Haibane Renmei (Haibane renmei, Une fille qui a des ailes grises) is a 2002 13 episode anime series developed by Yoshitoshi ABe (he of Serial Experiments Lain fame, which might be a tale for another time). With fantastic music from Kow Otani (Shadow of the Colossus) and directed by Tomokazu Tokoro
Haibane Renmei is the tale of Rakka, a girl that falls from the heavens and wakes up in a cocoon surrounded by angelic like beings that welcome her in her new home. Rakka will try to make sense of this world, her new friends and herself.
Haibane Renmei is mostly character based, Rakka as the audience surrogate tries to understand what’s happening, learning the customs of this world by interacting with a really enjoyable cast. Each of the girls is unique and represents a different part of the puzzle
The world is welcoming and laid back but also mysterious. From the cozy Old Home and surrounding town to the forest. With gorgeous backgrounds but in particular fantastic music. I can’t emphasize enough how good the music is, from the opening to all insert themes.
And while all of those are good reasons to recommend this, my main draw was not the story but the themes it handles, about acceptance, redemption and self discovery. It’s a world worth visiting, a world worth finding.
Some folks might find the series slow or too laid back, this is a slow build, which is odd considering it’s only a 13 episode series.
Weeb level: 2/10. Nothing really too weeb about it. There’s no anime conventions that you really need to know beforehand.
Fanservice: 0/10. This is not a fanservice series at all.
Quality: 9/10. This is a series that I return to every so often. It’s a world that I like to visit, it’s also an experience different from what’s usually thought of as an anime.
Where to Watch: The whole subbed series is available in YouTube on Funimation’s channel. There’s also a fairly cheap DVD release, sadly no Blu-ray release in sight for this region