Haibane Renmei

Charcoal Feather Federation
Also Known As: Ashwing League, Une Fille qui a des Ailes Grises
Genre: Drama
Format: 13 Episodes
Allegiance: Radix/Sotsu Agency
Director: Negishi Hiroshi, Tokoro Tomokazu
Vintage: 2002
Intelligence Agency Report by: The Macaque
One day, a young girl is born out of an egg, into a seemingly sad looking place. She’s immediately surrounded by a group of females, who all have wings on their backs and halos on their heads. These angel-like women call her Rakka, and very soon the young girl will be just like them, having a pair of wings and a halo of her own. They all live in an old orphanage and take care of it, while going to the nearby town to work. The town, a nearby forest, and the orphanage all carry their own secret mysteries, and Rakka decides to find out who she really is, what she is doing in this strange place, and how she might escape it all.

Field Agent Report by: The Macaque
Overall 9.25
(not an average)

In today’s world, where tales about technological advances and futuristic sci-fi mumbo-jumbo rule the anime industry, Haibane Renmei succeeds in telling a very different kind of story in a very emotional fashion. From the very beginning Haibane Renmei delivers some very melancholic feelings, but still in a beautiful and tranquil way.

ABe Yoshitoshi, the creator of this wonderful piece of anime, left a stronger mark in the finished product than the directors, Negishi Hiroshi and Tokoro Tomokazu did. It’s not to undermine the brilliant work of these two gentlemen, but without ABe-san, not even the best directors could have achieved a result like this. The characters are very down to earth and in no way exaggerated (of course). Every one of the angels have their own personalities, and as the series progresses, they all contribute to the story in their own way. Especially the leader Reki, who helps Rakka through most of her difficulties. Together with the beautifully drawn surroundings, they create a very believable setting for the series. The story is equally strong, even if most of the events seem to lie under a vail of mystery. Captivating and very interesting to say the least.

Out of all the more recent anime series, Haibane Renmei clearly takes home the first prize in showing humane emotions in a sensible yet very refreshing way. Smooth animation and a nice soundtrack, make this series feel like a Finnish summer day at the beach. Mostly sunshine and a gentle breeze from the sea, but with a few imperative rain clouds here and there. To some this series is the saddest and most depressing anime they’ve ever seen. Others, like me, can find a lot of hope and happiness in it too. But nearly all who have seen Haibane Renmei agree on one thing: it’s one of the finest pieces of Japanese animation ever made.