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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:42 PM)
    @Bam: There was this bizzaro Joan of arc slide show arthouse erotica anime from the 70s that recently got a re-release, its somewhat tied to Tezuka, really trippy shit, Kanashimi no belladonna.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:35 PM)
    As a book I could see it flowing better. Oshii or Kamiyama could more effectively adapt such density of material to screen.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:32 PM)
    Ultimately I think it got too ambitious and had too much on its plate.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:31 PM)
    I have yet to see genocidal organ, although yes Harmony was pretty below average and that was putting it mildly. I will consider re-evaluating it if it gets dubbed/when the dub comes out.
    Admittedly its a film of big ideas, my problem with it that the movie itself is just so plodding and I found it too overstuffed to properly focus on/fully develop its themes and the exposition was particularly heavy handed.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:15 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, heard about the Project Itoh, from what I heard they’re not that good thou, with only Empire of Corpses has a slightly favorable reviews. I believe Kaiser watched Harmony alrready and he gave a very negative rating.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:55 PM)
    For those who have somehow managed to miss the hype for Harmony:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC-6U8HCF8c
    The visuals are intriguing, the palette very sharp, and the CGI relatively well integrated. The early reviews been scathing tho, and given my experience with Empire of Corpses I can guess why.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:49 PM)
    Each piece of the trilogy is handled by a different cast and company. Empire of Corpses was done by Wit Studio, Harmony by Studio 4°C, and Genocidal Organ by Manglobe (or Geno Studio as they are called now).
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:43 PM)
    Anybody seen Empie of Corpses? I watched it to get primed for that Harmony feature film anime, which is part of Project Itoh trilogy. Studio Wit went all out here. The animation is great, and the premise has potential, but the delivery was just botched.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 01:07 PM)
    @Mario, you were worried that you would be covering too much slice of life style anime this season, at least with this I will likely be taking one off your hands. I don’t want to cover it but hey if the public says so…guess I will have to suffer.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 07:15 AM)
    Also it’s nice to see there was heated arguments on EVA even before I start to do any post review. The way I see it thou certain films/ series are classic/ influential for a reason, if they are brilliant I certainly can still see its sparks. Like I can still amazed of Potemkin Battleship on its montahe editing, or It Happens one night fot its influential on romantic comedy. So I really look forward to see how I feel about EVA hahaa

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