Posted by Lenlo on 17 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Starting off, let me apologize for the lateness of this weeks Lain post. I tend to try and digest an episode before writing, and Lain makes that… difficult. As this week we get into the human psyche, the line between reality and the Wired blurs and Lain becomes multiple people. Lets hop right in!

Starting off, this week was weird. Like, really weird, but also very interesting. I loved the use of consistent imagery, connecting different events of the show. For instance the red dots in the car window, mimicking the red dot of the gun last episode. Building upon Lain’s trauma with it. The empty house which Lain comes home to, apparently each night, and how Lain mills about like this isn’t anything new. Really nailing home how alone and disconnected from everyone she is. Idling away her hours on the computer. I actually stopped Lain for a second and looked around my apartment, realizing I had been doing the exact same thing. Its a really weird feeling to get from a show made in ’98. Even the name of the chip Lain gets this week is filled with connotations. So much so I probably missed most of them. It’s ridiculously layered.

Speaking of the Psyche chip, let’s talk about that. This is interesting to me on multiple levels. How installing a Psyche, a “soul”, into the computer makes the Wired stronger. Letting you get into it from anywhere, as if its some higher plane. As if a machine is capable of gaining a Psyche and gettin on the same level of humans. When already Lain’s computer is doing things like telling her “good night”. But on top of that, Lain’s attitude in regards to her computer and its Psyche. For the first time in the series, we see Lain get active and emotional, the most emotive she ever was. Going out of her way to search out information on this. At the end we even see Lain smiling and having fun installing it on her computer, playing God, giving it a mind. Whether this is the real Lain is debatable though.

What I mean by that is, throughout this episode Lain asks who Lain is. The entire episode actually opens on telling us about a Lain completely different from the one we know. A kind of urban myth, Lain of the Wired. So separate from our own Lain that she doesn’t even know the other exists. Doesn’t know anything about her life, or her experiences. Yet everyone else knows her, even when she is physically different. For instance one of the people said Lain was going for the “little girl” look. Whether that’s just changing clothes or full on appearance, who knows. But Lain draws a very clear line between the two. With that line being made up of the Wired. Lain also states that everyone acts differently on the Wired, but rarely is it such a complete shift as with Lain. It makes you wonder which is the real one.

My personal take is that Lain is trying to say both of them are the real Lain. Different aspects of the same person that can only come out separately. On the Wired, Lain will be able to express herself, like we seemingly saw her do at the end of the episode. While in real life, Lain is very closed off and quiet. One could argue both are “real”, but that is a different discussion entirely. Both are parts of who Lain is, someone desperate for the connection she doesn’t get at home. This ties back into the Psyche aspect, as I am not sure whose Psyche she is installing. Is she putting her own in, committing herself to the world of the Wired and her connections there? Or is she metaphorically splitting her own? I’m not sure to be honest. I am a Software Developer damnit, not a Philosopher!

On her issues with connections, I also feel its worth talking about Lain’s home life. Or lack thereof, in this case. Lain takes great care to make it painfully clear how disconnected from her family Lain is. None of them picking up the phone, none being home at night. None of them knowing about what happened at the club, or seemingly caring. Her father not being interested in the chip. I am not sure if that last one is suspect of some greater mystery, or metaphorical for him rejecting her offered “soul”/psyche. Either way, Lain makes it very clear that the family is happy and connected, excluding her. I am curious if Lain is going to try to fit in a theme of “the family you choose” with this. That or how being true to yourself can open up once closed connections. Regardless, lots of options here.

Finally, lets end this with my take on Lain and its technology. I no longer think Lain is going to be a negative commentary on it and the internet. There is a clear reverence for it. And Lain tells us early not to take things like the Psyche as “just a piece of technology”. Now, I think Lain is trying to predict or comment on just how impactful the internet will be. How people can/have/will act on it, when separated from reality. How it brings out aspects of a person personality that otherwise stays hidden behind that public mask. I am curious how much of a good thing Lain will portray this as though, as we have seen a character seemingly get driven crazy by this split already in the club shooter. It’s crazy, I try to figure this out, yet I feel like I miss so much.

So all in all, how was Lain this week? Crazy. Engaging. Filled to the brim with layers and meaning. For all that I managed to fit into this post, I missed two more. From the strange cyborg men, one of which was watching Lain last week, to her lingering trauma in class. The indifference all the characters aside from Lain showed to being at a shooting, to the strange video-feed from the sisters point of view at the end of the episode. Plus all of the things I legitimately missed! I suppose what I am saying is, what I enjoy about Lain, is that there is always something more. A good Shounen is nice, I can relax and just have fun. A drama gets my emotions high and lets me feel something. Lain though… Lain forces you to engage and think if you want any hope of following along.

And few others series do that.

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