“Charcoal” Activated

The story certainly can be seen as a caliber of allegory, in that everything represents something in a larger tale about sin and redemption, but things are done in such a languid manner, it almost comes off as an anime, light version of “Waiting for Godot”, as we anxiously anticipate the arrival of something that just may never happen. Oh, and there is a time limit to all of this as well, If you fail to resolve the issue in a certain amount of time, you not only lose the ability to get your Day of Flight, you are exiled and have to live out your life alone. That seems very harsh indeed.

Paradoxically, the very things that make this series difficult to watch (what is really going on in the grand scheme of things) is what keeps you coming back. You really want all of them to take their Day of Flight and leave behind the sadness and misery that punctuates their life. Some are scared to do so, some cannot understand how to change to be able to do so, some are non-plussed, but you know they think of it all the time.

It is reflected in the palette for the show, as all the colors are muted and drab. Look at the pastry box. Yes, it’s pink, but it’s not PINK; it’s a coral or a salmon or some other soft color. This is much like their life, where it feels like winter all the time. You have friends who care for you, but there is something missing and it is up to you to find it within yourself to fill that hole and bring your own color into your life.

Because this is a show that defied a pigeon-hole description, it does make it hard to explain the appeal to it. Even when Rekka falls into a dry well, the pacing of the show is measured and deliberate. There are no great highs, there are no deep lows, but that does not mean it is a dull, flat show. Far from it, but it may be more intellectual than one runs into with anime, so you really can’t go in expecting A-B-C, as you will not find it. But you will find an intriguing show, perhaps closer aligned to “Mushi-Shi” than anything else. I say, give it a shot.

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork 8 (Good use of drab colors)
Plot 7 (Oddly compelling)
Pacing 8 (Very deliberate)
Effectiveness 7 (Still some unanswered questions)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)

Overall 8 (Hard to categorize)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You must find yourself.

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  • James C

    After watching Yoshitoshi ABe’s other series, Serial Experiments Lain, I have been meaning to watch Haibane Renmei. It does sound interesting though. By the way, where did you stream the series?

    -James