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

Haibane-Renmei: Episode 11 Commentary

Parting. Darkness in the Heart. Irreplaceable Thing

The look Reki gave when Dai joined Rakka for the trip to Old Factory says a lot. Dai tells Rakka he won’t miss Reki because he won’t be gone for very long, but Reki knows she’ll have left before his return.

Reki prepares to paint.

By “ending it”, Reki can mean only one of two things. Either she’ll paint her dream until she remembers it, and can break the curse upon her, or she’ll paint all her paintings black, leaving behind nothing as she leaves Old Home for good.

The communicator spoke of there being “not much time left for Reki”, and Reki’s dimming halo confirmed this for Rakka, as it echoed Rakka’s last visions of Kuu’s halo before Kuu’s day of flight. There’s no knowing how a halo becomes a part of a haibane, nor why its glow is lost and why it separates, coinciding with either a day of flight or the loss of ones wings. My guess is that only the sinbound do not find their day of flight, and eventually the black of the wings will kill the wings. Without the wings, the halo would lose its glow, and fall off. Be this how things are, however, it would be expected for Reki to experience pain in her wings, something which doesn’t happen.

Five years prior, Reki and Midori were friends. After Kuramori left, Reki ran away. Either Hyohko went with her, or he went looking for her. He touched the wall, and almost died as a result. Midori has never forgiven Reki for this, although Hyohko has. After all, it’s Reki who nursed him back to health.

Rakka speaks with the communicator about Reki.

The missing piece to the sinbound puzzle for me is why a haibane, having lost halo and wings, and thus no longer being a haibane, must live away from haibane and human alike. The communicator’s words suggested to me that he and the rest of the council may be ex-haibane (he has no halo, and the wings at his back are probably not really wings, but rather only for show).

During the communicator’s talk about a haibane losing their wings and halo, the view changes quickly to the top of the communicator’s head, then to his wings. If this isn’t pointing out the lack of halo and the falseness of the wings, then I don’t know what its purpose may be.

At the same time, the communicator seemed to suggest the ex-haibane would live alone, whereas the council are surrounded by one another.

Another curiosity is what is left of an ex-haibane’s back where the wings once were. A couple of scars, perhaps? Does the bone structure or nerves in that area show a past existence of wings, or is an ex-haibane indistinguishable from a human?

Petrified book of the haibane.

Within the library, Sumika explains the petrified book to Rakka as best she can. The letters are the same type as on the glowing stone within the wall. Sumika likens the markings to hands. What happens if Rakka places her hands on the markings in on the stone, matching them as best she can? Would something happen? Would she have to remove her gloves first? Or do these drawings match the language the communicator uses to speak with the toga, leaving a message written in stone for future generations? Why hasn’t this language been more widely preserved, so that more than the council and toga can read it? Why do the humans not have documentation on understanding these markings?

Rakka stares at markings within the wall.

Near the stone, water drops, and Kuu’s laughter returns, moving across the water. The communicator already instructed for Rakka not to fear what she hears within the wall. Is this another instance of Rakka’s thoughts being presented before her by the wall? Or does the wall actually give a connection between worlds? Can Kuu’s laughter be Kuu’s way of letting Rakka know she’s okay, and waiting?

At one point, Reki is about to get a cigarette, but instead sets the pack on the table, and she goes to see Nemu. It’s understandable for her to hold off until she’s seen Nemu, but Reki isn’t shown with a cigarette afterwards, as she goes in to paint. Has she reached a point where she doesn’t need to fall back on a cigarette, or will she go back to one after her painting is finished, perhaps on her way out?

Midori tells Rakka about Reki.

I’m just reminded of how both Hyohko and Midori tell Reki to stop smoking. Midori obviously doesn’t hold insurmountable ill will toward Reki, no matter what she may have said of Reki to Rakka. And yet, Midori’s the only one who can be keeping friendships apart, or at least should be. While Hyohko would certainly enjoy spending time with Reki, and Reki may see herself as being able to be with Hyohko and Midori, there’s one issue. As long as Reki believes Midori should harbor hatred toward her, Reki will not give Midori a chance to prove otherwise.

Rakka cries near the water.

There isn’t much time left for Reki. The communicator knows it. Rakka knows it. And perhaps unknown to Rakka, even Reki knows it. If Rakka wants to help Reki, she has to act fast, but what can she do? Where does she start? How is she supposed to know how to help Reki?

A festival, a birth, and a flight. Two episodes remaining.

2 Responses to “Haibane-Renmei: Episode 11 Commentary”

  1. Author Says:

    About pain in wings, I’m not so sure. Maybe they just grow numb like limbs become when gangrena happens.

    Hyoko left with Reki. If you remember, there was a flashback of them departing together on a scooter (or the scooter really).

    I thought Kuu’s supposed laughter was explained as something created by Rakka’s mind. It does not exist in the wall independently of Rakka. This brings up the whole question of the next stage, when a haibane succeeds in their second chance and can die in peace. The very existence of Glie in haibane universe suggests that the information encoding their souls does not just turn into a small amount of heat after death, like in our world. Can be anything really, for example a reincarnation. It’s possible that Kami’s motivation to create such an elaborate setup in the first place was to cleanse souls for ease of reusal. It’s pure fantasy though.

    Yes Reki knows. Kuu knew it, so why would not Reki? She might’ve even seen her own halo flickering in a mirror somewhere. Actually your first paragraph says it.

    [Please don’t mind if I’ve removed one word from your post. It’s my extreme strictness on general audience dialogue requirements. –Administration]

  2. Chris Says:

    At one point, Rakka cried out as if in pain as the black spots grew on her wings. That’s where I would figure there’d be pain as the wings darken to pitch black, but maybe not.

    I do know that the communicator spoke of Kuu’s laughter as being in Rakka’s mind. What about those drops of water? What caused them? Is that caused by the wall because of Rakka’s being there, and something that would not exist in the wall without her presence?

    You’re right about how Kuu knew her day of flight was coming, but I wonder if she knew about the day of flight. Did she actually hear/learn about the day of flight at some point prior to the drip-drip-drip in her mind brimming the edge of the cup?

    Sometimes I might not remember little details from episode to episode (which is one reason I write them down here). Whether I go back and refer to them while still watching the series is another thing entirely =P