Episode 06:

The End of Summer - Rain - Loss

Short Summary:
Winter is coming and it's starting to get cold while Rakka searches for a room of her own. Kuu gives Rakka a coat and warns her about the winter. Kana gets the bell in the clock tower working, and Rakka picks the room she was hatched in, at Kuu's suggestion. A storm comes up and Rakka sees a light coming from the forest. Kuu has disappeared, and everyone finds out about the day of leaving the nest.

Detailed Summary:
Standard Opening
It's Sunday morning, and Rakka is looking around Old Home for her own room. Most of the ones she finds are extremely dirty and haven't been used in a long time. While she's in the courtyard she notices it's getting cold. Spotting Kuu on the verandah, she goes to talk with her.

Kuu gives Rakka an old coat she had because it's too big for her. Kuu also tells Rakka that winter is almost there, and it usually comes quickly. Rakka tells Kuu she's looking for her own room. While Rakka is admiring the coat in the mirror, Kuu writes down a suggestion on Rakka's map. Kuu says she has to leave, even though it's almost breakfast. As Kuu goes out the door, Rakka notices Kuu's halo dim briefly.

While helping make breakfast, Rakka tells Reki about Kuu leaving. Reki gets a little irritated, since she was making hotcakes at Kuu's request. They get interrupted by a bell ringing. Everyone runs out to the verandah, where they see Kana up in the clock tower. She's managed to repair the bell. They call her down for a celebration.

By the time Kana gets to the kitchen, they aren't that impressed. The bell is still ringing. Kana says she has to cut the power to stop it right now, and Reki tells her off. Kana says it was just a test run and goes to turn it off. Rakka follows to help.

Up in the clock tower Kana cuts the power. Rakka comes in as things are winding down, and the two talk for a bit. Kana's excited over getting it to run. She notices Rakka's new coat, and tells her that it was the first thing Kuu bought. Kuu was trying to imitate the older haibane, and bought something the same size they did. Kana thinks it's a good thing Kuu gave it up finally.

Rakka continues looking for her new room, and thinks over all the things Kana told her about Kuu. Kuu used to imitate all the older haibane, riding Reki's scooter and wearing Hikari's glasses and so on. Rakka becomes determined to try her best.

Looking at the map, she notices Kuu's suggestion and goes to check it out. She finds that the room is clean and in good repair. She also feels a little nostalgic. Just then, Kuu comes in and tells her that it's the room her cocoon was in. Kuu says she made her room in her cocoon room, too. Rakka decides on the room, and tells Kuu that Reki was upset about Kuu missing breakfast. Kuu brings out box lunches for both of them, since Rakka forgot to eat breakfast as well.

The weather outside darkens quickly, and Kuu goes to look out the window. Her halo dims again, and Rakka goes to see what's wrong. Kuu interrupts her by saying that inside her heart is a cup, a beautiful clear cup. Small drops of water drip into it, little by little every day. And that today she feels her cup is full. Taking Rakka's hand, Kuu adds that Rakka gave her those drops as well, and thanks her. While Rakka stands there confused and worried, Kuu runs off.

The weather is worsening, and Rakka is in the guest room worrying about Kuu. Reki comes in and complains about the weather, then says Kuu was telling her that Rakka was moving. She adds that someone cleaned up the kitchen, and Rakka says it was Kuu. Reki tries to make a joke, but Rakka doesn't respond. Reki goes to make tea, but Rakka calls out to her as she leaves the room. Reki stops to find out what's wrong, but Rakka says nothing.

The two of them sit down for tea and talk a little. Reki says Rakka can stay in the guest room if she wants. Rakka goes on a tangent, and asks about the wall. Reki says it's there to protect them, or maybe keep them from knowing something they shouldn't. They get interrupted by a lightning strike which knocks out the power.
Reki goes for a flashlight, and Rakka goes to look out the window. She spots a crow on the verandah in the rain. She sees it fly off, and runs out of the room.

Down the hall she opens a window and looks out, watching the crow fly into the forest. As she watches a beam of light rises from the forest and a lot of crows fly away from its base. Rakka tells Reki about the light, and that the crows were trying to tell her something. Reki sends her back to the guest room and goes to check on the kids.

