|Alternate title : Une fille qui a des ailes grises |
Studio : RADIX Ace Entertainment
Licenced by : Geneon Entertainment (USA)
Length : 13 Episodes
Year : 2002
Genre : Drama - Fantasy
A Mysterious girl dreams of falling.. Rakka awakes in a strange world. She can't remember her past, but is the new member of the Haibane, Angel like creatures. They live behind the walls of the city Guri, unable to leave past its walls. Why is she now Haibane? Why can't she leave the walls? Whats the connection between the Haibane and the Toga?
Added : 2002-11-20
Synopsis by : SCR512
Last update : 2007-10-22
Last update details : Seiyuu added
Score : 8.77
Number of reviews : 39
OP1 : Kou Otani - Free Bird
ED1 : Heart of Air - Blue Flow
2011-11-11 -- Episode(s) 1-13 by Coalgirls. BT Link
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Posted by : GaileOxstain
Posted on : 2013-04-05
Having heard high praise of this lesser known series, I gave Haibane Renmei a watch. While it did not quite reach the high expectations I had for it that other critics had set for it, I still have to say that Haibane Renmei is a true work of art in the animation world.
A young girl dreams she is falling from the sky with a crow trying to save her from falling. The girl wakes up with no memory of who she or of her past but finds herself surrounded by five other girls, all of which have halos and charcoal gray feathered wings. The girls identify themselves as Haibane and tell her that she has just been born as a Haibane as well. The girl is presented with a halo by the other Haibane as well as the name "Rakka" meaning "falling" after the dream she had, and within the day, she too sprouts gray feathers from her back. As a Haibane, Rakka must now learn to live as one by living within the walled town in which she is born, using only the hand-me-downs and discards of humans living within the town, and find work as compensation for her food and housing. No one is sure of why the Haibane exist or why no one is allowed to go past the walls, but Rakka must now learn to live her new life in peace without giving into the sorrows that could weigh down her soul.
Haibane Renmei is a very unique series with its calm atmosphere and esoteric themes. The series first half starts off surprisingly soothing with Rakka's introduction to her new life, town, and friends. Each passing episode focuses on each of the different Haibane with their unique personalities and jobs that they hold around town. Despite the strict confinement within the town and of the rules imposed by the Haibane Renmei (Protectors of the Haibane), the atmosphere of the series never quite feels unnerving and the town itself truly does become a sleepy paradise free of stress and worry for both the Haibane and the viewer.
The overall mood of the series takes a steady u-turn however in the series second half after the departure of one of Rakka's close friends. The initially relaxing series then slowly evolves into a spiritual story about the nature of forgiveness and the underlying ethical notion of seeking salvation and redemption. Both Rakka and Reki undergo great internal suffering through this period, painting a beautifully bitter but cleansing picture of emotional and spiritual growth. The overarching themes however can be hard to follow in the context of the plot and require deep philosophical thinking in order to ascertain the true lesson that the series is trying to convey to its viewers. The plot is often so deep that you drown in it at times, but despite some of the more confusing aspects of the story, the series still manages to convey its feelings and message across to the viewer by series end.
However, even by the end of the series many of the mechanics of the Haibane Renmei world still remain in mystery which can be irritating for many viewers. Questions like "Why is an individual born as a Haibane?", "Why do the Haibane exist?", "Why are Haibane only permitted to use what humans discard or no longer use?", and "What lies on the other side of the walls?" are never definitively answered and seem to be left up to the viewer to fill in the blanks.
The cast is fairly diverse, but unfortunately only two characters in series really undergo any significant kind of character development. Rakka's docile, naive, and self-conscious attitude serves as a truly effective medium for the series developing themes and undergoes notable personal growth from the series start to its end as she herself comes face to face with the weight of her soul in the second half. In addition to Rakka, Reki also serves as the primary focus of the series. In many ways she serves as Rakka's mentor and older sister figure, and she too must learn to overcome the weight of her heart as well as her past if she is to ever move forward. It is the relationship between these two characters and the strange town around them that truly becomes the foundation of the entire series.
The rest of the Haibane include the energetic and cheerful Kuu, the curious and responsible Hikari, the industrious and tomboyish Kana, and the refined and calm Nemu. Sadly the latter four characters lack the same level of depth and memorabilia that Rakka and Reki have, and unfortunately they seem to serve as little more than place holders outside of the episodes of their focus.
