Class Notes: Session 6 (4.17.2016)

For last Sunday’s session, chatted about how we can use visual media for outreach and watched episodes 11 and 12 of Haibane Renmei, which has now shifted its focus squarely on Reki and her upcoming Day of Flight.

Class Discussion

If our goal in life is to love God and love others, it’s natural to think about how media fits into this lifestyle. In class, we’ve mostly focused in this class on the first part, by how we can love God by looking for him in media and thereby submitting to him as lord of even our entertainment choices. But how do we love others through watching anime?

Of the many ways we can and should love others is by pointing them toward Christ. In regards to video/visual media, we can certainly produce videos that encourage others to think about faith. But we can even do the same by just watching anime – and then doing something with it. Beneath the Tangles is the best example of such I know (I am a bit biased, though!), demonstrating how we can take that extra step beyond ourselves and let our consuming of anime also become something that pushes forward and outward in love.

Summaries (taken from Wikipedia)

Episode 11
Rakka go to Abandoned Factory to meet up with Hyoko and Midori there. Midori hints to Rakka that Hyoko almost died because of Reki when the two once ran away together. During her work underground, Rakka hears Kuu’s voice as drops of puddles flow down the stream. The Communicator later tells Rakka that while she had the birds to offer her forgiveness, Reki will not accept help from anyone and has little time left. Rakka vows to try and help Reki, already knowing she probably will not ever see her again. Since Nemu is sick, Rakka visits the library, coming across one of the petrified books, which Sumika says that it was turned to stone by some sort of magical force. Rakka becomes upset when Reki views that their moments together will not last forever.

reki and rakka
art by wk. | republished with permission

Episode 12
The Haibane go into town to buy bell nuts, gifts of reconciliation for the upcoming Passing of the Year Festival. Reki gives one to Hyoko a week early, saying sorry for dragging her into her personal problems. Hyoko and Midori later reveal that Reki convinced Hyoko to climb over the wall by putting a wedge in it during a downpour in hopes of finding Kuramori on the other side, which led Hyoko to nearly bleed to death. The Communicator tells Rakka that the Day of Flight for a Haibane will come when they realize their true identity. He gives her a wooden tablet containing her true name inside. The Circle of Sin describes that because one cannot forgive themselves for their sin, only someone staying by their side must recognize their sin as well. The Communicator also gives a wooden tablet containing Reki’s true name, and Rakka is task to give it to her after the festival has passed. During the festival at night, the Haibane, except Reki, visit the people in town, giving them bell nuts as a sign of appreciation. Rakka brings Midori to Old Home to show Reki the yellow fireworks launched by Hyoko from Abandoned Factory, a message of forgiveness to Reki.

Video Discussion

We didn’t discuss one overarching point during this class; instead, we mentioned several interesting ideas about these episodes:

  • Rakka’s transformation continues to mirror a Christian’s. With much struggle – and continued struggle – she decides to help Reki. She’s turning toward self-sacrifice and love, a general avenue that Christians, too, move toward, even though it’s not easy.
  • Names have held a significance throughout Haibane Renmei, but once again take center stage with these episodes. They represent who the haibane once were (through their dreams) and who they become, much like many of those in the Bible (ex. Abram/Abraham, Simon/Peter, and Jacob/Israel).
  • While the nut festival is analogous to a new year celebration, we also mentioned that its reminiscent of Christmas – and maybe through its emphasis on quiet thought and giving, is a better reflection of what Christmas should be.


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