Haibane Renmei: The Complete Series (Anime Classics)
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In some ways, this series reminded me of It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. It's not that watching them is the same experience. Haibane Renmei is not particularly sentimental, and its scenes range from everyday to atmospheric. But what Clarence the angel tries to teach George Bailey is similar to what these Haibane are trying to do for each other, and it is certainly poignant. This series hooks you with its initial mystery of the Haibane and their village, and holds you with the characters that emerge. The excellent musical soundtrack contributes to its personality. It doesn't require an affinity for anime to find this gem rewarding.
Although this series is 10 years old, I discovered it only recently. Funimation will be re-releasing it on this DVD set next month, and I am grateful for that.
For those who do not own this series I can tell you that every year or so I find myself going back and watching this classic. This is the first 'slow paced' show I had ever seen and I find it to be deeply engrossing. The characterizations are so well done, and the pacing can be slow, but it is never lacking direction. I think it is possible that it has wrung more tears out of me than any show truly designed to do so.
This is not a show that arbitrarily is given five stars, truly it deserves every accolade it receives. Also, it is one of the earlier television shows in a 16:9 screen format, so it is less jarring on the screen than 4:3 shows can be, not that the new cleaned up BD release of Lain is not worth picking up too, I bet!
The English voice cast does a fair job of capturing the emotion and mood of the scenes, not as good as the Japanese cast, mind you, but well enough to not ruin it, at least.
Everyone should buy a copy of this re-release of Haibane Renmei, in my opinion.
What possible answer could there be to this riddle? So wonders Rakka, a young Haibane ("Grey Feather"), who finds herself awaking in a strange town surrounded by walls. Five other girls, also winged and haloed, live in an old house along with little Haibane children, whom they care for. But with cold and vengeful walls hemming them in, what purpose can they find? The townspeople all treat the Haibane as if they are theirs to care for, but they do not hold any answers. Trapped in this purgatory with only vague memories from their past lives, each of them searches for something.
Reki, a seemingly kind-hearted woman with a shadowy past; Kana, a tomboy who provides some much-needed comic relief but who also has a surprisingly keen insight into the workings of life; Kuu, an energetic little girl, who, for all her youth, may have a strength the others only dream of; Nemu, a librarian who hides deep thoughts behind her quiet demeanor; and Hikari, a sweet-tempered girl who loves to cook and sew and care for others. These wonderful, fully real and fleshed-out characters become Rakka's family as she seeks to find the answer to her existence as a Haibane.
"Haibane Renmei", like most anime I've seen, does not shy away from touchy subjects or smooth over real problems. I found myself in a growing state of amazement as the episodes went on and Rakka discovered the darkness in her heart, was posed the circular riddle of sin, and later discovered she was not the only one searching for forgiveness.
Each person in this story must learn something before they can move on; and if they don't, the consequences are fatal.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Favorite show and I'm really glad I was able to get a hard copy.Published 5 months ago by Steven Goss
Was one of those series that makes you just relax and isn't full of nonsense. It may be a bit confusing because it has concepts that aren't really explained but I feel its part of... Read morePublished 7 months ago by jeeper
So let me set the scene. You are looking for a new anime to buy and you find Haibane Renmei right in your local store or favorite shopping site. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Carl Ward
This series is the classic so many people have overlooked. If you haven't seen this story (with equally wonderful Japanese and English voice acting), you are in for a treat.Published 9 months ago by Bob Savage
I like this story. The artwork is good. The story is little sad but good! It's about forgiveness It was well thought out.Published 15 months ago by 8888
Beautiful story line and art work. This is one that made me cry which is hard to do. So glad that this is now in my collection and the only negative is that they could have made... Read morePublished 18 months ago by C.Pappas