Friday April 2, 2004
I recently watched a newish anime series called "Haibane Renmei", and I enjoyed it more than anything I've seen since "Cowboy Bebop", and maybe even more than that. ("Witch Hunter Robin"? Meh.) The title means, roughly, "gray-feather alliance" (the official translation is "charcoal feather federation"). It's hard to describe without making it sound cute, but here goes: a group of children of various ages have been reborn with small gray-feathered wings and halos in a mysterious town surrounded by walls, but they have no memory of who they are, how they got there, or why they're there.
With that setup, the show could easily have been very science fictiony and X-filesy, but it goes in an entirely different direction. It's very quiet and contemplative (even pastoral) rather than action-oriented, and it's primarily about the characters, their relationships, and their mysterious circumstances. More than anything else, "Haibane Renmei" reminded me of the films of Hayao Miyazaki (and that's very high praise coming from me).
It's 13 half-hour episodes long, so you could watch it all in a long afternoon if you were so inclined. I usually enjoy being able to watch serial TV shows (or read serial stories) all in a lump after they're completed instead of having to wait between installments, but after The Wife and I watched all of "Haibane Renmei" in just a few days, I have to say that I wish we'd rationed it out over a longer period. Trying to figure out what was going on between episodes was great fun. I haven't wasted as much brain-juice examining the ontology of a TV show since the first few seasons of "Buffy".
Have I praised it enough yet? I won't say anything more so I don't spoil anything. Go! Watch!
[Now playing: "Free Bird" by
Heart of Air Kou Otani [oops!] -- "Haibane Renmei" even has a great theme song!]
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"Free Bird" is by Ko Otani. ^_^ Heart of Air did "Blue Flow" and the Image Album.
Posted by: baka gaijin at Apr 10, 2004 7:28:57 PM