Archive for the 'haibane' Category

Hikari is not guilty

Friday, February 29th, 2008

A thought occured to me that Hikari’s experiments could not possibly be the cause for Rakka’s hair problem. The last haibane to be born before Rakka was Kuu. It was no less than one year ago, possibly more (see Kuu’s flashbacks). If Hikari used the carrier at the time, the donuts would’ve been known. So, she used it during the christening of Rakka. But, since halo occupied the carrier, she could only do it after halo was delivered. Therefore, the contamination could not be the reason for whatever hair issues. I hope nobody suggests that Hikari held a hot halo aloft while playing with the carrier.

FRIDGE: Kuu was not necesserily the last one, actually. It could’ve been one of the kids. Still, Reki’s surprise shows that a cocoon has not appeared for a while; enough for donuts to become known.

Steven helps me out:

You’re making a fundamental mistake. You’re assuming that when Hikari received the mold from the Renmei, that the halo was already in it.

She was given the mold plus a package of ingredients. She baked the halo the morning it was given to Rakka, likely just before they all entered and greeted Rakka.

When the Renmei gave Hikari the mold, it was empty. She used it to make doughnuts before she used it to make the halo — which is why the halo wasn’t quite normal.

Thanks. And for some reason picturing all this makes me laugh again.

Hige on Haibane Renmei

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Hige vs Otaku:

I feel my rewatching of Haibane Renmei requires a brief word. Yes, I was one of the poor simple fools that discarded it after the first four episodes (DVD volume one), but I’m willing to reassess such misdirected dismissal when enough people shit their pants about a show.

Told Ya So. Haibane Renmei is the greatest anime series ever produced. Or among the greatest, at least.

Reki is perhaps one of the best-realised characters I’ve yet to see in an anime. I’m talking Misato levels of accomplishment here. [] I loved how understated the show was in making Reki its true protagonist, that it was really her story we were following. Rakka was our vehicle of experience but Reki was the heart and soul, the real weight and depth of the show. Not to devalue Rakka’s importance, though – her existential crisis down the well stands out as my favourite episode and one that concerns itself almost solely with her.

I’m sure if this technique was used before, but the only other example I can remember readily is Manabi Straight, told essentially through the eyes of Mikan. And yes, Reki and Rakka.

The one big shame about Haibane was its second-rate animation quality. Yoshitoshi ABe’s artwork deserves nothing less than reverential respect — especially when the material is so personal — and bar the final episode Haibane’s visuals didn’t do him, or his vision, enough justice. It was adequate, but could’ve been something truly special with a bigger budget.

I was wondering about this. There’s some evidence that directors are not always capable to cope with a big budget, channel it appropriately. If I were the king, I would prevent hiring the subcontractor for the Reki’s angry visit to the temple, but perhaps not change much more (replace the 3D wind turbines perhaps). I like the visuals. Implementation was shaky though.

BTW, Dennou Coil was actually an attempt to buy a masterpiece for broadcast, with mega-budget and everything. It’s great, but I cannot make myself to pick it up again. Just dropped it in the middle of the festival episode, and never felt an urge to go back.

The Fourth Titan

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

When I regard my anime favourites, I see a big gap between the few I consider truly great, and the best of the rest. Azumanga Daioh, Manabi Straight, and Haibane Renmei tower over the crowd of lesser shows like three titans of anime series.

Actually, this picture is obsolete, because I’ve seen Gurren Lagann. I am not quite sure where it fits. Is it as great as Azumanga? Or greater? If so, how much greater?

UPDATE: Steven, here’s the list:

Character Series Comment
Archer Fate/Stay Night

No good screencap of Rin or Saber
Yurika Martian Succ. Nadesico
Meia Vandread No good screenshot of Barnette standing
Noriko Ooyama Dai-Guard Uniforms look like Stellvia indeed.
Aina Sahalin 08th MS Team
Lafiel Banner of The Stars
Akane Ranma 1/2
Yurie Hitotsubashi Kamichu Not sure if Kamichu belongs.
Ixtli RahXephon Manifested as Reika Mishima
Nayuta Shingu Sorry to capture Nayuta with such idiotic expression, but again no better screenshot.
Funaho Tenchi Muyo OVA, ep.13 I’ve not seen Ryo Ohki.
Kozue Mahoraba
Aoi Ai Yori Aoshi Hate the show, love first 2 episodes.
Tsubasa Figure 17 I think it’s a masterpiece, but I cannot make myself watch it again.
Inez Fressange Martian Succ. Nadesico I’m cheating to fill the gaps.
Yukari Morita Rocket Girls Doesn’t really belong with the rest, but I love that show.

The list is made out of the list of completed series at my ANN list, with a couple dropping out by accident (e.g. To Heart should’ve been there). Vandread represents both itself and Stellvia.

UPDATE: Thanks to Matthew sagematt@#animeblogger for corrections (Ixthil -> Ixtli). And indeed, Meia’s insert was poorly done. OTZ.

MAYBE IMPORTANT: I went through my old notes found that the collage project was started after I’ve read a post by Evirus looking back to Azumanga. It reminded me just how tremendous Azumanga was. BTW, he had some choice words for the evil Ledford regime too.

Fans of works vs. fans of creators

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Via Don comes the news that ABe is considering HR2. To his credit, it’s not his idea and he’s being prodded into it by the producer.

While seeing his ideas for older Rakka may be thrilling, this reminds me why I could never get into being a fan of a creator. ABe’s record, in my view, is that of making of or participating in: 1. horrible NieA_7, 2. acclaimed Lain (which I didn’t like), 3. one of the three or four greatest series ever Haibane Renmei, 4. a bunch of post-Haibane works which I cannot even remember. Likewise, I am not together with Kiyohiko Azuma on Yotsuba. It would be great for him to get out of the rut and move on, IMHO.

