Thoughts: Haibane-Renmei

haibane_renmei_groupI really want to re-watch this show and give write something more substantial on it, but here are some thoughts.

– This is a really great, beautiful and immaculately executed show, and one of the few anime that I’d feel comfortable recommending to someone who doesn’t go in for all the weeaboo stuff.

– The city of Glie could almost be out of a George MacDonald fairy tale.

– My biggest fear was that the show would in its last act capitulate to all the M. Night Shyamalan-type temptations that a story with this sort of secluded and mysterious setting has. But it deftly avoids relying on any sort of “gotcha” style twists.

– This is in part because Haibane-Renmei isn’t really some sort of metaphysical thriller, but is instead about the lives of its characters. It’s about broken people seeking healing, about how we deal with loneliness and the various sorrows that life can throw our way, about being The Freak, etc. This sounds like it could be sappy and cloying, but it works, because the characters are either You or People You Know, and there are no easy answers.

– In particular, it’s interesting how a lot of the seeking and redemption that goes on is mediated by symbolic/ritual encounters which are not entirely understood by the characters. In short, the religious angle isn’t just limited to all the angel wings and halos.

– I also like how the setting recreates the feeling of childhood: being in a world where you are without autonomy, under the control of people and institutions you don’t entirely understand. Things work, but they seem like magic and often don’t make sense, or are frightening.

– The blurb on my box-set makes a point about how this show was influenced by the work of Haruki Murakami, a writer whom I have not read. Anyone know how far the resemblance carries over?


(edit: Gratias ago, TWWK and Don)

About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
This entry was posted in Our Allies in Nippon, SF/Fantasy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Thoughts: Haibane-Renmei

  1. B.L. says:

    I’ve read some of Murakami’s “1Q84” and his style is magic realism and dark fantasy much like Haibane. The characters figure out something mysterious is going on with their worlds and horrific things are happening. I suppose the use of virginal, sweet girls is another parallel connection. thanks for your blog – I love Haibane Renmei

  2. Don says:

    Glie strongly resembles the strange town in which half of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World takes place. Dry wells figure significantly in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

  3. Pingback: Something More |

  4. Pingback: Something More: Heaven in Saiyuki and Haibanem Renmei Religion | Beneath the Tangles

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