Haibane Renmei is the story of a young girl named Haibane who wakes up in a strange village with no memories of her past. She is named Rakka, and she starts to live along with the people that she finds in this strange village. She has a halo and small wings that make her unique among the villagers, but she is not alone. There are strict rules for her as she cannot leave the village or go near the walls on the outskirts of the village. Although, some people like her suddenly disappear, making her worried about her situation and making her look more about this place that she is in. There are a lot of mysteries that soon unravel as she gets out of this illusion.
Review – Plot
The series starts simple, with a nice touch of narration and an explanation of the dream. Tranquil, serene, calm, soft, slow, steady, sweet, and simple are the words that would strike your mind throughout the series as the plot mainly focuses on character development and their emotional connection with each other. Haibane Renmei develops its story slowly, but that’s the reason you would like to take a look at it. The base of the story is really simple yet executed well and presented even better. It goes on, and one explains Rakka’s life in the new world and how she is adjusting to it.
It also asks some intriguing questions without answering them in the series, like ‘What is salvation?”, making us ponder upon the lesson and understanding possessed by the characters. The plot progresses as it develops an emotional connection with the viewers and characters and booms, in the end…… Well, watch yourself for the end.
Now when it comes to the animation department, Haibane Renmei is good overall, and its animation complements its theme. Moreover, the lack of action increases the viewer’s engagement and heartwarming vibe effectively. Not to mention that this anime aired in 2003, and considering that, it’s pretty good.
The direction is another aspect that has been done nicely, keeping the simplicity factor in representation and not breaking the link that forms due to the ambiance developed because of previous episodes. Overall, a good job.
Now, this is where Haibane Renmei shines. The continuous piano and violin music keeps us engrossed with the theme of the story excellently. There is no doubt that the studio focused on keeping the “depressed kind of vibe” throughout the anime by providing such fantastic music. Finely done!
Another outshining factor of this anime is its character development, and there’s no doubt that the story mostly relies on these characters for its strength. So let’s take a brief look at each one of them.
1) Rakka- Her innocence which is a subset of her personality, makes her a great character to represent the calm and simple theme of the story. Her development throughout the show was nicely done.
2) Reiki- She is the one responsible for adding interest and curiosity to the minds of viewers. Also, her relationship with Rakka is the backbone of this plot.
3) Kuu- Kuu transforms this story from Good to Great. Initially, she seems a playful character, but after that certain event (#nospoilers) his importance changes drastically which leads to a drastic change in the storyline.
4) Nemu- Her presence is visible and is much more than a side character. She also possesses a great backstory to follow and is an important character overall.