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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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.

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