Haibane Renmei - OP - Free Bird
Haibane Renmei - Blue Flow
Wonderful Review by Beyond Ghibli
Anime(2002) TV 13 EPs
D: Tomokazu Tokoro
W: Yoshitoshi ABe
M: Kow Otani
Rakka (落下, lit. "falling")
Reki (礫, lit. "pebble/small stone")
(Reki X Rakka)
The essential quality of a relationship.
Trust is loyalty or fidelity to the pair bond/relationship between human beings.
Trust is like a table upon which stands the pair bond or any relationship. And of course, any infidelity is a direct attack against the pair bond/relationship, and as the table disappears, often so does the pair bond/relationship itself.
The destruction of Trust can be as serious and traumatic as infidelity in a marriage, or as small as a friend missing a luncheon date without a justifying cause.
The seriousness differs but the loss of Trust is the same because anytime there is a promise, then there are obligations to fulfill that promise, and any slack in fulfillment results in loss of Trust. This loss many times cannot be repaired.
For years you have been taking your car in to your favorite mechanic, but you recently learn that he/she has been cheating you all this time. You no longer Trust in him/her, and you will probably begin taking your car to someone else. Maybe he/she pleads for forgiveness, and you grant that, but the doubt does not go away.
Trust takes years to build, but any momentary lapse, can destroy it, and usually forever. One might forgive, but it’s rather difficult to forget.
And also Trust can be damaged or destroyed, by rejection, whether willful and intentional or unintentional. Being rejected by a lover or a friend, or even having a loved one die, is actually the same condition suffered by the individual who remains. You have lost a loved one however that loss transpires. There are those who even blame a loved one who dies as if that person had somehow chosen to leave, and to leave you all alone. Non-rational certainly, but feels are not rational.
The collapse of the table of Trust, can have many ramifications. Grief is the necessary response and cure for a loss of Trust. When the table collapses, you have lost your support and your raison d'etre.
This can have fatal consequences in suicide, or drug addition, or promiscuous sexual behavior as if the person in loss says to themselves, “I don’t care what happens to me anymore.”
This is profound despair and when grief fails, the usual last stage.
The more breakage of Trust as in the auto mechanic, is to universalize, the loss, and then to end up with the inability to Trust anyone. The more you are taken advantage of, the harder it is to Trust anyone.
The process of grief is ugly but necessary in order to overcome the loss, regain some balance, and to heal. Grief is extremely painful, but that pain must be seen through in order to come out the other side with a regained perspective, a renewed pride and the ability to Trust again.
The inability to complete the grieving process can be fatal emotionally or even physically. That is why grief should never be attempted alone. When you experience the loss of Trust, you must have the help of either a close friend or even a professional grief counselor. Asking for help, is the very first, positive step one can make to come back from severe loss.
And rebound romances do not work!! In the case of a lost love affair or marriage, to jump right back into some random romantic relationship, can be worse than the grief itself. A rebound love rarely works the way one hopes or thinks.
The loss of Trust drives one into despair or worse.
We will see this in the actions of Rakka and Reki
NOTE: SPOILERS FOLLOW
A story of sin, guilt, and redemption
When Rakka loses Kuu, she also loses trust, “How could Kuu leave me?”. This causes her to fall into depression and despair. She becomes sin-bound as her beautiful feathers begin to turn black, and she falls further and further into despair. Rakka falls into a deep well of sadness and depression. This is actually shown as she falls into a actual deep well. But she finds the skeleton of the bird, and in reburying him, she recovers her dream, and realizes that the bird was attempting to save her. She is then saved from the well, and in the process, she escapes her sin.
The Communicator says to Rakka after her rescue from the well,
This is an obvious self-contraindication for if you recognize your own sin, how then can you have no sin? As if, once one sees the sin which they have committed, they, in a sense rise above that sin into a new order of thinking. They do not fall into the well of depression and despair.
In order to solve the riddle, one must invoke a new order of thinking beyond sin and guilt in order to reach redemption.
Rakka does not oppose the Communicator, but comes to understand his meaning and intent and this ultimately frees her from the curse of being sin-bound.
