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Haibane Renmei DVD 1: New Feathers
Violence: None
Sex/Nudity: None
Runtime Episodes: 22m/13
Overall Rating: A
Artwork: A
Story: A
Comments: Awesome music
Voice Acting English: A -
Voice Acting Japanese: A
Genre: Fantasy
Extras: Previews for episodes 2 - 5, Clean opening, original Japanese opening, Art Gallery, Previews for Sakura Wars: the movie, Ai yori Aoshi, Chobits, A little snow fairy sugar, Gatekeepers 21, Lupin the 3rd, Patlabor: the movie 3, Master Keaton, Heat Guy J, Onmyoji (not anime and looks pretty silly), L/R

Date Reviewed: 8/24/05 Last Updated: 10/25/09

Basic Premise: In a strange land a race known as the Haibane exist. They are beings that look human except for the small wings on their backs and the halo on their head. They live seperate from the humans and are only permitted to use their second hand things, but the Haibane are not ill thought of in the least. Everyone has their place. Their is also the wall that surrounds he town that is very high and no one knows what lies on the other side or why leaving town is forbidden.
Review: It begins with a girl who is falling from a great height.  It is such a high height that the girl has time to think and woder where she is.  She doesn't know much except that she is not afraid and that her heart feels cold and most importantly that she doesn't know why.  Meanwhile on the outside we learn that the falling girl is actually in a dream like state inside something that is supposed to be a giant egg that has been growing rapidly for a while now and the egg was only just been discovered.

The caretakers of the egg are a race of people known as the Haibane.  We are pretty sure they are human, but it really is hard to say.  These people are much like humans except in three respects.  One, they have wings when they are born, second, they have a halo, and third they are born from eggs that seem to fall from the sky or sprout from the ground and when they are born they may be teenagers or small children or adults. You never can tell.

One other thing that is interesting is that these newborns are born able to speak or knowing how to ride a bike or wanting a smoke, it is as if (and this may well be the case) that they had families at one time and names, but for some reason they have forgotten all of their past, but have kept their skills.

The Haibane live in this town that is surrounded by a tall wall that the Haibane and the humans are forbidden to leave, sort of like prison, except that no one knows what is on the other side and people accept this as the way things are.  There is a third race known as the Togah that live outside of town and they are forbidden from entering the town.  The Haibane use only the secondhand things that the humans used and are broken or worn out.  I am hesitant to call them the Haibane and humans and Togh, because they are all most likely humans, but they are different somehow.  It is unclear who makes these rules, but my guess is that it is the Togah.

Beyond this there is no real plot line to this series thus far, but there really doesn't need to be.  It is a slow moving story and that is also a large part of the charm of this story.  It is mostly about Rekka (the girl from the beginning who felt like she was falling) and her experiences as a new Haibane who learns the ropes of life and we see the questions that she asks, like what is she and what is the story surrounding the wall.  Everything is new to her.  Don't let this fool you however.  This anime does have almost the highest possible ratings from me and with good reason.  It is beautiful.

Conclusion: A beautiful anime that I am very much looking forward to seeing the rest of.  The artwork, images, story, and characters are all breathtaking.  Truly a classic in my book.

Publisher: Pioneer
Related Website: www.haibanerenmei.com
Where Found: amazon, video retail stores. Still relatively new, so it is not that hard to find
Copyright: 2002/2003
Author: Yoshitoshi ABe
If you enjoyed this anime try: Lain, Texhnolyze, Niea Under 7


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