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  • Haibane Renmei: The Complete Series (Anime Classics)
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Haibane Renmei: The Complete Series (Anime Classics)

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Editorial Reviews

Renowned artist Yoshitoshi ABe's animated masterpiece, Haibane Renmei, is an experience that challenges audiences to confront and question the concepts of sin and redemption. Born of powerful influences such as Murakami's acclaimed novel Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, ABe's deceptively gentle style of character design and development belies the abyss of heartbreaking desperation lurking beneath the surface of the classic series. The Haibane, enigmatic youths with halos and flightless, grey-feathered wings, live in a sleepy town surrounded by impenetrable walls - only the crows may come and go. Reki, an older Haibane, discovers a new cocoon, from which Rakka emerges possessing no memories except that of her dream of falling. Questions of her existence cloud Rakka's mind as she struggles to learn the ways of the Haibane and to help Reki escape the Circle of Sin.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ryo Hirohashi, Erika Weinstein, Akiko Yajima, Carrie Savage, Erika Lenhart
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Funimation
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 325 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008D1RCS6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,638 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
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2 star
1 star
See all 41 customer reviews
It's very heavy on character development, light on action.
While the animation seems dated, it was very good for its time and one can easily appreciate the attention to detail and skill the creators had.
CHARACTERS I thought the characters were done really well in this anime overall.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By oleman on August 3, 2012
In Haibane Renmei, a young teen arrives at a village. She is vaguely aware of her previous life, but it's like a dream she can't remember. She discovers she has become a Haibane, sprouting flightless wings and donning a glowing halo. The other Haibane embrace her with warmth and support and, although the village is new to her, it has a rhythm that seems familiar and welcoming. But this angel is not complete. While she cannot remember her former life, she slowly realizes it was not wonderful, and she must confront her inner demons. She is not alone. One of the other Haibane is coping with inner demons of her own. In a village full of mysteries, each of these Haibane find themselves trying to prepare the other for what is to come.

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.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Moonhawk on September 21, 2012
First about this edition of Haibane Renmei. The video was apparently sourced from the Japanese BD master, and the lines are noticeably sharper and bitrate notably better overall. This is what convinced me to buy it, though from another source, sorry Amazon! In my opinion this is worth buying even if you already own the Pioneer release.

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.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Barrett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2012
I have the older release, and I was started by the price (maybe I should sell mine?). But now Funimation is re-releasing this series for a $40 MSRP and current $30 Amazon price with Prime shipping. So I say BUY IT NOW.

This isn't action anime. Nothing close to action packed. This series is now 10 years old, and on large HDTVs it does show its age a bit. But the animation quality isn't the heart of this series, it's all about the story.

The Haibane are all 'dead' so to speak. They have a purpose yet to fulfill. And it is in fulfilling their purpose that they are able to ascend to the proper afterlife. There are some interesting interactions with various denizens of the mysterious town the Haibane exist in. The editorial review says that the original author was influenced by Murakami's Hard Boiled Wonderland, I could very well see this.

The story is slow moving, stately, and sad. In the end, despite being sad, there is a message of hope. The characters (the Haibane) are all very well portrayed, and it is a delight to get to know them.

The series is 13 episodes, so it's short. The Japanese audio track is very well done, and I figure Funimation will re-record the old Geneon English dubbing. But all in all, if you like a touching tale, this is among the best anime series out there.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By eviltimes on December 31, 2012
Verified Purchase
Must see anime from ABe and his wonderful mind. No fighting robots or panty shots here; just a soul fulfilling delight as the Haibane children serve out their "Purgatory" time - if you want to think of it that way. And Amazon only charged me $17.49, too bad they raised the price after Christmas. Even so, you get 2 discs with all 13 episodes. Plus the "coming next week" clips - even tho they are separated from the eps. Clean songs and a short interview. Now there's no excuse to not own this wonderful, unique story!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Lee on October 19, 2013
"To recognize one's own sin is to have no sin. So, are you a sinner?"

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.
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