Haibane Renmei is an anime series that completely took me by surprise, and which I’ve fallen completely in love with. I hope to write a full-length review sometime in the near future, but suffice to say, Yoshitoshi ABe’s gently poignant, reflective fantasy series is a true delight, and should really be seen by anyone seeking an anime series with spiritual depth and substance. Appropriately, Kô Ôtani’s soundtrack is delightfully restrained, consisting primarily of haunting piano ballads and gorgeous string arrangements.
Some songs, such as the lovely opening theme “Free Bird,” have a slightly Celtic air to them, whereas others have a more baroque feel to them — which is note-perfect considering the series’ pastoral, European village setting. Meanwhile, other tracks, such as “Blight” and especially “Fading” have a more pensive and even eerie feel to them. Which is also appropriate given that the series’ darker, more mysterious undertones eventually surface and take hold during its final act, setting up a very rewarding conclusion.
The soundtrack deviates from its established sound twice. Once for the lowkey jazz ballad “Love Will Light The Way” (which isn’t as cloying as its title might imply) and once for the slightly J-pop-ish “Blue Flow,” which plays over the series’ ending credits. However, the music remains subtle and understated even then, doing a fine job of drawing the listener into its unique little world — just like the series itself.