...Somewhere, that’s not here, in a place I can’t remember, I was obsessed with the idea that I was all alone. I thought that nobody would care, or even miss me if I vanished from the face of the Earth. I wanted to disappear. Then I had a dream about falling from the sky. I just remember that the bird was in the dream with me, and that the bird was someone in the form of a bird, trying to call me back. I now know that I was never alone.
|Given Name||落下 (Fall Downward)|
|True Name||絡果 (Connected Nut)|
|Voice ActorEN||Carrie Savage|
|Voice ActorJP||Ryô Hirohashi|
A dream of falling from the sky. A girl is awakened by the cawing of a crow while she falls. The crow desperately tries to pull her back by the hem of her gown, and the girl assures it that it can't help her, but thanks it for its concern. The crow gives up and ascends back into the sky. As she breaks through the clouds and sees a strange town far down below, she realizes she's falling very quickly and begins to panic.
The next thing she knows, she's awake...and surrounded by strange people. The girl is named Rakka, which means "Falling". She was unable to recall much else from her dream aside from that factor.
Life as a Haibane
In the beginning, Rakka is a very shy, withdrawn girl, incredibly awkward and confused at her new life and highly disturbed at her utter lack of memories of who and where she used to be. With the painful eruption of her wings from her back, Rakka is forced to begin her life as a Haibane.
She initially finds it difficult to open up to the other Haibane around her, feeling self conscious of the fact that her halo initially refused to stick, requiring an awkward halo-holder made of paper and wire wrapped around her head. She spends her time trying to get used to the town and accompanying the other Haibane to their workplaces to try and find a job that suits her. All the while, she spins the same circle of questions, wondering what the Haibane are, why they exist and who she used to be.
All the while, she's constantly followed by a crow who seems to be reaching out to her, though she isn't sure why.
As Rakka grows and develops, her perception of the town of Glie and life within it is drastically altered when Kuu disappears one day, having taken her Day of Flight, during which a Haibane crosses over the walls and leaves the town, never to return. The event triggers a deep depression in Rakka and she begins to withdraw from the others. At the same time, she discovers black spots on her feathers, which she begins to cut off with scissors. Reki recognizes the black spots as the sin-bound curse and helps Rakka to hide the black spots with a special dye made from Snowskel Trees, otherwise known as Elderly Trees. Reki reveals she's under the same curse and has been since she was born, but she doesn't believe that Rakka's case is the same and is certain it'll resolve itself.
Rakka continues to decline until one day, she wanders into the Western Woods after the crow and finds its body at the bottom of an old well. Through this sign, she's able to recover her cocoon dream and realizes her old nature of shutting herself away from others, believing herself to be alone in the world. The realization that the crow was formerly someone who loved her deeply gives her the revelation that she was never truly alone, and that someone cared enough to become a bird and be able to reach her, even over the impenetrable walls of Glie.
Rakka is saved from the well by the Touga. Trying to follow them out of the woods, Rakka winds up beside the wall. Hearing Kuu's voice from within the wall, she draws close to it and touches it, only to be reprimanded by the Communicator standing nearby. She learns more of the sin-bound curse from him as he guides her out of the woods where she is found by Reki and the others who were desperately searching for her.
Rakka falls ill after touching the wall, but when she recovers, she is summoned to the temple of the Haibane Renmei where she is "punished" for her crime of touching the wall. She is put to work purifying the rusted tags inside of the wall and collecting the light leaves that gather on them, which are the materials that comprise their halos.
Rakka comes to understand the nature of her curse and how she was freed, and this is how she learns that the curse cannot be broken without the aid of another. Having been assisted by the crow, Rakka makes it her mission to free Reki from the sin-bound curse.
Observations and Interpretations
Rakka's dream is interesting because it seems to overlap with the waking world, in that it actually shows the town of Glie far below her. So this can be interpreted to tie in with the opening theme showing golden orbs of light flying through the sky, coming to land somewhere inside a Haibane nest, perhaps confirming Rakka's spirit actually plummeting into Glie from somewhere else. It's unknown if any other Haibane have actually seen Glie in their dreams, or whether partially waking up during the process is a commonplace thing to occur for them.
Rakka's sin-bound curse could easily be a stand-in for the burden mental illness places on an individual, as well as those around them. In a society where normal functionality is rewarded, people who struggle with abnormal mental faculties often find it difficult to maintain happiness and success the same way others do. And because it's difficult to explain to someone who isn't enduring the same struggle, they more often than not keep it to themselves, which only makes the fight harder. Being sin-bound or not is clearly a factor determined by the actions a Haibane made in their past life, which carries over into their rebirth and manifests in their dreams in the cocoon. Given that both Rakka and Reki appear to have made the decision to "disappear" of their own volition, whereas the others all appear to have been circumstantial, it's possible that the topic of suicide versus natural death may also play a part in how a sin-bound Haibane is determined.