is able to defeat him. Don’t worry. Kazuma was kind enough to call the ambulance. However Kazuma feels empty in his victory. On his way back to the hotel, Ren is waiting for him but Kazuma doesn’t even remember him! Well, take some time before the memories come back. Ren knows Genma is defeated if Kazuma is here. He is here to persuade Kazuma. I’m sure Kazuma isn’t going to be an evil jerk finishing off every Kannagi family member so he invites Ren in to talk.

Ren wonders if he is a Contractor. One who’s made a contract with the Spirit Kings themselves and gains protection of all the spirits that king commands. He is also worried that there are rumours in Europe that the legendary Contractor has appeared and believed to be a Japanese. You think Kazuma is that person? Don’t insult him. Getting straight to the point about the family killings, Kazuma denies but doesn’t understand why they don’t believe him. Well, duh. It’s because you don’t properly explain. So why don’t you go explain to Juugo? Something to do with his pride. He tossed away the Kannagi name a long time ago. Though he doesn’t hate them, he hasn’t forgotten how they abandoned him. I suppose Kazuma has said too much that Ren is now on the verge of crying. Who’s looking like the bad guy now? Kazuma allows him to stay for the night and Ren wants to talk a bit more. I have a feeling Ren may have big brother complex… Then Kazuma feels that mysterious force again. It cut the hotel into half! What’s the fastest way to escape? Through the window! Ayano is on her way to the hotel because she received Ren’s message about his persuasion attempt. I guess hers is revenge attempt. Seeing Kazuma leaping out with Ren, she thinks he has gone too far to use a building and drop it on her. Don’t worry. She won’ die that easily. Once Kazuma is safe on the ground, he tells Ren to go into hiding. Kazuma meets the mysterious guy behind it all for the first time. Not much of a talker is he? Also, Kazuma’s wind powers go right through him. As they fight, Kazuma realizes it’s a distraction because Ren has been kidnapped.

Episode 3
Kirika Tachibana from Tokyo MPD’s Special Investigation Unit and Izumi Kurahashi investigate the ruined hotel. She knows a powerful wind user did this. Can’t be fire, water or earth, right? Kazuma returns to the main Kannagi house. The clansmen think he is here for Juugo’s head. Instead of talking, they blast him with their flames. You think he’d die so easily? They themselves got easily knocked out. With Juugo coming out, he learns Ren is kidnapped and invites Kazuma in to talk as he has a few things to ask. He has Kazuma identify the mysterious figure when Ayano barges in to exact her revenge. If not for Juugo putting her in her place, I think she would have run wild. Very wild. I mean, she is going to strike their ‘guest’ right in front of her father. Juugo points out the person Kazuma identified is Ryuuya, Hyoue’s only son. He reveals their enemy is the Wind Fang clan and this is their rebellion. As proof, none of the Wind Fang clansmen are in their mansion since morning. Ayano still believes Kazuma is the killer but as Juugo points out, if he was, why didn’t he kill her since he easily took out Genma. As for why they kidnapped Ren, it is for sacrifice. Kazuma was just a distraction while to prepare for the ritual. Wind Fang clan was once an underworld clan that Kannagi fought and barely won 300 years ago. As a result, Kannagi sealed their source of power which is believed to be from a very powerful Youma. Prior to Ren’s kidnapping, Hyoue had poured some of the latent powers of the Youma into Ryuuya and had him possess some demonic powers by becoming a vessel. The ancient Kannagi family sealed their Youma, Geho with the seal of fire, Samadhi True Flames. However whoever touches it will be instantly burnt. The only exception is the descendent of the Kannagi head who created it. That’s Ren. Once the seal is broken, the Youma will reside in the vessel and give the clan absolute power to command its evil spirits. The Youma will devour Ren in the process and thus a sacrifice.

Ayano is upset that what they are doing is unjustified but Kazuma points out that it is Kannagi themselves who drove them to this. What do you expect when you stole their power source and treat them like tools? He understands how they feel. Juugo agrees with him. Since he became the family’s head, he tried to resolve this but it was too late. Ayano still feels it is not right because Ren wasn’t born to be a demon’s sacrifice. Those words ring something familiar within Kazuma. Somebody close once said that same line. Knowing she can’t do this by herself, Kazuma feels the need to back her up and to have her use Enraiha to burn Ryuuya from inside out since Kazuma’s wind magic has no effect on him. Juugo also offers his assistance but Kazuma wants to know how much he is paying. Hey, they’re no longer family, right? This is business. He agrees to his terms and reveals the place of the sacrifice. Ayano is having a bumpy ride with Kazuma to the mountains. She still thinks they’re a bad combo. Remembering her father’s words on Kazuma’s nerve to ask for payment, it is to protect his pride. He is no longer part of the family and so he can’t be seen as saving Ren out of compassion as saving Ren means helping Kannagi. Juugo says their fate will be one and trust is very important. Without it, they won’t defeat the enemy. Kazuma notes Ayano’s fiery personality. Very fitting for a fire user. Compliment or insult? Ayano feels something different about Kazuma when he puts on a serious expression determined to save Ren no matter what. Ryuuya attack their car but Kazuma manages to dive out in time with Ayano. It’s time for a showdown.

Episode 4
Ayano charges head on with her fight against Ryuuya. But where’s her backup? Kazuma tells her to have fun while he goes ahead. Traitor! Hyoue begins the ritual to unseal Geho so that they could obtain the ultimate power to destroy Kannagi once and for all. Kazuma arrives in time to blow them all away and save Ren, inches of being devoured by Geho. After freeing Ren from hypnosis, Hyoue doesn’t understand why Kazuma is doing this since he hates Kannagi too. Sure, he hates them too but Juugo hired him for 100 million Yen! It’s about killing 2 birds with 1 stone. With Ryuuya coming in, they think Ayano has lost. Geho and Ryuuya are drawn to each other’s power so Hyoue tells his son to allow Geho to possess him. He turns into… The Incredible Hulk! Demonic version. Well, he’s green and big… First thing Ryuuya did was to kill off the Wind Fang Clan. So much about loyalty. Ryuuya flies off to destroy Kannagi. Kazuma don’t really mind that but if Juugo is gone, who is going to pay him? But first, they need to pick up Ayano. She’s out cold. Beaten up real badly. She won’t live long since she has been demonic energy in her body. Sure, he has a very rare Elixir to save her, but why use it on her? She dies, Ren can take Enraiha and be the next head. Ren didn’t like that one bit and engulfs in flames to demand Kazuma hand over the Elixir. Noticing his beautiful flames, which is the key to allow one to truly become one with the Fire Spirit King, Kazuma agrees to use his Elixir. Pouring in her mouth won’t do so with the liquid in his mouth, he kisses her! Is this way more effective? But what would Ayano think? Screw that. All that matters is that she’s back alive so show some gratitude. He’ll add that to Juugo’s bill. And as for why she could lose… Please explain yourself. No time for that because they have to go chase Ryuuya.

Ayano is willing to die to protect Kannagi but Kazuma tells her off not to be foolish because you can’t do anything once you’re dead. It’s only when you survive that you can change things. He leaves Ren to take care of the evil spirits left behind by Ryuuya with his purification flames. Ayano gets her rematch with Ryuuya as Kazuma will think of something to stop his wind. His attack from above didn’t work so there’s only one way left. He is going to summon a big spell and has Ayano buy him time. What? Again? She’s mad at him that if she really dies this time, she’ll haunt him as a ghost every night! I wonder which is scarier. Ayano couldn’t hold much longer and is about to lose. Her self confidence is rock bottom after all that Kazuma has said to her. However she strikes back after summing up her determination not to lose. She even cuts the Ryuuya’s arm. Now Kazuma is ready as Ayano notices his different sparkling blue eyes. She is shocked to realize he is a Contractor. With the Wind Spirit King’s power, Kazuma nails Ryuuya and Ayano delivers the final blow thrusting Enraiha into him. Kazuma loses strength after that. I can see why he doesn’t often use it. Takes a long time to prepare, eats up too much energy and is left vulnerable during the process. But Ayano knows he took too long. He admits he was ready quite a while back and didn’t help her because he wanted Ayano to land a solid hit. Otherwise she would have been a loser for the rest of her life. He compliments her final strike was pretty. But maybe not as pretty as this scene: Ayano, ripped clothes, on top of him. Nice fanservice. I wonder if Kazuma got roasted by her flames of fury.

Episode 5
Kazuma reluctantly attends the celebration party of Kannagi. Prove that Ren has brother complex because he is all clingy over Kazuma! Misao Oogami is tasked to serve Kazuma since she is grateful for bringing justice to her brother Takeya’s killer. Is he pushing his luck by suggesting even if it means accompanying him at night? Ayano butts in. What else? She doesn’t think Kazuma deserves anymore thanks after getting paid. Kazuma agrees. After all, he was half responsible in killing Takeya. Though Ryuuya killed him off, it was him who immobilized Takeya. This causes Misao to get upset and Kazuma dares her to stab him (seems he knew this was coming). His wind power prevents the knife from coming even close. Since Kazuma didn’t wish for any punishment for her, Juugo grounds her in her room. But Kazuma pours oil on fire. He answers Misao’s question of why Takeya had to die is because he was weak. Is he one to say? Next day, Ayano becomes Angry Queen. So much so her friends think she’s having boyfriend problems. Too bad to the stranger who asked her out and got kicked in the crotch! Ouch! Then Kazuma happens to come out of the love hotel alley with Kirika! What the?! Her friends believe he is her boyfriend. Ayano continues her angry streak. Make that jealousy streak too because she can’t stand Kirika walking linked arms with him! Then Ayano plays stalker. Since she can’t find Kazuma, she ropes in Ren. They spot him waiting for somebody at the diner. Hey! Isn’t that Misao?! She’s pretty dolled up. This feels strange. Wasn’t she trying to kill him before and now she’s all dressed up going out on a date? Ayano and Ren continue to tail them to the love hotel area. Ayano’s anger (or is it jealousy?) has reached boiling point that the poor innocent post got burnt!

