Posted by Lenlo on 24 May 2019 with categories: Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Hello all and welcome to another week of Throwback Thursday, posted on a Friday, for Serial Experiments Lain! This week Lain answers a lot of questions, introduces a lot more and dives into the surreal. So lets jump in!

Starting off, like I said Lain answers a lot of questions this week. Addressing the drugs, Wired, Lain’s prevalence in the world and how they all fit together. All without explicitly tying them together with direct callouts. Meanwhile it also introduced many more questions in regards to the Knights, and the line between the Wired and reality. Yet with all of this ground covered, it all felt like natural consequences of the story. Saving spoilers for after the break, I was very impressed with how so little managed to connect so much. Giving so much relevance to an episode title or the smallest grin from a character. I said last week I have to be in the right mind to watch Lain. This episode reinforces that belief for me. Enough dancing around the spoilers though, let’s talk about suicide, woo!

So like I said, suicides. Apparently the one we saw at the start of Lain was not the last. With multiple people jumping off rooves and what not. Almost as if it is spreading, which seems ridiculous for something like this. However Lain manages to have this make sense by tying it to the Wired, via this game called Phantoma. I will get to Phantoma in a second, but what I like about this is how it uses technology that is still really just emerging. Things like ARG’s and VR, while still playing into Lain’s themes about reality and what is or is not real. It’s not something I would have expected from a ’98 anime. It’s like someone making a movie about climate change back in the 80’s- oh wait, Nausicaa exists. Tangents aside, Lain surprised me here.

For Phantoma itself, what was incredibly interesting to me was how it tied back into Lain. We have previous evidence that Lain has been seen around the wired, regardless of never having really used her Navi before. Yet with this ARG, and the back-door connecting it to other programs, this suddenly makes that a lot more possible. I am still confused by the seeming inability to interact with/knowledge of what’s going on in the ARG. But Lain has answered my questions before, so I believe time will reveal this to me as well. Regardless, Phantoma is clearly responsible for the suicides mentioned previously. Painting it as a very prevalent game in the world. It makes me really curious how Wired Lain connects to Real Life Lain at this point, through Phantoma seemingly. Though for now let’s move onto the Phantoma episode we witnessed first hand.

This was outright crazy, and I was not expecting Lain to go down this road. Killing a little girl via connecting an ARG game of tag to Phantoma? Shocking. Yet, it was at this moment that episode 2 suddenly clicked for me. I previously thought it was the drug that drove him crazy, along with the sight of Lain. Yet now I believe that the drug just gave him greater sensory awareness of the ARG Phantoma. Or effected his mental state to be more susceptible to it. It was the ARG Phantoma that caused him to actually see things that weren’t there, to confuse the Real Lain for the Wired Lain. I am 100% sure there is more to it than this, but even if I am wrong, Lain is letting me draw these conclusions. To feel like I am connecting the dots, so future surprises don’t completely side-swipe us.

That all said, lets move on to Lain and her… changes? She was a very different character this week, though it was only clear because of how extreme she was at the start. Being emotionless and veritably silent. Now however we see her smiling, chatting, her face is more animated. She is also hiding things and lying to her friends now. Its like she is gaining more and more of a personality as we go, when she started as en empty shell. What concerns me, narratively not to the quality of the show, is how little her friends noticed this. With only Alice really acknowledging it at all, while the rest just brush it off. I am curious if this is similar to the Cyberia club, where none seemed bothered by what happened. As if they are just brushing off changes in their life.

Next up, the most interesting aspect of this episode to me, the Knights. They were mentioned last week, but I didn’t pay them much mind. I should have expected Lain wouldn’t drop them in out of nowhere. It really pushes them as this sort of unorganized group, unified by an idea than any central goal. Tying them back in to the title of the episode, I wonder how they involve Lain. Are they a cult of some kind? Regardless, what’s most interesting about them to me are their real world parallels. The Knights are really similar to a modern day Anonymous, hacking without any central leadership, just a general ethos to guide them. I am really curious where Lain goes with this, because I want to see if this is just a coincidence, or just how deep the connection goes.

