Posted by Lenlo on 7 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all, though its a day late and no longer Thursday, to the episode where Lain truly begins. I think. Really, I am not sure anymore, but this week Lain becomes a God, her room becomes a cave cave and dresses nice for once. Lets dive in!

Now normally I open these up with the production aspect, but you know what I think at this point. Lain is a very static show visually, that has more interesting shot composition and visuals than it does animation. Instead I want to ask a question about how every episode starts. That same street, that same line of “Present day, present time”. Is this supposed mean that Lain is occurring right now? Under our very noses, without society noticing? Grand events playing out while the wider world is unaware? Its the only explanation I can think of, at least that’s positive. Because Lain generally overlays a speech of some kind over it. Whatevers related to the episode. It could just be part of an extended OP, with no greater purpose. But that would be disappointing after what the series has shown thus far.

For the actual episode itself, Lain opened up… weirdly. Like always. I gotta admit, I was not expecting Lain’s room to turn into a veritable cave. Filled with machines, coolant pipes wrapping around the room and leaking onto the floor. Turning it into a veritable jungle of technology, showing us through her environment just how wrapped up in the Wired Lain has become. Plus, it all became plot relevant later on in the episode as well. I do have a question though: How did her father not know about this? He has to order all the parts right? He could just be a doll, like Mika is now, but he has to much emotion for that. Her father was clearly concerned about the room and Lain’s mental state, even if he didn’t do or say anything about it. Makes you wonder just how much he knows of Lain’s activities.

I ask because, where I her father, I would be concerned about Lain’s activities as well. Meeting with the Knights, chatting them up and in general learning hacky things. Its a very off relationship she has with them to. They are very friendly with each other at the start of the episode. Swapping tips, chatting away and Lain in general seems very happy. Yet by the end she is angry and screaming at them and they are trying to kill her, supposedly. To me, it feels like a fake friend sort of thing. People are helping her because she is popular and skilled, and not because they are actual friend’s. They want her on their side because she helps them and gives them some kind of legitimacy or something. Maybe Lain is trying to comment on the nebulous nature of online relationships? Not sure, but it was interesting.

This also wraps back around to the Men in Black, with their lazer eyes. If we take them at their word this week, they are not in fact the Knights. But actually are working against them. Protecting Lain and trying to help her. This makes it clear there are multiple sides to this conflict Lain has found herself dragged into. But what I liked most about all of this was how they showed Lain her mortality. In the Wired, she is a veritable god. Showing up in the sky, hacking the Wired and basically controlling Reality. Yet had they not tricked/needled her to come outside, Lain would be dead. In the real world, she is weak as anyone else. It adds some nice stakes for Lain, making her vulnerable in her everyday life. Not that Lain seems to be sticking all that close to reality this week.

I say that because Lain went full-bore into the mystery this week with the Psi Professor. It answers some questions, as weird as it is. The Knights are using the Wired, and it’s AR games, to connect children with Psi. Just like the Professor’s experiment. Gathering power, though what for who knows. Maybe a big bomb of some kind. As interesting as that is though, personally, I find the addition of Psi to be a bit boring. I am really into Lain’s focus on technology and its effects on society. Even though Lain went through a lot of effort to differentiate it from Psychic Powers, it still feels supernatural. I am open to letting Lain do its thing and see where it goes. But at the moment, I am a little concerned about where the themes of the series are going. Even if it does provide useful explanations for events.

Of course, what I am talking about here is Lain’s appearing in the sky and other such things. It is my current belief that Lain is tapping into the aforementioned Psi power the Knights are collecting. That somehow, someway, she has connected to it and is accidentally channeling that power around her. It would explain a lot about her changes in behavior, how she affects things around her, and got so skilled so quickly. It’s not a perfect fit of course, we know so little of Psi and how it fits into the greater narrative. But I firmly believe that there is more to it than some simple energy Bomb. That seems far to tame for Lain, and there has to be some reason for her connection to everyone. After all, it was occuring long before she joined the Wired.

So, all in all this was a confusing episode. There were a lot of stylistic things I liked. Such as the representation of the Wired, and the Cheshire Cat. That was a really fun sequence, with the talking mouth and how some people can only create ears in the Wired. There was a lot of subtext to the conversation that I don’t have the time to get into here. As I mentioned before I also found Lain’s new room to be a treat. Both visually and thematically. As much as I am enjoying, or maybe not enjoying but enthralled by, Lain I am still concerned about some aspects. The Psi, how convoluted some parts of it might/are becoming. I am more than willing to see where it goes, but I like the focus on technology. I don’t want to abandon that.

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