Posted by psgels on 8 August 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


Last year, in November, I made myself a little list of worthwhile-looking 13-episode series, as a means of systematically catching up to the ones that I hadn’t seen yet at that point. I’ve been gradually working down that list for the past year, as some of you might have already noticed. Some series turned out too bad to continue (Aquarian Age and Gun Frontier, for example, and Kokoro Library was just too boring), but there also were some true gems among these anime. And I’m glad to say that today, I finally managed to finish the list! There’s a reason why I chose Haibane Renmei to go last, as I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews and raves from it.

And boy, does it deliver! Haibane Renmei truly is one of the best slice-of-life series I have ever seen! It first takes four episodes of building up, introducing its unique setting and its characters, and then it waltzes the viewer down with one of the most amazing storylines, perfectly fitted for 13 episodes.

The thing is, that I’m having a lot of trouble finding anything bad to say about this series. Most series have obvious flaws, like dragging on too much, spending little time on their settings, making no sense, but Haibane seems to have done everything right. The only thing you should note is that you need to get through the first four episodes, which are nice to watch, but nowhere near as emotional as the rest of the series.

The character-designs look realistic and down-to-earth, just like the rest of the series. You won’t see any blue-haired moe-bait Konatas here. One of the biggest things to note, though, is that the soundtrack is a masterpiece. It comes from Kou Outani, the same guy who did soundtracks for among others Ayakashi Ayashi, Popolocrois Monogatari 1998 and Deltora Quest, and this may be one of his best works yet.

I see no reason why not to recommend Haibane Renmei. Not only does it keep delivering after it gets really started, I also didn’t cry as much at a final episode apart from Noein. This definitely is a memorable series, and it couldn’t have been a better way to close off my attempt to catch up with the 13-episode series.

21 Responses

  1. daRAT says:

    That IS one of the best series around! I would love to see a OVA set a few years later though. sorta like dessert after a great meal :)

    All that series out of really short manga, but when you get a good staff it all fits together.

  2. Atrophis says:

    My favourite anime series, full stop. You are right, there really isn’t anything bad about it. I cried so damn much watching it, but i loved every minute :)

  3. Matrim says:

    Only 94/100? ;)

    Anyway, I like Haibane Renmei so much that it is probably the only anime I am actually reluctant to watch simply because the final episodes are so emotionally charged.

  4. waffo says:

    Are the six points lost because of the animation in that one episode? I also love Haibane Renmei’s soundtrack. Great by itself.

  5. roastedpekingduck says:

    Man, psgels, you’re just blazing through a string of good anime. :D Now and Then, Here and There is my all time favorite, and Haibane Renmei is in my top 10. Factoring in the other great series you’re watching this season, surely you’re having a great time. :) I myself feel a bit spoiled after watching a whole bunch of awesome shows, the summer/spring season included. I forced myself to watch the current episodes of Devil May Cry to remember what mediocrity felt like and how good good series were, since I haven’t experience mediocrity in so long.

  6. Chris says:

    You sure are picking some GREAT series to marathon! Haibane Renmei, I saw it when I was a little depressed in life and it really spoke to me with it’s overall message of the importance of life. I really loved the subtle darkness of the show and the final episode is just amazing and touching. The series sure did start out with a bang, but the rest of the series was very laid back and refreshing. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.

  7. Chris says:

    Aw you forgot Ko Otani’s best work yet, the soundtrack for the video game Shadow of the Colossus, now that soundtrack was a masterpiece!

    I agree he’s done some great work, and Haibane Renmei was one of his stronger soundtracks.

  8. tg says:

    It’s one of the best anime series that I’ve watched right up there with Fantastic Children, Noein, and Mahou Shoujo Alice Tai.

    Absolutely love Haibane. ^__^

  9. Solaris says:

    i have always tried to write down a good review for Heibane Renmei. But i never suceeded in writing it. I mean, i like this serie very much and it’s on the top 10 best series of ever, but as soon as i start writing i just feel i am not doing it right, im’m feeling that i miss something to say or that i did wrote too much of pointless details. At the very least i can only say i like it so much! Why? I’d write an essay to explain it. I’d write another essay to explain, to myself before else, every little thing that you see in the anime but the story didn’t explain you. In the italian animeclick forum a user wrote pages and pages of text triyng to “understand” what this anime means. It came also out that this anime should represent the purgatory life of those soul who died in pain. You can come out with many different theories, trying to tie up all the hints the clever director throws at you and never explains. You imagine things while you watch Heibane and let you fantasy fly beyond the strange walls that enclose Heibane’s world, you try to figure who are the heibane, the people who come from outside, you try to imagine … and it’s you with your immagination that fil up heibane’s world with your personal touch. It’s like Rorschach Test. They show you a weird figure and you can see a whole world in it. In Heibane you see a fragment of a world and you imagine all the rest. That’s why everybody this anime! Everyone fill it with his own emotions and expectations. And so i hope there would never be another serie of this, as another serie could simply break the magic!