Reki returns to the guest room after checking on the kids. All the older haibane are there except for Kana, who's checking the generator, and Kuu, who's missing. The others are worried about Kuu, since she's usually the first one there. Rakka says she'll go look for her, and runs off. The others think Rakka's acting strange. Reki decides to follow her.

Rakka is standing in the entryway when Reki catches up to her with an umbrella. Reki tells Rakka that Kuu probably found shelter. Rakka tells Reki about Kuu carrying a canteen and a lunch, and that she probably went into the Western Woods. Reki says the area is dangerous, and Kana shows up, interrupting. She asks why Rakka thinks Kuu went to the Western Woods, and Rakka tells them about the birds and the pillar of light. Kana gets upset and runs off. Reki says that Kuu may have left the nest and gone over the wall.

Back in the guest room Kana grabs a raincoat and gets ready to leave. Nemu and Hikari try to stop her, and she tells them about Kuu leaving. Reki and Rakka get to the room just as Kana leaves. Reki tells her it would be too dangerous to go into the wood, that they'd lose their way without a guide. Kana still wants to go, as does Hikari. Rakka says they should ring the bell in the clock tower, which has its own generator, and let that be their guide. Kana goes to start the bell, and the others gather raincoats.

As they walk to the woods, Reki tells the others about the old ruins there, and how when it's time for a haibane to leave the nest they are guided there and go over the wall. She tells them that no one knows when or how it will happen, or why it happens. There are also times where no haibane are born or leave for years, which is why most of the haibane don't know about it.

They reach the ruins near the wall, and Kana calls out for Kuu. Rakka spots something on the ruins, and runs to see what it is. She finds a burned out halo by some feathers, and picks it up and starts crying.

The haibane leave Kuu's halo on a shrine and stand near it silently for a while. Reki,, who is standing a little away from the others, says that everyone is leaving her behind.


Rakka's finally moving in to her own room. She finally feels enough like one of the family to get out of the guest room. She is getting used to being a haibane.

Old Home is obviously way too big for the group currently living there. They can't maintain the parts of the building they aren't living in, and most of it is empty.

Kuu is still being the big sister, telling Rakka about how winter shows up quickly, and giving her a coat. She even gives Rakka a tip about where to look for her room.
The brown of the coat is associated with earth, things like comfort and endurance. It also calls to mind autumn leaves.

Rakka is very surprised by Kuu's halo dimming. This probably explains why Kuu's been wearing a hat over her halo since the middle of episode 3. She probably saw it happening in a mirror, and went to get the hat so she wouldn't worry the others.

Hikari seems to be suggesting they treat Kuu like a cat; set out some food and let her wander in when she's attracted by the smell. Considering that we've seen Kuu playing with cats a few times already, this may be exactly what she's suggesting.

Kana's definitely got some persistence behind her. She's able to get the clock running, even if she's testing it out a little too early.

We can't forget to tease Nemu some more, can we? I do love her reaction.
I have to point out Rakka's little hopping-with-excitement bit on the verandah. This is another one of those little touches I find quite amusing.

Notice that Rakka's actually the first one to speak up about the bell not stopping? She's changed a lot from the girl who hid behind Hikari in the used clothing store.

Reki has quite a temper. She seems to get pretty nasty when she's pissed off. Kana's got a bit of a temper herself.

Rakka runs to help, but I'm not sure what she thinks she can do. She's just the helpful type.

Kana's stories about Kuu tell us quite a bit about her. Kuu's always been in a hurry to grow up.

The room Kuu recommends is the one Rakka was born in, which partially explains why it's clean. They must have also cleaned up after Rakka was hatched.
Kuu's living in the room she was born in, too. No telling about the rest of them.

I haven't been making note of most of the cinematic effects, like what's done with Kuu's shadow from the window. They are, as far as I've seen them, quite well done, but I don't know a whole lot about the area. Any film majors care to comment?
I do have one problem with the directing in the series, however. The only real problem with the series is the use of the standard anime triple-take. I really wish they hadn't used it anywhere, I've never liked that little trick.

