Posted by psgels on 24 November 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews

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This is one for the computer geeks among us. It’s a psychological drama, focusing on the barrier between the real world, and the internet (the Wired). It features a girl, Lain, who gets obsessed with it, and eventually this goes out of control. As this anime was made in the year 1998, you could call it science-fiction, to some degree.

I’ve been wanting to check out this anime for a while now. I wonder why it took so long for me to try it out. In any case, I’m glad that I did. Not necessarily because this anime is incredibly good, but because it made me realize one thing about modern anime: the desire for production values. Serial Experiments Lain definitely is an anime that has a different style from all of the newer shows that have been coming out in the 21st century. This is mostly due to the background sounds. There’s almost no background music, and the few tracks that are present are very basic. The creators filled most of the screen time with various sound effects, ranging from electricity wires to a large crowd and the sounds of a train. You’d never hear things like that in today’s anime, where everything revolves around production values.

After watching this anime, I have to say that the creators spent a lot of time on the story. There’s almost no filler, and every episode has a meaning and develops Lain a bit further. Also, if there ever was a non-episodic anime, it’d be Lain. It’s nearly impossible to really define the themes of the different episodes, as they all flow surprisingly well. I also noticed that other 13-episodes anime start off with a quiet pacing, and then at one point, the tension suddenly skyrockets at one climax. This isn’t the case with Lain. The tension really has been very consistent, and it’s been building up perfectly to the final two episodes.

One thing that also becomes clear after only the first episode is that this anime is trying to play mind games with its viewer. We see a lot of psychedelic shots and pans, and sometimes, people don’t even talk for half an episode. Overall, I had a good time watching this anime, though it really seems to be missing something. It really misses an element to make it awesome. What we have here is a solid title, a lot of time was spent on it, though it misses a certain X-factor to make it really stand out.

5 Responses

  1. asdfghfhfg says:

    i think i know what you mean, and it may be because lain was supposed to be a completely multimedia experience or something. i think there’s a game and manga, maybe even a book etc but i only watched the anime and loved it

  2. Anga says:

    Yeah, Lain is quite good though not as good as same creator’s other series Haibane Renmei. I did enjoy the story, but like you mentioned it missed something.

    OP was also excellent. Somewhat creepy and yet so soothing, it’s bit hard to explain the feeling.

  3. Love this series! It was my first full-length anime series I ever watched and it was really good! Lain was, to me, such a different character than I had been previously exposed to in terms of a young teen girl in high school. I guess after watching so many American cartoons, I got tired of it and wanted to try something different and this was certainly different. In my honest opinion, I think the middle part of the show (episodes 4-9) are the strongest parts of the series. Again, this series will always have a special place in my heart!

  4. Snowolf says:

    Okay, I loved this anime. Hell, it was the most complex show I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Evangelion too) but it was beautiful, inspiring, depressing, touching, and extremely complex in any fashion fathomable.

    Lain’s not really your run-of-the-mill anime- in fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s your exact opposite. There aren’t many characters but the ones you do see each have their own personality and explanation for their actions. Lain to me is more of a set of a mindgame- each shot and view and conversation/speech can be viewed as biased, and you’re not entirely sure of whether you can trust the source. That stated, some of the experiences the characters go through can’t even be termed as ‘real’, as the definition between reality and fiction totally blurs.

  5. saed says:

    Lain is not a human.

    It’s not really about the cultural affect of net stuff, or anything metaphysical. It’s just a streight out story of the birth of Gaia.

    I know its been years, but I hope you read this.

    Later.

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  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:13 PM)
    @Bam Sorry about the YA comment then. Didn’t mean to sound pedantic. I missed your point about it earlier. Ray Donovan has really exceeded my expectations. I mean in a lot of ways it’s the derivative also-ran that I expected it to be, but the narrative is just damn good.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:11 PM)
    @Emma Speaking of dark Okada series though, aren’t you one of the people that dropped WIXOSS?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:11 PM)
    @Bam: We need you watching true detective.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:09 PM)
    @Emma I could never get into the showtime version. I tried.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:06 PM)
    And having Lucrezia wanting to bang Cesare is a legit incest thing in anything about the Borgias, historically the family was slandered with rumours of it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:04 PM)
    That manga, Cantarella I read, it was oddly effective how the historical characters, Cesare included, actually Lucrezia Borgia in particular fitted into a manga. I mean Lucrezia was an imouto before imoutos were cool.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:01 PM)
    And Assassins creed has Cesare in it I think.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:01 PM)
    @Ninja: I’m watching Boardwalk and Ray Donovan right now. I also mentioned that the YA thing is not going away, so I’m aware. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t have to be so seperate, I can enjoy adult anime too, almost just as much as live action.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 07:59 PM)
    @Realist: I like the hamminess of the Neil Jordan, showtime Borgias show.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 07:58 PM)
    @Realist: For all the hate I could give to Mari Okada, for the little nitpicks I have about anohana, that show while depressing (but with that silly ending) would have been so much better if it had been bleaker, with self destructive sex and ntr.

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