Haibane Renmei Volume 3 : Free Bird

Image of DVD cover (58k jpg)

Released by: Madman Entertainment.
Region: Four.
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (anamorphic)
Disc 1:

Rakka completes her journey of discovery this volume working her way through why Kuu's disappearance has upset her so much. This links in with the crows that have shown much interest in Rakka since the series began and this leads to a moment where she remembers the entirity of her coccoon dream. That epiphany lets her remember she wasn't as alone as she thought she was in her last life and that someone was indeed both trying to help her as well as being hurt by her passing.

Whilst working through this she is also brought into contact with both the Wall that surrounds town, which we are warned by Reki can be dangerous, and the Communicator of the Haibane Renmei organisation. While we have seen him and briefly interacted with him earlier in the series it is here his role is expanded as he both aids Rakka but also manipulates the situation to get Reki to visit him one last time. Reki and he share some bad history that she hasn't forgiven him over so she doesn't take it well when he warns her that her time in Glie is drawing short. She must make herself ready to face the coming time of decision.

Gathering more speed the plot once again takes a shift in emphasis as it moves from dealing with Rakka to now begining to shift to Reki. As one of the oldest of the Haibane in town hints are made about her early days in the town where she did various things that several people can't forget or forgive. What this volume also makes clear is the care with which Glie is maintained to be preparing ground for the Haibane. The Haibane Renmei organisation exerts considerable influence in town and is trying to guide each Haibane in the way they need to be ready.

Of course not all Haibane welcome or want the help. There are also hints dropped that the Haibane Renmei organisation staff may well be Haibane themselves who failed the test when the Day of Flight came - hiding themelves behind masks and trying to ensure other Haibane don't meet the same fate.

It all adds up to a solid entry in the series that packs a fair bit into the three episodes contained within. Technically we get the same as the previous volumes with very little to complain about really. We are entering the home straight now with the momentum picking right up as we become aware how little time Reki has left. The more the series continues the more I have been enjoying it as the richness of it comes through. Incidental details featured in the background of the earlier episodes now are understood and recognised.

All in all it is shaping up to be one corker of a final volume as all this gets resolved.

Philip R. Banks
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