Kuu's mention of a cup inside her heart is almost definitely a reference to the cup of happiness, mentioned in Psalm 23:5. This isn't the first time I've seen a similar reference in anime; the opening song to Oniisama E contains references to the cup of happiness as well.
There is also an appropriate mention of the cup of happiness in the writings of Kahlil Gibran. His works seem to be one of the influences on the story, but I'm going to have read more of them to be sure. Here's a quote from The Creation, from the collection A Tear and a Smile:

The God separated a spirit from Himself and fashioned it into beauty. He showered upon her all the blessings of gracefulness and kindness. He gave her the cup of happiness and said, "Drink not from this cup unless you forget the past and the future, for happiness is naught but the moment."

Of course, I may be wrong. I've also found this quote:
"Do not overlook tiny good actions, thinking they are of no benefit. Even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel." -- Buddha

This is the best good-bye scene I've seen, in anime or otherwise.

The weather changing is another one of those cinematic effects I mentioned. Probably don't need to point this one out.

Keep in mind how Rakka panics when Reki goes into the kitchen.

The crows again. This time in their aspect as messenger and guide, telling Rakka that something's happening and showing her where.

The pillar of light is pretty common in anime, although there's no Tokyo Tower involved this time.
Birds talking off noisily like that would usually simply be a sign of a sudden disturbance, which does fit the scene. However, these birds are specifically crows, which are related with both death and the gods.
Given the stories about crows carrying lost memories, it's also possible that this is involved in Kuu's disappearance. They could either be returning her lost memories, carrying her current memories over the wall, or possibly carrying away her current memories (if haibane outside the wall don't remember their life as haibane, just as they don't remember their earlier life when they are haibane).

Kana and Reki are about the only ones doing something useful in the storm.

Nemu mentions that it's autumn, although not in those words. Autumn is associated with mortality and melancholy, as well as a retreat from wandering in the open to enclosed, man-made spaces. It's also the season of decay, the time when things decrease. In addition, summer is often used in anime as representing youth, so the autumn would represent the adult period of life.

Kuu went to the Western Woods. The direction west has represented the new and undiscovered. It also represents the uncivilized (the word wasteland is derived from "west land"). The west also represents such topics as old age, autumn (yes, this again), outward or upward movement, and freedom, and is the direction of sunset. In China it symbolizes sorrow, and in Egyptian mythology the western lands are where souls of the dead make a pilgrimage. West is also associated with the element of water, tying things in with one of the more common symbols of the series.

Kana seems very concerned over Kuu, but we haven't seen the two of them together very often in the series.

This is the first time we get any indication of what happens to haibane. They are allowed to leave the city under certain circumstances, although they don't return.
Reki uses the word sudachi, leaving the nest. It implies that when the haibane grow up, they leave to live in the outside world. Kuu is the youngest of the haibane at Old Home, however, suggesting that it's not physical age she's talking about.

This is apparently the first time in many years that any haibane has left the nest, at least from Old Home. Kana has been there for three years, and this is the first time she's experienced it, although she has been told about it before.

Bells are related with air and spirit. They're commonly used in all sorts of religious ceremonies, including Buddhism. One of the more common is to ring a bell for a funeral or important death.
In more general use, they are used to alert everyone that something has changed.

Rakka's also showing again that she's willing to take action if she thinks a friend needs help, as she did in episode three.

The moon is now in the crescent waning phase (also called Balsamic, again I'm not sure why). This is the time of endings, of death and approaching winter. It's a time to prepare for the next cycle, to take stock of what you've done so far and to move on.
Interestingly enough, Kuu is supposed to be about one haibane year old, and people born during this moon phase are, according to astrology, supposed to show great wisdom even at an early age.

The stone they place Kuu's halo on also has a crescent cut out of it, but I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

Reki is quite purposely distanced from the others in the ending here.

Going back to Kuu for a bit, this disappearance has been foreshadowed at least since episode three. That's when Kuu started wearing her hat, but that wouldn't be obvious until this episode. More obvious was Kuu disappearing from the hill, in the same episode.

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