  10. james27 says:

    A great review for this show. I have to add in my shout for how magical and awesome this anime is. I’ve bought this DVD set and it should be a must have for any anime fan. Perhaps we should write and ask for further work in this world, although this one be very hard to top.

    Keep up the good work.

  11. Petrouchka says:

    How could I not see this review? It was the one I was looking forward to the most… As your blog is the one I read the most often, I was really curious to know what you would think about Haibane. Well, I totally agree with your review ^^ I don’t feel the series needs anything more, I’m even fine with the tons of questions left unanswered, because it just wouldn’t have made the same impact on me if we had been told everything about the Haibane and their world. I can’t honestly find any flaw in the whole show, no annoying character, no pointless scene, nothing.

    Okay, that being said… Now I *really* need to watch Noein and Mahou Shoujotai.

  12. Oya says:

    It’s really is a great anime.
    Thanks for blogging this, I saw it on your blog and decided to watch it.
    I would be a waste if I never watch it.
    After watching it for some time and now that I read this blog again, i felt so sad again about the series.

  13. Kalandra says:

    Before I write my opinion, I have to say that for a long time, I consider Haibane Renmei as one of the finest anime ever made.

    Its one of those open to interpretation shows but this one actually has meaning behind it, not just some shows that tries to cryptic about nothing.

    That said, after some time watching it and thinking about it, I feel like the anime was stretched slightly too long. The thing people like most about this anime was the last episode, which packs a powerful message of self sacrifice and self redemption.

    However I feel that one powerful episode made me forgot that previous 12 episodes was kinda a drag. I know many people would disagree with me, but try watching the anime again. You would definitely feel the anime was very slow. Was 12 slow episodes worth watching just for that 1 powerful one?

    I would have gave it 10/10 score back then. Now it would be like 9/10. That said, I still like it alot. I just felt like the series is no longer perfect.

  14. Dave says:

    I just finished watching this series three times back to back. I finished it and was so sad that there weren’t a hundred more episodes, but upon watching for a third time i realized that more than thirteen would be milking it. So, I watched it twice more and was satisfied, but still I want more. I’m feverishly looking for anything that might come in contact with the grace and emotion that is displayed in this series, hence how I found this blog. BTW, I’m a twenty year old guy who really can’t relate to much in an all female cast(for lack of better term) but I found Haibane Renmei enthralling.

  15. specracer says:

    I know this is really late of me but, I was reading someone’s review of the show and they had a interesting point. They said that they felt that the show was a story told in 2nd person perspective with Rakka as the observer and Reki as the lead.

    If you think of the show that way the later focus on Reki feels a lot more natural.

  16. Firechick says:

    I finally finished this anime this morning and I agree. This series is INDEED powerful, beautiful, touching, and one of the best slice-of-life anime ever! This is definitely going on my top 20! Now if only someone would save this series and re-release it on DVD since all the other ones are out of print! Unfortunately, I didn’t cry at the end, but the whole series left me warm and satisfied inside. I need to recommend this to some of my friends!!

  17. kun says:

    Quick comment on popolocrois music: they borrow heavily from Mozart, so you bet that they are awesome.

  18. Z.N. Singer says:

    I’ve almost finished my own review on this one…and if asked to name the most flawless, perfect anime I know, it would be this one. It just doesn’t get any better…Sola, Gazing at the Half Moon, parts of Kemono no Souja Erin – and this, for ‘pulled the most tears out of me.’ Sola will forever have a special place in my heart – it was the first anime of it’s caliber I ever completed.

  19. Will says:

    “It first takes four episodes of building up, introducing its unique setting and its characters, and then it waltzes the viewer down with one of the most amazing storylines, perfectly fitted for 13 episodes.”

    I have to agree on this line. Peoples complain about the slow pace in the first episodes. I always tell them that it is for the best though.

    • Simon says:

      I am just about to drop this at the end of the 3rd episode. I can not possibly see how it will entertain or touch me.

