Haibane Renmei

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I delayed this post until after the End of Summer – Rain – Loss episode because I wanted to give the dub in general, and Kuu’s dubbing in particular, a fair review. I’m glad that I did so.

Up until this episode it is absolutely critical that Kuu be a sympathetic character: the viewer has to be willing to grieve for her loss, or at least believe the depths of grief that Rakka will sink to [1].

On previous viewings I have only briefly, and occasionally, flicked over to the dub. What little I heard then gave me the impression that Kuu sounded whiny in the dub, and would fail to obtain the necessary sympathy.

This time I have been listening to the complete dub of each episode as I write the reviews [2], and I’m upgrading J-Ray Hochfield’s performance as Kuu to at least a B+. It isn’t perfect but Ms Hochfield neatly manages the transition from a slightly insecure Kuu of Cocoon – Dream of Falling from the Sky – Old Home to the peaceful and happy Kuu of the End of Summer – Rain – Loss.

As a result the events of End of Summer – Rain – Loss lose little, if any, of their impact in the English language version.

Carrie Savage’s performance as Rakka is excellent, and carries the series well.

So far there is very little to complain about. Some of the translation choices are a touch odd, but not excessively so [3]. The actresses handling the other Old Feathers are all doing solid jobs.

I should make a special mention of Erika Weinstein who, thus far at least, has superbly handled the subtleties of Reki.

Thankfully the beautiful ending song Blue Flow hasn’t been touched [4].

Overall this is close to one of the best dubs I’ve seen, and certainly won’t dent appreciation of Haibane Renmei‘s emotional depth.

Day 1 – Cocoon – Dream of Falling from the Sky – Old Home
Day 2 – Town and Wall – Toga – Haibane Renmei
Day 3 – The World of Haibane Renmei
Day 4 – Temple – Communicator – Pancakes
Day 5 – Trash Day – Clock Tower – Birds Flying Over the Walls
Day 6 – Gender and Haibane Renmei
Day 7 – Library – Abandoned Factory – The Beginning of the World
Day 8 – End of Summer – Rain – Loss
Day 9 – Dub vs Sub?
Day 10 – Scar – Illness – Arrival of Winter
Day 11 – The Bird
Day 12 – ???
Day 13 – Well – Rebirth – Riddle
Day 14 – Kuramori – Haibane of Abandoned Factory – Rakka’s Job
Day 15 – ???
Day 16 – Parting – Darkness in the Heart – Irreplaceable Thing
Day 17 – Bell Nuts – Passing of the Year Festival – Reconciliation
Day 18 – ????
Day 19 – Reki’s World – Prayer – Reconciliation
Day 20 – Looking Back At Haibane Renmei

[1] This is the correct tense by the way: Rakka’s grief does get worse before it gets better.

[3] To an extent this would be partially forced by the different cadence/timings of Japanese and English.

[4] For the record I am still disappointed that Blue Flow was omitted from the OST.