Once Misao and Kazuma enter the compound, suddenly Kazuma gets sniped, riddled with machine gun bullets and bombed! WTF???!!! Is this Misao’s plan of killing him hiring others with weapons?! Of course Ayano steps in and tells Misao that this isn’t going to be enough to kill that guy. True enough, his wind power protects him and even has enough time to take out the agents. Ayano as the next Kannagi head can’t ignore this and wants her to explain to the elders but Misao runs away. Once she is cornered at the building top, both girls prepare to showdown. Kazuma now steps in and claims all Misao did was to kill him and has nothing to do with Kannagi. Oh sure. That’s nothing big. But if they don’t settle this, she’ll come back to kill him. He’s okay with that since she can’t hurt him. Now Misao is enraged and has another go at him. No matter how much she lambasts him with her weak flames, she can’t even touch him. We can do this all day. She breaks down, saddened by the fact her kind brother had to die. Now that she’s done, she won’t forget this and will make him regret it. Well, that’s fine with him too. Go ahead and try. After everybody has left, a young boy, Michael Harley approaches Misao and asks what is it that she seeks. Death? Revenge? Get stronger? All of them. He will make her wish come true. Elsewhere some slime monster absorbs and kills a woman in a train station.

Episode 6
More people get absorbed by the slime and it is Michael’s doing to help level up Misao. Ayano meets Kazuma in his hotel suite since he has been given another mission by Juugo. The one about the slime. Casualty has reached about 100 and each of them seems to have life sucked out. So why him? Ever since the Wind Fang incident, they lost their means of reconnaissance. They need all the help they can get. Yeah. But why him… Juugo wants Kazuma to find the culprit and Ayano to finish him off. It’s that teamwork combo again. Kazuma agrees to take on this job but doesn’t want Ayano’s help as she’ll get in the way. Here comes her anger… She leaves in a huff so much so her friends think she got dumped on a hotel date. Actually this is Kazuma’s plan to use her as a bait since her anger makes her stand out due to the immense fire aura. Is that a good thing? Misao and friends find themselves trapped in a barrier. The slime attacks them. Ayano can hold her ground but there is too much slime. Kazuma enters the fray to do what he can. Then the barrier dissipates. Ayano blows her top once she finds out she was used but he has no time to hear her complain and goes off to trace the source. He finds Misao at the park and could sense she is reeking of demonic aura. She hates him so much and vows to kill him. She notes he may be powerful but is still human. So even if it is going to take the strength of 100 or 1000 humans, she’ll do it. Ayano now comes running into the scene and plans to finish off Misao. Misao knows she isn’t strong enough and goes away. Ayano blames Kazuma for letting Misao get away and warns him about getting in her way. He also warns her to remember who she is talking to. Because she must use force and not words if she wants to stop him. If she wants, he’ll fight him. His wind puts out her Enraiha’s flames. Ayano feels confused in what to do. She wonders if Kazuma loves Misao because he seems to care a lot for her instead. So what’s your problem? It’s not like you’re in love with him, right? Oops. Or are you…

Misao returns to Michael’s side and powers up by being absorbed by the slime that contains the life force and fear of its victims. Juugo tells Ayano that the Oogami family will deal with Misao themselves. Even Misao’s father has no qualms in getting rid of her daughter. Make that ex-daughter. She is someone who strayed and mired in corruption. Juugo has hired someone new to work with them and though he has cancelled Kazuma’s contract, Kazuma said he will still act on his own. The Oogami family doesn’t want his interference so Ayano takes up the offer to stop him. Seems the new helper Juugo hired is Kirika. Ayano learns that the police want to be on good terms with Kannagi and with the Wind Fang out of the picture, they can help with reconnaissance and info. Ayano realizes that she was trying to rope in Kazuma to join her. But since Kirika won’t reveal any more (since it has nothing to do with her – it’s not that they’re dating, right?), Ayano is once more on the verge of blowing her top. The Oogami family meets Misao at the chapel. Misao notes Kazuma is not here but expects Ayano since she was sure she would come to fight her. After all, she could tell she was jealous when Kazuma showed more concern to her than Ayano. I think Ayano can’t hold in her anger any longer… But no time for that because here comes Kazuma swooping in.

Episode 7
Ayano goes to stop Kazuma with her surprise attack. She’s serious and this actually catches Kazuma’s attention to deal with her first. Even so, Kazuma is still better than her. Then she plays dirty by using Ren as her shield! Now he can’t attack! Is this how the next head of Kannagi acts?! How embarrassing! Kazuma knows she is buying time but that won’t be relevant anymore because Misao just wiped out the Oogami family. So they rush to the scene and see their dead bodies all around. Misao asserts they aren’t her family. Yup, only her brother is her real family and Kazuma killed him. Misao attacks Kazuma but is surprised that it is so weak and not leaving a scratch on him. When Michael comes out, Misao begs to give her more power but he says it’s impossible. He knows she can never beat Kazuma in the first place. As ability to control power is decided at birth, she as a mage should know better that she can never control power above that level. He lied to her about being able to beat Kazuma. He has twisted and made use of her confidence to drain a thousand life force. When humans really think they can do the impossible, they’ll do it. So it’s not a sin. After all, Misao killed them all, right? Misao becomes shocked for being used and collapses. Now that her body is reeking with demonic aura, Michael starts absorbing them. Just as planned. Introducing himself to them, his mission is to slay Kazuma in the name of Stars and the Wisdom as Kazuma is in a way connected to their master. Kazuma remembers something about it. Someone close to him got sacrificed I guess. Michael summons all the life energy and becomes a giant white dragon, Bulitra. They can’t kill it too since Misao is within it and will die if they do so. Kazuma wants Ayano to purify it with her flames but she can’t do something that delicate yet. Useless.

Ayano fights the dragon with Enraiha but she can’t concentrate because she’s thinking if Kazuma cares more about Misao than her. What the?! How can she think of this at this time? Anyway Kazuma rescues her before she becomes BBQ meat. And she got the guts to ask why save her if he cares about Misao. Sure, he wants to save them. It’s no point she dies, right? He got this power not to choose who to protect. He will protect everybody and beat that kid. Ayano notices Kazuma bleeding. Must have gotten it while saving her. She chides her for still trying to talk tough and reminds him that he said he’s going to protect them all. So be a man and do it! Kazuma wants her to stall the dragon for 5 minutes while he prepares his big spell. Once he is ready, he turns Enraiha’s flames blue. In one strike, Ayano cuts down Bulitra as Michael crawls out in disbelief. How can he lose to such power? Then he realizes Kazuma is a Contractor. So that’s why. Goodbye. When Misao wakes up, she wants to die for committing such unforgivable sins. However Kazuma scolds her that taking the easy way out via death won’t atone them all. Besides, she caused him to most trouble and must make it up to him before living or dying. Did I hear it right that he wants her to pay with her body?! Is he going to get started now?! Not happening because Ayano is going to turn every bit of this pervert into ashes. In the aftermath, Misao becomes a nun and decides to live and spend the rest of her life searching for something she can do as atonement. The trio visit her. She wonders why Kazuma saved her as it would’ve been easy to kill her. He explains when he was young, he was bullied by other Kannagi kids because he can’t control fire. The only one who stopped them was Misao. So all this for just that? Yup. Just that. Kazuma promises he’ll be back to see her from time to time. Because she hasn’t paid him back yet. I hope he’s still not after her body.

Episode 8
There is ghost sightings recently at Ayano’s school, Seiryou Academy. Juugo wants her to take care of it since it’s her school and even though she doesn’t feel evil presence, to ordinary people, they are still scary sh*t. Ayano wants to solve this quick but not so fast. As she is the next Kannagi head and unsure where she’s going, he has assigned her a bodyguard. Guess who? KAZUMA!!! Man, this old dude must pay well. What if she refuses? Then he has no choice but to call the police’s special unit. Oh… Kirika… Suddenly Ayano accepts Kazuma as her bodyguard. I wonder why… At the school compound, Ayano is quick to fire her fireball at those suspicious movements behind the bushes but thanks to Kazuma’s tripping, she missed. Otherwise she could have fried her friends! Seems Yukari and Nanase want to join in this exorcism. They feel bad to ruin Ayano’s ‘midnight date’ with Kazuma but I think they’re going to enjoy watching them. As they walk through the corridor, Yukari points out the 7 legends of the school and one of them being the haunted sakura tree that hasn’t bloomed for a long time. Kazuma detects something and before the girls know it, a gust of wind flips up their skirt. Could this be Kazuma’s doing? Nope. A ghost ball zooms pass them and warns them to stay away. Ayano thinks Kazuma is hiding something and gets rough so that he could spill the beans. But he kisses her nose! WTF?! It’s the only way to make her let go. What follows next are a series of bloopers that turns Ayano and friends into clowns. Comic relief? Whether it’s falling down from the stairs, getting slammed by the anatomical body, slip on wax or getting sprayed by the water. Kazuma is just playing cool… Like he anticipated all of this. Yeah, go ahead and blame him that he is the one who created the ghost ball too.

As they’re taking a break, Kazuma’s acts ambiguously like as though he is putting Ayano first as the most important person and sends wrong signals to her friends. Then he senses movement in the backyard as all the wind is gathering there. He can’t sense them earlier because of their natural aura. They’re different from things that defy the laws of this world. They see the teasing ghost ball at the backyard and the final blooper straw came when it drops a bucket over Ayano’s head! Classic. Can’t take it anymore! Feel her wrath! Wait. She’s crying too? The humiliation of a bucket over her head? Kazuma doesn’t want to understand that… So as Ayano goes crazy shooting fireballs with Enraiha (fire enough shots, I think she can destroy the moon), Kazuma tells the ghost ball to stop. It becomes cocky so Kazuma easily slams it down. It turns out to be a little fairy, Tiana. Ayano and Tiana start arguing and they’re so in sync dismissing each other that her friends believe they are so alike. So why is she doing this? Wishes of a dying old man. Tiana and her fairy friends use their magic to make the sakura bloom for one last time before disappearing. As the gang leave, Ayano is relieved that the fairy was just trying to protect something. However Kazuma disagrees because the most effective way to protect something is not to let anyone know it exists. They noticed it because the fairies caused the incident. Thus they weren’t protecting anything. Did they screw up? Nope. It’s because they’re innocent, easygoing tricksters who love to play pranks on humans and have fun messing with them. This doesn’t sit well with Ayano as she vows to burn them for this humiliation. Her friends guess why Kazuma noticed this and never said a word was because he enjoyed watching them play tricks on Ayano. Yeah. So do we. Thanks fairies. It was fun.

