Episode 10:

Kuramori - Haibane of the Abandoned Factory - Rakka's Work

Short Summary:
Flashback to Reki hatching and being found by Nemu and Kuramori. Kuramori befriends Reki and gets sick trying to get the dye for Reki's wings. Back in the main timeline Reki goes to the Renmei temple to try and get help for Rakka, but Washi simply tells her she doesn't have much time left as a haibane. Reki makes medicine for Rakka, who recovers but is summoned to the Renmei temple for punishment. She is make to collect kohaku and clean the temple. Hyouko and Midori give Rakka a gift as apology.

Detailed Summary:
Standard Opening.
It's snowing heavily, and inside Old Home a cocoon has hatched unnoticed by the other haibane. The new girl is noticed by a young Nemu, who runs to fetch Kuramori. Kuramori breaks in, and finds the new haibane, a young Reki, with her wings already grown. As Kuramori goes to help her, she notices that Reki has black wings.

Reki sits in the guest room, and Kuramori brings in her halo. She is accompanied by Nemu, but when Kuramori asks her to introduce herself she runs off.

The kids play with Nemu and Kuramori while Reki stands off to the side, watching, alone.

Kuramori accompanies Reki through town. Reki's wings attract a lot of stares, and Kuramori covers them with her shawl.

In the temple, Washi asks about Reki's dream. He gives her permission to speak, and she tells him about walking along a path of pebbles. Kuramori asks if Reki will get better, and Washi tells her about the dye. He then gives Reki her name.

Kuramori catches Reki cutting the spotted feathers off her wings and slaps her. Hugging her tightly, Kuramori promises to always be with Reki.

Kuramori has collapsed at the bridge in front of Old Home. Reki and Nemu, who have been waiting for her, notice and run out to help. They take her in to the guest room and put her to bed.

Reki says Kuramori was getting medicine for her, and Nemu blames her for Kuramori being sick. Reki runs off in tears.

Later that night Reki returns. She went to get some food for Kuramori. Nemu takes the food and asks Reki to help her prepare it. She also apologizes for earlier. Kuramori wakes up to see Nemu and Reki sleeping side by side near the bed, holding hands. She also spots the food they made together, and is happy they finally got along.

The three of them clean up the guest room, and Kuramori says Reki should stay there. She says Reki should stay and take care of the haibane, and Nemu adds that she can help with the kids.

Reki, the older version, is sitting alone in a dark room cluttered with paint and brushes. She asks Kuramori not to leave and sits quietly for a moment. Standing up, she remembers about Rakka.

Kana is watching over Rakka's sleep very impatiently. As she paces around the room Reki comes in, much to Kana's relief. Kana gave her the medicine, but Rakka's fever hasn't gone down. Reki rushes out of the room, saying she'll be back soon.

Reki rides her scooter as far as she can towards the Renmei's temple. Running the rest of the way, she bursts in on Washi, chased by two Renmei members who are trying to bell her wings. Washi gestures them off and gives Reki permission to speak. Reki tells him off for leaving Rakka alone when he knew she would get sick, and Washi responds that he wasn't worried because Reki is at Old Home. He also mentions Hyouko, which upsets Reki even more.

Reki demands that Washi help Rakka, but Washi says that he cannot do anything about touching the wall. Reki says the wall should protect the good haibane, and Washi responds that even the good haibane are punished for touching the wall. He adds that Rakka did overcome her trial, with the bird's help.

Reki discovers that Washi told Rakka the same riddle he had told her, and asks if she found the answer. He doesn't know, and he warns Reki that she has little time left as a haibane. Reki says that she's still Sin-Bound, so she isn't going to be going anywhere. Washi tells her that it isn't something she can choose. He tells her she must overcome her trial, and that the day of leaving the nest comes to all good haibane equally. Reki gets upset, asking why Kuu left when she was there the shortest time. Washi says that she was never afraid of the wall and wanted to set an example for the others to follow. Reki asks about Nemu, and Washi says that she is more worried about seeing Reki leave than about leaving herself. He adds that it isn't Reki's problem or responsibility. He then tells her to take whatever she needs for medicine to help Rakka. He adds that she shouldn't be jealous of Rakka.

Reki makes up some medicine for Rakka with Hikari's help. Reki manages to get Rakka to drink some of it.

