Haibane Renmei Episodes 4-6 Notes

May 24th, 2014.

(Screenshot album of episodes 4-6.)

So we have some of the world set up, but now, what do we do with it? What are we here for? Let’s see.

Episode 4:

Haibane Renmei episode 4 anime notes - Legend of the crows

Pulled by one’s halo! Reminds me of “The Noose” by A Perfect Circle, hue.

The Haibane get to live off of the humans’ trash, so you’d think they’d be more understanding of the crows, who wish to live off of their trash. In nature, there’s always someone looking to use up your leavings.

“What will you do if the crows become dependent and can’t live outside this town? You’ll spoil them.” – Can’t the same be said of the Haibane? They too have wings, but are like birds in a cage, fed to be kept pacified.

Kana, quick to act.

In Hebrew we have a saying, “The sandal-maker goes barefoot” – someone with a proficiency that doesn’t use it on himself. “Who will buy a clock from an unpunctual clockmaker?” – I would, if the clock is punctual :P But yeah, you get the notion. Kana seems to be an easy go lucky sort of girl, but driven once she picks something to do. Quite spirited. Rakka seems not entirely into anything yet, or her existence – it’s almost as if she’d been shipwrecked or thrown into prison and told to work for life – that’s sort of what we all go through, but we have years as kids to prepare us for it.

“This town is protective of us, it’s like being treated by children.” – A continuation of the talk of crows, and how she’d feel sorry for them if they got used to the easy life, rather than the freedom of being able to leave the town. Kana is a free-spirit, and she wishes out of the ghetto.

“We work, to maintain our freedom – so we get what we deserve, rather than being given anything.”

Kana is used to giving and taking light-hearted ribbing from the clockmaster, but now Rakka took her words at face value, and rather than invigorate her, they doused her fire. Kana isn’t as used to dealing with people unlike her.

So you can leave the town, perhaps, but to do so is to enter a new life, it’s akin to dying and being thrown into a new world. Sort of like becoming a Haibane, then?

“Don’t look down, look far ahead, and then there’d be nothing to fear.” – The idea you can accomplish the impossible, if no one tells you it’s impossible to begin with.

Also, the birds can go outside. Rakka’s heart is a crow, perhaps all the Haibane’s? Their heart can go outside, their heart longs to be free. Or perhaps, their free heart longs to settle down for what is easy, but they should resist that urge. Even if their bodies are locked within this town, their hearts can still soar outside.

The crows are said to carry lost items, “items” such as the Haibane?

Rakka didn’t truly get to see how one works with the watches, she only got to do cleaning. Yes, as an understudy, it’s some time till you get to do real work, but she didn’t even get to watch.

Mini-summary: This episode had been about freedom. About striving to be a part of the world, yet not let the world curtail you, and capture you within its grasp. Working is becoming part of the world, it’s letting it trap you – and yet, the motivation is so you won’t owe anyone anything, and thus, even as you toil and aren’t free to go where you please, you’d still be a free person at heart.

Also, the crows. The crows are important. They are the Haibane’s heart, and their rivals. They are their siblings.

Episode 5:

Haibane Renmei episode 5 anime notes - Sumika the Librarian

It’s actually pretty weird, when you think about it. A library with thousands of books, but not one of them describes the outside world? Also, how can a book not describe the outside world? If it’s not a fairy tale, then novels usually carry what the author thinks is normal and regular. Well, they do have a society in this town, so assuming society works the same, it wouldn’t really matter – they lack knowledge of features of the world, and names without context are almost meaningless, though one could work hard to chart a map of sorts, even if much of it will be missing.

Also, now that I think of it, do we know there’s actually an outside world? All the books the toga bring are old. Is it possible all the things originate from the town, from long ago? Is there even an outside world or are they brought from elsewhere? Man. I can’t help but think of the setting, especially with the Toga, as a post-apocalyptic setting, with this the last vestige of civilization, like the mythical city of elves in a world ruled by beastmen.

