11th June - Haibane Renmei
I haven’t watched much anime since I was a teen so it’s nice to meet someone who’s into it more than me and can trudge through the fan service to find something watchable, hell, even good. But even then Haibane Renmei suprised me.
It follows the tale of several women known as haibane who are periodically birthed out of mystical cocoons with angelic wings and even halos living together in a run down building called Old Home near a secluded town where they work different jobs in order to earn clothes and food. The haibane are treated with reverence by the ordinary townspeople but little is known either by them or the haibane themselves about their true purpose. It this mystery that made me guzzle up this thirteen episode series quick quick.
It starts off fairly slow with four episodes dedicated to detailing the characters and the intriguing mythos of the show which although fascinating can feel a little dull considering the quiet and tranquil tone at the beginning of the series. But it sucks you in hard and fast changing the tone from peaceful if somewhat unsettlingly strange to dark and upsetting.
It helps that the animation is just beautiful with extraordinary detail and seamless movement. The music too is both soothing and eery.
The story is honestly phenomenal with the fantastic unraveling mystery not being the only focal point as the character drama is equally thrilling and incredibly moving. Haibane Renmei is truly artistic in its nature and as such explores difficult universal questions about existentialism, suffering and forgiveness amongst others. Despite that Haibane Renmei never feels pretentious or even convoluted maybe because it uses universal symbols and religious mythology to explore these complex themes. At its heart though Haibane Renmei is about young women leaning upon one another whilst struggling to understand their purpose in life. The questions they ask themselves are one we’ve all asked ourselves.
The show is relatable, fantastical, eery and soothing all at once. It’s definitely one of the most rewarding shows I’ve watched this year and it’d be a sin not to recommend it to everyone.
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