  20. Bulletmagnet says:

    Haibane Renmei has forever claimed a special place in my heart. This was not the first series I started watching, but it was the first series I finished, and it’s the reason there was a second, and…
    and the end result is this: anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=mylist&do.filter=1&uid=181567

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 06:10 PM)
    @Mario: But for a movie like this White ribbon was much much better.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 06:09 PM)
    @Mario: While I didn’t like it as much as you probably did, I feel I got more than enough out of Neighbourhood sounds, I liked the behind close doors feel to it, the way it made the viewer very much an observer with its kind of voyeuristic approach and I didn’t feel some of the stranger scenes in the second half took away from anything, they were interesting. The ending caught me off guard.
  • Rey
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 02:56 AM)
    Can someone send a request shiz to make a movie about the Sonata of Darkness of Melody? It would be pretty interesting…
  • k-off
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:49 AM)
    Langrisser certainly makes me appreciate Fates a little bit more, this is the video game equivalent of The Asylum’s rip-off movies.
  • Bam
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:23 AM)
    @Hellfire: lol I do too. This had good lyrics as well, but the line in Hellfire which says “he made the devil so much stronger than a man!” hits really hard.
  • SuperMario
    (Friday, May 6. 2016 01:12 AM)
    @Bam: yes, This performance was a gem, but truthfully any version would be more faithful than the Disney one. I still prefer Hellfire though :)
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:26 AM)
    What do you think?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:25 AM)
    I met a French art student in a bar tonight, and after getting into Hugo and Notre-Dame de Paris, he suggested a more faithful French theater production of it. He believed that this is a much better portrayal of the conflicted priestly character of Frollo, and specifically offered this Hellfire-esque song sang by the talented Daniel Lavoie as evidence:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5St9zF849o
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 08:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: haha. If this film indeed was made I’ll be the first one on the line to watch it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Bungou Stray Dogs – 05

Bungou Stray Dogs once again goes sidetrack this week, which means that this episode is a filler one and doesn’t advance the plot at all. The main rivalry between the Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia; which I originally thought to be 4, 5-episodes arc, seems to stretch out until the end of this season, […]

Joker Game – 05

One of the things I wished for joker game to show me was that the spies of D-agency were not superhuman demi-gods who can handle anything. This episode nearly accomplishes that as one of the spies of D-agency is found out and captured. However it falters in that the spy was purposefully sold out and […]

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 05

So Subaru has started his first repeat of this arc and at least this time he’s quick to come to terms with it. Though it is nice to see that he hasn’t shrugged off the progress he made getting wiped out without warning. But this time at least he’s at least making a plan and […]

Kiznaiver – 04

There are certain advantages to keeping your plot in the dark when storytelling. In the beginning stages when your audience is most attentive, if you manage to present questions they are interested in seeing answered then it provides a reason for the viewer to keep watching. However this tactic only continues to work as long […]

Flying witch – 04

Flying witch again delivers strong material this week and I actually think this is their best episode so far. Mostly because the 2 parts are well connected this week, and our new character Inuka is so natural and fit in like a glove, in addition they have an absurd and whimsical story to boost. I […]

Mayoiga – 05

We now back to the status quo on Mayoiga this week, as the group who left the village decided to come back, and the cliffhanger happened last week was never explained probably. I will say this upfront: this is not a good episode. We don’t learn much after it ends. We have even longer conversations […]

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 03

                There are no brakes on the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress train even when it goes for a pit stop to pick up some water and say a prayer for the dead. While my fellow writers firmly believe that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri will disintegrate into a trainwreck […]

Bungou Stray Dogs – 04

Bungou Stray Dogs sure never get tired to showcase more new characters every week, and judging from the OP I’m certain that there are more to come. This week there are 3 more new faces and each of them is over the top in their own ways, but that turns out to be for good […]

Joker Game – 04

I am starting to get a little worried about Joker Game. After a very strong start it’s gone down in quality once it revealed it’s episodic format. This episode marks the lowest point of the series so far though I still don’t think of it as bad. Rather than focus on a member of the […]

Latest Reviews

Schwarzesmarken – 65/100

Schwarzesmarken is a strange title in that it has a setting with fantastic potential yet the story is dampened by a rushed pacing and Missing characterisation. Despite this there are signs of a greater story under the hood and at times that story can shine despite haphazard adaption. The Stasi make for a great villain […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 85/100

In the large reservoir of anime it is surprising just how few titles focus on the concept of time travel. There are of course titles which feature time travel but few that make it the core focus. So here we have Boku Machi or ERASED, a tale about a mangaka time traveling to his childhood […]

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]