Episode 9
Ren is such a popular guy. His friends are fighting over him. Eventually it’s Kanon Suzuhara that wins him over with girl power and gets the right to walk her home. On his way home, he is enthralled by a girl singing at the park. Ren becomes friends with Ayumi and play with her. Ayano and Kazuma just finish another Youma exorcising mission and as usual trade sarcasm. Ayano forces him to treat her to dinner. She never knew food could taste this good when being treated. Why are all the food she ordered expensive ones? Does she hate him that much? Yes she does. Kazuma excuses himself when Tiana comes seeking his help. Don’t worry. He’ll foot the bill. First thing Kazuma did was to interrogate the ‘bug’ on how she knew his details. Well, the Wind Spirit King is the chief of the fairies’ village. She has request of him. Seems their treasure is stolen and wants him to find it. How much are they paying? Eh? Isn’t it natural that he helps when he forms a contract? Not to him. So either she shows the cash or forget it! I guess she’s desperate enough to give him some of her village’s gold. He wants half of it. How greedy can this guy get? Since her clan is in danger, it must worth that much. Heartless! Well, business is business. Ren and Ayumi are enjoying each other’s company when several agents show up, push Ren away and get rough on Ayumi. They’re going to use a taser on her! Ren becomes a man by protecting her. He introduces himself as a member of Kannagi and tells them to scram. But they aren’t cowed as they reveal they serve the Tsuwabuki family. They claims Ayumi is their property. As in, a thing? Ren puts up a brave front (despite he is scared sh*t) to tell them to go away or be burnt where they stand. The agents give up for now but will be back. Ayumi has a favour to ask of him so Ren goes with her.

Ayano learns Ren has been labelled a thief. Juugo says the Tsuwabuki family called and accused Ren of stealing their treasure and fled. Worst case scenario, they may kill him. Speaking of Ren, he is missing and can’t be contacted. They must get Ren first before Tsuwabuki and Juugo already has contacted Kirika. Oh. That woman. Got a problem? Juugo wanted to contact Kazuma but he is out of range. He asks if Ayano has his contacts in times of emergency and she vehemently denies. Tiana telepathically transmits to Kazuma’s brain how their treasure looks like. An egg. Kazuma is surprised Tsuwabuki stole it. Knowing they are the greatest earth mages, they are cold and spiteful it makes Kazuma wants to kill them. Evil look on his face… Tiana would be glad if he just got the treasure back. Yuuji reports to Mayumi about the incident. She doesn’t like it when he groups her and Ayumi as the same and threatens never to let him see her again. He vows to protect her and defeat his enemies even if it costs him his life. Kazuma is outside Tsuwabuki’s residence and he senses that the treasure is not around, shocking Tiana. She’ll be in big sh*t if she doesn’t find it. Kazuma eavesdrop in the hall and recognizes this woman, Kureha talking to her subordinates. She is temporary head of the family since her father is ill and is giving orders to retrieve it otherwise failure would mean staining their family’s name. Kazuma knows it’s that time for that Grand Festival. Once every 30 years on the first full moon of the month, they do a ritual to calm Mt Fuji. I suppose that dark festival and fairy treasure has something to do with it. Kazuma realizes he has been spotted and Kureha’s gravity pulls him into the hall. He is surprised she could sense him because he was flying and did not contact the ground. Kazuma manages to bluff his escape by using Tiana. He claims they have assaulted the land of fairies and won’t allow their evil ritual to use the treasure. They shall die tomorrow. Well, enough to leave them in shock. Kazuma now lies in wait for Tsuwabuki to get the treasure. No need to do anything. When they get back with it, he can kill as many of them he wants and hopes they won’t give it back to him without resisting. Scary evil face… He really wants to kill them… Tiana definitely has gotten herself into a bigger sh*t. Did Wind Spirit King make some kind of mistake contracting him?

Episode 10
Ayumi wants to see the real sea before everything ends. So kind Ren takes her to the beach via train. Ren wants her to come to Kannagi as they will protect her but she can’t. After this, she will have to go back to Tsuwabuki because she is needed for that Grand Festival. The last time Mt Fuji erupted was 300 years ago. Its eruption was so powerful that it causes the formation of a demon beast that wrecked havoc. The Tsuwabuki family stood up and defeat the beast but at the cost of their lives. Because the beast is so powerful, the seal can only last 30 years and each time they need to redo the seal. Thus, the one who presides over the ceremony uses all their power to seal the beast before dying. It’s like a human sacrifice. A clan member dies at every festival. Guess whose turn it is now? Ayumi is doing this not because of Tsuwabuki. It’s because it has to be done. If her death can save many lives, it will not be in vain. Before that, she wanted to make some memories of her own because prior to this, she had none. Ren vows to protect her and wants to make more memories with her. The sea, stars, moon and even the ‘fake sun’ Ren made with his fireball all seemed so pretty. Had enough fun? Yeah. Here is Mayumi and Yuuji to take her back. She warns attacking her means a declaration of war with her clan. Ayumi thanks Ren for everything and goes back to Mayumi’s side. Yuuji abuses her for running away and putting Mayumi’s life in danger. This scene pisses off Ren so is going to protect her as promised. Mayumi lets Yuuji to handle him. Since they’re standing on sand, Yuuji has the most advantage as an earth mage. However Ren turns the tables on him by burning the ground into magma and using it to fight back and defeat Yuuji.

Ren turns his attention to Mayumi who comments about his weird taste for this doll. She reveals that Ayumi isn’t human but an exact clone of hers when she was 12 years old. She was created only a month ago to take Mayumi’s place for this ceremony. Even if she wasn’t sacrificed, the most she could last is only another month. Ayano comes by with Kirika and is worried about Ren. Mayumi assures her no physical harm was done upon him. Maybe only his pride. She wants her to relay a message back to Kannagi that they have retrieved their stolen treasure and won’t prosecute Kannagi anymore and leaves. Kazuma and Tiana must have waited too long that they fall asleep. When Ayumi returns, Tiana becomes a bloodthirsty fairy, wanting Kazuma to fulfil his duty and chop her up and retrieve the treasure! But Kazuma doesn’t want to. He is going home. What the?! Because it is more fun to walk into the middle of the ceremony and start slaughtering anyone than taking it back now. Oh sh*t… I almost forgot he is the bigger devil… Ayumi is presented to Kureha as he excuses Yuuji. Next day, Yuuji confronts Kureha about Mayumi because the last he saw her was leaving with Kureha to some room. Kureha brings him to a door that lies a cave to the Grand Festival grounds. Inside, a large crystal pillar with Mayumi lying in suspending animation. Because Ayumi’s escape prevented them from making final preparations, Mayumi is needed to lend her extra power to Ayumi (who is expected not to survive this ceremony) for the Grand Festival. Don’t worry. Mayumi will survive. As long as nothing interrupts them. What can interrupt them? Remember a crazy wind mage and his fairy claiming he’ll come to kill them? Yeah. That. Yuuji laments he is supposed to protect Mayumi so Kureha offers to give him enormous power. Power big enough to defeat anything and protect the ones he loves.

Episode 11
Ayano goes to see Juugo about Ren (he’s fine, just depressed). He tells her not to interfere with Tsuwabuki’s personal matters. Kureha is talking to her dad, Iwao who seems to be merged with a rock. She tells him she has dealt with all the obstacles to this ceremony. Iwao is one of them. He says it wasn’t the ceremony he attempted to stop but her ambitions. She claims he tried to kill her and since he failed, he turned into this. And there’s nothing you he do about it so sit back and watch. Ayano goes to give Ren a pep talk on why he ‘abandoned’ Ayumi. She had her duties, can’t stop her… Don’t give me that crap. Isn’t she your important friend? After lots of thinking, Ren feels her really wants to talk to her more and see her again. I guess that settles it. Ayano says not to make a big fuss as they’re just going to meet and talk to her. As Kureha prepares Ayumi for the ceremony, the servants report intruders but it’s not the wind mage but 2 fire mages. What did Ayano said about not making a ruckus? She’s the one pulling off the fire attacks… Can’t be helped says she? They are faced with a giant earth golem. Sounds familiar? Of course. It’s Yuuji. Enraiha’s flames can’t hurt him since it is the ultimate power he got from Kureha to protect Mayumi. He doesn’t care if he dies. Ren is amazed with his resolved but feels something is wrong with it. He wonders if it is right to sacrifice something to protect others but this riles Yuuji up. Ren is saved from being smashed thanks to Kazuma’s perfect timing. Yuuji may be out for a while but his body is regenerating. Kazuma didn’t like this family’s way of thinking of sacrificing something to obtain something. Yuuji remembers Mayumi gave him her first kiss and forces him to take responsibility. She found out she was going to be sacrificed to calm Mt Fuji and laments her destiny she’ll never get away. That’s why she wants him to protect her and if she tries to run away, she wants him to stop her no matter what. Yuuji swore his loyalty to her on that day.

Ren asks Kazuma would he die to protect him. There’s no point in doing so if he died. He wants everyone to live happy. Ren finally understands and wants to handle this himself. He talks to Yuuji that his clan has been stuck in the wrong way of thinking of the need to sacrifice. It can’t be helped since it’s their destiny to calm Mt Fuji. Ren realizes they’re fighting the wrong enemy. Ren uses his flames on Yuuji but it is not burning him. His purification flames turn Yuuji back to his human form. Yeah. He’s more capable than Ayano in this sense. Kureha makes her appearance and is impressed that Yuuji lost after gaining so much power. Kazuma realizes something. Because earth mages can’t control gravity, her power is derived from the demon beast. This power is also what gave Yuuji his power. Kazuma whisks Ren away to see his ‘girlfriend’ while they take on Kureha. The agents won’t let Ren interfere but after he threatens them about his power and how he beat Yuuji, can you imagine they just fled???!!! Useless!!! So now it’s up to Ren to use his charm to persuade Ayumi. She still has her doubts as she feels she’s created for today’s purpose. Even so, she hasn’t got long to live. What does Ren have to say about that? I don’t care. There’s another way. I want to be with you. I’ll grant any of your wishes. I’ll take you anywhere. Live with me. He must be slick enough or Ayumi doesn’t have much real world experience when guys try to smooth talk her so she changes her mind and wants to live. It probably would have gotten even more romantic when Kazuma waltzes in. What about Ayano? Let’s say he let her become a decoy again to play with Kureha. They prepare to defeat the real enemy.