“A dream is beautiful because it remains a dream.” – To always have something to aim for. But it’s not necessary – no, not to have something to strive for, but to think you’ll ever run out. You can achieve your dream, and then a new one will replace it, often without fail. Though I guess that’s an important bit of “vengeance isn’t a good goal to have,” because if you achieve it, you end up empty.

So, she decided her current life is more fulfilling than her dream could ever be, doesn’t it mean that her current life is her actual dream?

An ancient book on a slab of rock, almost makes one think of The Ten Commandments.

Look! Young adult Haibane! And here we have Haibane unaffiliated with Old Home, seeming like some sort of street gang, hm.

Oh, so there are multiple nests, and some are “coed”, but, does it mean only girls hatch in Old Home? But we see male children, don’t we? Hm.

Ah, so after they ran away, they are prohibited from going into one another’s districts – that’s why Nemu was worried, she thought Reki will cross over”. Haibane are about the lost and discarded items, you’d think running away would make sense, as they are discarded from society – and yet in a society of gatherers, nothing is allowed to be tossed out, not even, and perhaps especially not the “outcasts”. They are the dream, cherished because they are always outside.

“Everyone is living on their own, yet their existences are mutually supportive in ways that aren’t readily visible. It’s only natural, but I only realized it when I cam here.” – That’s how society works, and how economy works. Everyone works to support themselves, and it allows others to exist, and for what is required to go around.

Reki keeps dreaming of the dream she had when she entered the world. Reki can’t leave her past. Nemu dreams of new memories formed within this world, in this existence. Rakka’s dream is about her trying to find her place, for she is still within existences, still in transition.

Writing a book is like creating a world. Creating a world is like giving birth. It’s a communal effort.

“God created beings in his shape, but they were too similar, so they were deemed failures.” – Interesting! One’s creations should be different, and a form of their own – does this mean that while stories, and children, should be similar to their progenitor, they should not be too similar?

Mini-Summary: Well, not really a summary. So, Rakka goes around with each girl to see where they work, and thus we learn of the world, of the other characters, and of Rakka. We’re learning and moving around, rather than establishing a continuing storyline, a plot – which we could do. But I’m not sure this is what this show is interested in doing.

Right now we learn how everything’s connected, and we mostly deal with themes – themes of togetherness, of our place in the world, of what the world is like, of being born (and with the woman ready to give birth, and the God who had birthed the world it’s especially relevant this episode again), of wanting to be free – but also wanting to be shackled by love and support.

If there is one character we keep building and learning more of as each episode goes along, it’s not Rakka, who is mostly exclaiming at the world, but Reki, whose background is slowly revealed.

Episode 6:

Haibane Renmei episode 6 anime notes - The day of flight

“End of Summer, Rain, Loss.” – Spring and summer, a time for chicks to hatch, and spread their wings. Then winter comes, and they must be ready to succeed on their own.

Hand me downs usually go from the adults to the kids. Yes, Kuu is Rakka’s upperclassman, but she is smaller than she is. I guess when all your clothes are second-hand, you can’t really do much about sizes.

“Everyone here gets a cold in their first year.” – Right, they can grow up, and have fevers, and get sick. They’re mortals.

“It’s so comfortable here that I’ll grow lazy.” – Given the episode title, that’s like a death flag. But it also says, “Comfort doesn’t make us want to change, hardship does.” – But does Rakka wish to change? Does Rakka even know who she is, for her to change, or will it all just be learning who she already is? Hm.

“The rooms are all so dirty I can’t tell if they’re good or not.” – Meaning you need to clean them either way, right? May as well get started, you might be done in a year’s time! You did say you didn’t want to get overly comfortable, after all.

Kuu’s halo almost winking out of existence, seeing it several times in slow-motion. They sure are drawing our attention here.

That’s so Kana – “I feared it wouldn’t ring, but it rang more than necessary, so I think of it as a great success!”

