Haibane Renmei is an anime series about a group of not-quite-human people called haibane living in a human city. Born from cocoons, they do not remember their past. Growing wings and given a halo, they are not allowed to leave the city. They are watched over by an order called the Haibane Renmei.
Thirteen half-hour episodes.
It aired in Japan from October 9th, 2002, to December
18th, 2002. It has not yet aired in the US.
The Japanese DVDs were released from January through
has fully released the series in the US. However, Geneon has
stopped distributing DVDs. Distribution for some of their titles
has been taken over by Funimation,
but so far Haibane Renmei is not one of them. Unfortunately, this
means that unless you get lucky and find a store with back stock,
you'll have to find the DVDs used.
Japanese uses a syllabary and ideographs, not an alphabet.
There is not a single way to map Japanese characters into the Roman
alphabet. The two main systems used are the modified-Hepburn and the
Kunrei system, but both have variants. I personally prefer the modified-Hepburn.
ABe is the creator of this story. He wrote the screenplay,
and the whole thing is based on some doujinshi he did. The art is
in his style, based on his doujinshi, but he did not officially get
credited for anything on the art side this time.
His name is capitalized that way because he wants it that way. When he was younger, he would post his artwork on the internet under the handle "AB". Capitalizing it that way is a reminder for him.
He was the producer, and the one who really pushed the project from the start. He was the one who managed to convince Pioneer to start production on it based only on ABe's originaly doujinshi. He's worked as producer on all of the projects ABe has been involved with.
He was the director. He's worked with ABe before as Chief Director on NieA_7. I really don't know much else about him, although I have found his name listed in credits for Ah, My Goddess (key animation) and the video game Valis (as production designer).
Kou Ootani composed the music. He's mostly known for his work on various monster movies, including things like Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. He's also worked on a number of other anime, including Outlaw Star and the You're Under Arrest OVA.
He did the character design for the anime itself. I haven't found any information on him yet.
He is the art director for Haibane Renmei. He's worked on a number of anime in the past, including AD Police and Hellsing (both of those as art director).
The performed the end theme of the show, as well as
the image songs. They've also worked on Z.O.E. Dolores and have a
number of their own albums out.
Hikari was performed by Fumiko Orikasa. She's appeared
in a number of roles, including Boogiepop Phantom, You're Under Arrest,
Vandred, RahXephon, Chobits, Stratos 4, She, the Ultimate Weapon (where
she played the female lead, Chise), GTO, Figure 17 and NieA_7.
Hyouko was performed by Suzuki Chihiro. He's been in a number of roles, but I've only been able to find most of them on a Japanese language site. He has performed the role of Noboru in Voice of a Distant Star, and was the voice of Arima Souichirou in His and Her Circumstances (where he also sung the ending theme, "Yume no Naka he").
Kana was performed by Miyajima Eri..
Kuramori is performed by Hisakawa Aya.
Kuu was performed by Yajima Akiko.
Midori was performed by Mizuno Manabi. She's voice drama, game and anime roles, including Todoroki Rin in Mahoromatic and Katou Juri in Serial Experiments Lain. She's also recorded a number of solo CDs.
Nemu was performed by Murai Kazusa.
Rakka was performed by Hirohashi Ryo. This seems to be her first role, in which case she did an impressive job. She's even got a decent scream.
Reki was performed by Noda Junko.
Washi was performed by Ooki Tamio. He's had a large number of roles, including Vampire Hunter, AD Police, Berserk (as the King of Midland), Gunbuster (as Captain Tashiro), and Ghost in the Shell (as Aramaki).
The studio is called RADIX. I don't have much information on them yet, but this is the same studio that did the animation for the Read or Die OVA, which was rumored to be the biggest budget OVA ever.
Doujinshi are just like manga. Well, almost. They're essentially manga which have been made without the involvement of a large company, generally by a single person.
If you live outside of Japan, your options are limited. Japanese auction sites can be a good start if you can read Japanese, but a lot of sellers there won't ship internationally. You can use a proxy service, like Celga, but they can get expensive if you're after individual doujinshi.
Other than the CDs and the DVDs, not much. There is
a promotional poster for the series sometimes available on the auction
sites. There are also three wallscrolls, a keychain, two figures, some t-shirts and a few garage kits.
The characters say Guri, and that's how the katakana
transliterates. However, the R2 DVDs include some booklets full of
information about the show (the Haibane Hakusho). In the first one
they name the city in English as Glie. I'm going with Glie for now.
I don't think it stands for anything. Cog is simply another word for gear.
Yes, but these two seem to get mistaken for boys fairly often. Kuu even gets called a boy by the cafe owner, the guy she works for.
According to ABe at Anime Expo 2003, it's use was purely aesthetic.
Approximately six months from when it was approved to the final episode airing. ABe said at Anime Expo 2003 that he was even threatened with the final episode being a clip-show if he couldn't get the script done on time.
Note that this section is going to be mostly my opinion.
4.2.1. Why do you use different phrases in some places than the DVDs?
The main phrase difference is Day of Flight vs Day of Leaving the Nest. The word used in the original is sudachi, or sudachi no hi. This is, literally, "leaving the nest", or "The Day of Leaving the Nest". Pioneer chose to do a less direct translation, partly to help the dub fit the video.
4.2.2. What are the haibane?
They're people who have left something unfinished in
their former lives. After being hatched from their cocoons, they are
given another chance.
4.2.3. What is Glie?
Glie is kind of a melding of several different things. The main components are Limbo and Purgatory, although the city has a more Eastern shading I haven't really tracked down yet, probably the Tibetan Buddhism's concept of Bardo, the second in specific. See my more detailed explanation here.
4.2.4. Are all the haibane suicides?
No. Reki is the only one who clearly killed herself
in her former life. Although all the haibane names used in the show
could be interpreted as some kind of suicide, there are far too many
indications that this is not the case for me to agree with this theory.
4.2.5. What happens when haibane leave the nest?
There's really no telling. Depending on which religious traditions you favor, the two most likely explanations are either that they enter heaven or that they are reincarnated.
4.2.6. What are the Haibane Renmei?
Judging by episode 11, the Haibane Renmei are the haibane who weren't able to overcome their trails, and therefore weren't able to leave the city.
4.2.7. What are the influences on Haibane Renmei?
Well, you'd really have to ask ABe about that. However, there are two I've seen presented as major influences by people, listed below.
188.8.131.52. Was "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" an influence on Haibane Renmei?
It's possible. I've read the book, and there are some
similarities. The "Hard Boiled Wonderland" section really
has nothing at all to do with Haibane Renmei, but the other half,
"The End of the World", does have a setting similar to Haibane
Renmei. There's a city people aren't allowed to leave, a wall, a river,
a library and a clock tower. Everyone has to work, but they're named
after their jobs rather than their dreams. In fact, they rather specifically
don't have dreams, which leads in to my point here, which is that
Haibane Renmei uses many of the same symbols in completely different
ways. They're almost completely opposite in theme. There may be an
influence there, but if so ABe saw something and completely reinterpreted
it to suit himself.
184.108.40.206. Was the Tibetan Book of the Dead an influence on Haibane Renmei?
I've had this pointed out to me as a likely influence,
but unfortunately haven't had time to read it and find out yet.
220.127.116.11. Was "Wandafaru Raifu" an influence on Haibane Renmei?
ABe has not cited this particular film, but in questions during his panel at Anime Expo 2003 he did cite director Kore'eda as one of his biggest influences.
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Images Copyright Pioneer and/or yoshitoshi ABe unless otherwise noted