To continue my discussion of circle symbolism in Haibane Renmei, the next circle of importance is the physical Wall that surrounds Glie.
Glie is essentially a 2-Dimensional surface. The Wall represents its boundary; therefore the Wall is the literal edge of the Universe. The two-dimensionality of Glie is defined by the Wall itself. Note that to enter Glie as a Haibane, the seed for the cocoon drops from the sky; to leave, the Day of Fight manifests as a pillar of light that ascends back upwards.
There are certain entities that can cross the Wall – namely, the Touga, and the birds. The Touga are not members of the Renmei. The role they play therefore is more of a support and maintenance one – they provide a steady influx of material to sustain Glie. Therefore one can question whether they even have an existence beyond the Wall or whether they are just a manifestation of Glie itself. Their entire existence itself is tied to Glie, in a fundamental way.
The birds, we are told, are able to bridge the world that the Haibane left which they cannot remember, and their present existence in Glie. They probably represent aspects of the former lives – links to the existences in the previous world that were severed by the suicide of each Haibane, and which seek to be reconnected in some way. The bords therefore really do cross the Wall – but in so doing, cross between Glie and the previous life, so again the Wall is a boundary between realities.
The Wall is more than just a boundary, however. Recall that within the Wall itself is the Temple of the Haibane Renmei. Within the temple is a luminescent river, and the light-leaves that bear the inscriptions of the True Names of the Haibane. These light leaves are “recycled” to make the Halo worn by each new Haibane (another circle I will address later on).
In addition, the Wall is a receptacle for energy by the human inhabitants of the town as well. At the year’s end festival, the Wall absorbs all the good thoughts expressed by the bell-nut traditions and the non-verbal expressions of emotions. The Wall then glows – like a Halo for all of Glie – and releases that energy to… somewhere.
What does that mean?
Is the Wall related to Glie the way that an individual Halo is related to a Haibane? Is there a clue here about what the humans in Glie are? I think that the puzzle of the Wall, especially at the year’s end, is central to understanding the purpose of Glie.