Haibane Renmai-Volume 3: Free Bird (2002)

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Released 11-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio
DVD Credits
Trailer-Promotional Trailer 3:19
TV Spots-0:16
Gallery-Art (40pp)
Episode Introductions-0:56
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (5)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 72:44 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tomokazu Tokoro
Studio
Distributor
Geneon
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, Reki smokes incessantly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Volume three of Haibane-Renmai already? That's quick. I urge you to read about the first volume, Haibane-Renmai, New Feathers, and the second, Haibane-Renmei, Wings of Sorrow, before reading this review.

    This volume starts at the point we reached at the end of Wings of Sorrow, with Rakka worrying herself sick over Kuu, and over the eternal questions: who and why? She is painting her feathers with the medicine, and wearing wing covers to hide them. Reki is helping her as much as she can, because she empathises. We already know a fair bit about Reki's background, but in this volume we learn more.

    The episodes on this disc are:

8 The Bird Rakka works out her fear of crows, and follows one into the Western woods, learning a lot more than she expected
9 Well
Rebirth
Riddle
Rakka is rescued, and has a long discussion with the Haibane-Renmai Communicator — he gives her a riddle to solve about the Circle of Sin
10 Kuramori
Haibane of Abandoned Factory
Rakka's Job
Rakka finally gets a job, and it is an unusual one. More of Reki's past is revealed in flash-back.

    These are not happy episodes, but they are revealing and quite a lot happens. There is one item that is barely hinted at, and I am unsure if I've interpreted it correctly — (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) there is a suggestion that Rakka committed suicide in her past life. We also learn that there's a time limit on each Haibane, and that Nemu and Reki are approaching that limit.

    Most of the time in these episodes is spent on Reki and Rakka, which is understandable, because that's where the conflict is coming to light. That doesn't mean the others are forgotten — they still appear, but take less of the screen time. Episode 10, in particular, gives us a better understanding of Reki and her relationship with Nemu, with Kuramori, and now Rakka.

    Only the second of these three episodes has an opening segment before the opening credits. I think of these opening pieces as being like a "previously on...", because they serve to give you an idea of the background to the episode, even though they contain new scenes, rather than old ones.

    These episodes are quite satisfying, even though they are not light-hearted ones. I think I'll be sad when this series finishes with the next volume.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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.

    This disc, like the second one, is a little bit soft (which is perfect for this show), but much better than the first disc. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is marvellous, with a wide palette of quiet colours, well-rendered. The start of the second episode on this disc is magnificent, with a superbly realised scene of the windmill generators in the beginning of snow fall. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    There's some aliasing, but is quite minor, and generally unnoticeable. There is no moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are the two sets of subtitles to which we are accustomed, both in English, with the first providing a translation of signs and songs, 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 no layer change, and that's good; we don't lose anything, either, because that one layer easily holds the three episodes and the few 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. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear enough, too. This time around I noticed some misalignment of animated mouth movements and voices on both the English and Japanese soundtracks, but these are few and minor.

    The score is provided by Kô Ôtani (credited as Kou Ootani). The music is one of the attractions of the show, even though there are plenty of scenes without any music.

    These are pure 2.0 stereo soundtracks, with good stereo imaging, but nothing more. 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 not a lot of 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.

Promotional Trailer (3:19)

    This is a long trailer, perhaps intended to persuade people to watch the series. There's no easy way to tell, because it is in Japanese without translation.

New Program Commercial (0:16)

    This is a brief commercial in Japanese for this program starting on Japanese TV.

Art Gallery

    Forty pages of sketches of characters and things from these episodes.

Episode Previews (0:56)

    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 (and a chime) at the start of each one.

DVD Credits

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

Trailers: Madman Propaganda

    Five 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's an insert tucked into the R1 box which sounds nice, but that's a small difference. The front cover artwork is the same, and the inside of the slick is the same, too.

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

    I think you could be equally happy with either version of this disc.

Summary

    The second last of a beautiful, gentle, affecting anime series.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are pleasant, despite being relatively few.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, February 22, 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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