They are born into their world from cocoons and have wings and halos: they are the Haibane. Haibane Renmei follows a group of Haibane . It opens with the birth of a new Haibane named Rakka. As Rakka becomes adjusted to the new town and her new existence, the viewer begins to learn about the origin of Haibanes and their purpose. Even as she and the Haibane adjust to their existence in the strange town they live in, they must also understand their past lives and origins.
I wanted to watch this anime because it’s another series by Yoshitoshi Abe, who created Serial Experiments Lain, one of my absolute favorite series. Like Lain, it moves fairly slowly and lends itself to more exploration. It is definitely not as difficult to mentally digest as Lain, but I also did not feel as satisfied watching the series as I do every time I re- watch Lain. That is not to say that I did not like it; I actually did enjoy it. I felt very relaxed, much like I did when watching Mushishi.
I liked the exploratory nature of the series, particularly those that investigated the nature of the characters’ origins and reasons for existence. Reki and Rakka were easily the most interesting because their back-stories are the most developed. Through watching them struggle, I as the viewer wondered about the existence of these strange characters. They are flawed, but the town perceives them otherwise. I felt like Reki and Rakka best showed this dichotomy, and that’s because we saw more of their pasts and the exploration of their characters. I wasn’t sure what the rest of the Haibane were doing there, particularly since none of them seemed particularly flawed or otherwise challenged.
Because of this lack of universal development, I didn’t feel that the series fully lived up to my expectations. I still enjoyed the series and would recommend it, but do not rate it among my personal favorites like Serial Experiments Lain.