Episode 12
Kureha narrates how she was born without earth powers. It was humiliating for the next head of the clan. That’s why she sought for more power. Kazuma slices the crystal to save Mayumi. But the cave is going to cave in. If normal exits won’t do, make a hole through the ceiling! After making their way out, they see Iwao lying on the side. He wants them to stop Kureha. Kazuma interrupts Ayano and Kureha’s fight. He reveals Kureha’s goal for the ceremony isn’t to stop the beast but to gain its power. Iwao told him all that before he died. Because humans cannot contain the beast’s power, the ceremony is needed to seal it so it becomes containable. Kureha explains the suffering she went through without power but Kazuma feels something is amiss. Because Yuuji became a monster when he absorbed her powers, why does she remain a human? It’s because she was born with the beast’s power. He believes she is its pawn for its plan for revival and misled her into believing she will attain its power. Kureha refuses to believe that when the ground begins to shake. The beast is awakening. Remember the crystal grounds Kazuma destroyed that caved in? Yup. The beast was lying just beneath it. Whoopsie. And here comes the demon beast, Xenon! Wow. A big turtle. It absorbs all the demonic power Kureha has. So much about being powerful. They need to stop it from getting out of the mountain completely (I guess its turtle shell is stuck). Kazuma, Ren and Ayano go fight the beast. Let me give you an idea of the situation. Imagine 3 tiny ants trying to bring down an elephant. Yeah. That. Too big. Too strong. Its ki is warding off their attacks. Kureha becomes so upset that she was Xenon’s puppet that she manages to summon her earth power to kill it. She wants it to give her back her lost time and life. You think it’s God now? I think those stalagmites she poked it just felt ticklish. Then she got blasted away. What a sad end.

Ayumi couldn’t bear to see this go on any longer so she decides to help them out using her power even if she knows this would be the end of her. Ren doesn’t want her but Kazuma tells him she has made her decision. She knew what was coming and yet chose to fight. What is he going to do? Ren is resolved to defeat Xenon and wants Kazuma and Ayano to lend their powers. Kazuma summons his Contractor power to lift it up for Ayano to slash it with Enraiha and Ren to finish it in one hit. In the aftermath, Ren rushes to Ayumi’s side. Ayano is worried for Ren but Kazuma doesn’t want her to interrupt. He reveals even if Ayumi is a clone, growing so much in a month is just too much. To grow a 12 year old clone like Ayumi, you need 12 years. Iwao stole the fairy’s treasure to speed it up. Imagine the toll on its body when she uses up such power. She’s going to die. Ayano lashes out at Kazuma that their battle was in vain. They fought only to have her lifespan shortened. She blames him as a Contractor he couldn’t do anything. Looked in the mirror lately? Kazuma admits he is weak and hopes they’ll grow stronger next time. Ayano realizes she was being mean and apologizes she was worst. Ren and Ayumi have their final moments together. She doesn’t regret anything since she lived with him despite it was a short time. Mayumi feels bad about mistreating her clone (she heard it all from Kureha). As Ayumi turns into sand, she wants to see Ren’s smile instead of his tears as her last memory. Ren confesses he loves her. After she’s gone, he cries his heart out. Next day, Ren talks to Kazuma how he wanted to show Ayumi so much more of this beautiful world. Kazuma replies she was happy enough because she was just a doll for the festival and he made her into a real human. To Ren, Ayumi is still alive. The final words she whispered into his ear will always remain in his heart.

Episode 13
Ayano, Kazuma and Ren head to the amusement park as part job and part fun under Juugo’s request. Guess what? Ren’s buddies, Kanon and Tatsuya Serizawa are here too. Yeah. Eternally arguing to be with Ren. That kid is sure popular. So to stop them both from fighting over him, Ren goes with both with them. Kazuma allows it since their job is jus to ascertain if there’s some spiritual phenomenon in this park or not. Flashback reveals Juugo wanted Kazuma to help teach his daughter to control her powers and offered bonuses to cover her ‘tuition’ which includes tickets to the park. Kazuma wanted Ren to come along too so Juugo gave Ren a different set of tickets. Kanon and Tatsuya continue to fight over Ren’s attention while Kazuma doesn’t sense anything spiritually dangerous. I guess the dangerous ones are going to be humans because he tells Ayano the lady cleaner that just came out of the toilet is a cross-dressing man. In his bag is a camera and he has put a spy camera in the female’s toilet. Ayano instantly beats him up and would have received the death penalty if this was country Ayano. Then she rushes to beat up a couple of guys trying to hit on timid girls. Can anybody stop this girl? Kazuma would have received her death penalty too if he wasn’t swift enough to avoid it. That’s because he is looking through the voyeur’s camera! Hold on. You don’t want to destroy the evidence, don’t you? Better call in the police. But why Kirika? Normal police would’ve brought in Ayano as well. You can’t call beating up people as self defence even though they are perverts, right? As the day draws to a close, Ayano realizes a couple of suspicious people spying on them. She wanted to go after them but Kazuma stops her. Then they end up in the Ferris wheel. Ayano goes into full blabber mode but that guy just sat there quietly. Silence is golden. It shut her up. Seeing the sun setting over the horizon shut her up even more. Just admire the natural beauty, okay?

Ren awes over the beautiful lights on the Ferris wheel. It brings tears to his eyes whenever he thinks about Ayumi. Once he composes himself, Kanon welcomes him back because she notices his head is always somewhere else. She says she will always wait for him no matter how long it takes until he tells her everything. Until she can fill the gaps of his heart. The romantic mood is ruined when Tatsuya comments on this daytime opera soap. Kanon abuses that wild gorilla for ruining her big confession. It’s so funny that Ren started laughing. His friends also start laughing before the fight over him resumes. Kazuma and Ayano see Ren and co having fun. Ayano notices the kind of gentle face he only puts up for Ren. She is concerned she never puts this face for her? Her heart starts beating faster when she realizes his hand his touching hers. At the end of the day when everybody meets up, Ren thanks Kazuma for inviting him because he was worried about him. Kazuma knows Juugo as the ‘ringleader’. Ren’s job was to spy on them and his goal to make Kazuma and Ayano date together. That’s why Ren called Kanon and Tatsuya and went off with them. Ayano realizes she hasn’t caught the suspicious people. Speaking of which, they are here now. They turn out to be Yukari and Nanase in disguise. Yup. They’re spying on Ayano’s love date. They have taken quite a number of photos with different lovely expressions of Ayano in love. Enough to fill a photo album. What are the chances of getting those solid evidences back? Juugo seems pleased that Kazuma and Ayano are out and think they won’t even come back tonight. I think Ayano is chasing her friends over the camera… Kirika watches the voyeur’s camera as it turns out to be Yukari and Nanase changing into their disguise and fondling each other’s boobs. Then she goes to see Genma in hospital to have a talk. Wow. After 10 episodes, this dude is still in hospital?

Episode 14
American Catherine McDonald arrives in Japan not for sightseeing but to have a duel and reclaim the title of the strongest fire mage title from Kannagi whom she feels this isolated clan doesn’t deserve. I wonder if she’s just another maniac the way she laughs out loud at the airport. Ayano is spacing out so much (in a happy dreamy sense) that she couldn’t pay attention in class and becomes clumsy. Her friends can tell she’s expecting a date with Kazuma. Ayano denies and says it’s just her long awaited just reward for a super high class dinner treat at a super high class restaurant. This is what Yukari and Nanase understand: It’s a date. Kazuma and Ayano look stunning in their suit and dress. Ren talks to Juugo and it seems he really wants both of them to get together. He feels Kazuma is necessary for their future. Though he has left, he should return at some point. Viewing they are both useless and that there is no advancement whatsoever, he hopes one of them would slip up tonight. This old geezer is looking forward to that? Ayano begins enjoying her super high class dinner in a super high class restaurant but a group of robbers had to ruin it. Though the duo aren’t cowed and continue eating, the robber is attacked by flames. But it isn’t Ayano. It comes from a spirit beast. Azazel belongs to Catherine and continues to shoot flames till the robbers and other guests flee the floor. Catherine introduces herself but Ayano doesn’t know who she is. Upset? At least Kazuma knows the McDonald family are famous fire mages in America and advanced in spirit beast area. After the ladies trade insults, Catherine wants Ayano to hand over her clan title as the strongest to her. This means giving her Enraiha. No can do. So what now? Fight. Catherine summons her strongest spirit beast, Metatron a stone angel made out of several thousand spirits bound by her magic. Kazuma’s best punch line of the episode: He gets the role of stopping them if this gets messy? How troublesome.

Not even Enraiha’s flames can burn Metatron because it regenerates. Kazuma is just enjoying his wine watching the ladies fight. Kirika calls Juugo about the fighting of 2 fire mages in a building. Witnesses identified Ayano as one of them. However she notes that there is an evil spirit in that building. Though it doesn’t have the power to cause damage itself, its foul ki has started to seep out to the surrounding area. Speaking of which, Kazuma is already going to deal with it when Ayano unknowingly slashes it away in her attempt to cut Metatron. I guess that cut out his work. Ayano grows weary so Kazuma hints she is trying to burn the wrong thing. Then she gets it and starts using her purification flames to purify Metatron. Because the spirits composing Metatron were bound by a spell into something they shouldn’t have, their twisted forms made them no different from evil spirits or demons. However her purification causes the place to explode. Catherine calls it a draw (Ayano insists it’s her victory) and promises to return another time to beat the crap out of them. The duo will have to settle that later because the building is in danger of collapsing. Kazuma suggests she needs to take out the top storey only before it causes a chain reaction and flattens the other floors. Can you believe Ayano thinks she could fail?! Of course with Kazuma giving her his support, she manages to prevent any further disaster. When everything is over, Ayano continues her complaining. Her night is ruined. All that ranting made her stomach growl. In the end they had cheap roadside stall ramen. But it tastes so good and delicious, no? That’s what you call cheap and good. Kazuma had some wine with him and accidentally splashed some on her face. He licks it in order not to waste it. Ayano, oh Ayano. How could you have so much energy to be this tsundere after today… Whether that was sexual harassment or not depends… Juugo is willing to compensate all the damages and will have the bill sent to Kannagi. But he wasn’t expecting this kind of slip up… Disappointed?

Episode 15
Catherine is training herself by exorcising demons with Metatron. Right in the middle of the busy street? Anybody would think she’s a nutcase because she’s laughing like one. Oh, she’s training to take down Ayano. Of course an incident this big has caught the attention of Kirika. She hopes Kazuma can help her solve this case but there’s no need because Catherine coincidentally is here. Who the hell she think she is? Threatening the waiter with Metatron just because he brewed the tea the way she didn’t prefer. Once they learn her goal to defeat Ayano, they have reservations that she can do so. I mean, it’s Ayano she’s facing right? The one and only brute Ayano. Kazuma is mocking what she’s doing (a high level fire mage chasing lowly ghosts with her spirit beast?) so Catherine wants to challenge him. Kirika leaves him to deal with her. Just great. When she fights him, Kazuma easily destroys Metatron. He tells it straight she relies too much on Metatron. Once that is out of the way, she is helpless. Besides, Metatron definitely cannot defeat Enraiha. Catherine wonders why he is telling her all this. Isn’t he Ayano’s ally? Nope. He is not aligned with anybody. As long as you pay, he does the job. Catherine gets an idea to hire him as her coach. As usual, Ayano gets riled up just about hearing her friends gossip that they have seen Kazuma with a new hot babe. Speaking of which, here he comes now. He hands Ayano a challenge letter. In a week’s time, she will face off with Catherine. So the tsundere bombards him with lots of questions about Catherine. Hey. He does what he wants. It’s not like you care, right? Do you? Kazuma lives his end of the deal to train Catherine with a special attack. But that’s about it. You practice the rest yourself. I guess Catherine isn’t feeling her money’s worth so she tries to stop him. In the process, she trips, he catches him and she suddenly realizes her heart is beating. What could this feeling be? Ooh! Ooh! I know! It’s called L-O-V-E! Am I right? Meanwhile Juugo realizes Ayano has a rival. But this old guy prefers her to be the other type of rival. Just keep praying. Maybe it would.

