Spoiler Free Area
Uh, sorry, we don't really have a "Spoiler Free Area" at the moment. What I (Fhd remix 18:57, 17 June 2011 (CEST)) offer instead, is a spoiler free synopsis:
Haibane are creatures that are hatched from fluid filled cocoons with some years in their bodies. A red-haired girl emerges at the physical age of sixteen, and has just beyond the grasp of her mind, a whole lifetime full of memories, including her original name. The only thing she can clearly remember, however, is this vague dream of falling from the sky, and a crow's futile attempt to save her. In the tradition of the Haibane Renmei ("Ashfeather Federation" in Japanese), she is named for her cocoon dream, "Rakka", a Japanese word for "Falling". Her new friends include Reki (Cobble), Kuu (Empty Air), Hikari (Light), Kana (River Fish), and the children Hana (Flower) and Shota (Shortcake). Soon after she hatches, she discovers she's not human, but haibane (ashfeather), and wings emerge painfully from her back shortly after she is given one of the glowing halos that hover over the heads of the haibane creature.
The haibane live on the outskirts of a small town named Glie, which is in a large area enclosed by a high wall that nobody is allowed to touch (to say nothing of climbing over it and seeing what's outside.) Humans also live in Glie. Some of the basic questions you might have, and only a handful will be answered by the anime series, are:
- Are the haibane angels, as they bear some resemblance to the Christian image of one, with feathered wings and halos? Are they perhaps angels in training? - Is Glie heaven? Is it perhaps Limbo or Purgatory? (Those are Catholic concepts, and the anime series originator, Yoshitoshi ABe, is believed to be Buddhist, which of course means that he probably wants you to ask these questions, and then not find any typical answers.) - Where does Rakka, or any of the other haibane for that matter, come from? - What sort of life issues do the haibane need to deal with? What eats at their minds? What do they need to worry about? - Are haibane the revered of Glie? Or ... are they the pariahs? - Who's in charge of Glie? Is it the haibane or the humans, or someone, perhaps something else entirely? - Since the haibane are unable to fly because their wings are too small, and the radiance of their halos doesn't exactly light up the world, what purpose, if any, are they here for? Why do they even have wings and halos? Do they symbolize anything or are they "just there"? - What is the "basic conflict" of Haibane Renmei that makes it interesting as a story?
Okay, that last one, I'll answer: nothing conventional. This should have been easy to see from the other questions. If you're looking for a story that'll change your "optics", the way you look at the real world, to perhaps treat some spiritual far-sightedness or near-sightedness, and you are open to having a work of art ask you the questions that you might not understand, or that you might be afraid of, then Haibane Renmei may be for you. It might be for you if...
- You're sick of big robots and boys running around with swords rescuing teenage girls in sailor uniforms, or girls in sailor uniforms running around trying to save the world. If nothing else, Haibane Renmei will be a good break from all that. - You have an addiction or other such problem and you'd like a new way of looking at it. You might be a new member of [AA http://www.aa.org] or a something like that, and the first thing they've asked you to do is submit to God, "as you understand Him" (She, It, whatever.) You have no understanding of God and are afraid of evangelists, perhaps Haibane Renmei can get you started. - You feel a need to pull your mind out of your own spiritual or religious dogma, a search for something more, or perhaps even something less. You have an open mind and if you're say, Christian, you might look up Tao, but don't have the time. Or if you're athiest or agnostic, you might be thinking, "What if there is a God." If you're afraid of the dogmas and hypocrisies of religion, but would like to check out spirituality in a totally non-denominational, non-sectarian way, Haibane Renmei might be something you'd enjoy. - You're sick of Serial Experiments Lain. After watching Haibane Renmei, you might be astonished to learn that they came from the same author, same mind, same studio, same animation team and original Japanese distributor. And, you wouldn't be the first to be so astonished by any stretch of the imagination!!