Haibane Renmai-Volume 2: Wings of Sorrow (2002)

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Released 3-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio
DVD Credits
Credits-Credit-less Ending (1:23)
TV Spots-2 spots (0:28 total)
Gallery-44 pp
Episode Introductions-0:57
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (4)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 72:41 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tomokazu Tokoro
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ryo Hirohashi
Carrie Savage
Junko Noda
Erika Weinstein
Akiko Yajima
J-Ray Hochfield
Eri Miyajima
Zarah Little
Fumiko Orikasa
Hunter Mackenzie Austin
Kazusa Murai
Kirsty Pape
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Kou Ootani


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Titling
English
Smoking Yes, only Reki
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is the second volume of Haibane-Renmai. You must read about the first volume, Haibane-Renmai, New Feathers, before reading this review.

    This volume picks up where the first one left off, with Rakka working with one of the other Haibane of Old Home, trying to find a place that she feels is right for her to work in. She works with Nemu in the opening episode of this volume, and we get a chance to learn more about Nemu, who is the most softly-spoken of them all. Rakka learns more about Reki, too, because there was a time when Nemu and Reki were the only older Haibane at Old Home.

    We also learn that Old Home is not the only "nest" of Haibane in Glie. There's an abandoned factory which Nemu describes as a "co-ed" nest — we get to see some of the Haibane from there, including a young man called Hyohko, who seems to want to hide the fact that he's a Haibane: he wears a cap over his halo, and keeps his wings concealed.

    The episodes on this disc are (each one has three titles, for some reason):

5 Library
Abandoned Factory
The Beginning of the World
Rakka tries working in the library, and helps Nemu write a possible version of their "Genesis"
6 End of Summer
Rain
Loss
Rakka is looking for a room of her own in Old Home. Kuu, the youngest-looking of the group, helps, but then something happens to her
7 Scar
Illness
Arrival of Winter
Rakka is unable to stop mourning the loss, and it affects her health

    These episodes start with a moment when Rakka asks, in soliloquy, if she has a right to feel so happy. Sadly, that doesn't last. There is much more sadness in these episodes, but it is understandable, and justified. Rakka's journey of discovery is continuing, and she is passing through a more difficult patch. Gradually, we learn about some of the sadness in Reki's past, as well.

    Although these are sombre, sadder, episodes, they feel right — don't be surprised if they wring a few tears from you. This series is unusual and mysterious, and now gently melancholy, but it is beautifully constructed, and drawn with real feeling. Strongly recommended for anyone looking for a touching drama.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. That's the original and intended aspect ratio. I really like wide-screen anime series.

    The thing I am most pleased to report is that the problem with excessive softness that spoiled the first volume does not afflict this one. The picture is still on the soft side, but that is a feature of this series and its style. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is perfect during the show, rich and well-rendered. The closing credits remain odd, with colour looking quite distorted, but I have come to think that this is intentional. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    There's some very minor aliasing, but I find it completely untroubling. There is no moiré and there are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are the customary two sets of subtitles, both in English, with the first providing a translation of signs and songs (and credits), and the second translating all of the dialogue as well. I only watched the full dialogue subtitles. They are easily read, and seem well-timed to the dialogue.

    The disc is single-sided (with a gorgeous picture label that matches the cover) and single layered. A single layer means there is no layer change. That one layer is ample, given the length of the three episodes and the limited extras.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, both Dolby Digital 2.0 not surround-encoded at 224 kbps. I watched all of the episodes in both languages. The voices are different, but all the music and sound effects are the same. You can listen to either language, confident that you won't miss anything.

    The English dialogue is clear and comprehensible, and very nicely matched to the mouth movements. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear enough, but there are occasions when it doesn't fit the animated mouths (have a look at 6:12, although 61:40 is even worse).

    The score is provided by Kô Ôtani (credited as Kou Ootani). It is marvellous, with a beautiful mix of styles. The music behind the menu is a lovely piece with piano and guitar.

    These are pure 2.0 stereo soundtracks, with quite good stereo imaging, but nothing to excite your Prologic decoder. The surrounds and subwoofer get nothing to do.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are rather fewer extras on this disc, but what we do get is nice.

Menu

    The main menu opens with a transition, but isn't animated, although the music is pleasant. The menus are easy to navigate.

Credit-less Ending (1:23)

    This is the usual thing: the closing sequence, but without the credits over the top. The closing music is sweet.

TV Commercials (0:28)

    These are two brief commercials, shown one after another. They are in Japanese.

Art Gallery

    Forty four pages of sketches of characters and things from these episodes, and earlier ones.

Episode Previews (0:57)

    The usual episode previews, but presented separately from the episodes instead of between episodes. Each is 19 seconds long. They are shown one after another, but they are easy to tell apart because there's a logo at the start of each one.

DVD Credits

    A single page listing the folks at Madman who are responsible for this disc.

Trailers: Madman Propaganda

    Four trailers, individually selectable in standard Madman fashion.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version was released late in 2003. It contains the same episodes as this disc, and has the same extras on the disc. There was a limited edition release of a "pencil board" with the Region 1 disc (I don't know if any of those are still available). And there's an insert tucked into the R1 box which sounds nice. But apart from that, there's no significant difference between the two (they don't seem to get any trailers, though). Even the front cover artwork is the same.

    The Region 1 is reported to have a very good transfer, but the transfer on the R4 disc is likewise very good.

    I felt forced to recommend the Region 1 of the first volume, but I don't feel that this time — I'm perfectly happy with having bought the R4 disc.

Summary

    The next three episodes of a beautiful, gentle, quietly melancholy anime series.

    The video quality is good, and noticeably better than last time.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are few, but adequate.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, February 13, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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