Much as I love Haibane Renmei, it is only by authorial fiat that the world of Glie works. Welcome to the first meta post of this series.

I think that there is more than a touch of Omelas in Glie, with the Haibane as both the sacrifices and the ones who walk away [1].

The human population seem to be living in an idealised cityscape of clean air, no pollution, and a relaxed lifestyle with little pressure.

However no one can leave, which is just as well since apparently no one wants to.

Meanwhile the Haibane have the only overt restrictions: living in abandoned places, only using old goods, having to work at specified tasks in a limited number of venues.

Furthermore the Haibane have a reasonable, but still limited, amount of time to achieve their Day of Flight.

Those that do, fly away from Glie, remembered warmly but never to be seen again.

Those that don’t, become the sacrifices that make Glie work. It isn’t stated explicitly [2] but I think that they lose their wings, are generally forgotten, and become the Haibane Renmei society.

Monks (or Nuns) in essence who spend their days looking after the Haibane who might yet succeed. I find this to be quite sad, and for me it completes the analogy to Omelas.

In this context the Old Feathers, named for dreams that they have had, feel like souls with unfinished business. In essence they are in Limbo working through their issues until they can move on. In a later post I will speculate wildly [3] as to what their dreams, and names, mean in terms of what their unfinished business is.

In contrast the Young Feathers, named for dreams of what they want to be, are more like unfinished souls. Presumably [4] they achieve their Day of Flight simply by growing up to have souls ready for a real life.

On a more mundane level Glie is a smallish town, with some farmland, little or no manufacturing [5], and one gate to trade through. Either the gate is open all the time with traders coming through continuously, or there is more meddling afoot to make the logistics work. My bet is on the latter.

For all that, Glie is the right setting for a show that is primarily about the emotional struggles of the Haibane. Glie is pretty, mostly serene, and provides a stable living for the Haibane whilst they deal with their issues.

It also feels right to the viewer but whilst I might want to visit, I wouldn’t want to live there.

Day 1 – Cocoon – Dream of Falling from the Sky – Old Home
Day 2 – Town and Wall – Toga – Haibane Renmei
Day 3 – The World of Haibane Renmei
Day 4 – Temple – Communicator – Pancakes
Day 5 – Trash Day – Clock Tower – Birds Flying Over the Walls
Day 6 – Dub vs Sub?
Day 7 – Library – Abandoned Factory – The Beginning of the World
Day 8 – End of Summer – Rain – Loss
Day 9 – The Gender of Haibane Renmei
Day 10 – Scar – Illness – Arrival of Winter
Day 11 – The Bird
Day 12 – ???
Day 13 – Well – Rebirth – Riddle
Day 14 – Kuramori – Haibane of Abandoned Factory – Rakka’s Job
Day 15 – ???
Day 16 – Parting – Darkness in the Heart – Irreplaceable Thing
Day 17 – Bell Nuts – Passing of the Year Festival – Reconciliation
Day 18 – ???
Day 19 – Reki’s World – Prayer – Reconciliation
Day 20 – Looking Back At Haibane Renmei

[1] Well, fly away actually but we’ll get to that.

[2] Although the hints are very strong.

[3] Or not so wildly in some cases.

[4] There are no examples of a Young Feather achieving Day of Flight in the series.

[5] The only factory referred to is the Abandoned Factory that is another nest of Haibane.