The day before the challenge, pissed Ayano eats like crazy. Isn’t that bad for her body? Then here comes Catherine with Kazuma into the cafe to celebrate the end of their training. Exchange of rival insults. Could have settled their business right now if Kazuma hadn’t cooled them down. Ayano learns that if Catherine wins this match, she will bring Kazuma back to America. Will Kazuma go? Since the McDonalds are rich, he goes where the money is! Catherine gets all clingy to him so it’s too much for Ayano to take and runs away. But later she is resolved to keep Kazuma in Japan. She won’t let him go to America. So has she realized her love? More accurately, she wants him to treat her to all the expensive cuisine every night until he runs out of money. French, Chinese, Italian… What has food got to do with this? At the challenge, Ayano makes a good start disposing Metatron easily. However it’s just a trick so that Catherine could surround her with her secret technique of flaming wisps. They start attacking Ayano and she takes a beating. Kazuma notes that this is Ayano’s weakness. Because she charges straight in, she is weak in handling multiple attacks. Her friends think he is mean to tell Catherine this but he notes even if a stubborn girl gets knocked around a few times, she’ll come to realize her own weakness and take action. Ayano seems to have lost so Catherine brags about her future with Kazuma in America. Counting her chickens? Well, this was enough for Ayano to draw more strength to make a comeback. She destroys the wisps and uses some of them against Catherine. In the end, it is Ayano’s victory. They shake hands as the loser is gracious and the winner is humble. Kazuma notes Catherine let her guard down in the end, which enabled Ayano to win. Just as Ayano is about to force Kazuma to take her out to dinner, Catherine tells her to stay away from her man. Eh? True, she gave up her ambitions to take him to America, but she didn’t say she will give up on him, right? That’s right. She’s staying in Japan. And so the rivalry over Kazuma continues… They might even have another go at each other…

Episode 16
Yukari won tickets to the hotspring and brings Ayano, Kazuma, Ren and Nanase with her. Actually it’s all part of Juugo’s plan to get Kazuma and Ayano together. Even Kazuma could tell it’s his doing. So the only one who is left out in the cold unaware of this scheme is Ayano. Juugo is even dreaming that there will be no more interruptions and that Kazuma and Ayano can get it going. You know. What a man and a woman do when they’re alone. He wants to tell Genma about this when he learns he is also at that same hotspring. He is horrified if father and son meet, a fight will occur. All his plans will be ruined! It’s going to be the wrong slip up again… Genma is there thanks to Kirika. So as the girls and Ren try out the different types of hotsprings, Kazuma enter a mixed bath and Catherine happens to be there. In her embarrassment she rushes out. Note, ‘konyaku’ may mean mixed bath but it could also mean ‘marriage’. After Kazuma finishes his bath, he comes across his father. The worst possible scenario has happened. They start trading punches. So powerful that it’s wrecking their surroundings! Ayano and Ren can only helplessly watch. Ayano thinks Ren should go stop them since they love him and should stop. What if they don’t? Then she’ll at least do a decent burial for him. No way! The men only stop when Kirika mentions about Genma’s dinner getting cold. So the guys put off their fight till the next time. It will be their last. So what is Kirika doing here? She’s having an affair with Genma! For real? Enough to convince Ayano and Ren that they may have to call Kirika their mother! Can’t they tell it’s just a joke? Kazuma decides to go and have another round of bath after getting sweaty in that fight? Guess what? Genma had the same idea too. On God! Too late. Here comes round 2 of super punches! Once more, Kirika ‘stops’ them saying that the bath will close at 11pm. Once more, they put off their fight to next time. It will really be their last. Aren’t you just tired watching this?

Kazuma and Genma soak in the same bath and it’s amazing they can hold out this long without fighting. Oops. I take that back. After trading insults at each other, the inevitable happens. Again. Ayano is surprised to see Catherine at the hotspring. Seems she is baffled about the word ‘konyaku’. Noticing Ayano’s riled up face using that word, she might not know what it means but is going to use it to tick the hell out of her. She’s successful in the sense she manages to make Ayano so mad that her face contorts like you’ve never seen before. It could’ve descended into a power fight had not Kazuma come crashing in courtesy of Genma’s super punch. So they watch the guys punch and punch as they figure maybe it’s their way of communicating. You know. Let the fist do the talking. Genma’s old age means he is running out of stamina as Kazuma nails the clincher and defeats him. Then this scene brings tears to Ayano’s eyes. Kazuma sticks out his hand to help Genma up. Could it really be so? Well… It’s just a trick to let his guard down so that Kazuma could finish him off! Ayano gets pissed and attacks him. He should be ashamed of himself! He’s even taking pride in doing it! Ayano wants her respect back! The distraction was enough for Genma to land a clean hit in his face. He calls off tonight’s match because anymore, the inn will be ruined. What? He realized that after doing so much damage? Who is going to foot the repair bills? In the aftermath, Ayano treats Kazuma’s face. Kirika does the same for Genma. Though both guys give the other their dues, they still think themselves as the superior one. And then… They’re going to hit the bath again. Oh no…

Episode 17
Nanase practises her high jump. I don’t know. Suddenly she resembles so much like the titular character of Suzuka. Unknown to her, a pervert named Kousuke Utsumi is snapping pictures of her. Not only her but other girls too. He calls it art. But the girls know of his unholy activity but can’t do anything about it since some are afraid of him. When Utsumi’s photo taking gets too far on the tennis club girls, Nanase kicks the football at his face and destroys his camera. They find his bag containing pictures of them undressing in the changing room and take down all the spy cameras. After that, they beat him up. It’s cruel but that’s the only way for this guy to learn. When Nanase thinks he has had enough, Utsumi misinterprets that she understood him and felt left out since he was taking pictures of other girls more than her. He promises he will only take picture of her. The girls continue to beat him harder. Kazuma and Ayano just finish their job taking out a kid with super natural powers (the kind that has him grow muscles all over). They weren’t even surprised with his power and even ignored him. They even had time to argue about the coffee can Kazuma bought in which Ayano slyly finishes it (I think she wanted an indirect kiss). Ayano gets ticked off hearing Kirika’s name again since Kazuma wants to hand in this punk to her. On her way out, she sees Utsumi limping in pain. Next day as she talks to her friends and learns what happens, it seems Utsumi only received 3 days suspension as punishment. I guess if he doesn’t get expelled, he’ll be back with a vengeance. True enough, all the tennis club girls who beat him up end up in some kind of mishap. It’s like he went over the internet to get some power and curse them. Oh wait. He did. The last one left is Nanase. Saving the best for last? So when Utsumi is back, he becomes arrogant and cocky and wants to talk with Nanase. She plays it cool. He demonstrates his energy projection and threatens to kill her but she isn’t cowed. Admitting that he cursed the other girls, he wants Nanase to be her slave. She refuses. He gets violent and because his power is slow to generate, Nanase knocks him out with a stun gun. Ayano and Yukari are glad everything went as she planned. Now that the crime is confessed and his power confirmed, all that is left is to hand him over to Kirika.

Ayano and Yukari see Kirika in her office and Kirika is impressed with Yukari’s information and even hopes she could work for her department. Kirika notices the sudden increase of teenagers wielding odd powers. So much so they have taken this thing out on the streets and end up in street fights. Yukari remembers reading in an online forum about this that is turning Tokyo into a psychic battle but she stopped reading halfway because it sounded like a game with terms like special moves, invincible combinations and level up powers after beating a certain number of people. Kirika feels somebody is behind this and wants them to help her investigate. Ayano isn’t too sure but eager beaver Yukari gives her those puppy dog eyes. Can’t say no? Kirika mentions Kazuma is also on this case and is working with a new partner. First thing Ayano is concerned about is if this new partner is a cute girl. Rest assured, he is a guy. Ayano feels bad for the new partner because he may not be any help to Kazuma. Speaking of which, the new partner is cornered by another special power punk. Kazuma is hiding in the shadows, seemingly letting his partner going to get devoured. This is because he is letting the punk rant all he wants. He confirms the video game lingo which makes people like them reducing their sense of danger and reality. Before the partner becomes a victim, Kazuma works his wind magic to put the punk out of commission. His partner is crying and has had enough of this job! He wants to go back to being a normal detective! Wuss. Kazuma makes his way out when he a girl, Tsui Ling walks by. He seems to know her and is in shock.

Episode 18
Tsui Ling was also the girl who said she wasn’t born to be sacrificed to demons. Kazuma chases her but loses sight of her. Meanwhile the slut and wild gorilla are continuing to fight over Ren’s attention. That’s Kanon and Tatsuya if you’re wondering. They bump into a guy, Takashi Takamachi who wants Kanon to go out with him. She refuses and would rather die. When Ren tells Takashi to stop, Takashi badmouths him. In great sync, Kanon and Tatsuya take him down. Trash like him has no right to insult their friend. When Takashi is about to hit Kanon, Ren grabs him by the collar and gives him that evil stare. Though his friends are impressed, Takashi vows revenge and will call his brother to beat them up since he has super powers. Ayano is eating with her friends and she feels down because as a person who holds special power, she understands when normal people get scarred. She thinks it’s okay if they don’t hang out with her and get involved. However they know she is different and unlike jerks like Utsumi (who is behind bars now), they will always be willing to lend her a hand. Because they are friends. As Ayano leaves , she is surprised to see Catherine fighting a… Magical girl? Who the hell is this Magical C? Even surprising, Catherine shows her a badge that makes her a member of the police’s special unit under Kirika. I know she’s hard up on recruitment, but her? Ayano hears the magical girl thinking they are players of this game too and got their powers from Pandemonium. The duo team up to take down Miracle C. Catherine gets a call from Kirika and also something about Kazuma has gone missing. That interest you, Ayano? Catherine not telling.

