Genres: drama, fantasy, mystery, psychological, supernatural
Number of episodes: 12
A dream of falling from the sky…and then birth. Rakka is born from a large cocoon into the Old Home, greeted by a group of females with small wings on their backs and shining halos above their heads. Soon Rakka’s own wings grow, a halo is placed on her head and she is told that she must work in the nearby town of Grie. She soon realizes that the town and the entire world they live in are confined behind the Wall, a tall, impenetrable wall that none except the mysterious Toga are allowed to exit.Rakka, a newly born Haibane (Angel) awakens into an unfamiliar world with only a strange dream of falling from the sky as her only memory. Alone and scared of who and what she is, she is cared for by fellow Haibane as they try and search for the meaning of their existence as well as what lies beyond their town’s imprisoning walls.
Rakka (落下?, lit. “falling”)
Voiced by: Ryo Hirohashi (Japanese), Carrie Savage (English)
A new arrival at Old Home, Rakka struggles throughout the series to “find herself,” and has trouble escaping from curiosity about her past. She forms many friendships, but her closest is with Reki.
Reki (礫?, lit. “pebble/small stone”)
Voiced by: Junko Noda (Japanese), Erika Weinstein (English)
Reki is a mother figure to the other Haibane of Old Home. Reki cannot remember her “cocoon dream,” and is troubled by her past at Old Home and by nightmares. She has been a Haibane for seven years, longer than any of the others except for Nemu.
Kuu (空, Kū?, lit. “air”)
Voiced by: Akiko Yajima (Japanese), J-Ray Hochfield (English)
The youngest of the “older” Haibane, and the first to take her Day of Flight. Kuu overcame initial awkwardness to achieve a sense of peace. She develops a close friendship with Rakka and has been a Haibane for two years.
Nemu (眠?, lit. “sleep”)
Voiced by: Kazusa Murai (Japanese), Kirsty Pape (English)
The Haibane who has lived longest at Old Home. Her friends tease Nemu because she is always sleeping. She is a friend of Reki, works at the library, and has been a Haibane for nine years.
Kana (河魚?, lit. “river fish”)
Voiced by: Eri Miyajima (Japanese), Zarah Little (English)
A mechanically inclined tomboy, Kana works at the clock tower in the center of town. Kana has been a Haibane for four years.
Hikari (光?, lit. “light”)
Voiced by: Fumiko Orikasa (Japanese), Hunter Mackenzie Austin (English)
A serious, but occasionally mischievous and funny, Haibane. She works in a bakery in town and has been a Haibane for three years.
Toga (トーガ, Tōga?)
The Toga are the only people who can enter and leave the city of Glie at will. The Toga never speak, save for communicating in sign language to the Communicator (who represents the link between the citizens of Glie and the Haibane Renmei), and they never reveal their faces. Human and Haibane alike are told to keep their distance from the Toga.
I’m not even going to try to express the excellence of this series. I know I often have said that, and then went on to attempt to do so anyway, but I usually feel compelled to convince the readers of the worth of what I’m reviewing. No such need here. Let it be sufficient to say that this is one of the finest anime I’ve ever seen, and that I place it among Utena and Kaleidostar as one of the very highest examples of same.
There is much that isn’t explained, and the ending is a bittersweet one, but much like the Haibane themselves, we are brought into this world only briefly. Like them, we must ponder the mysteries we are given without clear answers, and try to accept what occurs with serenity. I’m content with that.
Let me explain something, this is one of those shows that requires patience when watching it. It’s a slow paced show where it feels like you’re watching a reality show…except the characters are lovable instead of insignificant specs of dust that are better left forgotten and don’t even deserve to be memories. The Haibane on the other hand, are unforgettable beings that truly deserve praise, even if their show is on the short side. Give this show a watch. It’s only 12 episodes long and won’t cost a penny if you know how to look it up.
This is another majestic showmanship of how anime don’t always have to be about swords, guns, school life mischief and ecchi goodness, all you need is an interesting and new concept, using something familiar.