Quorlox emails with a very cogent observation about the Day of Flight. Since it’s all spoilers, I’ll put it below the fold.
I just watched episode 6 with Kuu’s Day of Flight and it struck me how much the Day of Flight is like a suicide for the remaining Haibane. Kuu knew she was going to leave, but didn’t tell anybody, so after she leaves, the rest of the Haibane not only have to deal with their loss, but also with the fact that they weren’t told Kuu was leaving and not really understanding the why behind her leaving. The aftermath of suicides are similar. Everybody knows about unexpected deaths, but because suicides are voluntary, they create additional questions. Why did it happen? Why didn’t the person mention what they were considering? Assuming the Haibane are all suicides, maybe the Day of Flight helps them understand just a little about what they left behind when they killed themselves. Maybe I’m overanalyzing it. 🙂
There are of course some important differences between suicide and Flight – namely, that Flight is supposed to be a happy occassion (and Rakka’s inability to accept that and be happy for Kuu was what locked her into the Circle of Sin). Also, the Day of Flight is only partially voluntary – a haibane can certainly delay their Flight (for example, Nemu), but can’t embark on Flight at will (especially not the Sinbound).
However, Flight certainly is a form of death for haibane – I’d argue that it’s essentially analogous to a religious person attaining peace after a long life, and being granted Paradise in the hereafter. Flight, like death, is just the end of one stage of existence and the beginning of another.
In fact what Quorlox observes is very true for how we would cope with the loss of a loved one whom we know has gone on to higher reward. Ultimately, We must feel joy for them but their loss devastates us because we are the ones who have a new void in our lives. Rakka essentially mourns Kuu almost as if Kuu were damned or Sinbound rather than having attained salvation.
In a religious context, death is purely a release to the Next. Attainment of that Next is something that we who have not yet made it simply can’t comprehend – the 2D flatlanders looking with wonder as Mr Square floats off along the Z axis. There are other belief systems where Next is Null, or contexts within religion where Next is -Z instead of +Z. But ultimately all we can do in Flatland is speculate and we never really know aside from our faith and our reason what form Next will take. And we have to keep faith that we too will also attain Next and join those we loved who preceded us there.
Keep in mind that Glie is a literal Flatland. Rakka’s mourning of Kuu essentially represented a loss of faith.