Yenya's World

Sat, 03 Sep 2005

In the world of grey wings

Rakka A quiet, peaceful city of Guri is surrounded by a high wall, which makes the city a separate world of its own. Aside from humans, there is a special kind of inhabitants of the city: children with grey wings, called Haibane. They are born to their world from big, web-like cocoons, and while they can speak, read, and so on, they do not remember how they appeared in their cocoon. They usually remember only the last dream from their stay in the cocoon. Haibane are treated as something special by humans, as they are said to bring luck to humans. The story starts when a new Haibane is born in the Old Home, a gloomy building where most of Haibane live. The girl is given a name Rakka (fall), as her dream was about falling from the sky. The story then revolves around life in the Old Home, with the oldest of Haibane, named Reki, and new-born Rakka as the main two characters.

Haibane Renmei (which can be translated as "Charcoal Feather Federation") is a masterpiece of Yoshitoshi ABe. Unlike his previous works (Serial Experiments: Lain and NieA_7), where he did a character design mostly, he did both the character design and wrote the story for Haibane Renmei. The animation is excellent, yet unusual. Yoshitoshi ABe's style is based on dim and lower-saturated color tones, in order to allow the main subject to stand out.

Haibane Renmei The story of Haibane is deep and well thought out, yet it leaves opened questions at the end. Who are Haibane, and how they enter and leave the world described in this anime? Was their dream related to their previous life? And did they even have any previous life? The answers are not given in the series directly, yet there are some clues left for careful watcher. If you have just finished the story and you are thinking: WTF? Look at the Within the Wall fan site, where you can find some theories and speculations about the Haibane Renmei world.

I liked the peaceful atmospere of the story - there is almost no action, and the story starts very slowly, describing and introducing the life of Haibane. Their world is far from ideal, yet they seem to be sort of happy there. In the second half of the series the story starts to follow Reki's life more closely, and in fact, the whole story is about Reki, as seen by Rakka. Reki's cigarette was the only thing I disliked on the series (I hate smoking/smokers :-). Haibane Renmei has also a decent OST, with an instrumental opening song, and nice ending song.

This series ended up first in the current Top ten animes list at Manga.CZ. So, are you tired of flashy, fast-paced action anime? Do you want to try something really different, yet still belonging to the anime genre? Then Haibane Renmei might be for you.

Overall rating: 9.5/10


Section: /anime (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 3 writebacks

3 replies for this story:

oozy wrote: more and more ;)

I'm looking forward to watch "Serial Experiments: Lain" and this one (Haibane Renmei) looks very interesting too. Maybe you could write more entries about anime you have seen. I would really appreciate that.

Jakub Steiner wrote: Too much anime

While I've been attracted to anime visually, majority of anime I've seen has been a disappointment. As with every movie/series, without a story the result is unwatchable. I've heard a few good things about Lain, so I need to check these out, thanks for the tip.

Yenya wrote: Wow, comments!

So it seems somebody is really reading this :-) I think even anime without a story can be interesting (such as Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is said to be - I haven't seen it yet), but I can imagine the mood can be interesting even though it has no story. It can even be educating (see the following entry from Pete Zaitcev's blog: - yes, I like Azumanga as well :-) Jakub, can you please fix the links in the comment section of your blog?

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