Anime Review: Haibane Renmei


Genre: Fantasy/Drama

Studio/Creator: Rondo Robe/Yoshitoshi Abe

No. of Episodes: 13

Age Rating: 10+

My Rating: 10/10

Distributor: FUNimation

Summary: In the town of Glie, angelic beings called Haibane coexist with humans. The story is told from the point of view of Rakka, a new arrival for the Haibane.

Review: I am so excited that this title has been revived. It’s one of my all-time favorite seris.

The art is just beautiful, with lots of attention to detail. For example, in one scene, we see several characters on a hill with windmils. You can actually see the cracks in their walls.

The Haibane are all great characters. I love their simplistic lifestyle, with everything being hand-me-downs rather than being able to purchase things. (they are, however, expected to work.) Each of them was once human and that they are reborn in their cocoons. While they are in these cocons, they dream and this dream is the source of each Haibane’s new name, because they do not remember their old lives. Let’s look at them individually.

Rakka is the chief protagonist. The best way to describe is to call her an “Audience surrogate.” This means she shows us what it would be like if you were to arrive in this town.  She is very inquisitive and  kind.

Kanna is quite tomboyish. She is sarcastic, but has a kind personality underneath. She also has a knack for machinery. She works at the clock tower.

Kuu is the youngest Haibane.  She (yes, she) seems very wise for ehr age and forms a special bond with Rakka.

Hikari wears glasses. She is a brigh-hearted girl who works at the bakery.

Nemu is the eldest Haibane.  She is a sleepy woman, but a dilligant assistant librarian.

Finally, there’s Reki.  One thing I really enjoy about the Haibane is that they seem very much like a family. Reki could be considered the big sister of the group. She dotes on the others and acts very motherly. She watches over the children who aren’t that important to the story. (although they are cute.)

The main reason I enjoy this show is that it resonates With Christianity. It explores redemption and forgiveness. In a way, the town is similar to the Catholic concept of purgatory, where souls go to be purified of their sins before entering Heaven.  I think every anime fan, Christian or not, should watch this.

Music/Score: The score is very pretty.  The opening is one of my all-time favorite themes.

Sub/Dub: Either one is great. I think they did an excellent job with the dub.

Violence: SPOILER! (1/10) When Rakka arrives in Glie, she does not have wings, unlike the other Haibane. Much later, in the first episode, the wings break through her back.

Nudity: (1/10) The opening and closing are the only nude scenes, and you don’t see anything because Rakka is in the fetal position anyway.

Sexuality: (0/10)

Religion: (1/10) I must point out that this is not meant to subscribe to Christianity.  Although the Haibane look like angels, they are not meant to be seen in that light.  However, as I have stated, the overall theme of the story does parallel Christian teachings, particularly in regards to sin and salvation.

  1. #1 by Cameron Lee Irby on December 27, 2012 - 12:04 am

    The only issue I had with the series is that nothing is explained. The plot works beautifully, but because nothing is explained, it left something to be desired. The good news is that anyone can offer their own opinions about what happens and can still be right.

    • #2 by rocklobsterjwt on December 27, 2012 - 11:56 am

      I actually like the ambiguity. It’s the best part. Oh, and I’m not done with Haibane Renmei yet. Later next year, I want to do another post where I explore the parallels with Christianity. I felt doing that here would require spoiling the whole thing.

      • #3 by Cameron Lee Irby on December 27, 2012 - 6:13 pm

        You have a point there! It’s kind of why I couldn’t give you my review of it… I couldn’t figure out a way to say it without spoilers.

  2. #4 by Matt on January 4, 2013 - 6:33 pm

    I thought it was more of an allusion to the Pure Land Buddhism in Japan than Christian Purgatory. I thought the Christian symbolism being used to tell a heavily Buddhist inspired tale was really interesting. It’s also one of my favorite series.

  3. #5 by aghammer99 on March 30, 2013 - 2:14 am

    Another truly wonderful Anime full of interesting characters.. remarkable work from Abe. Cameron, I have to say that the main characters don’t really know what is going on and in that way, I think it’s kinda realistic.

  1. Something More: Jesus and Buddha Talk Evangelion, Buddhism in Paprika, and Haibane Renmei’s Purgatory «

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