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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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 11:38 PM)
    Spent the day reading that Voynich hotel manga, not as good as his other work, some might call it disjointed, but it delivers as a quirky black comedy and I like the serial killer girl in this as well as those two female assassins and some of the two leads backstories are good enough. Doumen seiman’s offbeat art style is also always enjoyable to look at.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:42 PM)
    @Aidan: I didn’t know that. There was a lot of details that exactly correspond to the Titanic that I left out, and come to think of it they are rather fishy and too specific, but the gist of the original book was probably coincidentally similar to the event; namely an unsinkable ship called Titan sinking on its maiden voyage.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:40 PM)
    If I recall correctly it the titanic was an Irish backed/built/funded ship…I think…
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:37 PM)
    @Bam, that book is questionable. The author wrote the book and after the titanic republished it and edited it to relate it more to the tragedy.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:26 PM)
    I want a yandere magical girl one that is outwardly a kuudere.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:19 PM)
    It was implied that something deluded her, especially the shows themselves.
    She wanders the streets hoping to be killed by someone as insane as herself.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:17 PM)
    I can recall coming up with the idea of a homeless girl who thinks she’s a magical girl and she goes around dismembering people (well decapitation at least) and when she accepts she’s actually crazy and she’s the real monster she tries to impale herself through the face by jumping from a height onto the wand (which isn’t really a wand) but any chance of atonement by her taking her own life is prevented so she’s forced to live on with what she did.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:08 PM)
    I don’t know, in my opinion any potential that a magical girl series could possibly have is usually undermined by their repetitive formulatic nature.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 08:53 PM)
    When I first came to this site was on a comedy/magical girl/romcomdrama kick but I’ve gone out of the mood again for a bit now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 08:49 PM)
    Now if that coincidence is possible then all bets are off, and maybe a magical girl show made by Toei called Go! Princess Precure could be a great series.

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