In general, no matter who you take, the record is nearly always mixed on the average, past performance is no guarantee of future performance, and so on. So, why concentrate on people or studios?

UPDATE: Omo comments, and right off the bat he tries to reject the premise. Look, certainly Shinbo can be trusted to continue to make artsy shows (anyone remembers Yuno’s delirium in the original Hidamari? good preview for ef and 99 voicemails), but the thing is, I do not like all of it. I dropped Hidamari. From my point of view, it does not pay to be a fan of Shinbo, to “keep an eye”. Are we talking at cross purposes here?

THIS IS JUST RICH. In Omo’s comments:

Because I dislike the spread of misinformation, and because I can’t comment on Author’s blog, I just want to point out that I think Author is making a pretty big assumption in saying that ABe is “being prodded into it [Haibane Renmei season 2] by the producer”. There’s no reason to believe that just from reading Marc Hairston’s post.

Firstly, there’s a link for everyone to read the post make up their minds regardless ABes initiative. But also, the sheer stupidity of polluting Omo’s comments is special. If 50 people replied to my post, would he leave 50 identical comments on 50 blogs? Again, the guy has a blog. Why did not he post there, like Omo has done? Perhaps because Omo has a working brain.

The Pink Sylphide prepares for Haibane Renmei

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Christopher Fritz documents the goings-on, including issues with the cover art. At this point I feel that Haibane Renmei is merely one of the only three or four greatest series ever and thus it’s far above animeblogger’s poor power to add or detract. So, I only anticipate some unique insight from Christopher, not the final score or rating.

Sixten opens Haibane Renmei

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Oh now he’s done it:

As fascinating as it is, I wouldn’t rank Haibane-Renmei higher than Kamichu because the cuteness levels aren’t high enough (Haibane-Renmei seems to be an old series from before the enlightened times of the loli-moe revolution, I mean, Geneon was still around, and still called Pioneer…) and growing from cocoons kind of eliminates the cuteness-enhancing love story that put Kamichu over the top.

Seriously, That Kamichu? Even if we look at pure cuteness, Kamichu cannot hold a candle to Binchou-tan. Maybe I’m just raw over the thremendous disappointment that the empty shell of Kamichu was after the promises of its first episode, but I think it wasn’t all that great a series. Gosh, the Mikofrog!

Haibane Lifestyle Diary

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

The discussion in The Pink Sylphide’s comments reminded me to buy 灰羽せいかつ日誌 (haibane seikatsu nisshi), and it arrived a few minutes back.

It’s the Japanese magic of used books in excellent condition.

QUICK UPDATE: Regarding the p.34, I think that the bra issue is overblown by ABe for comedic effect. If the bra employs a narrow strap under the shoulder blades, it should go nicely under the wings on most normal women… and this includes ABe’s designs. BTW, in the anime canon, Reki goes without (see the scene where she applies the medicine to herself). Nemu owns this issue.

Haibane Renmei remains with us

Monday, December 8th, 2008

A couple of notable bloggers were working through Haibane Renmei recently. Sixten is done and Chris Fritz is past ep.6. Chris in particular was good about documenting the story of discovery that we take together with Rakka. Now that’s the episodic blogging!

Sixten’s “Free Bird” feels strange. Obviously everyone is used to the energetic and dramatic rendition that comes with the DVD and Hanenone.

Chris Fritz on Haibane Renmei 13

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

One quotelet:

Reaching this final episode of Haibane-Renmei, the thing that took me off guard the most was the revelation that Haibane-Renmei is Reki’s story. It took all 13 episodes to realize Rakka is a second-person perspective to Reki’s tale, and a catalyst to Reki’s change, both planned and at the same time unplanned by Reki.

Reading that I feel a certain vindication of my worldview, because this is how I think about Haibane Renmei‘s structure too.

At some point I thought that it’s somewhat common to displace the observer or the narrator. Consider Kyon in Haruhi, or Mikan in Manabi. Rakka is a purer application of this technique. But I appreciate how she’s not just ABe’s exposition tool, and how her own story is very important too. It all was exquisitely designed and implemented.

Theowne on Haibane Renmei

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Just a few notes on a review:

Over my years of browsing anime forums, I’ve seen that there is generally a pattern in terms of how people respond to “Haibane Renmei”. There is one group of people who have watched the series and rave about it, ranging from calling it exceptional to deeming it a masterpiece. Then there is a second group of people, who always reply that they dropped the series after a few episodes, and found it uninteresting.

This is not unique to Haibane. How many people dropped Gurren-Lagann at ep.4?

It’s quite a unique series. It brings you into a strange setting but does not go into detailed explanations about what or where this setting is.

RahXephon does the same thing — to talk about series which excel at it.

The concept of sin and forgiveness plays a major role, but no direct references to any religion are made, although the angelic wings and halos have clear implications.

Don’t forget that Christianity is an exotic religion for Japanese, not known well by most. By necessity, ABe has to refer to the erzatz Christianity in his imagery, not the real one.


The opening theme is called “Free Bird” and is a wonderfully bittersweet instrumental theme, which is a wonderful break from the pop music that usually opens anime series, and would have been completely out of place here. The piece revolves around a melody played over a repeated chord progression, I-v, that is, a major chord followed by the minor chord of the fifth. Here is G major followed by D minor, repeat. I only mention that because I’ve always liked this chord change because it has a lot of nuances that can be manipulated by a composer to reflect sadness, joy, and as in the case here, a nostalgic, bittersweet quality.