I wonder who turned Rakka’s birth-room into a nice room with furniture and all. Was it Kuu, or did they use the opportunity of having cleaned the room already? Yup, does make sense – a room one’s connected to and which had been cleaned. Is this perhaps some goal, of there being enough Haibane until the whole place will be inhabited? Is there some plan, with someone consciously pulling the strings? Doesn’t feel that way, personally.

Kuu speaking of the cup in her mind as rain is about to fall, quite ominously. The cup is speaking of experiences, and Rakka helped her fill her experiences. Is this purgatory? Kana too, had spoken of Kuu “accepting herself as she is”, and if it’s purgatory, then perhaps that is the goal. On another front, it reminds me of Israeli Literature Nobel Prize Winner Shai Agnon, who wrote a story called “Tehila” – in it, we all have a set amount of words, and when we speak them all, we die. So if we all have a predetermined amount of experiences to experience, perhaps it’s Kuu’s time.

I wonder why Rakka is unable or unwilling to share what she saw and heard of Kuu with the others.

Reki has a point, such weather makes us think something bad will happen, and if Kuu thinks that way, then she will raise her own death-flags, but hey, we saw the episode title, and it’s a narrative. Besides, if we think we’re going to fall, or something terrible will happen to us, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Why are there walls around this city?” – Reki seemed surprised, is it because she never asked this herself, or due to being asked point blank?

“To protect us from everything we’re not supposed to know” – protect you from knowledge? Keep you shut, you mean. “Everything bad” – knowledge is bad? Will you break, learning the truth of the world, and perhaps the truth behind yourselves? I wonder, the Toga will not come near the people of the town, is this to not infect them, or to not be infected? I said in the first episode, but to me it feels less about protecting the people of the town from the world, and more about protecting the world from this town, and the Haibane.

A crow in the rain, not as a harbinger of doom, but as her heart, soaked in rain, here for her. A crow as a guide. When Noah was in his arc, it was a raven he sent out at first.

“The West Woods are where the walls are the strongest” – What does “Strongest” mean?

“When a Haibane’s day of Flight comes, they go outside the walls.” – Does that mean they fly outside? And who decides? Is it when they come to terms with their situation? When they gather enough experiences? Makes you wonder about the ancients in the Haibane Renmei Temple.

“If you go into the Woods without a point of reference, you’ll never come out again.” – What sort of woods arethese? It’s like a fairy tale. Well, the bell that rang in act 1 will be a lighthouse in the third act! Also, “A guiding hand”, hmmmm.

“Promise me to not go near the walls, no matter what.” – Spiritual power? Electrical fences? Definitely feels as if they’re imprisoned here, or kept like cherished lab rats.

As the bells tolled early, with Kuu’s deathflags, I wondered if they’d been bells to announce someone dying. Fits they echo now as they say farewell to their friend.

“In the end, everyone leaves me behind.” – Yup, this is Reki’s story, alright.

Episode 6 and 4-6 summary:

Haibane Renmei episode 6 anime notes - Reki is left behind

Hm. I feel episode 6 did a lot, to confuse us. A lot more questions are raised – not just about what the Haibane are here for, or who helps them, sent them here for, and takes them, but about the world they live in – what are the walls? Who built them? What is this town?

I didn’t expect us to lose someone. I mean, just as this episode started I spoke of how they’re “mortals” who just happen to have wings and halos, and perhaps a spiritual guide in the form of the crows, but this episode had once again reminded us that this might be purgatory, or purgatory in our world. And purgatory is about a waiting place.

These episodes and the series thus far – we’re learning of the world, and we’re learning a bit of the characters, but if it’s a character-driven show, then the character it all revolves around is the one who guides all the rest, who has the most knowledge, and who seems the most wrapped up in her loss, in her personality, and that is Reki. This is Reki’s tale, as Rakka slowly unearths it, as she slowly sees it for what it is, a tale of loss in a world where exist girls who had already lost it all, including their past – and it seems for Reki her existence is only there for her to form new bonds that could then be lost.

Themes of birth, rebirth, acceptance and loss.

Return to the Haibane Renmei Episodic Notes page.

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