Haibane Renmei Episodes 7-9 Notes

May 27th, 2014.

So, “Day of Flight”, eh? And those who remain didn’t get their Day, including the elders. Last episode also ended with Reki saying she’s always left behind. Let’s see where they take it.

(Screenshot album for episodes 7-9.)

Episode 7:

Haibane Renmei episode 7 anime notes - The grieving Rakka is told to let go

“If you cry, Kuu wouldn’t be able to go with a clear mind.” – The sort of semi guilt-tripping someone to not be sad when someone dies.

“Don’t worry, we’ll meet with her again, she just went ahead of us!” – Well, in this world, it’s not really death, but they don’t know whether they’ll meet again. You could easily see how this is the same sort of logic often used when talking to the grieving, especially children, as they deal with someone’s death.

“Not white, not black, but a beautiful shade of grey.” – And now there’s a black splotch on the feather.

Maintaining the room of the departed person, also a classic example of someone grieving. But again, here, they did not die, they went “somewhere else”, and for all they know, they truly might be watching over them.

Makes you wonder, if one of the reasons the Haibane work is so their minds wouldn’t dwell on their precarious existence, and so they could gain more experiences in the world. And yes, the “Haibane” are but a metaphor for the existence of humans, a memento mori for us viewers.

Cutting the wings, so one would not be able to fly away. Cutting one’s wings, to limit one’s potential. Cutting one’s wings, to hide the truth, rather than face it, and to understand what is going on, and look for a solution. Cutting.

Hm. “Sin-bound”, and then we see a crow. Is it as a bearer of bad tidings, or where you go when all your feathers turn black? It’s a dye, that Reki used, meaning it’s not a medicine, but only hides the truth from others? This might also explain why Reki is so obsessed with her nightmare – she can’t remember her cocoon dream, but neither can she truly abandon it.

“This city is here to protect us, until we can break free, but to some it’s a cage, for they will never be let out.” – So, an egg, a warm embrace, but if you can never be free, then you get choked. And those who can get free, should they lose faith in it, and dwell on their place of dwelling, then they can end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy, of being contained, of being caged.

And everyone feared Reki, for being different. It’s a city of lepers, so to speak, but even amongst them, there are those who are more leprous, and who appear to be as such, with black splotches.

“I ran away from Old Home, and kept repeating the same mistakes at the new place I ran away to.” – Because you can’t escape yourself. The Haibane who go somewhere on the Day of Flight are still themselves, or perhaps they leave because they’ve changed, and are no longer fit for the old place, our world. But until you change, the place doesn’t matter. You carry your burden with you.

But what then of the Haibane? Do they carry a burden from where they had come from before becoming Haibane? And if they don’t know of their burden, is it still a burden? Hm.

Reki has a tough goal, of trying to remember a dream she no longer can. We all know how hard it can be.

Rakka, talking to Reki, is reminded others have problems too, and that it’s not only her that doesn’t understand this world, where a lot more than she realized is going on underneath the surface.

“What are the Haibane?” – A good place to end an episode, any episode. We’re truly on the road to discovery now. Not discovery of what the Haibane are, but what it means to Rakka to be a Haibane, what she thinks of her existence, and that of her friends.

Small Summary:

This episode dealt with the issue of grieving, of being left behind. To say it’s a not very subtle metaphor for grieving humans would be an understatement, but I don’t think it’s trying to hide it either. It also discusses how we can run away from facing reality, but in the end reality doesn’t only catch up, but it shows us that we never truly escaped it, because we carry it with ourselves.

This episode presented to Rakka her question of her place in the world again, a question about her present, and thus her future. We learn more of Reki’s past, but also of her future, a future of being left behind by everyone else, a future of trying to recall the painful past, of an endless nightmare, even as she tries to emulate her predecessor, her mother-figure, and help others leave, leave her behind.

Episode 8:

Haibane Renmei episode 8 anime notes - Rakka wants to disappear

A gathering for the departed. Rakka’s vision swam, lack of food?

Taking mementos of Kuu, making her leaving a part of their lives, incorporating her within them, but also making it so they won’t forget her. Rakka’s sad eyes as she deals with the community-groups.

“The walls’ powers weaken during winter, and so we are more susceptible to the evil effects.” – You might think it’s true, and that the outside world can indeed “corrupt” the Haibane. I don’t think this is the case. Superstitions often have some relation to behaviour you want to induce in people. In this case, winter is tied to depression, and depression is tied to the black wings.

