I wanted to LOVE this anime. I had huge hopes for it, having come across it in so many "top anime" lists written by people that weren't 14 year old boys (or those with the same mentality). I watched the first two episodes and was completely taken in by the atmosphere, the gorgeous animation that created the perfect ambiance; the process of Rakka's "birth" and transformation, the mystique surrounding the wall and the outside world. There was an exciting yet mellow sense of nostalgia with a touch of darkness and mystery. And that was pretty much it. There was hardly any plot, hardly any character development, and the moralizing was pretty run-of-the-mill "be good and you will become enlightened". I stopped caring pretty quickly. What a waste of such gorgeousness! I really thought this was going to be like a warm and fuzzy yet captivating anime blanket that I could hide in, when I tired of boy wizards and over-wrought sci-fi, or male-centered, fan servicing high school dramas. But this was majorly disappointing to me. Perhaps I brought my film-snob attitude with me to the world of anime, as the last great hope--that you can have action/adventure or sci-fi and fantasy that are beautiful, well made and actually thought provoking. Having plowed through almost every critically acclaimed film I could find from around the world, I found anime and thought, wow! Character development? Engaging stories? Social satire? Different cultural philosophies? Sign me up! And while I've found some that delivered, I've started to become a bit disappointed. I was waiting to watch Haibane Renmei for a while, as if holding out for the right time to savor this mysterious realm, all to myself. But it never quite delivers what I'm looking for. And I'm not saying I think there is something wrong in enjoying this anime; it just didn't hold my interest, didn't engage me, and I eventually stopped caring about the characters, as the air of foreboding mystery sort of dissipated altogether. Oh well, back to the internets to find something else.