Ren and his friends are rounded up by Takashi’s gang and brought to an alley where his brother is going to make mincemeat out of them. This guy starts throwing fireballs but of course, that would be useless against Ren, right? Ren hears him say how he powered up from Decalius who told him he was the only fire element class who upgraded. Ren also notices Youma possessing this guy and giving him powers without him knowing. He uses his purification flames to set him free. No more fire power, eh? Just an ordinary punk. His buddies all run. So much about loyalty. Talk big… Kanon and Tatsuya are surprised but are in awe with his special ability. Just as Ren questions the punk, Catherine also interrogates Miracle C in the lockup. Seems they got in from Pandemonium over an internet site. The page had nothing much except asking if they wanted more power. After clicking yes, they passed out and couldn’t remember anything and found themselves with super power. The site’s layout may be modelled after a demon summoning ceremony and it’s a contract of the soul that is activated without the affected party knowing. It’s like downloading a digital devil. But no one has ever re-entered Pandemonium again nor have they found it again. Thus a forum that has all players meet and exchange information, even setting up battles. Because winning fights will earn you experience points and you can level up to upgrade to a higher class. You’ll get a mail from Pandemonium when that happens and an invitation to his place. By just wandering around, they suddenly find themselves in a strange place and this supposed Pandemonium dude asking them if they want to upgrade. The punk describes the place and it seems like it is floating in air between 2 towers. Ren has an idea where that place is. But when they head up the building, they don’t find anything. Ren knows something is amiss and uses his flames to test. His flames hit a barrier and for that instant, they see a building. So it’s on invisible mode, I guess. Of course now that they have tapped on hell’s door, the hell master isn’t going to let them go as Ren suddenly vanishes from the sight of his friends.

Episode 19
Kirika is at Kannagi to explain her findings and request for their help. Kazuma returns just in time to sit in for the briefing. She explains to Juugo about the download phenomenon popular with teenagers which is actually in fact they are downloading Youma without knowing it. The several players they captured and testified to it, they were participating in this game out of curiosity and none understood its true meaning. Kazuma’s mind is thinking too much about Tsui Ling to hear what Kirika says. He thinks it is impossible for her to return and realizes she is a fake because the real Tsui Ling had green eyes. He gets up and leaves, going to find out who is behind this. What about this Pandemonium case? He leaves it up to Ayano. But Ayano gets a call from Kanon telling her that Ren suddenly disappeared. Can’t ignore this too, eh? They arrive at the building ground, Kazuma’s partner sends Kanon and Tatsuya home. Kazuma detects a rift above the building so he uses his wind power to open a little crack and heads in first. Kirika uses her connection to get her men to evacuate the surrounding area since there is a possibility the building might collapse. Things can get out of hand when Kazuma’s involved, right? Yeah. Call it government cover up too. Ren enters Pandemonium and notices the space really warped and continues to wander. He can’t use his wind power to destroy because Ren is held hostage and might harm him. Ayano and Kirika reach up to the rift and since Ayano’s flames may destroy the barrier and make Pandemonium visible to the public (which is what Kirika wants to avoid), Kirika who is an onmyouji uses her talisman to open a little door in the rift for them to go through. They are confronted with Tsui Ling’s lookalike, Lapis. She is the servant of Decalius and won’t let them through unless they have an appointment. Can’t they make one now? Apparently not. But since they really need to see that guy, I guess a fight is in order. Ayano clashes her Enraiha with Lapis, oversized broad sword that could absorb her flames.

Ren meets Decalius who welcomes him to Pandemonium and asks if he would like to upgrade. Don’t want it. He wants Decalius to stop this. He can’t since he has invested lots of time in this experiment. He then shows Ren the fight between Ayano and Lapis as well as lost Kazuma. He claims Ren is the most important person to their hated enemy. Is he targeting Kazuma? More precisely, he is targeting for a dramatic play. He wants to see how the trio are separated and confronted with a terrible enemy before reaching a climax for an incredible production. He gives an example of a scenario of what if Kazuma walks in at the right time to see Lapis killing Ayano. I’m not sure if the blabbing causes Kazuma to figure out their position. He wants Ren to call out his name so he can figure his position. Ren does that and in the blink of an eye, Kazuma breaks through the barrier and reunites with his brother. Kazuma recognizes Decalius as Bernhardt Rhodes. So this is what he is doing after Kazuma gave him a second chance at life and let him live? Bernhardt claims Kazuma survived because he was unworthy of their time. Kazuma guesses that with Armagest’s appearance, the fake Tsui Ling is his doing. Ayano and Lapis’ power fight ended up crashing in here. Kazuma sees Lapis and is stunned. I thought he knew she was a fake so why look so shocked? Maybe she looks too close to the original.

Episode 20
Ayano is about to finish Lapis off but Kazuma’s wind stops her. Still have those sentimental feelings? Bernhardt says he has been reunited with his dead lover but Kazuma knows she is dead because he took everything from her. He fed her body and soul to the demon. Bernhardt confirms that because he was there when it happened. Lapis was created by the residual emotions left behind by Tsui Ling at her time of death. She is Tsui Ling’s exact duplicate. Kazuma views Lapis nothing more as a fake doll. Ayano seems pretty concern about Kazuma’s past with Tsui Ling. Bernhardt orders Lapis to destroy the place. Using her sword, she slices the entire building in half to make their escape. And there’s nothing Kazuma can do about it but feel the utter frustration. Kirika shows the video to Juugo how the building in the real world was also sliced in half by Lapis’ sword. They have altered the video for the public to make them see it’s some sort of explosion. Though Kazuma saved them from doom, he has gone missing ever since. Ren thought Pandemonium is destroyed but Kirika shows a video proof that there is a new one. When Utsumi was in his cell, bloodied words appeared on the wall to ask him if he would like a class change. Of course he picked yes and escaped via teleportation. There are a handful of others too that agreed to this class change. Ayano is upset because Nanase would be his first target. Kirika assures her she has put 24 hour surveillance on her. Izumi and Catherine? I don’t feel good about this? Bernhardt’s name rings familiar bells to Juugo and Genma. He is from Armagest, a very powerful European magic society. They wonder why he is doing something this trivial. Ayano is upset once more when Kirika knows about Tsui Ling but never told her about it. There are some secrets that are needed to be kept. Can she shoulder them? Seeing the seriousness of this case, Juugo wants Kirika to tell them about Tsui Ling.

Kazuma is sitting alone on the building top, reminiscing the past with Tsui Ling. It was 4 years ago before he became a contractor. Somewhere in a little town in China, Kazuma lived with Tsui Ling and did odd jobs for the day. What kind of odd jobs? Like saving a cat. And never got paid. Can you blame him for being obsessed about ‘show me the money’? By night, he helps Tsui Ling with her little restaurant. Even some regular customers note how he has changed ever since meeting Tsui Ling because before this he used to be temperamental and get into fights. One night, Kazuma tells her about his past and how he was kicked out of the family due to no powers. He thought he could forget about home but somehow couldn’t and even thought he wanted that power he didn’t have. Tsui Ling wonders if he still wanted that power. Because if he does, he could have gone home and live in a better place than this dump. He rubbishes her thoughts because he is happy here now. Because someone sees him as he is and not because of some power. This is the greatest happiness he could have. Answering her question, Kazuma assures he will always protect her like the wind flowing through her hair. Then they kissed. Kazuma wakes up from the nightmare flashback when Tsui Ling was sacrificed and goes crazy. The police is despatched to the nearby park and are shocked to see it decimated. Like as though a typhoon just swept through the place. They see several badly injured people. One of them is cowering in fear about class change and Seeds. Kazuma vows to kill Bernhardt and rip that doll of his to shreds.

Episode 21
Was Kazuma responsible for that mayhem? He looks different. Glowing eyes. Killer instincts. Is this the Kazuma we know? Kirika, Ayano and Ren search for Kazuma but he is nowhere to be found. In an arena, the crowd are getting excited as 2 second class Seeds face each other. Rai makes a great start summoning his demons to defeat Shin. The latter got scared and wants out. But when he wishes for more powers, his eyes change, grow fangs and starts to power up. He turns on the tables on Rai by destroying his demons which causes direct damage to his body. Kazuma then drops in the middle of the match to ask about Pandemonium’s location. Since they’re not doing it the easy way, Kazuma easily takes out Rai and uses his palm to extract information from his head! Horror scene?! He is disappointed he doesn’t yield any result. He turns to Shin next. No escape. Same treatment. No answer too. But he sees Utsumi and thinks he could use him. Kirika, Ayano and Ren are on site the next morning. Kirika explains a man appearing at such battles and hunting for Seeds. He takes them to the brink of death to find Pandemonium’s location. The damage left behind seems to be caused by a wind user. Guess who? Meanwhile Utsumi has powered up and change class as he feels unstoppable. Bernhardt talks to Lapis that they have gathered enough data and is pointless to stay in this country any longer but he won’t go back to headquarters yet because the fun is just beginning. Then he says Lapis isn’t just a mere doll because he made her with a heart. She should take time to feel those feelings and someday a true will shall be born in her heart even though she is still a doll. Izumi and Catherine are on the watch outside Nanase’s house. Izumi activates her barriers when she detects and incoming attack but it was easily destroyed. Kazuma drops in and Catherine wonders what he is doing here. However Izumi tells her he is the one who broke her barriers. Kazuma easily knocks out Izumi. Catherine remains arrogant she can beat him but I guess she was a little hesitant to fight her beloved and was easily disposed. Kazuma sees Nanase walking out of the house.

Next day, Ayano can’t believe that Kazuma was the one who hurt Izumi and Catherine. Has he joined Bernhardt? Kirika dismisses it. Reports indicate Nanase was under somebody’s mind control when she left. In short, Kazuma helped Utsumi kidnapped her. She is the bait to lure Kazuma to Utsumi so he could get information on Pandemonium. Ayano still can’t believe Kazuma did this so Kirika explains she first met Kazuma 2 years ago in London. He was an unknown at that time but there were rumours spreading about a wind mage with demon-like powers that tore apart anything he touched like the Grim Reaper. Kazuma seemed to fit those rumours because he would hurt anybody to get what he wanted. So the Kazuma they all know wasn’t the real him. He changed when he came back to Japan and now he has returned to his original self. Like as though he is a different person. Now that he has gone back being the Grim Reaper, he’ll do what it takes to find Pandemonium and kill Bernhardt. Even if it means destroying the entire city or many will be perished, he’ll do it without slight hesitation. Ayano ponders if Kazuma returned to his old self after seeing Lapis. More precisely, after remembering Tsui Ling. Kirika bets on Ayano to win over Tsui Ling because Kazuma is trapped in his past and is lost. She must awaken him and make him realize his present self is more valuable than his past. Well Ayano. I guess this is your chance of all sorts.

