|Haibane Renmei Episode 01|
Cocoon — Dream of Falling from the Sky — Old Home
|Kanji||繭 — 空を落ちる夢 — オールドホーム|
|Rōmaji||Mayu — Sora o ochiru yume — Ōrudo Hōmu|
|Episode Director||Tomokazu Tokoro|
|Next||Town and Wall — Toga — Haibane Renmei|
Episode Summary Edit
Unbeknownst to the Haibane of Old Home, a cocoon has been growing steadily in an unchecked room and is ready to hatch. The nest is abuzz with excitement as they prepare for the arrival of a new feather that they will soon call Rakka. The girl, who appears to be around 15 years old, hatches from her cocoon and is greeted by five other Haibane: Reki, Nemu, Kuu, Hikari, and Kana.
Plot Details Edit
Within a Dream Edit
High above the clouds, a crow flies hurriedly toward a sleeping girl in a nightgown, rapidly falling. As the crow lets out panicked caws in her face, she wakes and questions her surroundings while noting that she is not afraid. She holds the crow close as it lets out more panicked caws and attempts to pull upwards on her gown. Though the crow fails, the girl thanks it for worrying about her and assures it that it can't save her. As the crow yields and ascends, she passes the clouds and panics as she sees the ground below.
Old Home Edit
Sometime mid-to-late morning, Reki walks a far hall of the second floor of Old Home's west wing with some boxes of art supplies. As she passes a room near the stairs that isn't often checked or used, she pauses after seeing something strange through the window, and opens the door to discover a fully grown Haibane cocoon. Shocked, she backs out of the room and drops the boxes before hurrying downstairs to prepare before it hatches.
A short time later, Hikari and Kana arrive home from work together, finding a note from Reki forbidding the young feathers from entering. Curious, they enter and find the cocoon room surrounded by children, now awake and curious. Kana chases them off and tells Reki she's too soft on them. As they enter the room, Nemu and Kuu arrive. Together, they decide that they should clean the room and prepare for the cocoon to hatch, but as they're debating who will take first watch, the girl within the cocoon wakes within and breaks through the shell, flooding the room with the liquid that was inside of it.
The girl awakes in the guest room (which Reki had been using as her own until this point) as the others return from gathering supplies for the new feather. She had spent the entire day in bed recovering from her ordeal. The others ask her to describe her dream so they can name her based on it, as is tradition. Reki decides on the name Rakka, meaning "to fall." Though aware that she once had a different name, Rakka can't recall it. Reki assures her that this is something they've all had to come to terms with; that the life a Haibane comes from is gone, unknown to all, even themselves.
Hikari steps forward, having volunteered to be the ring bearer, and provides Rakka with her halo, to "guide her future as a Haibane". It hovers above her head momentarily before falling to the floor, which shocks the others. Determined to make it stick, they fashion a headband with a wire on it to hold the halo in place. Lunch break ends, and all but Reki return to work.
Finally alone with Rakka, Reki attempts to explain the basics of what it means to be a Haibane. Unfortunately, she barely begins before Rakka develops a fever, prompting Reki to prepare for the new feather's growing wings to break through the skin. Reki wraps her thumb in a gauze and allows Rakka to bite down on it as the wings breach, but the pain causes Rakka to lose consciousness.
Reki stays by Rakka's side until morning, gently brushing her wings free of blood and grease so they don't stain. Upon waking, Rakka expresses her appreciation as they share tea and joke about the fact that Rakka's halo has caused her hair to become statically charged. On behalf of all the Haibane, Reki welcomes Rakka to Old Home.
Important Quotations Edit
Rakka: I'm not afraid... but my heart feels cold.
- In Japanese there is a clear difference between the emotional heart and the physical heart. She's saying that she feels no emotion, but her heart has gone cold. This is the first clue that whatever life the haibane came from is over by the strictest definition - it's likely that they've died.
Reki: Even if your family were somewhere in this world, they wouldn't recognize you if they saw you now. Just as you cannot remember the world that you used to be in, there is no one in this world who can remember you.
Symbolism, Interpretation, and Theories Edit
- When Rakka awakes, her gown is now rough and smells like nuts.
- The rough texture of the gown is a contrast to the soft and warm sensations of her cocoon dream. Rakka is now awake and alive, wherever she is, and the gown takes a much more lifelike quality. The nutty smell may also be a reference to that down-to-earth tone, but more importantly, may foreshadow the true name she is to be given at the end of the series.
- Rakka's halo causes her hair to have a static reaction.
- Though it is at first hinted that the reaction could have something to do with Rakka, it is eventually revealed that Hikari offered to be ring-bearer so that she could sneak the halo mold into her job at the bakery for experimental use as a baking pan. Based on the fact that Hikari warns her of the halo's heat when she first provides it to her (despite having been in possession of it for over a day), apologizes to her profusely after this secret is discovered, and a young feather in Episode 03 thinks Rakka smells like cake - the case is strong for Hikari having tampered with the halo, removing it from the mold for long enough to experiment with it (possibly placing it in a surrogate pan and/or oven), and then placing it back in the hastily cleaned mold. This is likely the cause of the halo's strange properties.
- Rakka instinctively refuses to be renamed and her halo will not stick.
- Assuming that the halo isn't simply suffering from more defects due to Hikari's tampering, the halo may not be sticking because Rakka is not ready to accept that she is not a haibane and not an ordinary girl. Because she makes several other assertions that there is nothing special about her and she is "normal," it is likely that this denial is the source of the halo not sticking.