One good thing about a Twenty Days series is having enough room to devote meta posts [1] to things like the soundtrack [2].  Having Ko Otani’s Haibane Renmei soundtrack to review is just a bonus.

As I’m sitting here listening to it I’m once again impressed by how well Hanenone works as both soundtrack and as music to listen to in its own right. 

When heard as background music, the Haibane Renmei OST generally manages to support the intended mood without being intrusive.  In a sense the BGM is almost invisible, although this is assisted by not having BGM in scenes where it would intrude [3].

In terms of overall style I would describe Hanenone as classical, heavy on the strings, and with some beautiful solo work.  What I think is a viola solo in Starting of the World is just wonderful.

Given my fondness for classically themed soundtracks including Record of Lodoss War, Vision of Escaflowne, and Macross Plus [4], this is a musical choice that works well for me.

One mildly unusual choice is using the instrumental Free Bird as the opening theme.  This is a great piece of music but not having a song does put Haibane Renmei in the minority of anime TV shows. 

The opening animation itself is lovely to watch [5] so here it is:

There are a couple of vocal pieces on the CD, both in English.

Wondering is a lovely, gentle, song that fits nicely into the identity crisis that Rakka is just coming out of.  However I suspect that this is an image song as I don’t recall hearing it during an episode. 

The other is Love Will Light The Way which is both the longest, and perhaps the least successful, track on the CD.  This song ties more into the collective identities of the Haibane, and I should like it more than I do, but I think it overstays its welcome by about a minute.

My one big complaint with the Hanenone CD is that the lovely ending theme Blue Flow wasn’t on it for some reason.  Since I’ve been enjoying watching the credits every episode I thought I’d share that as well:

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 – The Sound of Charcoal Feathers
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] There is one post for which the topic hasn’t been assigned yet.  Feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments.  There is one other that I’m keeping secret for now.

[2] There wasn’t room for a soundtrack post in Thirty Days of Escaflowne.

[3] I am sometimes surprised by the willingness of anime directors to omit BGM from key scenes.

[4] Somewhat less so but Yoko Kanno did use the Israel Philharmonic for that one.

[5] Although I could have done without the “handheld” camera effects in the Old Home guestroom.