This is a episode commentary. It is intended for someone who has seen this episode, and will contain episode spoilers.

Haibane-Renmei: Episode 4 Commentary

Trash Day. Clock Tower. Birds Flying Over the Walls

Having watched the third episode in Japanese now, I’m getting used to the Japanese voices. I like both the English and Japanese voices, but I prefer the English voices. If I started out watching the first episode in Japanese before English, would I prefer the Japanese voices? I think I find Rakka’s English voice to be a little more fitting to her character than her Japanese voice.

I like that the focus on this episode wasn’t on Kana’s job. Instead, Kana was explored as a person. Her dreams were shown, her plans. Rakka learned more about what kind of person Kana is, and so does the viewer alongside her.

Kana grabs Rakka by the halo.

The halos are interesting. In the prior episode, Rakka is seen leaning forward as she washes her halo. This episode, Kana grabs Rakka up from bed by the halo. What makes the halo become a part of a haibane? Can it ever be removed? What is its purpose? Does it keep the haibane from remembering the memories of their previous life? Rakka remarks on how she can remember what’s and how’s, but cannot remember who’s and where’s. She recalls singing, but not any songs. Could her halo be intended to suppress these memories, but Hikari’s misusing the ring mold lead to a malfunctioning halo? A malfunctioning halo could produce static, right? But Rakka’s never seen getting shocked when touching anything. If the halo is used as a memory depressant, would the council have any way of knowing when one wasn’t functioning properly? Maybe I look into things too deeply.

Rakka at Kana's workplace.

A point raised is the way the people of town care for the haibane, and why the haibane work. It’s obvious enough that one has to work to earn money so one can buy what they need to survive, but why specifically is it the haibane must work? Kana’s thoughts sound fairly reasonable, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were way off. Keeping the haibane busy may keep them from other things, such as thinking about who they once were, and what may be beyond the town walls. Then again, the humans are not bound by as many rules as the haibane, and they may not leave the city walls, either.

Kana protects the trash.

Considering I thought the same as Rakka about leaving out food for the crows, I’m very satisfied with Kana’s reasons for not feeding them. Although she doesn’t say so outright, and would never admit to it, it seems as if Kana may admire the crows. They can get by on their own. They don’t need to be given everything. The haibane are essentially given things (which is where Kana’s idea of the purpose behind working comes into play). The crows are able to leave the town walls, and return if they should so choose, and even leave again. The haibane are told they cannot return if they leave those town walls. Beyond those town walls is uncertainty, and no turning back. There could be a town on the other side. There could be forest as far as the bird’s eye can see on the other side. Who would risk everything they have in Old Home for that?

Clock shop owner.

The clock shop owner tells Rakka he’s afraid Kana will up and fly away one day. As he says, she has a lot of potential. He wouldn’t have bothered with providing her with tools to fix the clock back at her place if he didn’t believe she’d be able to get anywhere with it. And what if Kana is able to get the clock working on electricity? What if she’s able to get more lights working throughout the home, lighting up all the dark areas? Where might she go from here?

There was a comment from Reki in the prior episode, after she had fallen from her bed. She joked to Rakka about how her own wings were useless. Likewise, Rakka tells the shop owner about how the wings don’t really do anything. What is the point of the wings, other than to distinguish the haibane from the humans? Why not just plop a halo over the head of everyone born from a cocoon and say, “that’s a haibane”? Well, with the exception of haibane meaning charcoal feather; they’d need a new name.

A crow in Rakka's dream.

I foresee the crow from Rakka’s dream symbolizing freedom. If what Kuu believes is true, and a haibane can fly, then Rakka is going to be the one to do it. She isn’t ready for it yet, but she can be by the end of the series.

Thinking of flight, I look back at the seed falling through the air in the opening scene. Is this how a cocoon actually begins? As a seed falling through the air, always landing where the haibane live? And at what point does a haibane take residency within a cocoon? If the cocoon is at its core a plant rooted into the ground, then could the council have underground passages where they put a new haibane into a cocoon from below? Maybe this is one where I’d better just sit back and see what happens, assuming these things will even be given an explanation.

Freeze-ups while watching this episode: once with VideoLAN Client, once with Xine. DVD encryption can be tough stuff sometimes.

2 Responses to “Haibane-Renmei: Episode 4 Commentary”

  1. Author Says:

    Humans in Glie are born normally. You are going to see the evidence of that right in the next episode, if I’m not mistaken. For some reason, I never doubted this assumption…

    Indeed it’s interesting to know how a haibane develops inside a cocoon. Occam’s razor suggests that a gestation process of some sort should occur.

  2. Chris Says:

    If I look at things through an Ockham-colored lens, I’d probably get a lot less excitement out of theorizing things, and yet I’d probably be a lot closer to the truth =P