The story arc of Rakka prefigures the final arc of Reki who constantly fights and opposes the Communicator. She too struggles with this strange statement, but constantly rejects it.
The difference between Rakka and Reki is stark. Rakka was born into this world free of sin, but she is here because she has a weakness which her story arc illustrates. She becomes sin-bound because of this weakness, and tendency.
But Reki is startlingly different. She was born into this world sin-bound from some action taken in her past. We are never told what this was, but fanfic generally holds that Reki committed suicide by throwing herself in front of a train.
Her constant dream is
fairly ugly, but this is the path that she is on, her ultimate resolution, and out of this picture comes her ultimate destiny.
A senior Haibane, Kuramori, takes new born Reki under her wing, and helps her grow and somewhat accept the bindings which hold her, but
when Kuramori takes her day of flight, Reki is beyond destraught.
Reki is reassured by the Communicator who also asks her about the riddle posed to Rakka
But Reki is very different than Rakka who accepts help. Reki is always fighting her condition and refuses to ever ask anyone for help. She always has to be in control and in so doing, drives herself deeper into being sin-bound. Her path does not look good. She is like Anna in “When Marnie Was There(2014)”. Anna cannot accept losing a loved one even to death, and accuses however irrationally that by dying, the loved one left her all alone. Factual as to the state of being alone, but not factual as to the cause. The loved one did not choose to die and leave Anna alone, but it feels like that to Anna.
The same sort of irrational feeling applies to Reki
She attempts a major sin because she fails to trust the Communicator and almost gets a young boy killed.
Reki is the classic personality that cannot trust anyone.
Reki is the one with the inability to Trust due to some great betrayal in her past of which we know nothing.
Reki although not the MC, is the actual central character whose sin is startlingly different than Rakka.
Rakka asks and accepts help, where Reki is not able to do so.
We do know from our own experience that once Trust is broken by betrayal, it is usually the case that it is impossible to restore. While one can forgive, that same one cannot forget. The rememberance of the betrayal is always present, and full pre-betrayal trust usually does not return.
Only after years of loyality, do such memories fade. The loss of trust is so unbearably bad and sad when an individual breaks a promise or commitment. The support of trust as a table which supports a pair bond or relationship, dissolves and the free fall is steep.
This seems to have happened to Reki, as she sees herself totally alone and without that support.
The miracle of Haibane-Renmei is how to finally free Reki, and give her back real support so that trust can grow.
Many fret about the mechanics of the world in Haibane-Renmei: What is a Haibane? What is the city?
Are they angels? Souls? Is this Purgatory?
Classic theology holds that Purgatory is the purgation of all sin, that one must undergo in order to become perfect and acceptable to enter God’s living presence. In the traditional view it is somewhat like Hell, in that suffering purges all the effects of past sins.
But none of this matters in Haibane-Renmei. You miss the point if you think of definitions and mechanics, of theology and mythology. The artist himself, Yoshitoshi Abe, pointedly said that no specific religion or theology was intended. Just because the Haibane have halos and wings, does not mean that they are angels.
His art, his story is about the personal human condition and struggle which we all must undergo in order to become a good person, a noble human being throwing off the shackles of sin and addiction.
The riddle is, on the other hand, central to the entire story. Once you find the solution to the riddle, (and there is a solution), which is an answer, but more than an answer. The solution cannot be stated as such, but comes in the form of a radical change of heart, “Metanoia, a transliteration of the Greek μετάνοια, is "a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion." - Wikipedia
This firmly rejects what many call Faith, the statement of a set of formulas, dogmas, and doctrines.
But the rejection of Faith, is not a rejection of belief. Akari Mizunashi of Aria believes without saying exactly what it is she believes in, without being able to state exactly the whole set of formulas, dogmas, and doctrines. This kind of belief is the foundation upon which the Table of Trust is built
The change of heart then causes new behavior which leads to redemption.
This is what Haibane Renmei is all about, and is the path that Reki is following whether or not she immediately recognizes the stony path which exists in her terrifying picture above.
The loss of trust brutalizes people.
Haibane Renmei shows how it might be restored.
But still One emotional powerhouse
that will not spare your feels one bit!
Not to be missed, and highly recommended
Folcwine P. Pywackett