Episode 22
What’s the problem Ayano? Now she thinks it’s impossible to bring Kazuma back to his senses. Since when did her self confidence get this low? Ren waits at Central Park and to his surprise, his friends are here. They are worried about him and want to help. Yeah, they’re fighting to see who gets to help him. Then Ren hears Kazuma getting involved in a fight with a Seed. The cocky punk gets beaten up easily. No contest. He continues to torture him for answers. Ren tries to stop him but his words couldn’t reach him. Tatsuya grabs Ren and run because at this rate he fears he will get killed. Later Kirika and the police investigate the area. She feels something amiss. If Kazuma hunts Seed and attacks them during their fight, how come this time he attacks a lone Seed? They can’t question that person who is in coma now. Ren is adamant to stop him. Speaking from experience, he knows how hard it can be when someone close dies. But what Kazuma is doing is wrong and won’t give up stopping him as he is trapped in his past. Yukari does her online research on Pandemonium. I don’t know how, but she manages to find the site and a time and place for gathering. Kazuma’s love rivals talk. Catherine didn’t like it that Kirika viewed Ayano as the only one who can save him. Because Ayano is still dense what was said, Kirika had to reword it again why Ayano can only save him. She has observed her for some time and knows she can. She wants Ayano to think of all the bonds she had with him (count those tsundere and close moments with Kazuma). So now do you understand why the present you is more important than the past Tsui Ling?

Yukari is at the gathering of the Seeds. She is surprised to see Utsumi with Nanase. He calls himself the boss class and has a message from Decalius. Tomorrow night will be Pandemonium’s descend. Those who want ultimate power will head there. However it is a race and only the first one who reaches there will obtain all the power. The place is Central Park. Utsumi recognizes Yukari in the midst. Like… After giving out all the juicy details? Yukari had to make it worse by panicking and run away. Couldn’t she just feign she’s somebody else? Now she’s cornered. Luckily she manages to send the important information to Ayano. Ayano is upset now her other friend is captured. Kirika deduces that Pandemonium won’t appear because it has always been there. Kazuma likely knows about this and was waiting there the whole time. He used Nanase as bait and follow Utsumi to find Pandemonium. From the punk’s handphone, Bernhardt must have sent him a message to defeat Kazuma despite knowing he won’t win for entertainment. As for why Kazuma didn’t destroy Pandemonium since he has found it, he’s waiting for Bernhardt’s work to be completed. Then he’ll destroy everything, laugh at his despair and murder him. That’s very cruel, no? All is fair in revenge. Ayano gets her confidence to bring Kazuma back because if she has value to him, he will not be looking at the past or Tsui Ling but the present. Everyone is glad that Ayano is up to the task and wants to know her plan? What plan? Eh? Just go with the flow whatever… Utsumi is before Bernhardt and now that he has done his bidding, he is also done being his servant and challenges him to a duel to take his spot as master. Why do these people never learn? Get a little bit of power and they think they’re helluva invincible. I think I know who the victor is going to be.

Episode 23
Genma states his intention to destroy Kazuma and Pandemonium. It’s about that Kannagi crap thingy. Ayano uses her position as the next head to take over this matter and will settle this with Ren and swears it on Enraiha. Can’t say no to that, can’t you? All the Seeds are fighting each other to reduce competition even before Pandemonium appears. Ren shows how much his powers have grown and takes out the Seeds who are targeting them. He vows to use his excess powers to protect. He’s starting to take after a certain someone, isn’t he? When it strikes midnight, Pandemonium appears and it is much larger than before. All the Seeds turn into Youmas. As they race towards Pandemonium, a murderous dark wind destroys them all in one swoop. Awesome. Look who’s here? Ren confronts Kazuma to stop his revenge because it won’t bring the dead back. Kazuma scoffs it off because the dead can’t feel anything and if they think he is doing it for Tsui Ling’s revenge, they are way off. He wants to kill Bernhardt because he wants to kill him. Simple as that. And anyone who gets in the way will die. Since words won’t reach him, I guess now it’s Ayano’s turn to beat him up till he return to his senses. She senses his power ability despite not using his Contractor power yet. Her hand is shaking and has a bad feeling about this foul wind. Then she realizes why she is so pissed off. He’s so pathetic now. She admires him and hopes one day she’ll catch up to him so that he’ll recognize her power. She can’t accept him now and refuse to believe something so ugly was her goal.

As they clash, Ayano begins to note that the Kazuma she used to know, fearing him would seem so stupid. Now that she does, it means he is weaker. It is proof she can see the limits of his power. She is so pissed this isn’t her Kazuma that Enraiha flames become crimson. Then it is history lesson time. She reminds him what he said about not choosing who to save with those powers. Those with powers have the duty to protect. He got the power to save everything so he won’t throw anything away. Remember all that? He was the one who said them, right? So what was he using his powers for? What was he trying to protect? Those words hit Kazuma hard as he remembers Tsui Ling’s words. The beast in him calms down and he starts thinking what the heck he is doing. This power isn’t to take because he swore to make sure nobody takes anything again. How the hell did he forget something that important? I guess if he wasn’t admiring how beautiful Ayano’s Crimson Flames (which is the second time – the first was when she dealt the last blow against Ryuuya) and how it sparkled like the flame of her soul, he could’ve avoided her strike. Could you believe this? Kazuma beaten? Ayano finally won against him? Ren praises Ayano for being able to use Crimson Flames but she didn’t realize she was using them! Fluke? Kazuma gets up unscathed because his wind deflected the damage though he was blown away by the impact. That sarcasm… The old Kazuma’s back! He also notes his feelings for Tsui Ling are still in his heart but right now there are more important things before his eyes. Then he kisses her neck! We would love to see more of this teasing but Pandemonium is starting to absorb all the Youma powers. So let’s hurry and go save the day. He has to take responsibility for getting Nanase and Yukari involved. So that means he can’t destroy Pandemonium in one blow, no?

Episode 24
Ayano asks if he is able to fight Lapis. He answers Lapis is made out of Tsui Ling’s residual energy and therefore is a fake and doesn’t have her heart. Tsui Ling is dead. She died right before his eyes. They enter a room where Lapis is waiting. She says Bernhardt has already returned. Yukari and Nanase are still under mind control as she notes they have fulfilled their role in luring them here. Utsumi is part of a stone and is part senile. She explains Pandemonium’s purpose to experiment fusion between human and demon and to create Homo Superiola. This involves distributing Youma’s power to people via internet then causing Seeds to fight one another to gather data about fusing them. Bernhardt’s goal is to make them suffer and be in despair and takes pleasure in doing that. Lapis cuts Utsumi in half as he is the last of the Seeds polluted by Youma to complete the summoning of Belial, the strongest demon. Wondering why Lapis is doing this since she is created from the residues of Tsui Ling’s last emotions, she wants a heart because she’s a doll. Bernhardt told her to gaze upon those suffering and dying. If she enjoys that, she will be happy, she will have a heart. Kazuma steps up to face her but I guess he still sees Tsui Ling in her and misses. Still haven’t gotten over her? Ayano steps in to fight in his place and leaves her friends in Ren’s care. The ritual is almost done as Belial is close to being summoned. After everyone escapes, they see the size of the summoning circle covering the entire area of Central Park. Kazuma knows his Contractor power and Kannagi flames won’t be enough to defeat it. They’re going to deal with this head on. Concentrate all their powers into it. Because only a few mere souls are sacrificed to summon Belial, it was enough to summon a little part of him to last for several seconds. Nevertheless it is enough to destroy Tokyo. That’s how big and great this demon is. Kazuma remembers the horrifying moments Tsui Ling was sacrificed right before his eyes. Had he only had this power then, it would not have happened. As it is already the past, he needs to focus on the present.

The trio summon all they’ve got to press Belial back down. The impact is so great that the entire Central Park became a crater! There goes the green lung of the city. Well, better than a scene of Armageddon carnage, right? Bernhardt appears before them and is impressed they could pull this off. Kazuma is worried because they are weakened and if he attacks now, they’ll be done for. Bernhardt assures he won’t do anything silly that will not guarantee his victory for he is a coward. Looking over them is Genma. Bernhardt is confident they will meet again and the next time, he’ll be serious. Kazuma wants to know what Tsui Ling’s final emotion was and what she said to him. Lapis replies that she wanted to kill him. Shocking words. Ayano felt bad and wanted to comfort him but he was faster. He hugs her. Back at Kannagi, Ayano hopes to cheer him up and thinks what Lapis said it was a lie. Kazuma doesn’t think so because he failed to protect Tsui Ling as promised so it’s no surprise she hated him in the end. His wind power awakened for the first time when he was almost killed trying to save her. When she was killed, nothing happened. It was so pathetic he can’t even laugh. Is he supposed to? Ayano is worried he wants to let Lapis kill him. He doesn’t want her to worry about him because he has decided to accept the past and protect the present. That includes Ayano. But this blows her top and almost slaps him. She doesn’t want to be protected and not to shoulder everything himself. Is she that unreliable? What is she to him? Is she somebody who slows him down or needs to be carried around? Does he want her to cower behind him during fights and give a thank you kiss when it’s over? I think the last one would be great but anyway she what she is trying to say is that she wants to help too and when he is in trouble, he should rely on someone. Kazuma smells her hair and agrees with her. Now that he is looking forward to work with his so called partner, he gives her the ultimate surprise by patting her butt!!! Now she tries to kill him with Enraiha. Right in front of all their guests. Can we just sit down and settle this peacefully instead of using violence? Maybe sometimes action speaks louder than words…

Fanning The Fire…
Seems the most amusing thing for me in this series is the interaction between Kazuma and Ayano. They are the reason why I smiled and enjoyed for most parts of this series. Some of their lines for each other I consider as witty. They are like fire and ice (wind actually), cats and dogs, oil and water. They don’t get along well but their constant arguing and loggerheads, at each other’s nerves make them an ideal pair, a match. Odd, isn’t it? So when the final arc of the series turned serious with Kazuma losing his teasing and sarcasm with his quest for revenge against Bernhardt, I somewhat felt that the show ‘died’. Where would the fun be without Kazuma’s derision on Ayano? He’s got a knack in pissing her off. Or he just loves doing it to see her reaction. How can Ayano pull off her tsundere comebacks if Kazuma is not there to harmlessly mock her?

