“A Time Of Healing” – Haibane Renmei (anime) – 10/10 Black Cats

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Genre: Slice-of-Life/Fantasy/Spiritual/Drama

Review Status: Complete (12 Episodes/12 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US. However, it is out of print.

Art/Animation: The art is absolutely lovely, with backgrounds that seem to be watercolor, with vibrant colors and easily recognizable characters. The animation is also very good- it can easily stand up to the shows made today in many ways.

Dub Vs. Sub: While overall I prefer the dub because I feel that Rakka’s voice it too high-pitched and breathy in the dub, the dub is very good overall.

Summary: In a long-forgotten walled town, humans coexist with the Haibane, angelic-like beings of unknown origin. Rakka becomes the newest Haibane, after she awakens from a strange dream and finds herself hatching from a massive cocoon. With no memories of her previous life, Rakka struggles to adjust to her new surroundings, however burning questions remain in the back of her mind. What is Haibane and what is their purpose? What lies beyond the huge, forbidden town walls? Thus, Rakka begins her wistful journey of self-discovery and wonderment. (back of dvd cover of 1st volume)

Haibane is a stand-out series in every way. This takes an imaginary town and fills it with enough wonders and mystery to have spawned a thousand different theories on what the place is and what is happening both inside and outside the walls.

This starts out as a show that is about Rakka learning about the ways of the Haibane. She is introduced into the strange rituals that mark their lives, and how they interact and live with the humans in town. As she lives each day Rakka grows closer to the rest of the Haibane, each making their way into her heart. However, an event that emotionally destroys Rakka brings to light the purpose of this place and the reason the Haibane are there.

It’s clear that wherever this place is, it’s someplace that certain people go to where they die- those that are born as Haibane, that is, while humans provide them with friendship and things the Haibane need to survive. Those born as Haibane have something to atone for or overcome from their other life, and by being born here and living their lives, they have a chance to overcome it… or be drowned in their emotions and past.

Rakka’s emotional distress links to her cocoon dream, and both she and a friend are brought to the brink of destruction in turn. There are dark themes and things that run through both stories, and Rakka must find a way to bring herself out of darkness- and then save her friend.

Overall, this was a beautiful story of friendship and overcoming grief, with many themes that flow through it.

Recommended: 10+. There is no language, no nudity, and no violence, but a type of self-mutilation does occur, and it’s clear that at least one Haibane committed suicide. When Rakka’s wings sprout, blood does spurt, but it’s not a lot and the growth isn’t graphic.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Kino’s Journey (anime)
NieA Under Seven (anime)
Colorful (anime – movie, not the terrible series)
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (manga)
Angel’s Egg (anime)
Mushishi (anime and manga)


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