Posted by Lenlo on 25 July 2019 with categories: Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to the finale of Serial Experiments Lain, perhaps the oddest of the series done for Throwback Thursday yet. This week Lain moves on, Arisu grows up and everyone just… goes back to normal. Lot’s going on, none of which I am qualified for, but let’s jump in.

Now before we get into the meat of the series, I want to talk about “enjoyment”. You see, I am not entirely sure that I “enjoyed” Lain. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly interesting, and very evocative. Lain made me feel a lot of emotions throughout its run. Think about a lot of topics anime normally doesn’t. Yet, were they positive emotions? Was it… enjoyable? I don’t think it was, though I don’t think that’s necessary either. You don’t need to enjoy something for it to have value. For an extreme example, I never enjoyed textbooks, yet the information was valuable. I don’t enjoy many of my favorite moments in Berserk, because of their tragic nature. Yet they have value and cause me to feel emotions I normally don’t. For someone as unexpressive as myself, that’s an accomplishment. Enough about me though, onto the finale itself.

As far as the story goes, the big big one we have to talk about is the All Reset. The complete and total reversal of the entire world. I suppose this ties back to what Lain did before. With the removing of memories of herself. Except now she has both removed herself and Masami, everything that happened from people’s minds. At the same time replacing them with new ones. I would say it was veritable time travel if that actually fit the show, yet it doesn’t. It’s almost as if Lain has reset it in everyone’s minds such that the past few weeks never happened. Granted, it doesn’t need a concrete explanation, but I like to have one. Yet, it was more than just a reversal, as it undoes actions from before Lain begins as well. Even going so far as to bring people back from the dead.

Really, it was that resurrection where I started to lose the thread. Because that starts to go beyond the realm of “Omnipotent in the Wired”. Take for instance Chika, who died at the start of the story. Yet here she is, basically taking Lain’s place at the school. Meanwhile we have Masami, once dead on the tracks and in Lain’s room, now a disgruntled salaryman. It sort of goes beyond what I expected Lain’s technology focused Godhood to be. Though I suppose with the merging of Wired and Reality, they could be in the same state Lain was. Veritable holograms/fake bodies that might as well be real. And it is worth mentioning, their personalities are unchanged. Chika is still a lowner, Masami still hates his job. Mika is back to normal and Taro is still a brat. Yet not even Lain could remove everything.

The central theme of Lain seems to be human connection, and how it informs our existence. So I find it interesting that those closest to Lain seem to remember her. At least in part. Arisu, her only true friend, seems to remember most everything. Even mistaking Chika for her. Meanwhile her father, Yasuo, seems to be her spiritual guidepost and also still remembers her. Looking towards her place at the table. And even being the figure Lain looks to for guidance once its all over. Even if it may not be the real him, but a copy/hologram/mimicry of him. Finally we have Taro, who himself was almost Lain’s friend. And seemingly cared for her on some level, if he was able to remember her there at the end. It’s a nice exception to Lain’s omnipotence, that the connections still carry through.

Across the board, it seems like Lain has reached an even greater state than Masami. She has reached what he was aiming for, yet unlike Masami, she is much less crazy. This seems like an odd choice to me, because if she can All Reset, why can’t she just… get her life back? Go back to how everything was at the start? I suppose you could look at that as a sort of moving past it all. Before she was desperate for human connection and to be treated as human. So now that she is sure of herself, she can move on? She is confident and doesn’t need to be reassured in that manner? It seems like an odd choice, and I feel compelled to try and compare this to Masami in some way. With his decisions and personality, because of how close the two are. Sadly, I cannot.

What I mean is, for better or for worse, I am not smart enough to really dig into Lain. I can appreciate it. As I said in my opening paragraph, I don’t regret watching Lain, it was a very unique experience. One I don’t think I could find anywhere else in Anime. But it was not necessarily an “enjoyable” experience. At least, not until this finale, where after all of the hardships, we and Lain finally got some good emotions out of it. In that way, Lain’s ending was made better because of the journey. However unique that journey was.

Now, as far as final review for the series goes, I will get that up sometime next week. I would normally aim for this weekend, but I will be attending Otakon in DC. So I will be a bit busy! In the meantime, here is a poll to vote on the next series! We will start back up again on the 8th, after I get a week break. If you have a series you would like to see in the poll, feel free to comment below and I can add it to the next one! I will admit, I curated this one a bit. As for however interesting Serial Experiments Lain was, after it and Paranoia Agent, I am hoping for something a bit less… insane. See you next week for the review!

5 Responses

  1. Avatar jimtim says:

    So I think lain was a god (that came into being when the number of people on earth was equal to the number of neurons in the brain) that was invited into becoming human, who wanted to be a normal human and erased her memories only to be used by individuals for their own ends, although they ulatimately failed because of Arisu. However she realized her presence would only hurt the people she cared for (like Arisu and her sister to a lesser degree).

    So while I think the show being a bit less subtle would definitely make it more enjoyable, it doesn’t suffer in terms of its quality. I rate the show very highly, but I only really enjoyed the last few episodes when things started to fit into place.

  2. Avatar tonk82 says:

    (Spoilers)

    Being a show about computers, and the merge between the real and computer world… i always thought about that “all reset” in terms of computer software, not on a real world basis. You can restore a program to its original configuration, you can reset a OS to its defaults values, you can recover deleted files… my interpretation of what Lain does, goes along those lines. Like a restore point or something like that.

    Regarding Lain position at the end… she knows and accepts that her role fits better in the wired, than on the real world, since thats where she is from. So, unlike Masami, she decides to embrace it and look over the real world, as a guardian, or if you prefer… as a watching god that cares for the people.

    Thats my take, i guess.

  3. Avatar SuperWooper says:

    I voted for Mononoke in the poll. It’s short, has great art, and features arc-based storytelling, so there’s always something new to write about. LoGH is really good, but it’s too damn long.

  4. Avatar CJayIII says:

    I would LOVE to see coverage of Mononoke for next time for a few reasons.
    1. You always have interesting things to say about the art/direction of series and Mononoke has some of the best visual in the medium
    2. Not many blogs covered Mononoke as it was airing and LoGH has been talked about to death.
    3. It’s thematically rich and arc based, making it a good target for weekly blogging.

    If you end up doing Mononoke I would suggest starting with the Bakeneko episodes from Ayakashi, seeing as these are essentially the first episodes in the series.

  5. Avatar Radhi_N says:

    It was long time i explore to deep about Lain(actually several week/month…), there my explanation…
    1. Iwakura Lain besides her shy, she actually same coin in 2 sides with Lain Wired. Lain wired maybe is an origin from protocol 7 that created/writed and “customized” by Masami(he suicide after ) and i was forgot write one thing…after all incident in anime Yasuo rewrite protocol 7 and the result Lain Wired is awaken while talking with Yasuo(check the last ep.) but Masami awaken too in the game…there some moment when he showing itself espesially in manga…
    2. I speculate if Masami goal is to destroy border between real world and Wired,so it will connected even there a”person” in real world is die, the “person” in wired replace it…not..not that i mean…it will should be “to gain eternal life, all information(memory, age, mind, how he/she spoke, body shape, anything) from the “person” gathered and will become replica from the “person””
    in anime his goal is not success…but in the game his goal success with prove that Lain do something same with Masami that is “suicide”….
    you can see all my explanation including timeline(i guess) :
    https://hitokageproduction.com/article/3

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