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Lunch » Tags » Television Shows » Reviews » Serial Experiments Lain » User review

Enter the Wired...

  • Jan 30, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+3

My only regret concerning this series is that I took so long to get around to watching it. It is one of the most intelligent series that I have had the pleasure of viewing as of yet, and it becomes clear from the very first episode that the writers did their homework. I cannot stand it when a series throws out the names of poets and works of science and literature or uses famous works of art in its opening sequence, etc. in an effort to seem more intelligent and deep than they actually are. It especially bothers me when characters are named after scientists or philosophers for no reason. On the other end of the spectrum, I love it when a series introduces me to a new concept or idea that I had never heard of prior to viewing it, but I love it even more when a series successfully incorporates these into the storyline, as is the case with Serial Experiments Lain. In the series, a character uses a computer network that was based upon concepts such as Timothy Leary's 8-Circuit Model of Consciousness and Ted Nelson's Project Xanadu in an attempt to make it possible for humans to communicate via the electromagnetic waves alluded to in the idea of the Schumann resonance, later becoming so entrenched in the idea of helping humans to evolve to the "digital" level that he eventually comes to regard himself as a god. In a strange yet delightful way, all of these seemingly unconnected ideas come together in the end to paint a much larger, clearer picture. (What I just mentioned only covered may a quarter of the ideas that make up every aspect of Serial Experiments Lain.) The series also uses events in history such as the Roswell UFO incident to show how humans react in controversial situations involving the weird and supernatural, and how these hoaxes, even after being revealed as such, still have an effect on history. Overall, the series is difficult to sum up in a few paragraphs, because rather than progress in a linear fashion, the series is made up of several layers, and is something that would have to be viewed in order to really be understood.

While Lain has its share of technicalities, it also has its fair share of truly chilling moments, such as one in which Lain is surrounded by a hallucination featuring several people whose heads have been replaced with Lain's. As if this isn't creepy enough (the heads almost move and sound like bobble-heads), at least one of the heads falls out onto the ground. There are also several equally chilling quotes delivered by several of the characters throughout. This series is one of the few that has successfully sent shivers down my spine.

Despite the series having been created nearly a decade ago, its visuals are, in my opinion, more stunning than many newer anime series. While the animation is relatively simple, consisting of mostly school settings, empty roads and lamp posts, and computers and other electronic devices, it isn't necessarily mediocre or bad. There just isn't as much going on as there is in several other titles. If I recall, the series re-uses a few scenes, such as when Lain is leaving her house to go to school, but it didn't distract from the series' quality, and besides, it actually helped to add to the mundaneity of Lain's life before she entered the Wired.

Serial Experiments Lain has, if I recall correctly, only one insert song throughout the entire series, and I believe that there is no background music, which was probably an intentional choice on the part of the series' creators. As for the opening and ending themes, I found them both to be very fitting with Lain's atmosphere, although I didn't like the fact that the same ending theme was used for the last episode. The opening sequence accompanying the song definitely lets you know what you're in for. As for the quality of Lain's dubs, I only watched the series in English, so cannot comment on the Japanese track. Because Lain does not have a heavy reliance on dialogue, and some of the characters sound very monotone much of the time, it is difficult to say whether the English track is "good". It really all comes down to preference.

While I can't praise enough Lain's plot and references to other famous works of literature and philosophy, I can't exactly call the series flawless either. I really wanted to love this series, but in the end, felt that it had little replay value. Surprisingly, while Lain has a somewat small cast of characters, the only characters that seemed to really be fleshed out were Lain, Alice, and, to some extent, Lain's sister, Mika. Lain herself is only likeable about half of the time, because she alternates between different personalities, or "selves", one of which is menacing and sadistic. Seeing these other Lains, which are so radically different from the Lain we are initially introduced to is chilling, but it really did nothing for me on a personal or emotional level. The character I came to care for most (aside from the first Lain we are shown) was Lain's sister, whose consciousness becomes severely damaged by hallucinations. Lain herself is also incredibly inexpressive and apathetic throughout a large part of the show; I found it difficult at times to care about what happened to her because she didn't seem to care either. However, if you are more interested in plot-driven titles than in character-driven ones, none of this may bother you.