The art of Haibane Renmei is surprisingly charming and rich despite being released in 2002. Much of the town and setting is very old fashioned and worn, giving much of the series a strong classical and rustic feel. And while the character designs are fairly simple, they are still original.
I really have to hand it to Haibane Renmei for its music, for it is one of the most beautifully orchestrated series I have ever heard. The opening is free of lyrics and instead consists of a glorious and emotional violin performance supported by light guitar which sounds ripped straight from a professional orchestra. The ending is softer and more angelic with its use of harp chords and soulful vocals.
Haibane Renmei may not have lived up to my original inflated expectations, but I still walked away from Haibane Renmei with a stronger mind and soul than I had initially. The series even managed to answer my deeper philosophical questions pertaining to the nature of salvation. It's true that the story can be confusing at times and you may leave the series with more questions than answers, but overall I see Haibane Renmei as a valuable journey for your soul that teaches you that sometimes God cannot save you until you let yourself or someone else be your savior...
That's why I'm giving Haibane Renmei 8 charcoal feathers out of 10.
Ascend oh Falling One...Ascend
Posted by : miestersean
Posted on : 2009-07-06
The film Blade Runner is considered a classic today not because of outstanding dialogue or acting (hell, Harrison Ford’s in it), but because of its noir, futuristic setting. But it’s overrated. Critics focus only on its dark concept and gritty execution, quickly overlooking the weakness of its characters and storyline. This anime series, which, admittedly, has little to do with Blade Runner, has a similarly unique setting, but that’s not what makes it memorable. In fact, the setting ends up being a negative in this series, and it’s the interesting, likeable characters that make Haibane Renmei an enjoyable experience instead of something that can only be raved about vacuously.
The pacing used in most animes is generally the same -- a few slow episodes for introduction, and then a steady buildup to a climax. The pace of this series, however, is disjointed. It starts slowly, with the first five episodes covering over only the first days in the new life of Rakka, one of the two female leads. In each episode, Rakka gets to know the new people she’s living with better, and the viewer also gets more acclimated to them, vicariously. While not much happens in these introductory vignettes, the characters’ conversations have a steady, calm pace to them. Also, enough details are revealed about the mysterious world the series is set in to keep the viewer attentive.
Only at the sixth episode does the plot initiate any conflicts and develop the setting significantly. While these changes sound like they are the most interesting parts of the show, they aren’t; despite the potential the series has to flesh out a unique, profound world, it leaves the viewer with unanswered questions about the setting and overall plot when it ends. Instead, it is the characters that carry this series all the way through to its final episode: the character interaction in these latter episodes’ subpar plot advancements continues to be the most enjoyable aspect of the show.
In the aforementioned conflicts, each of the two leads struggles with inner turmoil, the depictions of which are believable and affecting most of the time. The interaction that the leads have with the other characters in their suffering, though, is even better. The concern and love characters have for one another feel real, and although they occasionally get melodramatic, the voice acting and dialogue are sincere. Moreover, the resolutions to the conflicts that the characters reach with each other’s help are the high points of the series.
It’s hard to grasp what Haibane Renmei truly is about because of how unformed and undeveloped its plot is, but what’s worthwhile and redeeming about it is its exploration of introspective growth and interpersonal interaction. And while it’s disappointing how little is explained about the supernatural world the characters live in, the series ultimately treats its viewer, uplifting them with the characters as they overcome their struggles.
Posted by : Animeintrostyle
Posted on : 2008-07-06
Haibane Renmei is by far one of my favorite shows of all time. It lives in a world of its own, one that doesn't placate to the stereotypes of most series.
Plot: The story grips you from the beginning with a mystery that will drive you to the finish. One element of the plot I liked was how the story takes the world it's in for granted. There was hardly a long pause or zoom in at something that lived exclusively in the Haibane world. You would be familiarized with it, and then it was like it had always been there. I like this method of storytelling. I also found the pace to be very relaxing and was happily surprised by the ending.
Bad: Imagine a list of things you want to do in a given day. Not anything like slay a dragon, but more like go to the store to buy clothes. Well, in one episode of Haibane Renmei, at most, 2-3 of these things will get done. Most of the dialogue happens on the way to these places or in preparation for these actions. A straight up action fan might not find the adrenaline rush he's looking for, and the person seeking an overly dramatic story may also be let down. Aside from that, the ending is one that you don't see coming when it happens; I can understand if certain people become upset.
