Episode 11:

Parting - Darkness in the Heart - Irreplaceable Thing

Short Summary:
Rakka takes Dai back to the abandoned factory for his extended visit. Midori tells Rakka a little about Reki. Washi tells Rakka that Reki doesn't have much time left, and Rakka decides to help Reki. Nemu catches a cold, and Rakka volunteers to go into town and tell the library about it. At the library she meets Sumika and looks at an old book. In town she meets Reki, and they walk back together.

Detailed Summary:
As we watch Rakka working, she talks about everything that has happened that winter. She's still worried about Reki.

Dai is leaving Old Home to visit the abandoned factory for a while. The other kids and Reki see him off, Reki putting her scarf around him. Dai goes to walk in to town with Rakka, and Reki tells him to take care of himself.

As they walk through town, Rakka talks to Dai. He's irritated with the scarf, and Rakka asks him if he's going to miss Reki. He says it's not for long, but that Reki has been staring into the distance a lot lately. He adds that he isn't going far, and Rakka gets quiet. She doesn't say anything until she notices him staring at her.

The factory is surrounded by a fence, and Dai shows Rakka the entrance. He moves a board out of the way and crawls through a hole. Rakka follows him. They don't see anyone around, and suddenly a bunch of firecrackers go off at their feet. A male haibane asks if they were surprised, and is surprised in turn by Hyouko, who gets upset at him for wasting fireworks.

Three female haibane come out to meet Rakka, and she gives them some pastries Hikari made. Dai stands there as they talk, until Hyouko rides by on his skateboard. Hyouko stops and offers to let Dai ride the skateboard. Midori warns Hyouko not to get him hurt, and the two guys go off to play.

Midori asks if Rakka is upset at Hyouko, but she says she isn't. Rakka thanks them for letting Dai stay, but they say they should be thanking her. One of them also mentions an old incident that drove the two nests apart, but no one is willing to say anything more.

Rakka is walking back through town when Midori runs up behind her. She gives Rakka the umbrella she borrowed from Reki. They stop to talk for a while, and Midori asks if Rakka really doesn't know what happened. Rakka tells her about the time she saw Reki and them fighting, and what Nemu told her about Reki eloping. Midori says that's not what happened, and that Reki's selfishness almost got Hyouko killed. Rakka refuses to believe it, and Midori almost gets mad at her, but simply tells her she doesn't know anything about Reki.

Rakka is working inside the wall, untying the raft. She's thinking about how nice Reki's been to her and gets distracted enough to drop the tie rope. She realizes that Reki has been hiding her pain the whole time Rakka was relying on her. Noticing that the raft is drifting off, she runs after it and manages to jump in.

Drifting to a large plaque with a lot of kohaku on it, she stops to take a look. As she examines the characters she hears a noise behind her and turns. Looking around nervously, she hears more noise and something disturbs the water. She stands against the wall, frightened, as whatever it is passes by.

Leaving the inside of the wall, she goes to let Washi know she's done for the day. He tells her that Reki was there to pick her up. He walks Rakka out of the temple, and Rakka talks to him about Reki. He says Reki is worried about leaving the nest, and still doesn't know if she minds staying. Rakka says she doesn't like watching Reki suffer, but she doesn't want Reki to leave. Washi tells Rakka that she had the birds to help, but Reki is facing the darkness of her heart alone.

Rakka tells Washi about the paintings Reki has been doing to try and remember her dream. Washi tells Rakka that Reki doesn't have much time left, stunning her. He says that she has until the end of winter, and that if she's still confused she will stay. Rakka asks if haibane can stay, and Washi tells her that it's rare. They lose their wings and halos and aren't allowed to interact with the haibane or the townspeople. He adds that all the Renmei hope it doesn't happen, but that Reki is refusing his help.

Rakka says she wants to help Reki. Washi warns her that helping Reki would mean saying good-bye and never seeing her again. When he asks her if she's prepared to do that, she can't answer.

Rakka meets up with Reki, who's waiting on the main path with her scooter. Reki was out buying paint, and says she won't be able to use the scooter much longer. Rakka gives her back the umbrella, and they ride home. On the ride they talk. Rakka asks if Midori is her friend, and Reki says that she was. As Reki talks about it Rakka notices Reki's halo dim the same way Kuu's did. Upset, Rakka promises to do her best, but Reki misunderstands.

Kana's just finished breakfast and is about to leave for work. Hikari and Rakka, who doesn't have to go to work until noon, are still eating. Nemu comes in sick, and asks someone to go into town and tell the library she won't be in. Reki's off painting, so they can't use her scooter. Hikari volunteers Kana, who says she'd be late if she did. Rakka volunteers, but has Kana give her a ride in.