“Everyone says the town and the walls are for us, but we appear and disappear suddenly.” – Some might say all humans are, and yet the rest of the humans, and society, are there to support them. Or, if you believe, that the planet and the whole universe had been created just to support our very limited existence.

“What’s the meaning of my existence?” – “What are humans/Haibane” seems like a separate question, but it’s often the same question – “What am I here for?”

Suddenly, with the kids, and knowing some of Reki’s past, I wonder, can the Haibane bring forth children? With humans? With other Haibane?

“No matter what, I’ll be by your side.” – This seems like an innocuous message, but it’s actually possible because Reki knows, or at least believes, that as Sin-Bound, she will never move on herself.

“A little Haibane! So cute!” – You’re the one acting like a little child, treating Rakka like some sort of an amusement show in a circus.

The shame and sorrow make her vision swim, and the more they do, the deeper she sinks. A nasty cycle, that.

“I don’t belong anywhere” – well, Reki is like you are :|

The bell tolls, home, where she doesn’t belong, so should she walk into the darkened forest, of which she had been warned, where her friend had been taken from her? But she doesn’t belong, so will she turn back, or walk forward – not bravely, but filled with trepidation, but even so?

Falling, and a crow trying to save her. Wow. If this is some sort of time-loop, it’d make perfect sense, or a loop between realities. I suspect it’s not, but is a way for her to recall the Cocoon Dream, but still, it works so well, it’s almost too neat.

Yeah, the tune here really reminds me of Alicia’s song from Mai-HiME. “So you’ve taken the form of a bird now, have you? I feel I used to know you before.” – The crow is her heart, it tried to pull her back, did it signify someone she had left in her old life, who didn’t want to let go? And now it’s dead, having come to where she did – the caring, or perhaps like her, the caring itself had pulled them to their demise?

And the little soliloquy of Rakka says more or less the same, of how she wanted to disappear, but someone was there to remind her she’s not alone. See, just like she is now, which pushes that Haibane are here to learn something new, and Reki is her new crow, complete with black wings, but will Rakka learn?

Mini-summary:

So, last episode was grieving, this episode was depression, feeling out of sorts, out of place. That “swimming vision”? Aside from a manifestation of depression, could also be seen as feeling as if you’re not aligned with the world.

And then picking up symbolism of old friends, of others being for you, when you hit rock bottom, quite literally.

Episode 9:

Haibane Renmei episode 9 anime notes - The Circle of Sin -

“It felt like someone was protecting me in my dream.” – Like Reki, Rakka’s memory had been scary, but whereas Reki had to fend for herself and the loneliness within the dream came crushing down on her, Rakka had someone attempt to protect her.

A Haibane Renmei comes across Rakka, makes you wonder why he came to this well in the middle of the Western Woods. Regardless, vow of silence, so he can’t speak to Rakka. Like the crows that had led her there, I’m sure he’ll lead her friends, without speaking, to this well.

Rakka wants out. After reaching the lowest point, she’s reminded she’s not yet done here.

An old bucket and light. It may not save her, but it will restore her spirits. An old leaking bucket, from which light is leaking.

To go to the world, Rakka must abandon her newfound (dead) friend, trading a reminder she hadn’t been alone in her old world, to one where she is not alone in her new one.

Having rescued Rakka, the Haibane Renmei simply leave. I wonder, when the girls had capes/coats, you could clearlysee their wings underneath, doesn’t seem the case here. Could just be that the clothes are better made, or there could be more to it.

Stumbling alone in a dark forest, thinking we see the way out. A metaphor for our lives?

Rakka makes it to The Wall, where she hears the sound of a child laughing. Creepy? Ominous.

“I’m fine!” – You think she’d stay next to the walls, alone, in the middle of the night? What is some pain in exchange for being in the presence of another, and in the presence of light?

Oh, those who rescued Rakka had been Togga. Why are they inside the walls? I thought they only came to trade through the gates.

“Only those whom the walls had recognized as being ready to live outside, may go beyond the walls.” – If we look at it as an elder comforting a grieving child, it could be the old “They went to live in the sky, because God called them there,” but if not, then I wonder. Is it that the Toga are all ex-Haibane, and they don’t wish to impact the growth of the current Haibane, or humans from outside with the same fear? Hm.

