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.

6 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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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 04:06 PM)
    @Bam, Well the three games were originally supposed to be one. But it turned out that the first two were bundled together and Alternative was made a separate release.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).

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