Rakka tells the head of the library that Nemu is sick, and he's surprised. As she leaves she notices the old book she was looking at earlier, and goes to look again. As she does, Sumika walks by and stops to talk. Rakka tells her about Nemu, and they talk about Sumika's pregnancy. Sumika goes to look at the book Rakka was looking at. She tells Rakka it was found in the Western Woods. Rakka asks what it says, but Sumika doesn't know. She does say that the characters look like people's hands.

Walking through town, Reki spots Dai trying to ride Hyouko's skateboard. She stops and watches them. Rakka, returning from the library, sees her and goes to talk. As they walk back towards Old Home, she tells Reki about Nemu. They joke around a little and Rakka realizes what Reki is hiding. Wondering why she didn't notice it earlier, she stops walking and says she wishes it would stay today forever. Reki says that's not possible. Saying that everything has an end, she says that's what makes every moment precious.

Rakka turns off to take the road to the temple for work. As soon as she runs out of sight of Reki she starts crying. Stopping, she sits down and cries, saying she needs to smile and help Reki.

Reki returns to Old Home. Leaving her cigarettes on the table, she goes to Nemu, who's sleeping in the guest room. Thanking her, she says that she doesn't think she'll ever make it over the wall and leaves. Back in her room, Reki opens a can of black paint. Saying she needs to finish, she goes into her studio.

Standard Closing.


Shouta was apparently born at the abandoned factory as well. This fits in with my yin and yang theory.

Reki must be feeling really bad if even the kids are noticing. Either that or they're surprising her a lot when she isn't expecting them. Or she may just feel comfortable enough around them to relax her mask a little.

Yeah. The guys at the factory definitely aren't showing their feminine side at all.

Looks like Hyouko wants to be a big brother.

Notice that one of the haibane from the factory has painted designs on her wings? Well, stripes anyway.

Midori finally explains the antagonism between herself and Reki. She almost blows up at Rakka when Rakka doesn't believe her, too. Midori has a lot of anger.

Rakka is easily distracted... Luckily the stream doesn't seem to be moving very quickly.

The essence Rakka senses in the wall the one that disturbs the water, seems to be mostly related to air, which is the element of spirit.

Washi's a bit on the distracted side, too.

Washi is an interesting case here. I doubt he always escorts Rakka to the road, but she does seem to like talking to him. I have to wonder if he talks this much to any of the other haibane, since I doubt he's in the habit of spreading everyone's secrets around. He's hoping Rakka will help Reki.

Washi uses the phrase kokoro no yami, darkness of the heart. This is actually a common literary theme in Japan, but more typically it refers to a parent's love for a child that blinds them to the child's faults. Although the usual pain of separation themes connected with this are appropriate for the anime, the rest of the connotations don't really seem to be. Despite the fantasy/non-modern setting, Washi seems to be using the phrase more generically.

Washi likes casually dropping those bombshells on people, doesn't he?

The scene makes it pretty obvious that the Haibane Renmei are made up of haibane who have failed to overcome their trials. However, Washi says it's pretty rare for a haibane to stay. The Renmei itself doesn't seem to have very many members, so that does fit, but it leaves open the question of what the Tooga are. They seem to be too numerous for something rare, unless the other cities they trade with also have haibane.

Washi understands that Reki is holding a grudge against him. Earlier I mentioned that he wants Rakka to help Reki, and this is probably why. He seems to normally give advice himself, but Reki's refusal to listen leaves him with little choice but to choose a proxy.

Washi tells Rakka that helping Reki would mean saying good bye to her. Rakka still isn't really over Kuu's departure, and can't say she can accept that.

I do have to wonder who picked the colors for the haibane's wing covers. I suspect Nemu made sure that Reki got the darkest ones, just to get Reki back for making fun of her name all the time...

Rakka was probably the only who was allowed to see Kuu's halo dimming. Reki either hasn't noticed it herself, or doesn't care who sees.

Rakka's up pretty early for someone who doesn't have to be at work until noon. Especially considering the opening to episode four, where we found out that she really isn't a morning person.

No, I have no idea why Nemu got sick.

The pregnancy/birth theme again.

The book turned to stone does call to mind the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, but I'm not sure if that was intentional.

Once again Reki hides her feelings as soon as she knows she's being watched. This time Rakka is looking for it, though.

I haven't heard that canned peaches thing before. The syrup from canned peaches is supposed to be good for settling the stomach, but I've never heard anything about colds (or gifts to people with them). I think Reki is pulling Rakka's leg.

Rakka's wish that time would stand still, and Reki's response are pretty common.
In particular, if you don't know the phrase mono no aware, I'd encourage you to look into it on your own. It shows up in a very large amount of anime.

The bridge by the river at the crossroads is an important setting for many meetings and partings in the series.

For the first time, Reki leaves her cigarettes behind. Again, this is something I'll be covering later. By the time I get to it, it'll be incredibly anti-climatic, but I do want to keep in mind so these reminders are as much for me as anyone reading.

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