Reki is outside watching the kids when Kana runs up with news. The Renmei has been by and they've left a note on the bulletin board. Reki goes to read it, and it says that Rakka must report to the temple for punishment. Reki says she'll take responsibility for Rakka not going. Rakka has recovered enough to walk, and insists on going, saying she still has to return Washi's cane. Rakka thanks Reki for the medicine and apologizes to everyone, then walks down the path. The other haibane return to Old Home, leaving Reki standing in the entryway looking after Rakka.

At the temple, Washi takes Rakka down a long flight of stairs. At the bottom, he gives her a heavy oversuit that coves her wings and falls all the way to the ground. Donning one himself, they ascend another long set of stairs. Washi gives Rakka permission to speak, and she asks if she's being put in jail, which seems to amuse Washi.

Opening the door at the top of the stair, Washi reveals a long room with a stream running through the middle. He says it's inside the wall. He takes her to a raft, and pushes them along the stream past a number of plaques. Stopping the raft, he points out little flakes on the plaques. Calling it kohaku, he says it is used to make their halos and that Rakka's job will be to collect it and clean the plaques.

Washi leaves on the raft, adding that she shouldn't take off the suit no matter what, and that she shouldn't be afraid of anything she sees or hears. Rakka cleans the area, and starts collecting kohaku. As she does, she pauses, looking at the inscriptions on the plaque.

It's snowing again, but Midori and Hyouko are walking along the path to Old Home. Midori is upset at being dragged along by Hyouko, but he can't go into the area Old Home is in. They run into Reki, who's on her way to pick up Rakka, and Midori goes up to her and gives her a bag. She says it's for the girl with the curly hair, Rakka. Hyouko is giving it to her. As Midori turns to leave, Rakka offers her an umbrella. Midori takes it, but tells Reki she should stop smoking.

As Hyouko goes to leave with Midori he gives Reki a thumbs-down. Reki starts to respond with a gesture of her own, but is interrupted by Rakka. Reki gives her the bag and asks about what happened at the temple. Reki asks about Rakka's punishment, and Rakka says she has to clean the temple.

When they get back to Old Home they find they've been given pastries, enough for everyone. This raises Nemu's opinion of the haibane from the factory, but Kana is less impressed when she sees the note included. Hikari wants to return the favor somehow, and Nemu adds that Dai is going back to the factory soon.

Rakka doesn't understand what she means, so Nemu explains that they can't take care of kids at the factory. They're all raised at Old Home, but go to visit sometimes. Hikari wants to go, but Nemu warns her that the boys are really rude. Rakka volunteers anyway.

They break up to go to bed. Nemu and Reki leave the room last. Reki tells Nemu not to worry about her. Nemu is confused by this and wants to know what's wrong, but Reki runs off without answering.


The opening explains Reki's comments in episode one. The part where she says she'd feel sorry if the new haibane was born in a dirty room.
It also puts an interesting perspective on Kana's comment that if it's that big they'd find it anyway. From the way Nemu is running, it's quite possible that she found the cocoon after hearing Reki scream as her wings broke the skin.

Reki simply saying that the other haibane avoided her doesn't convey the same impact as actually seeing her early years, does it? This was a very good touch.

Notice also that Reki was born in winter, which runs counter to most of the symbolism of Old Home. This emphasizes how out of place she is, as if being born and growing her wings alone wasn't enough.

Reki doesn't seem to have ever lived in the room she was hatched in. The one she moved into isn't on the first floor, and the one she was hatched in didn't have the verandah outside. This is another contrast with the others, Kuu and Rakka in specific.

I'm still not sure exactly how the halos tie into things. Reki's stays immediately, and it seems unlikely that she's already accepted being a haibane. This means my speculation about Rakka's halo in the first two episodes is probably incorrect. I just haven't got any other theories to replace it with yet.

Although we don't know what happens to the kids, it doesn't look like any of the ones that were around then are around in Rakka's time. Presumably they eventually leave the nest as well, but we never get any confirmation of it.

Washi touching the haibane's heads, as seen here and in the last episode, vaguely mimics a priest's blessing. I just noticed that when he excused Reki to talk, sort of like granting her pardon for a minor rule breaking.

In the last episode, Washi asked Rakka where she learned to dye her wings. In this episode we find out that Washi was the one who taught Reki in the first place. Is this a sign that Washi has learned some wisdom over the past seven years? He seems to have changed his attitude on this. In all, the one he shows to Rakka, that sins should not be hidden, is much more correct from a doctrinal standpoint. You can't repent of sins you don't acknowledge, and therefore can't atone for them.

