So, I finally got around to borrowing Haibane from a friend and actually got to watch the first disc yesterday because I had a math test and hence, no math homework. This series recently came out in a thinpak edition, but for my viewing, I am watching the original release so I won’t talk about packaging.
The Story: Haibane Renmei is not the sort of story that you would expect from the creators of Serial Experiments: Lain. Haibane is a much lighter, sweeter story, at least it is in the beginning. I had no preconceptions going into this viewing other than the connection between this series and Lain. I didn’t even read the backs of the boxes first. I just popped the DVD’s in and watched. If the story gets darker from here, I haven’t gotten there yet. This story follows the lives of a few beings called “Haibane”. The Haibane are sort of like angels, but their wings are small enough that they can’t fly. The first episode shows us the birth of a new Haibane, and our main character, Raka, and has some gruesome footage in it, but that footage is sparse compared to the rest of the disc. From there, we learn about what it means to be Haibane along with Raka.
The Art: Gorgeous! The colors in this series remind me a lot of the palette from Last Exile. The town also has a similar feel to Norkia. I have to wonder if there was some animator cross-over here somewhere because the resemblance to the look and feel of Last Exile is striking, even though Haibane is the older of the two series. I know that can’t be so because Haibane is not a Gonzo title, but still, it’s remarkable how much the two series feel alike.
I can’t say much more without any spoilers, but this series gets four plums out of five so far!