Once upon a time there is a Secret Santa Project hosted by Reverse Thieves in the Anime Blogosphere. This projects works by sending your application with your list of Anime you have watched and like. On the other side, a person receives your list and suggests three shows to watch and you pick one to review. Most of you have already seen the list of Anime I have suggested at my side blog, Shiori’s Diary. From the list of shows I was suggested, I decided to watch Haibane Renmei, which is a 2002 slice of life Anime made by Radix. (Image Source)
What is exactly a Haibane? They are angel-like people, which have wings and decorative halos. They are born in cocoons inside a specific area and work with other humans in town while being closed in the walls like a sandbox. Seems simple enough, right? Not really since there are many mysterious things about Haibane. The mysteriousness of the Haibane made Rakka depressed when Kuu disappear in her “Day of Flight,” which is a phenomenon Haibanes face when they goes over the wall and enter the outside world.
The story is mainly focused on Rakka, the main character in the story, which is a teenaged female Haibane. She gains wings and then given some time to get settled before working. During the course of the first 5 episodes, there are some nice and fun slice of life moments with Rakka working in various places with other Haibane depending on the episode to get a feel what everyone else is doing.
Later on, some drama kicks in after Kuu disappears. In the middle of the show (Episodes 6 to 10), Rakka becomes depressed while she develops black spots on her wing. She tries to hide it by cutting them, but everyone notices. Since Reki is worried about Rakka, she treats them with a medicine to hide them. Unfortunately, it keeps coming back until she finds the last piece of her dream, the crow that died in the well she fell into. In several hours, some communicators help her to pull her out of the well. Sadly they left when she tried to ask them questions. This causes her to touch the wall, which inflicts a condition of numbness. The old communicator manages gets her out and the others bring her home to treat her ailment.
The last part of the show is focused on Reki. In the past, she was inflicted with the same condition, which is a mark of being sin-bound. This means that a Haibane who are sin-bound has incomplete dreams. This meant that he/she would never meet their “Day of Flight” and therefore, stay in the sandbox forever. Reki’s blackened wings are developed in the past, which made her an outcast. Kuramori gives Reki affection even though she was different, which allowed her to have more self-esteem. Unfortunately, Kuramori left them, which causes her do bad things like driving a wedge in the wall, which nearly kills Hyohko, but didn’t. As a result, the twin-tailed girl now hates Reki and Reki gets punished. Fortunately, Reki comes back to her senses with the help of Rakka even though it was hopeless at the last minute. This allows her to have her “Day of Flight” and Rakka now takes on the responsibility of caring for the children.
Even though I haven’t heard the opening and ending sequences, the music was pretty nice. The song used in specific scenes conveys the emotions, which made a greater impact on the drama. For the animation, considering that it’s made in 2002, I won’t criticize it too much, but the characters and scenery was detailed. If I can compare the setting of this show, it’s familiar to Sora no Woto with the broken down old building.
Overall, Haibane Renmei was an emotional and touching story. While things can be grim, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. everone should not be afraid of the unknown as in “Day of Flight” when the time comes since they don’t know what lies ahead. Also, people should believe in themselves. After Rakka reunites with her deceased crow, her black spots on her wings went away and she felt better about herself. Eventually, Rakka helps Reki so she can achieve the goal of leaving the sandbox forever.
So in short, I thought Haibane Renmei was a great show and I would definitely recommend it. I thank Secret Santa for recommending this show.
8.9/10, Very Good