Thursday, February 18 2010

Haibane Renmei - Review

Haibane Renmei

A girl named Rakka suddenly wakes up in a place totally unknown to her. She doesn't remember much of her life prior to the moment she hatched from a large cocoon-like thing. Overnight, Rakka sprouts a pair of wings from her back, a most painful process, during which a woman named Reki tends to her. While Rakka recovers, Reki explains a bit about the place she is in. She is in a large manor named Old Home, which is close to a village called Glie. Reki explains that Rakka is one of the Haibane, who appear in this world from time to time and are permitted to live there by the villagers in exchange for them taking on a job that needs fulfilling in the village. As time progresses we learn more about the Haibane, as well as the world they live in. I won't say more about the plot to avoid serious spoilers, but suffice to say there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Rakka is at the centre of the story told in Haibane Renmei. We follow her from the moment she is born into this strange world, as she tries to figure out why she is there and what happened to her family.
Reki:The unofficial leader of Old Home, Reki is the one who found Rakka's cocoon and cared for her as she grew her wings. She is strong and reliable, both qualities which earned her great respect from her fellow Haibane.

Nemu:One of the eldest Haibane at Old Home. She is always calm and kind-hearted. She works at the library.
Kuu:The last Haibane to join the family at Old Home before Rakka. She is almost always cheerful and full of energy, and becomes close friends with Rakka soon after she arrives. She works in a cafe.
Hikari:The eldest Haibane at Old Home next to Nemu and Reki, she is always kind and helpful. She works in a bakery.
Kana:Probably the least cheerful of the Haibane, on the outside at least. She is good with tools and works with the town's clockmaker in the clock tower.
HyoukoHyouko:One of the Haibane who live away from Old Home, instead choosing to live in an abandoned factory.
Washii, The CommunicatorWashii:Also known as The Communicator, he is the head of the Haibane Renmei, a group of people who loosely govern the Haibane. He is the only one permitted to speak with the people outside the village walls.

I've not seen that much anime yet, but it's safe to say this is the best I've seen so far. Not only is the plot amazingly well constructed, it also has some of the best character development I've ever seen in any work of fiction.

Furthermore, it has a brilliant tension arc. It starts off very slow, which emphasises Rakka's confusion about the place she suddenly finds herself in. The first half dozen episodes or so focus purely on the other Haibane and what they do, as Rakka attempts to find a suitable job in the village. Then, slowly, the pace of the story begins to pick up as we learn more and more about the world she is in, until it finally culminates in one of the most intense finales I have ever seen.

Aside from the story and characters, I also love the visual style of this series. The artwork and the animation is not of supreme quality, but it has a very unique, somewhat surreal feel to it that fits perfectly with the story.

The voice acting on the other hand is of exquisite quality. I could not imagine the casting being better. I incidentally noticed that the seiyū who did the voice of Reki also did that of Konno Mitsune in Love Hina, which is something I would never have guessed judging from the voices of the two characters themselves.

My only complaint would be that it only consists of 13 episodes. Then again, I guess a writer takes as many episodes as needed, no more, no less.

Overall I would say it is a true masterpiece.

High, although I must admit I have not taken the time to watch it again myself.

Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 18:30 | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 705 words, total size 7 kb.

Monday, February 08 2010

My Computers

So I recently bought a new 1.5TB harddrive from Seagate. Installing it into my case was a five minute job, but I could not get it to work in Windows XP (haven't tried Windows 7) without using Windows setup to create a partition on it. If anyone knows a way to make such a partition without first having to use the Windows setup feature (I'm talking about the one you use when you want to install Windows) I would really like to know. Either way it's working fine now.

It did get me thinking though that maybe I should post my system specs, so here they are:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 @ 3.8 GHz
Cooling: Corsair H50 water cooling
Memory: 4 GB Corsair XMS2 800 MHz DDR2 (2x2 GB)
Graphics: ASUS nVIDIA 8800GTX
Motherboard: ASUS P5N32E-SLI Plus
Harddrives: Seagate 320 GB and 1.5 TB, Samsung 1 TB
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 600W
Case: CoolerMaster Stacker 832
DVD Writer: Lite-On LH-20A1P
DVD Reader: LG GDR-8164B

For peripherals I use:
Primary Monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 2494 24" 16:9 1920x1080
Secondary Monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 931BF 19" 5:4 1280x1024
Mouse: Razer Lachesis
Keyboard: some crappy Trust Slimline thing with ridiculous key placement, but it types lovely.
Speakers: Creative Gigaworks T20
Headphones: AKG K240 Mk II
Headset: Creative HS-1000
Printer/Scanner: Canon MP540

I bought this PC around two and a half years ago, though at the time it had an E6600 instead of the E8500, only the 320 GB harddrive and it lacked the water cooling. I also upgraded my memory from 2x1 GB to 2x2 GB, but I can't use the other 2 modules any more as it makes my system very unstable. I suspect one of the slots in the motherboard is broken, which means that will probably be the next thing I replace.

Manufacturer: XXODD
Model: XNi120t
Monitor: 12.1" 16:10 1280x800 touch screen (can rotate 180 degrees)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHz
Memory: 4GB 800 MHz DDR2 (2x2 GB)
Graphics: Intel GMA 4500MHD (integrated)
Harddrive: 500 GB 7200 rpm
Misc: 3.5G HSDPA/UMTS module, Dual Layer DVD writer, 7-in-1 card reader, 2.0 MP webcam

The only thing I dislike about the tablet PC/laptop is that the screen makes it very heavy (well over 2 kg). The touch screen is a lot of fun to use though, it is especially nice in GIMP (obviously) and in Firefox if you have an extension such as FireGestures installed. Handwriting recognition in Windows 7 is lovely as well, though it seems to have some trouble recognising numbers, especially the 9, 1 and 4; it usually turns them into g, l and u.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 10:27 | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 444 words, total size 4 kb.

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