This is the first full Day in the Limelight episode of Haibane Renmei, and it focuses on genki girl Kana. Kana is revealed to be a somewhat more nuanced, and gentle, character in the process.

Wakey, Wakey!

Along the way we start getting hints that all is not well with Rakka, and it is their different reactions to the crows that highlights this.

The episode begins with a dream sequence: Rakka is walking in a misty, dark, landscape when a crow [1] lands nearby. As she starts moving closer to it a bell starts to ring and the crow flies away.

In a really nice piece of sound effects the ringing becomes less musical as Rakka begins to wake up to Kana banging on a bucket [2]. It turns out that Rakka was foolish enough to offer to help Kana at work.

Rakka is not a morning person and tries to go back to bed. Kana is not taking no for an answer and there is a classic bit of Warner Brothers inspired humour as Kana drags Rakka out of bed by her halo [3]. This bit never gets old. 🙂

Guess what happens when Kana lets go...

Rakka has been leaving food out for the birds, Kana tosses it saying it will only attract the crows who have been making a mess of the trash. Since it is trash day at Old Home Kana and Rakka then take out the trash only to run into the crows. It looks like the crows have managed to unlock the incinerator. In the confrontation that follows Kana gets exhausted for little gain.

Rakka and Kana disagree again over feeding the crows, but Kana isn’t as heartless towards the crows as it seems.

The birds are the only living beings that can fly beyond the wall, and Kana doesn’t want them giving up their freedom by becoming dependent on the Haibane. Even if they would be happy, Kana thinks that it would be sad. This is a “for your own good” motivation but it does reveal a caring side to Kana that is not widely known – certainly Kuu seemed to be unaware of it in the previous episode.

There is another brief moment here where Rakka and the crows exchange looks.

Kana has repaired a pocket watch, which impresses Rakka, but refers to a bigger challenge ahead.

In the common room the rest of the Old Feathers are having breakfast when Nemu produces a new (used) tea set that she received as a gift. The banter between Nemu and Reki is quite amusing.

Meanwhile Kana and Rakka have climbed up to Old Home’s clock tower where Kana is trying to complete someone else’s repair. Although Kana has notes from that person, there is no clue to the identity.

I suspect that these are the notes from a Haibane that failed to achieve her [4]> Day of Flight and has since been forgotten. Finding those notes has inspired Kana, she works at the clock tower in town to gain the skills to complete this task.

Cue moment of panic as Kana realises that she is late.

Cut back to the serene, quiet, table where tea is being sipped and breakfast gradually eaten. You can probably guess what happens next, and it leads to some bemused Haibane still at the table after Kana has come, gone, and dragged a loudly confused Rakka with her.

On the trip to Glie it is fair to say that Kana handles her bike the way I handle my trike…only with a passenger on the back. Rakka is not impressed. 🙂

The Master of the Clock Tower is a fabulous minor character. There are a lot of parallels between Kana’s attitude to the crows, and the Master’s attitude to Kana. He drives her to work harder because he sees potential in her, but is actually quite fond of her. The Master is quite nice to Rakka though.

Upstairs it seems like the workers repairing the big clock had a party so Kana and Rakka are really having a trash day today. As they clean up Rakka asks why the Haibane work, and the discussion quickly moves from obligation to independence. The town of Glie is fiercely protective of the Haibane, and Kana feels that they are treated as children as a result.

By working they clear the indebtedness.

Rakka still doesn’t know what she wants to do, and more than a little envious of the others who do have jobs that they enjoy. Kana is a touch insensitive in parts of this conversation but then pulls Rakka to the top of the clock tower to cheer her up [5].

At this point Rakka finds herself looking at the walls, wondering what is beyond, as they see birds flying over the wall. There is apparently a legend that the birds carry things lost to the Haibane when they entered the cocoons.

Immensely cheered up the Haibane are sent home with a tool kit. The Master instructs Kana to fix the Old Home clock tower, and comments that the humans are not supposed to meddle too much in the Haibane’s lives.

On the way home the laser guided amnesia is lampshaded: a sense of déjà vu about riding along near a river, a feeling that Rakka used to sing while riding but can’t remember any songs to sing.

The episode ends with Kana losing another round with the crows. 🙂

For me the big surprise rewatching this episode is just how much the theme of freedom is used to highlight the limits of the world of the Haibane. It isn’t overdone, and also starts shifting Rakka’s focus towards the crows.

The lesser surprise is the depth of Kana’s characterisation. Kana is much more than the brash tomboy she initially appears to be, there is a lot of kindness and some deep thinking there that I think plays a real part in shaping Rakka’s thinking later [6].

There is a growing sense in this episode that the crows are significant in ways not yet revealed to Rakka. Again this is subtly done, and I suspect that it becomes more apparent when rewatching the series.

Finally this episode has some real humour that spices the mix nicely. Overall I think that this is the best, or at least the most enjoyable, episode on the first disc.

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] A crow with glowing eyes: that’s not ominous at all.

[2] Kana is having a lot of fun here.

[3] I did say that Kana was having a lot of fun here. 😀

[4] It is Old Home so assuming a female Haibane is reasonable.

[5] This was a really nice touch. No one is perfect, but at least Kana realised the error and fixed it.

[6] Even if Rakka may not realise this when it happens.