Animation: Flowing and Alive. The animation doesn't exactly come off as vibrant; rather, it stays in a low range of colors, but what's shown is consistently beautiful. I almost got a feeling during my viewing that there was a constant light breeze passing by that gave you the smile one might find at the end of a hard day's work. The drawing is also very easy to look at, which makes the show so easy to watch.
Characters: Each character brought her own easily identifiable attitude. Some were made to be a little wacky at times, but they all easily show off realistic humanity for each other. They were entertaining without ever having to go over the top. I also like the choice to make the story almost exclusively with girls. A guy becomes part of the plot only for a short time and the series is never treated as a Harem during that time. I like this element in the same way I like "Lord of the Flies," both stepping over any love relationships to focus on the story.
Music: The music never tried to bring the show to the level of a thrill ride, but kept the mysterious tone of the town of Glie well in check. I thought the Intro was amazing, and was oddly drawn to the Outro.
Overall: There are few shows where I can say I wish the episodes would just keep coming, and this is one of them. I breezed through the series and wanted the show to never end. This had nothing to do with the plot, but with the amazingly crafted storytelling. The anime was superbly done.
Posted by : Gen3s1s
Posted on : 2008-04-29
Well what can i say except that Haibane Renmei is amazing it has this feeling to it and the end will leave you in aww... that being said the animation can sometimes seem really dull but beautiful at the same time with some effects that really make certain things shine. The music goes well with it so you really feel and understand the emotion being portrayed at the moment its played the OP and ED suit this Anime in a big way. Character development is done really well with most characters, not to slow and not to fast so you can take them all in the only bad thing is that its rather short but thats not to big of a concern due to the fact that the end fits the anime perfectly. Basically if you don't watch this then your missing out on something incredible!
Posted by : pholo
Posted on : 2007-11-07
To put the conclusion of my review first: HaRe is my favorite anime so far, and I have seen a few and then some. It is not a show, however, that will please just about anyone.
I have to admit that to approach HaRe in a review is a bit difficult for me. It's a bit like explaining to someone else why you feel that something is very precious, or almost sacred, to you.
HaRe is a show that works on many levels; better at some, at some others worse. On the surface it is a soulful, tranquil story about the very short lives of a buch of children born to bear wings and a halo in a rather small, isolated world with very strict rules. It might not be the best animation you have seen, neither will it be the best story. But then it won't be the worst either and it sure will provide a few hours of relaxing entertainment.
The real HaRe experience will start right below that surface. It depends on if you allow yourself to dive below the surface in general and if you enjoy doing so, whether or not you will experience HaRe in a similar way I do. Below that surface you will find countless possibilities to relate to the characters and to the story itself. To me, HaRe is the longing to be in peace with oneself, to be able to love oneself and to find forgiveness before oneself, concentrated into a few hours worth of one of the most amazing animated acts by one of the most amazing artists Japan has to offer today.
I have seen quite a few reviewers complain about too many question left unanswered. Yes, there are many questions left unanswered. So what? The best animes I have seen so far were full of those. Why is that? From my point of view this is what truly distinguishes art from entertainment. Art is not there to answer questions but to induce questions in the viewer, or listener, and leave him to ponder those. Thus, I think, HaRe works far better as a work of art than it does as a piece of entertainment.
Posted by : nickofsatan
Posted on : 2007-07-20
Haibane Renmei is a series that starts off slow, but gradually begins to grow on you. To be honest, I found the first episode quite dull, but the last episode left me breathless.
- If I were to describe the feeling conveyed by the animation, it would be like watching a flame flicker in a pitch black room. It is dark, mysterious, and somewhat magical. The style is very similar to that of Kino no Tabi, using earthy colors with less contrast than generic anime. However, unlike Kino, which utilized sharper and more distinct images, the images here could almost be described as "dusty." All elements are blended closely together, creating an artsy and sophisticated watercolor image. I particularly liked this, since all haibane have been "reborn", the brown and smoothness create a fresh feeling, stripped down to the roots. The dark shades convey that eerie feeling when you are in an unfamiliar place, as well as serious, darker, undertones and the mysterious sense that there is more than meets the eye, all elements of the story. But quality is a bit hindered, so I will have to dock one point.
