Rakka shows up at Kuu's room wearing the wing covers Hikari made for her. Hikari is pleased by this, but Reki is a little worried. Nemu says that everyone is picking something as a memento. Reki asks Rakka if she wants anything besides the bed, and Rakka chooses the frog figures.
Reki helps Rakka move the bed into her room, and Rakka sets up the figures. Reki looks outside the window, and mentions it's a good thing Rakka found a place before the snow started. Reki then asks after Rakka's wings, and Rakka asks if she'll have to keep dyeing and hiding them. Reki says it's probably just for the winter. Rakka wonders aloud again about the haibane and the wall, particularly the way they appear and disappear. Reki says she used to wonder the same things, and is sure there's a reason.
Reki and Rakka take the kids into town. Reki tries to ride herd on them while Rakka follows. Reki tells Rakka that it's about to snow, and they should prepare for winter. As they walk Rakka talks about her dream, saying she doesn't remember it all. The kids keep going further ahead, and Reki promises Rakka that she'll always be with her. One of the kids falls, and Reki has to run and help him. Rakka notices the crows watching her from the power lines and gets disturbed, running to catch up.
At the used clothing store in town, all the kids are trying on matching coats. The owner says he'll have to make some adjustments, so Reki helps him out while Rakka goes to pick out some winter clothes. The kids are all chased noisily into another room while Rakka looks.
The owner comes back in and talks to Rakka a little. She's not very responsive. She picks out a warmer dress, and he suggests getting some boots as well. She demurs, but he insists, adding that haibane should be cheerful. He tells her a legend his grandmother told him about haibane being blessed. Rakka only has one page left in her notebook, so he gives her the boots as a gift. This depresses Rakka too, and she says she's a failure as a haibane.
Two townspeople enter the store. One is looking to buy a coat, and the other looks around and spots Rakka. She's very excited to find a haibane, and goes up and flicks Rakka's halo to make sure it's real. The owner warns her not to bother Rakka, but she doesn't listen and goes to touch Rakka's wing, which causes Rakka to run out of the shop.
As she's running through the streets she trips and falls. A gentleman nearby helps her up. He also picks up one of her wing covers, which fell off her wing in the fall. She grabs it from him and runs.
Rakka walks out to the hill with the wind generators on it, and drops her wing cover. Feeling she doesn't belong anywhere, she starts to cry, and thinks she should just disappear. A crow caws at her, and she looks up at it, watching it fly from tower to tower. Thinking it's calling her, she watches it fly towards the Western Woods and follows.
At the edge of the woods she hears the clock bell ringing at Old Home. She pauses, but enters the woods, following the crows. Deep in the woods she finds a murder of crows sitting around and on a well. She decides the crows wanted to show her this, and climbs down the well. As she reaches the bottom of the ladder, where it used to be underwater, it crumbles and she falls.
Rakka falls from the sky again, dressed in her seifuku and coat, with a wing cover on one wing. She repeats her dream, the crow coming to help her but failing. This time, as she breaks through the clouds she sees a well rather than the city below her.
Rakka wakes up in the bottom of the well. She sits up, and finds she's holding a feather in her hand. In the center of the well is a skeleton of a crow. Rakka tries to stand up, and finds she has sprained an ankle. She tries to climb up, but the bottom rung crumbles. Rakka looks at the skeleton and talks to it, asking if it was what called for her. She says she remembers it from somewhere.
Back at Old Home, the other haibane are worried about Rakka. Reki runs into the guest room, but no one's seen Rakka yet. Kana suggests that she left the nest, but Reki says that's not the case. Kana suggests they go look now, and Nemu agrees. The others run off to get ready, but Nemu stays behind to talk to Reki. Nemu asks if Rakka ran away like Reki once did. Reki says Rakka isn't that stupid, but that it's similar.
At the bottom of the well Rakka digs a grave for the bird. She apologizes to it, explaining that she doesn't remember her own name so she can't remember it. She talks to it, saying that she always felt alone and wanted to disappear, but it stayed beside her. As the episode closes snow begins to fall.
Rakka reaches out to repeat Kuu's gesture from episode six, but can't bring herself to do it. This is why I'm pretty sure it was the cup of happiness being referred to there, although many "cups of" are referred to in the Bible.
Rakka also doesn't trust the dye she got from Reki. Her first reaction to a disturbance is to cover her wings. She also wears the wing covers when she goes out.
Rakka arranges the frogs the same way Kuu had them. She even puts hers back on the rock next to Kuu's.
Reki mentions that the power of the wall is weakest in winter, which ties in with the summer influences of Old Home I mentioned last episode.
The bond between Reki and Rakka gets emphasized a lot in this episode. In particular, neither of them is reconciled with being a haibane yet.
There's a lot to recall Kuu to Rakka on their walk into town. The hill that Kuu seemed to spend a lot of time on and Reki's comment about soon the scenery will make them feel like they're floating in the clouds in particular.
Reki calling out to the kids not to get too far ahead brings to mind the end of episode six. The timing on that is particularly interesting, for reasons I'll get into in a later commentary.
Reki's comment about having lost her way is a theme that shows up several times in this and the next episode.
All the preparing for winter scenes serve to highlight Rakka's withdraw from the other haibane.
Rakka chooses a dark red dress for her winter clothes. The color seems a little out of place, since the Japanese tend to associate red with the sun and summer. However, it's also associated with strong emotion.
It had to happen. In any town containing haibane, of course there would be haibane groupies. Love of cute would of course lead to annoying haibane fangirls.
As I mentioned earlier, Rakka is still really touchy about her wings. Even doubly covered she doesn't want anyone to even think about them, much less see or touch them. She also tends to run away from her problems, both literally and figuratively.
We get another reinforcement of the imbalance theme with Rakka walking
around with one wing covered and one uncovered.
Notice that Rakka ran to one of the few spots we see Kuu at? Her performance on the hill is something I'll cover at the end of the commentary.
The crows as messengers and guides, again. This time Rakka finally follows them, probably because she doesn't think she has anything to lose.
In case you didn't notice any of the well symbolism before, they make it quite plain here.
The crumbling support and falling all tie in with Rakka's dream, which they repeat to reinforce the themes.
The scene with the sound of rainfall and an opening door I'm not too clear on. The rain would represent rebirth, and all the other associated water symbols. The door would probably be the door of memory finally opening, as she remembers her dream. The visual seems to be the full moon reflected in a puddle during a rain, which again brings to mind birth (or rebirth), which also one of the associations of the well.
I think that the way Rakka's clothes change from her current outfit
to her dream outfit and back during her dream are to show that the two
situations are very similar. In her past life she probably lost someone
important to her, or had something else bad happen to her. As we've
seen the last few episodes, she has a tendency to withdraw from others
when she's depressed. It seems likely that she did the same thing before,
and this either lead to her death or at the least she was still withdrawn
from others at the time of her death. This also ties in with what she
says on the hill about wanting to disappear. She seems to be repeating
what happened in her past life.
The end of the dream changing to her falling into the well also reinforces Kana's comments in episode 5, where she describes the layout of the town.
Oddly enough, crow feathers are supposed to be a good luck charm for
traveling. Notice that the one she held while falling was blown away
with the crow? And then she recovered it in the bottom of the well,
along with the rest of her dream.
It's interesting that they chose to highlight the corrosive effects of water for once. Almost every reference to water so far has called up its generative aspect rather than its destructive. I think this ties in with the balance theme.
What happened after Kuramori left is still a touchy topic for Reki, but now Nemu knows about Rakka's wings.
Although the snow/winter themes are strong here, there's an added element of peace and tranquility this time. This is a fairly common usage in anime.
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