For example, the men in black, with the laser dots on their head? First off, clever callback to the Cyberia club and any possible trauma Lain may have developed from it. Flashing those red dots across her face while making it clear where they are looking. Loved that. But secondly, are they are part of the Knights? Hunting down Lain for some reason? Or are they perhaps part of some government organization who oppose the Knights? I would ask if they existed at all, but Lain’s sister met them previously. Almost as if the sole purpose of that scene was to ensure us they exist. Regardless, they did a great job this week of showing us how Lain can directly affect the real world through the Wired. How that isn’t just drugs or hallucinations, but that Lain is legitimately in both at once. Creepy.

So, all in all, how was this weeks Lain? Confusing, but satisfying. I feel so much more informed with Lain than I did with Paranoia Agent. In Paranoia Agent, the whole show was a mystery. With each episode kind of being its own little thing, splitting off to each character. It worked because Kon is amazing, but it had a lot of issues. Lain however lets us follow a single character, and while its still a mystery, its one that is actually unraveling as we go. The Knights arn’t new to this episode, we learned of them earlier. The Wired and Reality were blending as far back as episode 1. So little of this is new, its just being presented in different lights, slowly connecting it together. I understand none of it, but I am enjoying it. So I suppose that counts for something.

One Response

  1. Avatar evafan says:

    Damn it! I must catch up with you before I can comment here. It’s been a while for me…

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

4 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Fire Force – 11 [Formation of Company 8 / The Mightiest Hikeshi]

Unlike other shows I’m watching, Fire Force seems to be hitting stride right at the end of the season. I still argue this show is best in episodes like this one – minimal fight scenes, which they struggle with, and limited catgirl.

DanMachi2 – Army’s Advance (Rakia)

DanMachi is sliding down a muddy hill.  That’s both a summary of what happened this episode and the state of this season’s quality in general.

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 12 [Lightning and Shooting Star]

As I have speculated in the past couple of weeks, the culprit behind all the crime is Dr. Heartless. What did surprise me was him being a Caules impostor the entire time he was on the train. Lord El-Melloi II isn’t a show about the audience solves the mystery for themselves but there was still […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 25 [Tsuguko, Kanao Tsuyuri]

Welcome one and all, to the penultimate week of Kimetsu no Yaiba. It’s an odd week I feel, though not a particularly negative one. Just the difference between “fine” and “good”, as this week covers more training, Kanao’s backstory and some actually good comedy. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Starting off, let’s talk […]

Dr.STONE – 12 [Buddies Back to Back]

Welcome to another good week of Dr.STONE, this time tackling a chapter I have been expectantly waiting for. As this week Senku and crew confront the dangerous side of science, Ginro finds his courage and we take another step towards our cure-all. Let’s get right to it! First and foremost I want to talk about […]

Mononoke – 7 [Faceless Monster, Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

And so ends another arc of Mononoke. This was an interesting one as I was simultaneously proven right, yet also wrong, based on last weeks predictions. So without further ado, lets dive right into the finale of our latest horrifying arc. Starting off, Mononoke this week sort of pulled a fast one on me. It […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 10-11

Contrary to last episode’s ending scene of Gray and Hephaestion charging into each other, it winds up being something very reminiscent of the that entire banquet of kings episode from Fate/zero. Although fewer in participants, less epic and far shorter than its predecessor, it’s filled with substantial dialogue between these two warriors about their own […]

Vinland Saga – 10 [Ragnarok]

This was a pretty insightful week for Vinland Saga. As we get a deeper look into Askeladd’s character, Thorkell goes on the move and Thorfinn continues to question his place in the band. Lets dive in! Starting off, like always, the productions. This week was, to use a dirty word, pretty damn cinematic. Vinland continues […]

Fire Force – 9/10 [Spreading Malice/Promise]

Fire Force is an anime that shows more than it tells.  For that reason, I’ve saved up two episodes to have something more to talk about than a simple recap.  Let’s go!

Latest Reviews

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]