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

Haibane-Renmei: Episode 5 Commentary

Library. Abandoned Factory. The Beginning of the World.

Rakka has reached a point where she is both curious about what lies outside the town walls and where she is content with the life before her in Old Home and in town. Sumika is an example of finding joy, and ones life, ones future, within the walled community.

Nemu tallies books in the library.

If Nemu has to push a cart full of books up from one floor to another, and is working overtime a lot, it’s no wonder she’s always tired. As Kana says, she gets her work done, and that’s what really matters. On top of that, the library’s image has improved since Nemu started working there, so she’s undoubtedly had nothing but a positive influence on the establishment. I can’t imagine Kana and Hikari being able to say the same (although Hikari did design the donuts). Still, one doesn’t have to make such grand changes to have a meaningful impact.

A page about the haibane from Nemu's storybook.

By placing the haibane within the walls of the story, Rakka is viewing her new home as her place to be. She may wonder about her parents, if they’re still around, outside those high walls, but she is also accepting her place. She wonders if her wings becoming a complete part of her will be the last step, if it will mean she’s no longer connected to the outside world, to lost memories of her past.

Old Home is female haibane only, save for the Young Feathers. Old Factory is co-ed. Are there any other places? Any with male Haibane only? And just what is the nature of these places where the haibane nest? Why was Old Home abandoned? What was the purpose for such a large lodging? What about Old Factory? Could it be a coal-run factory which was obsoleted when electricity began to be used, and power lines running from the windmill to through town?

Hyohko holds his hat down.

A hat is worn over Hyohko’s halo. His wings are kept hidden. Is he unsatisfied with his life as a haibane? Does he yearn to be human, to be as free as he perceives the humans of town to be, compared with his own protected life?

After her past with Hyohko, Reki probably has things in her past she’d like to move away from. The town walls don’t allow her to completely get away from anyone. At the same time, it’s because she’s kept in that she’s able to help raise the Young Feathers. As Rakka says, the community helps one another, depends on one another. And the town walls, they ensure the community stays together.

At one point, Rakka couldn’t remember who or what was with her in her dream. By now, she recalls being protected by something. She had had another dream about the bird (until Kana woke her from it), so she may continue to dream similar dreams. Do all the haibane have ongoing dreams, related from one dream to the next? For Reki, it’s the same dream each time, and probably a very vivid one.

Kuu feeds a sugar cube to a cat.

Everyone’s work has been seen except for Kuu’s. She continues to be a joyful character, playing around and having fun at any given time. The sugar cubes she’s given she shares with a cat, not unlike her words to Rakka about befriending the crows. It’ll be nice to see what work she does. Is her work for the man who gave her the sugar cubes, or does she simply help him out sometimes, and get the cubes as thanks (this being the impression I got from how Kuu spoke of things in the prior episode)?

When the house mother at Old Home commented on how Reki didn’t run away, I didn’t expect more information about her running away to be revealed so soon. There’s still unknowns around specifically why she ran away, and what happened when she did. Does Hyohko blame Reki for his being unable to visit Old Home? Was it Reki’s idea for the two of them to run away together? Why are they still banned from on anothers’ homes at their current ages? How long ago did they run away together?

5 Responses to “Haibane-Renmei: Episode 5 Commentary”

  1. Author Says:

    Regarding Rakka’s dream, the important thing is that she remembered her dream right away, so she’s safe from that direction. We actually saw the whole of it, or the most important parts, in the intro.

    [dang I’m aching to spoil thins now]

    It’s never explained exactly how Hyoko managed to get into Guille. I have no idea why he attempts to pass for a human. It may be a personality trait… If you find clues (like when you identified Reki’s tendency to run away), it would be interesting.

    Indeed, a male-only nest would make sense if ABe were an engineer. But there isn’t one. Maybe ABe thinks that fewer boys deserve the second chance, you know?

    Kuu works in a cafe, as a waiter I presume. Busses dishes, and such. Maybe washes plates too.

    Why are [Reki and Hyoko] kept separated? I think it’s to prevent a reoccurence of some misbehaviour. Notice that they still can meet in the downtown if they want.

    This comment has had spoilers hidden. View this page’s source to view them. ~~Management

  2. Michael Brazier Says:

    It doesn’t appear in the series, but the director has said that there’s at least one other haibane nest besides Old Home and the Factory.

    The original “The Beginning of the World” (as opposed to Nemu’s version) is almost certainly the first chapter of Genesis.

    By the way, have you wondered why Kuu started wearing a hat?

  3. Chris Says:

    The possibility of a third nest makes me want to gather every screenshot and drawing of the area inside the wall and look for potential nests. I’ve gotta’ make sure I don’t do that now =P

    Kuu wearing a hat isn’t something that had occured to me, actually. My thoughts would be along the lines of 1) she bought it during the last winter, and simply likes wearing it; 2) supposing the haibane have past lives as humans, she could have lived somewhere like Alaska and wearing a hat is simply natural to her.

    Hyohko seems one to keep an eye on.

  4. Michael Brazier Says:

    Author, we got to see all of Rakka’s cocoon dream, but as of this episode Rakka only remembers the last part of it, the falling out of the cloud. The part with the crow hasn’t come back to her yet.

    Chris, you can get some big hints to the cosmology of Glie from the bits in Nemu’s “Beginning of the World” that aren’t from Genesis 1. I was particularly taken by her placing the town between the heavens and the earth …

  5. Author Says:

    Kuu’s wings aren’t hidden, so it’s a different kind of hat, I think.