There is no god but Reki and Rakka is her prophet.
Don highlights a thread at the Old Home Bulletin Board that attempts to map the town of Glie. The basic data are estimated walking speeds and times of travel. It’s a pretty laborious task, but I think that the end result (while surely consistent with the data) is just not a good fit with the essence and basic symbolism of Haibane Renmei.
The main issue is that the Wall clearly must be circular. I have been exploring the circle symbolism in my ongoing series of posts on the topic; that the Wall could be anything other than a circle would break the integral symmetry in a fundamental way.
Any attempt to map Glie simply must begin with the basic assumption that the Wall is a circle, and that the town is near the center. I don’t doubt that reasonable estimates can be attained, but I also note that Glie is not a three-dimensional universe – Glie is fundamentally a two-dimensional plane. Steven has also noted that time itself doesn’t seem to be truly linear, in Glie it is always what time it needs to be. The spacetime topology of Glie may not be continous enough to map!
UPDATE: Shamus has a nice screencap that shows the apparent curvature of the wall from the inside is much tighter than it would appear from the outside. More evidence that Glie is strange, topologically speaking.
Quorlox emails with a very cogent observation about the Day of Flight. Since it’s all spoilers, I’ll put it below the fold.
Steven mentions how the series Azumanga Daioh was utterly ruined by the presence of Kimura, a middle-aged male characer whose sole function is to be the resident lecher. I haven’t seen the series and given the negative reaction Steven had to it (and the negative comments by others), probably won’t bother.
But what is interesting is a comment that a Korean friend of mine made when watching Haibane Renmei. Anime is popular in Korea and my friend spoke enough Japanese to be able to follow the sub. Her reaction to seeing the character of The Master (Kana’s boss) was immediate and visceral – “that guy is a pervert!” Surprised by this, I asked why, and the answer was simply “perverts in anime are always drawn like that.” Apparently it’s the small eyes, the semi-baldness, and the cylindrical head silhouette.
Looking at screen caps, the Master does resemble Kimura, and also resembles Councillor Furusaki from Someday’s Dreamers. What to make of this I don’t know. Haibane Renmei is as sexless a series as you can find, and Someday’s Dreamers was every bit as warm and serene as others have noted. Yet, the character archetype in question is indeed always associated with young girls (Kana and Jessica for The Master and Furusaki, respectively). Is there some cultural subtext here?
To continue my discussion of circle symbolism in Haibane Renmei, the next circle of importance is the physical Wall that surrounds Glie.
While I am sure there is an infinite supply of this sort of thing out there under the dot-jp domain, this particular Haibane fanart gallery happened to be indexed by google. There are of course the usual obsessions with swimsuits, but what I found much more interesting were the concept art of scenes we never actually saw in the series, such as Reki taking her Flight, and Rakka’s cocoon bursting. And this scene of Raka and Reki in kimonos is just surreal, yet also somehow appropriate…
Of course, the Haibane rock band also, well, rocks. Go, Reki! And I note that the artist has a particular thing for Nemu…