This series has very nice artwork.
Well, I gobbled this up in one day. I looked at the premise and was very intrigued. The artworks I’ve seen for this series are very intriguing too, seeing people with wings and halos. I started this series thinking very positively. Also I thought this series would look nice in my recommended titles.
Well I’m quite disappointed over this. By no means was it horrible but it wasn’t particularly great either. The story starts off with a girl falling from the sky with some crow. Then she popped out of a cocoon and was taken care off by the “Old Home”. She started sprouting wings and she was given a halo. She was also given a name, “Rakka”, which meant falling. They led everyday lives, with hints of plot like how the man in the clock tower said that he was afraid that one day the Haibane would fly far away, or the wall which no one can go inside or outside except the Toga. One can think that the town is being protected, but another way to think about it is that they are trapped in like a prison. This thinking is what made the second half of the series.
The people in this town are eerily nice. It seems that no one really cares that they can’t go outside, it’s more of them being protected. Even more so for the Haibane as they never complain about the limitations they have been set to do. The Haibane are usually thankful and it was a trait that I really liked about the series. Well until the middle half started.
Plot kicks in, one of the Haibane, Kuu, was satisfied and was able to move on (Very Angel Beats style). This is when I started not liking the series. I get that Rakka was sad, but it was so dragged on (about 4 episodes and this is a 13 episode series) I almost cringed. It didn’t help that the mood was getting somber as winter passes on and that her wings started going black (another new plot). There’s two types of drama. Realistic ones and melodrama. This goes into the melodrama pile. Wait, I don’t hate melodrama yet why do I not like this part of the series? Because there are two types of melodrama. One which actually goes well with the theme of the series (Toradora) and one that seems very out of place. Haibane Renmei falls to the latter. It’s like Rakka started becoming a bit more emotional than usual and her vocabulary increased! I’m sorry I just didn’t like that part.
After that, it just goes downhill. From Rakka drama, they move on to Reki drama, and it had much more DORAMA. Unlike Rakka’s though which felt out of place, this somehow fitted Reki. Her angst did not feel out of place. Wait, but why do I hate it? Again it dragged on a bit too much. By episode 13, I was gnawing my eyeballs out. Still though, I have to commend this series for having a very conclusive ending. While I hate the ending episode itself (Reki dorama really got on my nerves), the way it eneded was very conclusive and fitted for what the series is.
It was still worth watching, but this series just doesn’t fit well with me. I guess it’s not my type of series.The first half was pretty good I guess, but the dorama and plot of the second half was pretty awful. It’s still very well constructed but it’s just not my thing I guess.
Story: 40/50 (Well constructed but I did not like it)
Characters: 16/20 (I liked most of them at first but they ruined Rakka a bit with her “character development”)
Production: 17/20 (Actually pretty good for a 2002 show)
Overall Feel: 7/10 (Not bad; just not my thing)
Verdict: 80/100 (Good first half, Bad second half depending on how you perceive it. I still like the series a bit though even with the issues I have with it.)