Kazuma isn’t your typical hero or knight in shining armour. Like most heroes nowadays, they come with a dark past. The best thing about him is that he is honest with you and does not mince his words to say it in your face in what he feels and thinks. Whether it is good or bad, he lets you have it. After all, there is no point in beating around the bush, right? His suave lines make him one of the coolest characters and I never really get tired in hearing spit out his usual sarcasm. If he was in a national debate, nobody can beat him. If fairies can’t even out talk him, what are the chances the boss of hell and demons can? He is also a notorious businessman and though it may not seem like it, money is his main motivation to take on jobs. You can’t blame him for being realistic. He’s doing a dangerous job that involves the supernatural so be prepared to pay if you want to use his services. As a wind user, his power is definitely unrivalled and all those who thought they are hell of a great never knew the meaning of utter defeat till he displays his powers. Despite narrating at the start of each episode about this Contractor thingy, I find it a bit redundant since it isn’t the focus of this series or the driving force. It’s like they want to keep reminding us where he got this awesome power of his. It’s not that he uses it very often and only when is needed to (because it eats up too much energy and time). Of course as haughty and cool Kazuma may be, he is still human and his fall came when he is shown to still be stuck in his past. He knows Lapis is not exactly Tsui Ling but she was made out of her, right? So technically she is part of her. He can give any excuse that he is not out for revenge but to ordinary people like me, he definitely seems absorbed in his vengeance quest, don’t you think? Thankfully he manages to overcome that with the support of the people around him.

Ayano the other interesting half of the pair is also an amusing watch. At first I thought as the heir of the Kannagi clan she would be somewhat strict and have that certain grace. However after seeing her to be a little crude and tomboyish followed by her undeniable tsundere character, I thought she was going to be a fun watch especially with Kazuma teasing her whenever he gets the chance. With him around, not only her powers grow but her feelings for him. Unfortunately in both cases, she doesn’t realize them. We have seen enough scenes to indicate that she likes him. But as a tsundere, we also expect her not to admit. It’s more fun that way, I figure for us viewers. She can give any reasons she want about forcing loaded Kazuma in treating her to nice dinner. To us, that’s consider a date, right? She’s the kind of girl that acts on her feelings rather than her head so probably that is why she is able to pull off powerful techniques for short moments because she puts her emotion in them while making her strike. Unfortunately for her, she could never best Kazuma too. I won’t consider her ‘victory’ over Kazuma when he was filled with dark rage to be a real one because he simply opened his path and returned to the right path.

Ren also improves much as the series progresses. He turned from a cry-baby brother complex to someone who is independent and able to stand up himself to use his powers to protect others. Kanon and Tatsuya are true friends despite always fighting over him but it is proof that they care for him. I hope Tatsuya isn’t the kind that is aiming for some bromance… Oddly for Juugo, I find it strange that he tries to subtly play matchmaking between Kazuma and Ayano. When I guess when you are at that old age, you start thinking about grandkids… What else does this guy have to do as the current head of Kannagi? I mean, menial chores he gets his men to do it. He is too old and frail to do heavier stuffs. So with so much free time what else is there to think over? Maybe pairing them could teach Ayano how to be more feminine… Hah! Not a chance. Catherine’s late appearance may seem to serve as Ayano’s rival but after her rematch and defeat, it seems like she is just a secondary character. It felt that without her, the final arc could still progress. I thought I could see another rivalry with Ayano for Kazuma but looks like it wasn’t so. Perhaps she too realizes that Kazuma and Ayano make a perfect match despite how much she disliked this. I thought the same for Kirika too. Perhaps she was getting too close to Kazuma just to rile Ayano up and in the process hopes this will spurn her feelings for him even further. Because leaving it to the duo by themselves is going to take forever. For Yukari and Nanase, they could have been casted off as typical ‘minor side characters of a heroine’ had they not appear and had a little role in the final arc. Yukari may look cute and docile on the outside but her way of getting information is astounding. It’s like she is some sort of database whatsoever. You don’t want to step on her toes because she could easily find information to blackmail you if she ever wanted to.

If the series feels like it ended without anything conclusive, one reason is not because the producers wanted to leave some space if there was any reason to make a sequel. But rather, the original author of this series died a couple of years later after the anime aired so the work is left unfinished. For example about that Michael kid from the Stars and the Wisdom organization. I think he had the shortest appearance as the antagonist in this series (not referring to his height lah). Well, I personally felt even Ryuuya had slightly more appearance even if he was in beast mode. Kazuma clearly had a hand in killing Michael’s master so it is interesting to know the (bloodied) journeys Kazuma made over his exiled years from Japan. With Bernhardt and Lapis as the only antagonist that survived, surely it isn’t the end yet and there is more than meets the eye for this Armagest organization he belongs to. So was it wise to leave it hanging or risk the wrath of critics and fans by making their own ending? Since it wasn’t the latter, we don’t hear brickbats for that.

The action and fight sequences are rather okay but they are nothing to shout about. They don’t put too much focus on fighting Youmas since the main antagonists are humans and some possessed by Youma. Sometimes I feel that the fights lack certain impact that it made me feel as though it wasn’t convincing enough. You know when you pull off elemental powers like that, I should be able to ‘feel’ the impact but somehow it just feels flat. Maybe this can be forgiven since this is a year 2007 production. Feels like a very long time in anime years, huh? Another gripe is that some scenes are poor in quality in the sense that the details become very simple. It’s quite obvious so it feels like as though the producers didn’t put enough effort in some of the scenes and felt rushed to just get the episode out. And I also noticed this that in every arc somebody dies with the exception of episode fillers like the ghost buster tour at school or amusement park ‘date’. At least the bad guys. Except for the final arc that Bernhardt and Lapis got away, I guess they replaced their deaths with the Seeds as casualties. Well, people die every day, don’t they? There is a wee bit of fanservice and perhaps they serve as little teasers. Most of them coming from the wind blowing up a little Ayano’s skirt or the certain low angles. It’s like an Easter egg. The little slip shown is more like a ‘bonus’ if you can catch them.

Sadly, the romance part feels just like a teaser and serves like a distraction. As said, there are many oh-so-close romantic moments between Kazuma and Ayano but in the end, both failed to say the magical 3 words that would have made fans of the pairing very happy and satisfied. No whirlwind Gone With The Wind romance of Kazuma sweeping Ayano off her feet either. A handful kissing scenes and one even right in the very early episodes to keep us surprise but it boils down to nothing if they don’t become an official couple, right? Just like Nanase and Yukari, we just love watching over Ayano and her tsundere-cum-love-denials. After all this debate and thinking if Ayano and Kazuma could be a couple, then it just hit me. Aren’t they cousins? Oh sh*t. Not possible, right? What a damper. Even if their love becomes genuine, morally that won’t seem right. What the hell. Kazuma does as he pleases and Ayano is going to be the next head of the Kannagi. She can do whatever she wants when she takes over, no? As Tsui Ling was Kazuma’s first love, even that flashback scene felt rushed so the impact of their romance wasn’t there. Then after her death, it seems money became Kazuma’s love. Haha! Just kidding. Perhaps not. There’s some truth in there. So even in the case if he follows Catherine to America, it was just for money’s sake, right? Even romance has eluded for Ren because his first true love Ayumi died in his arms. Kanon did announce her confession intentions but I don’t think Ren would want to spoil the relationship he has now with her by taking it to the next level. Imagine how heartbroken that would leave Tatsuya, right?

Listening to Ayano’s voice, it dawned to me that she sounds familiar only because Ayumi Fujiwara seems to have voiced similar roles like her. Feisty and tsundere girls, that is. Doesn’t Ayano somehow feel uncannily similar to Mafuyu in Seikon No Qwaser and Misaki from Kaichou Wa Maid-sama? Daisuke Ono is cool as Kazuma like his other roles as Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji, Kurou in K and Tenzo in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon. The rest of the extensive casts include Rika Morinaga as Ren (Sousei Seki in Rozen Maiden), Sayaka Ohara as Kirika (Erza in Fairy Tail), Chiaki Takahashi as Catherine (Mitsuki in Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien), Yui Makino as Lapis/Tsui Ling (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Bernhardt (Sasaki in Bakuman), Masaki Terasoma as Juugo (Kanbei in Samurai 7), Rikiya Koyama as Genma (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero), Shizuka Itou as Nanase (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku), Yuka Inokuchi as Yukari (Tabitha in Zero No Tsukaima), Kana Ueda as Misao (Rin in Fate/Stay Night), Eri Kitamura as Michael (Ami in Toradora), Ayumi Tsuji as Kanon (Minamo in Gokujou Seitokai), Jun Fukuyama as Tatsuya (Lelouch in Code Geass), Mami Kosuge as Kureha (Yukari in Lucky Star), Kei Shindou as Tiana (Kuro in Kodomo No Jikan), Eri Miyajima as Mayumi (Kana in Haibane Renmei), Kanako Sakai as Ayumi (Kikuri in Jigoku Shoujo) and Tomoya Kawai as Utsumi (Logen in Broken Blade).

The opening theme is Blast Of Wind by Saori Kiuji. Somehow I didn’t find it appealing. It feels like the song is trying to have that windy feel. Saori Kiuji also sings the first ending theme entitled Hitokiri No Sora while the seiyuus of Ayano, Nanase and Yukari sing the second ending song, Matataki no Kiwoku. I kinda noticed that if the episode is somewhat serious or gloomy, the first ending theme is played since it has that darker and enigmatic feel to it whereas the second one is more for filler and happy episodes as it gives out a livelier and cheerful tune. Both ending animations are the same (Kazuma lying on the grassy slope as the main animation) except that if it is the darker theme, it is night time and Ayano extends her hand to him at the end. Otherwise it would be day time and in addition to Ayano, Ren is also present at the end. Sakai Kanako sings the special ending for the twelfth episode, Tsuki Hana no Inori. This time the animation shows Ren lying on the slopes. I guess it’s his episode anyway.

So the series isn’t that great in the overall sense as it tries to cram in lots of genres from action, adventure, supernatural, playing detective, romance and comedy and yet it has that feel that all those have been done before in some other animes and possibly better. But on my level, it still had some enjoyable moments (Kazuma-Ayano spat and the lines they say). I read many comments that many would have preferred Shakugan No Shana over this one due to the very similar traits of both lead heroines. Red hair, fire user, sword wielder and tsundere. Just that Ayano is a grown up version of Shana. I can’t really say much as I have only watched the first season of Shakugan No Shana and my lack in interest for it shows that I never had any plans to continue the series despite lasting for 3 seasons and several OVAs. If it’s one thing I learnt when dealing with fiery girls, don’t use fire to fight fire. You know what they say, play with fire get burnt. Also, fire makes a good servant but a bad master. Can we have more tsundere Ayano in maid outfit please?

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