Posted by Lenlo on 21 June 2019 with categories: Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Welcome to another episode of Acid Trip Weekly, also known as, Serial Experiments Lain! This week is one of the most confusing, yet simultaneously coherent episodes of anime I have ever watched. It’s impossible to summarize, so let’s just dive in.

Starting off, like I said, this episode was an acid trip, both visually and narratively. From the crazy colors and sequences, to crazy metaphorical representation for ideas/situations. In particular I loved the fiery explosion of Lain when she was just done with everything. Now, I started the episode having only the faintest idea what was going on. One could argue I ended the episode not much better, but personally, I at least feel more informed. Some of it no doubt went over my head. However I think Lain did a very good job of getting the core of the episode across. The specifics of rumors, acknowledging your true self and anonymity on the internet were clearly shown. Both through visuals and dialogue. To show this, let’s move on to the actual story and take a look at some of these moments.

Starting off, let’s talk about Wired Lain, and how she is fighting back/asserting herself over Real Lain. At first, to me this was a commentary on how people act on the internet. How anonymity can affect a person’s behavior. You see it all the time on forums and in games, the toxic behavior that comes with no one really knowing who you are. No real life consequences. however this idea got challenged the further the episode went along, as Wired Lain’s actions were clearly visible to the larger world. They had consequences, and so didn’t make sense from that perspective. Unless of course Lain was trying to show how destructive these actions are, or how this aspect of a person’s personality is still there. Regardless, it was interesting, and the rest of the episode was only more so.

Throughout the episode we see Wired Lain drive Real Lain more and more into a corner. Until eventually Real Lain elects to fight back, in a burning explosion of emotion. I have to say, I wasn’t expecting Lain to actually manage to delete the Wired version of her. Both proving her greater power as a veritable God in the Wired, but also her willingness to do so. What I loved the most about it though were the consequences. How deleting herself from people’s memories, which destroyed Wired Lain, split herself once more. What I am curious about here though is whether or not she did destroy Wired Lain. If this split Lain is a new one, the same one, or once again an extension of herself. All of this being some weird metaphor for accepting yourself.

What leads me down this road is this belief around what happened when Lain deleted herself. I believe that in deleting herself from those memories, no one knows the “real” Lain anymore. Perhaps not even herself. She has effectively done in real life what people do on the internet. Exposing only parts of her personality to people, explaining the split/second Lain. That represents the idealized Lain, the one she left in all their memories. The one without any flaws or issues, as she purged all the bad stuff she didn’t like. However just because she removed that from their memories, doesn’t mean that those aspects aren’t still a part of her. It was a very unexpected and, in my opinion, brilliant setup for the whole thing. None of it was spelt out, but I intuitively understood what was happening.

The last thing I want to mention though is Lain’s family, and her confrontation of them. It was pretty crazy, I never expected her to actually ask them. But then for them to just blankly stare, almost like they were looking through her? Resigned? It really drives home last episodes comments on it, how they aren’t really her parents anymore. Either they are no longer there, like Mika, or they simply don’t care to act anymore. Personally, I am leaning towards the second, as they seem still in possession of their faculties. Not gibbering away like Mika. But they took that one moment of confrontation to stare at Lain, to let her know she isn’t welcome seemingly. Combine that with her deteriorating friend-group and it appears Lain is losing all of her connections to the real world.

So all in all, how was this episode of Lain? Confusing, interesting, disturbing, all of the above? I want to rate it as my favorite episode yet, simply because of how much information was put across with so little difficulty. Combine that with some of the stunningly animated scenes and it stands out as a highlight of the season. Resolving and introducing a whole new conflict that still ties in to the original conflict. I will admit to some difficulty putting my feelings on the series into words, because of how mad its subject is. But I assure you I am enjoying the series. Much more than Paranoia Agent, which I felt flagged in the middle and didn’t have the same level of consistency. Because of all this, I can’t wait till next week. I might just watch it now and write the post up in advance, really…

One Response

  1. Avatar jimmytimmy says:

    This show is great. It’s so abstract yet consistent at the same time. Either way you’re in the home stretch now so I can see why you’re keen to move onto the next episode. I say don’t deny yourself. Its only going to get better from here on out.

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