“That bird had given you what it should, and now you know what you should.” – The bird had given her knowledge, is it that she hadn’t been alone in her past self? Is the knowledge that she lived before? Or just the one who had brought her here at all? I think it’s knowledge she wasn’t alone, and she isn’t alone now either.

And then Rakka answers it. That she didn’t even make an effort to realize someone cared for her. Here is an interesting question, which seems callous, by the Speaker – “Why do you grieve so much for someone you cannot even remember?” – First, she grieves because she cannot remember. She grieves for someone sacrificing themselves for her sake, and she grieves she couldn’t thank them, or feel sad for them, that she had completely forgotten. That is the true cause of her sorrow.

Her sorrow for Kuu was due to being unable to forget, and her sorrow for the crow for being unable to remember. Grieving for those who are lost, and her chief among them.

“Your wings are proof you have no sin to atone for in this world.” – Reki said the sin-bound can never fly through – is that their atonement, or proof they fail to atone? Rakka was born with sin-free wings, but then they darkened. Is it for repeating the mistakes of the past, of falling into that dark hole? “Am I a sinner?” – That question is akin to “Who am I? What am I here for?”

“One who recognizes their sin, has no sin.” – Thus the sin-bound, is the lack of ability to remember their dream a result of the sin, or its origin? See, to me it seems they all must atone here, but the atonement is the reflection. The question is if that’s even possible. Sometimes through no fault of their own.

Rakka’s head hurts, “The Riddle of Sin” indeed – Either she recognizes herself as a sinner, and thus has no sin, or she doesn’t recognize herself as a sinner, and is a sinner. It means that one must always consider themselves a sinner, and must always reflect upon it. It’s almost Catholic.

Hm, so she must find a way out? The Speaker may have given her a hint – “Losing sight of where the sin lies.” – Should she realize the sin is in her past, and put it behind her, or realize it’s in the self, and not blame others?

I wonder if we’ll be given an answer, even if it won’t be “The Answer”, which might be the answer itself – to be able to stop thinking in terms of said question, and decide.

“Did you by chance touch the Walls?” – “Yup” – And that mortified look on Reki’s face, alongside with the more suspenseful and driven music.

Ok, I’m pretty sure Reki had touched the walls, and thus her knowledge of the fever. Nemu knows Reki, and thus knows.

“I don’t want to disappear” – The banishment of the old sin, where she had wanted to disappear. Being reminded she’s not alone, and never had been.

Hikari is asking Reki to share the burden, because Reki is all about being alone. It’s easy to tell what Reki’s cross to bear is. Reki had appeared sad earlier when she had said “Rakka, you no longer” – no longer are like Reki? Leaving her “alone”? Then again, it could’ve been relief.

“There’s no need to be depressed, I should be glad. Rakka isn’t Sin-Bound any longer.” Said with her eyes on the verge of tears. Yeah, she’s lonely. And Reki? Instead of sharing her feelings with her friends, there’s only a smoking statue for her to speak with – or so she acts, and thus her sin.

Mini-Summary:

Rakka had come to terms with departures. Rakka had come to terms with herself. No, she doesn’t know more of the world, but she knows all she truly needs to know of her place in it, and that place is “Not alone”, with others who care for her. Her realization just paints Reki’s situation in a starker contrast – Reki keeps speaking how she’s alone, yet we see everyone telling her she is not.

Reki focuses on how everyone leaves her, rather than focus on the time they spent together, or all the new Haibane she gets to meet.

The “Circle of Sin” hadn’t been solved, but I think that’s the solution itself, to this specific riddle.

Episodes 7-9 Summary:

Haibane Renmei episode 7 anime notes - The ominous crow

We’ve dealt with sin and atonement, we’ve dealt with grief. Yes, episode 6 had been the loss, but the episodes afterwards show us those who are left behind, and how they manage to pass through the dark woods of their sorrow, or how they get lost within them. We can also see those who appear to have moved on, yet the darkness resides within them, acting as a buffer that will not let others come near.

This isn’t just about the Haibane that we meet, for they had all left another place before, and those whom they had left behind had felt the very same thing. The Haibane must feel what others have, they must reflect and be united with their past, in order to move on.

It still feels to me as if this isn’t Rakka’s story, as much as it is Reki’s. Rakka’s story, inasmuch as it is “hers”, is how the Haibane are an allegory to all of us.

Return to the Haibane Renmei Episodic Notes page.

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