Reviews: Haibane Renmei

A wonderful, touching story

I didn't expect much of this anime, beyond the interesting premise. What I got in the end soon became one of my favorite stories, all medium confounded.

Haibane Renmei has its issues. The opening few episodes have a slice of life, episodic quality to them that differs from the rest of the plot. The story is quite short, and only features two fully fleshed out characters. The animation can be a bit inconsistent at times, ruining a few moments.

Beyond this, however, is a touching story about loneliness, and the question of sin and redemption.

When the story went from slice of life to a more dramatic tone, the shift did not feel forced. There is a great feeling of pacing to the story. The 13 episodes build up to a very satisfying climax. It would have been easy for a series with such dark themes as sin, guilt, depression and isolation to slip into a bleak tone, but Haibane avoids that trap.

The plot takes place in a wonderful setting that leaves the viewer questionning all the way to the end. Nothing is ever explicitly stated, and yet the viewer can feel how this world works and over time there are juste enough clues about the world's mysteries.

In the end its difficult to reccomend such a personal stories. Haibane Renmei sacrifices quite a few things to build up its main story arc, and the impact of such a story might vary from viewer to viewer. However I'd give a strong reccomendation to anybody even intrigued by the setting to give it a spin. It is well worth the time spent watching.

charcoal feathers: a review of haibane renmei

People generally label Haibane Renmei as one of the best slice-of-life anime ever made, but that's selling it short. Sure, there's not much physical action, and much of the series is devoted to the day-to-day life of the title characters: mysterious winged men and women called Haibane who work odd jobs in the walled town of Glie. There are happy moments and sad moments, mysteries that are never fully explained and a cast of likable characters who are all more flawed than they appear at first glance.

Where Haibane Renmei differs from its slice-of-life brethren is that there is pain. Granted, there are elements of loneliness and transience in many such works, from the graduation at the end of Azumanga Daioh to the post-apocalyptic finale of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. But in Haibane Renmei, the pain is raw, and real. Wings protrude from backs in bloodstained moments of birth. Fears lurk behind the eyes of those you least expect. At around the halfway point the happiness and light fades away and the show dives deep, dredging up the insecurities of its two main characters with a firm hand. Executed poorly, the shift in tone might have sunk the show, but instead the switch elevates the show to an even higher level without any pretension.

At times, Haibane Renmei is calming and bittersweet. At other times it is heart-wrenching and profound. Sometimes it can even be all four at the same time. With its slow pace and inscrutable atmosphere, the show probably isn't for everybody. But even though it is difficult to find these days, you should seek it out and watch it through at least once, just in case it's for you. It's among the best anime ever made, and there is absolutely nothing quite like it.

A Slow-Paced But Wonderful Anime

Haibane Renmei is a very good anime. It has not much in the way of action and it is character driven, but it is moving. The music is beautiful and the characters are realistic in their intentions.

It is about Rakka, a girl who is born as a Haibane (a winged humanoid) in the town of Glie. She has no memories of her past life, nor do the other Haibane. Glie is surrounded by a wall, and neither the humans nor the Haibane are allowed to leave the town. The anime is mostly about Rakka and her life as a Haibane, but at the same time she tries to understand what exactly Haibane are, and why no one can exit Glie.

It may sound boring, and it might be for those who prefer action and fighting scenes. It has a lot of talking, that's for sure, but it's all worth it. I can't expand because that would be giving out spoilers, but you can get the general idea, can't you?

The anime is very touching, and it will make you cry.

I recommend this series to those people who want something philosophical and slow-paced.
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