-The whole philosophy on forgiveness totally reeled me into the story. If you like philosophical animes, then this is for you. But what got the best of me in the end was just the pure mystery in the story, as I found myself fascinated by both the characters and the workings of the haibane. I cannot really isolate a singular driving force for my liking of the plot, but it is very empowering to watch(probably due to the excellent characters.)
- Without the spectacular characters, this series would have been a definite flop. Each and every one is unique, and the sense of unity and friendship between them really overflows the story. They are all trapped within the city walls, but that ultimately pulls them together even more. The depth of these characters is incredibly unfabricated, and it's realism makes the anime so much more fun to watch.
-I would probably give this series a nine, but the end left me with strong emotions. Unlike other anime, where excitement dies down after a while, my likings for this series have gotten better over time. A must see anime, you wont be dissapointed.
Posted by : Miaceri
Posted on : 2007-04-29
When looking at Aestheics Habane Renmei really delivers. From the amazing artistic work.
The animation is breathtaking. The characters each have a unique simple look to them. But that is part of what makes them so wonderful to look at. They don't need fancy clothes or hair to look good. The artist has rendered them so well that to add to thier appearance would take away from how they appear. The backgrounds have stunning detail. The quality of the background never changes as the series continues. It is always painstakingly detailed which adds to the feel of the whole thing.
The music itself is perfect for the show. I can't imagine the show being as good as it is if a song had been chosen rather then an instrumental score. It goes well with the story and doesn't not distract from it.
As for the story itself, it is very deep. I spent a few hours discussing questions that my friend and I had when we watched this series. Usually when we finish an anime we say "hey that was good." But with this particular one we actually sat down and talked about things it made us think about and questions we had. I think that the fact it gave us something to talk about made it worth it all on it's own.
The plot you see is not all you get with this one. Rather then explaining everything the series instead allows you to ask yourself questions about what you don't know. I enjoyed figuring out why certain things happened. It also allows you to come up with your own theories and ideas about the Haibane and thier purpose. And for that reason I think it is the most unique show I have seen up to this point.
It is for those reasons I would give this show a nine. Sadly I wish that the series had been longer but I see why it was ended where it was.
Posted by : du5k
Posted on : 2007-03-21
Haibane Renmei is very close to what I can call a piece of art. It was simple, yet elegant, peaceful and beautiful at the same time. You can see it’s a pretty simple story, yet the emotions run deep in you and played gracefully. However, it failed to really deliver an impact into me. It was nice, but I would have preferred something stronger.
The overall plot is short and sweet, and although it lengthen to 13 episodes which it probably doesn’t need to, it's still pleasant that way. I guess it's just the mood of the series. It didn't get into the main part until half the series is over, but character development is worth watching.
I didn't liked the way they kept the suspense on for so long, but I guess there's the need to drag things. There's also several unexplained stuff, but they don't matter. Unless you can really get into the emotions of the characters, you cant expect much, for there isn't really any eye candy (as in action, or seriously emotional parts)
It’s real cool. Use of warm colors is really fitting for such a drama. While it doesn’t have much special effects or details on the characters, the atmosphere set by the background is great.
Music and Sounds
Sadly, there's no opening song, just a cheerful little music to it. Mood setting could have been much more if there is one. Great background music though. And very individualized voices. I like that.
While it failed to deliver an impact into me, I can say it's the best "feel-good" anime I’ve ever watched. Not really for people who want action, but it’s the perfect drama.
Posted by : AkaiTsubasa
Posted on : 2007-03-07
I have to say that after watching this series, it got promoted to one of my Top 10.. and that I'd be doing it an injustice if I didn't write one.
In terms of touching anime, I'd say that this is one of the best few I've seen so far. It even made me cry a little at the last part... words of farewell aren't easy to take... Especially if it's someone whom you care about a lot.
Art : 9/10. I'd say that the -1 was for some inconsistancy in the shape of some *things* in the anime - no spoilers for you ^^. Overall I have to say that this anime boasts one of the best art I've seen for a long time, really - no kidding, the atmosphere is just... wonderful. Its comes over being very natural at at peace with everything around it.
