You dream and then you hatch, from a giant cocoon. You know you come from somewhere else but you can’t remember from where, or even your own name for that matter. You are given a name based on your dream, and then the wings painfully erupt from your shoulder blades, bloody at first, but ash grey once cleaned. A halo is set above your head. You are now a Haibane.
You live in a walled city with other humans, but you are governed under strict rules by the Haibane Renmei, not being allowed to own anything new, or earn actual money. Your purpose is to understand and prepare for the day you are deemed worthy and are called to take your own Day of Flight.
But if you have unresolved guilt or are bound by sin, your wings will begin to turn black and that day will never arrive…
Haibane Renmei chronicles the story of Rakka, who dreams of falling out of the sky and awakens as a Haibane in the walled city of Glie. The story tells of how she learns of and adapts to this new world, before delving into her own story and how she must overcome her guilt as well as help another.
Based on the work of Yoshitoshi Abe, Haibane Renmei is a 13 episode long anime released in 2002 under director Tomokazu Tokoro with animation by Radix. It is a beautifully mysterious fantasy drama that unlocks itself as it proceeds, extracting all the necessary emotions from a viewer to make a successful story.
Beautifully detailed animation with a soft, almost washed out color pallet drives the visuals, while the hauntingly melodic music courtesy of Kow Otani ties together the great voice acting from the seiyuu team.
Overall it is a stunningly beautiful and simple drama to take in and is difficult to fault on anything. Well worth the watch if you are able to enjoy a slightly slower (but far more meaningful and touching) story than the usual battling babe and mecha brawlers or school going, panty-flashing antics that so usually dominates the current anime scene.
Definitely recommended then.