Kuramori is actually more visibly upset about Reki cutting her feathers than Reki is. This whole half of the episode serves to highlight some differences between Rakka and Reki, in particular their reactions to pain.
Rakka runs from others. She tries to hide her pain by avoiding anyone who can see it. She's actually fairly open about it otherwise, even crying noisily once Reki found her. Reki, on the other hand, doesn't withdraw from others as much. She does stand away from those who avoid her, but she doesn't go out of her way to avoid others like Rakka does. However, Reki hides her pain more. She looks sad several times here, but we never see her cry, not until Kuramori is sick. She's much less vocal about things than Rakka.

Nemu doesn't hold a grudge at all. She's obviously been an important figure in Reki's life.

I'm not sure on who lived where at the moment. Reki and Nemu put Kuramori to bed in what ends up as the guest room and Reki's room, but Kuramori has Reki live there. Either they've been keeping a guest room at least somewhat ready for others, or that was Kuramori's room. The latter seems unlikely, since they had to clean it up, but in that case I don't know why they'd use the room to take care of Kuramori.

Kana is not very patient...

Reki is definitely not on friendly terms with Washi. Nevertheless, even after barging in on the temple she still waits for permission before speaking. Washi, on the other hand, seems to trust Reki.

We also find out that the Haibane Renmei aren't the final word here. They may be influential in the town, but as I mentioned last episode, they're just as bound about with restrictions as the haibane are.

According to what Washi's saying here, Rakka hasn't overcome her trial yet. The wings going back to gray was a sign of a major hurdle being overcome, but she's still got work to do.

We get the bottom-of-the-well view of the temple several times here. In particular, right before Washi tells Reki that she's running out of time.

This is our first real hint about what happens to haibane that fail to overcome their trials. They have to stay in Glie. However, we haven't seen any old haibane.

I just noticed this, but the predominate color in Washi's outfit here is green. I've already commented on the symbolism of that color. It just seems a more verdant shade of green here than in the earlier episodes.

What he tells Reki about Kuu fits in with what Kana was saying about her earlier, in a way. I'll be covering this in some speculations I have about the haibane in general, which I'll get into with the commentary for the last episode.

I like how Washi approaches the conversation here. He says that he's just speaking the words in Reki's heart. This is very similar to what he told Rakka about hearing Kuu's voice in the last episode. It's an indication that his stature and the wall's powers are coming from the same place.

Nemu is an interesting case. It seems certain she's overcome her trial (again, I'll cover this later), but she's been there longer than any of the other haibane. It seems likely that her concern for Reki is what's holding her there, but at the same time it's probably only her concern for Reki that's allowing her to stay there without running into her time limit.

The characters on the suit read out as "kabe", that is, wall. I probably should wait to mention that, but I decided not to. They seem to be an invocation of the protective powers of the wall, as well as a statement of location.

The river within the wall seems to be a combination of the river Styx and the river Lethe, two of the five rivers of Hades from Greek mythology. The River Styx served as a crossroad between the lands of the living and the lands of the dead. The river Lethe is the river of forgetfulness.
Washi gets to call to mind Charon a little, as well. Only a little, though.

The bells ringing as Reki stands across the bridge from Hyouko and Midori was a nice touch. I've covered the bell symbolism before, and the bridge serves to show the distance that's come up between them.

Midori shares Hyouko's sentiments about Reki's smoking. I really do intend to cover that more later.

Rakka's punishment, cleaning, could also be taken as a purification ritual. Either for the wall or for herself.
It's also a practical necessity, so I may be reading too much into it.

Nemu mentions that Dai has to go back to the factory soon. She mentions that they can't take care of the little haibane there, so they're all raised at Old Home. This is what finally made me realize why there were two haibane nests in Glie. They represent the yin and yang, the feminine and the masculine.
Old Home is the yin, the feminine. The older haibane are all female. All the kids are raised there. The people there also act more feminine, even with the tomboys, although that won't be shown clearly until the next episode. Even the name is more suggestive of the feminine.
The abandoned factory, on the other hand, is clearly the masculine. We know there are male haibane there, and one of the young male haibane is returning there for a visit. The structure as a whole has more masculine connotations, being a factory.
This is one I should have spotted much sooner.
(Unfortunately, the above speculation is probably incorrect, or at least incomplete. ABe has spoken in an interview of a third haibane nest in the town, one mostly of crafstmen that doesn't interact with the other nests much.)

Nemu is clearly worried by Reki's little talk at the end, but Reki can't bring herself to tell Nemu straight out about what Washi said.

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