Story : 9/10. One thing you notice in this anime is that the story flow in just... right. the story begins with a few mystery and questions, but leads you on in introducing and developing each character as well as bringing you to the climax in the end as well. I wonder if they are going to put a second season out? if they would, I'd most likely rush like a mad otaku anime freak and get it first.
Characters : 10/10. If I'm allowed to give a -0.1 then I would. but that's just that. Character development is more or less consistent and 'enough', although I have to say I'm a bit sad it ended in 13 episodes; although it wasn't too long nor too short..
Music : 10/10. Music suits the atmosphere, a bit sad nevertheless, but still, one of the best that you can match to an anime.
Overall : 10/10. I'd rank this at the top of my anime list so far - really wish they would have a second season or something... =/ I would say personally, I find the rewatch value very high, and rank this above Air.
For those sentimental/ drama types - I guess this is a sure must watch!
Posted by : Molenir
Posted on : 2006-12-17
This is an incredible anime. One of the best I have ever seen. I wish that I could give it a perfect score. But to be plain, I simply didn't want it to end where and when it did. There is so much left that we haven't seen, and don't know. I was just left wanting more.
At 13 episodes this anime was simply too short. Others might complain about how there is nothing to the story, that everything is filler, but they are lacking in vision of what this anime is. It is simply the story of Rakka, and her life as a Haibane. As well as the other Haibane and people around her. Each episode is there to give us more depth and feeling about the world and how Rakka and others react to it. This is really the reason I felt the anime is too short. While Reki's story concludes, we are left without a real conclusion to Rakka's story. Since the story is, in its most basic form about Rakka, to me this was a great disappointment.
The artwork is excellent, truly some of the best that I have seen. It does an excellent job setting the tone and mood of the anime. The OP can be watched endlessly. Only the Ending sequence and music I felt was weak.
Overall I strongly recommend this anime. It is one of the most enjoyable, beautiful works of anime I have seen. There are times you laugh, and times you cry. I only wish there was more of it.
Posted by : neonbulb
Posted on : 2006-10-09
Haibane Renmei... perhaps some of my most beautiful memories of contentment lie with this series. Again and again, I would read this page, not writing a review because words wouldn't do it justice, but after reading the review below, I felt I just had to.
I am a mass anime watcher ie I watched 54 eps of Bleach in 2 days and 140 episodes of Naruto in less than a week. It's the same story with all the anime I love. But, this is the ONLY anime, where after watching one episode, you feel so peaceful, so contemplative, that you actually do not want to watch the next episode. You just want to soak in and feel and dream about the episode you watched for a few days.
The most beautiful ever. Please, take my word for it and believe me. It is the most atmospheric anime I have ever seen. The scenes and landscapes are so rich in atmosphere and detail, it just takes your breath away. On a snowy night in Haibane Renmei, you find yourself curling up. On a rainy night in the series, you find yourself buttoning up. If you dont believe me, watch the trailer. The characters are much simpler, but it has an eerily beautiful effect.
You'll find lots of people talking about fillers. if you would prefer not to go beyond the intellectual level of Naruto or Bleach, then yes, all of them are fillers and this series has no plot. If you would rather think and reflect, Haibane Renmei has the most beautiful, most subtly powerful story. One word to describe the story : Subtle.
It doesnt make you break into a sweat with its depth. Rather its depth exists for you to find and appreciate at your own pace. There are beautifully subtle symbolisms in each aspect of the anime. Even if you dont get the meaning of something, it is still so enjoyable to watch.
The two lead characters have been very beautifully crafted. Unfortunately, due to the anime being only 13 episodes long, all the characters do not develop as much as you would want them to. But then, the anime doesnt intend to do that in a way like standard anime (little hyper boy knows nothing and then learns to kick ass as time passes by, 'learning' about the world). Its whole concept is a 'glimpse' of the life of the Haibane.
Even so, there are characters developing beautifully and subtly, and realistically.
I wont even state my opinion. If you search around forums, you'll see people posting about the beautiful scores. This is the best sound track I have heard in anime.
The only thing that distressed me was that there were only 13 episodes. This makes Haibane Renmei even more beautiful in its briefness, but somewhere in my heart i wish it would keep going on. If only more people appreciated this pearl.
Posted by : Faebinder
Posted on : 2006-08-22
This anime just didn't do it for me. The story line seemed riddled with fillers to me... details.