All in all, Serial Experiments Lain is a series definitely worth viewing if you're a fan of the genre and don't mind slow, meditative pacing. It is, in a way, beautiful. People who enjoy fan-service, humor, and action sequences will find not a single moment of it in this series. It may not become your absolute favorite anime title, because Lain is, in my opinion, a series that you will come to appreciate and respect more than "love", but it is definitely a title that will linger in your mind for days upon finishing the final episode.

Enter the Wired... Enter the Wired...

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January 24, 2011
I saw this series about around the time it was released in North America that was about 2001-2002 I loved it it was a true work of art and far superior to anything that comes out today this series is one of the best of all time a true underrated gem. Excellent review.
 
March 16, 2010
Fantastic review, love the new pic, and this new community's great!
March 17, 2010
Haha thank you very much. I love this community too. When I'm looking for a new animated film or series to watch, it helps to be able to come right to this community.
 
February 11, 2010
very interesting critique! I've been a bit slow on my keeping up with everyone's reviews but am glad I stopped by- you've been busy! This one sounds really solid to me but if there's one thing I've learned, it's to take your scores very seriously. Is it safe to assume this is superior to Noein? I'm not a huge cyber punk fan, but every once in a while one tends to come along that grabs my attention. Great work, thanks!
February 11, 2010
Hmm...that depends. Lain is definitely superior in terms of its plot and sci-fi references. While Noein tries to do two things at once (weave an intricate sci-fi plot and develop a large cast of characters), Lain focuses mainly on its plot. Noein, on the other hand, has the better character development of the two. I also preferred Lain's animation, and while I like the music in Lain better, Noein's soundtrack has more songs. I guess it depends upon whether you prefer plot-driven or character-driven series.
February 13, 2010
Very well put, thank you kindly for the insight. It really goes a long way.
February 19, 2010
You're welcome.
 
January 30, 2010
I have seen several episodes of LAIN but I have not heard of this as of yet. Thank you for sharing this. Nice breakdown of the series. I am having some issues voting right now so I hope my votes do go through...You deserve the 3 thumbies for this effort.
January 31, 2010
Thank you; I think your votes went through. This series is definitely worth a watch if your into cyberpunk titles, or series like Texhnoylze and Ergo Proxy. I know you enjoyed the latter.
 
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More Serial Experiments Lain reviews
review by . January 12, 2013
posted in ASIANatomy
First of all, I'd like to say how glad I am that Funimation reissued this anime in a DVD/blu-ray combo pack last November. No longer is a gem like this in “out-of-print obscurity.”    Serial Experiments Lain has been one of those anime titles I've heard of ever since I got into anime back in July of 2002, but never checked out since from the surface, didn't look all that appealing to me at the time. I made a gamble when Funimation was reissuing this anime by pre-ordering …
Quick Tip by . June 13, 2013
posted in ASIANatomy
Serial Experiments Lain is a classic cyberpunk anime title, and one of the best anime titles ever.      This anime has it all, tonal and artistic consistency (consistently serious), solid story and character development, great animation and art direction, solid background music, and brain-twisting concepts for the serious anime fan who craves anime that lives up to its "thought-provoking" bill.      This anime covers a lot of ground in its 325 minute …
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My user-name was derived from the title of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. I came to Lunch with the hopes of publishing reviews that would be appreciated by others and reading the reviews of others that hope … more
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Wiki

Serial Experiments Lain is influenced by philosophical subjects such as reality, identity, and communication. The series focuses on Lain Iwakura, an adolescent girl living in suburban Japan, and her introduction to the Wired, a global communications network similar to the Internet. Lain lives with her middle-class family, which consists of her inexpressive older sister Mika, her cold mother, and her computer-obssessed father. The first ripple on the pond of lain lonely life appears when she learns that girls from her school have received an e-mail from Chisa Yomoda, a schoolmate who committed suicide. When Lain receives the message at home, Chisa tells her (in real time) that she is not dead, but has just "abandoned the flesh" and has found God in the Wired. From then on, Lain is bound to a quest which will take her ever deeper into both the network and her own thoughts.
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Details

Genre: Cyberpunk, Psychological Thriller, Philosophical
Studio: Pioneer LDC, TV Tokyo, Tatsunoko Pro
Original Air Date: 7/6/1998 - 9/28/1998

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