Art: 7/10. The artwork was alright. They didn't try and dazzle you with special colors or scenery and obviously there was no need for fluid motions. The majority of the drawing seemed a basic bleak of baige to me.
Music: 7/10. It was acceptable during the episodes but the opening and ending were nothing special and didn't do anything to the theme. Suspence music was not even memorable.
Story: 5/10. Very very weak. Many episodes were just plain fillers in an overstretched plot. Very few surprises. Most of hte series played on the possible emotions you may have from agreeing with one or two character's form of life. There is no solid plot and the drama is weak.
Character Design: 6/10. The main character grew somewhat but in the end she was the same child. No antagonist of value and certainly very little screen time to any possible antagonist. It's hard to feel anything to any character as they resemble far fetched childlike characters in a setting. As if working in a bakery as an assistant for the rest of their lives is what they want to achieve.
Basically I hate to say it.. someone's childish imagination put together a series and linked them weakly to make a story. This is not a winner.
Posted by : alranth
Posted on : 2006-04-11
Haibane Renmei is deep on so many levels that it is really hard to comprehend it in one sitting. You can take it at face value, and it would still make a good anime, but you also have the option of looking so much deeper and applying things in the story to yourself. It is really a very philisophical anime, and it lies at the other end of the spectrum from steryotypical action anime.
The artwork for Haibane Renmei is stunning. The backgrounds look as if they were hand painted and the characters are drawn nicely. There are some places where the characters don't seem to fit in because the backgrounds are so detailed.
The muted, earthy colors also set the mood for Haibane Renmei. Even the bright greens and blues of the trees and sky aren't too flashy, allowing the characters come out. The dark scenes and the night scenes are done superbly, making the reader feel the apprehensiveness, the cold, and the wet.
The music also fits the tone right on, with lots of violin to complement the quaint atmosphere of the town and the surrounding areas.
When watching this anime, take it slow. Enjoy the show while you're watching it, then think about the themes after you're done. It's definately not for everyone, but for those who enjoy some introspection now and then, you might like this piece.
Posted by : Chaps
Posted on : 2006-02-27
I really don't think any other series has left me as discontent and unsatisfied as Haibane Renmei left me; not because it was lacking something in particular, but more actually the opposite...I was so completely overwhelmed the vast amount of depth this series had, I knew it was virtually impossible for me to completely fathom it all at once.
The story itself seems rather easy to explain- a race of human-angelic-like people known as the Haibane, with no memory of their past life, that live in a strange, almost ethereal, walled up town. Once you get past that, the simplicity ends there. This story can be interpreted on so many levels, with the symbolism saturating this series, it's really incredible. Single episodes could be spent with hours of interpreting and peeling apart even the most (seemingly) trival of things. There are so many possible explanations for Haibane Renmei, I honestly doubt there is a such thing as a 'correct' answer for it all. It's just too vast.
The characters are real nice in this series, each with well-defined personality (although some better developed than others..). Many characters have so many dimensions to them, it's incredible to find them not real....and of course, some act as some of the most potent symbols in the show.
The art sets the mood very well, in dull and melancholy colors. There is no vivid, bright cheer here; only darker shades that compliment the mood well. The animation isn't groundbreaking, but it's far from anything terrible, so I guess it's about average. Nothing to complain about, though.
The musical selection is very well picked. Often many settings and scenarios wouldn't be half as convincing if the soundtrack didn't enhance the atmosphere amazingly well. I really don't get tired of the opening theme, either.
If you're looking for an action-packed adventure of explosions, car chases, and Super Saiyans, well, don't look here. Here you'll find a thought-provoking, philosophical drama deep on so many levels you'll really be lucky to understand a fraction of it. Of course, this show can be watched just for the sake of the external story of the cutesy Haibane and their wonders of the world outside the wall, but you won't ever fully be able to appreciate it until some deeper examination.
Posted by : cheapet123
Posted on : 2006-02-01
Another great anime from the artist Yoshitoshi Abe who also did the Lain artwork.
Graphically, this anime was stunning to look at. Who knew girls with little angel wings and halos could look so cute ^^
The story is the main point of this anime. Haibane Renmei could be extremely deep, if you want it to be. The subtle symbols throughout the story and the use of metaphors makes this and impactful anime.
This anime is good. watch it if you'rer a fan of the Lain series.
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