Serial Experiments Lain

Title:Serial Experiments Lain
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: ASADA Youko
CHIBA Shigeru
NAKAIDO Reiichi Chabo
NEYA Michiko
OBAYASHI Ryunosuke
Original Concept - ABE Yoshitoshi
Production - GENCO, Inc.
R1 License - FUNimation
TACHIKI Fumihiko
Lain Iwakura thought she was an ordinary 13-year old junior high school student until the day she received an e-mail from a classmate who committed suicide a week earlier. The e-mail claims that her classmate’s soul had become a part of the wired world. Interested in the contents of the e-mail, Lain gets herself a new Navi (personal computer) so she can research for details regarding the e-mail’s significance. As Lain becomes more involved in the activity of the wired world, she finds herself becoming increasingly well known by online users despite not having been in the wired world for too long.

[TV series, 1998, 13 episodes, 24 min]
1:40min Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 7 7 7 5 7 7 Dreamer [series:69#2279]
Hmmm, if I can sum this up in three words it would be, very dark and disturbing. Okay, so that's 4 words. First off, the animation by itself portrays a somber reality full of silence and darkness. The music was similar and especially the various sound effects through each episode and the whole series.

This anime forces your mind to think, and not just on what's going on in the anime itself but more poignantly on matters of man and how they are & interact with the fast developing technology of today. If you were to pay close attention to many parts of this series, you might even play some psychological, or even philosophical inunendo into some of its depictions of Lain in various states of thought or being. Finally, near the end, it just gets plain creepy.

It's a great watch if you can sit through lackluster action and a heavy dose of mental workout.

Last updated Thursday, June 05 2008. Created Thursday, June 05 2008.
Buy 9 8 9 9 10 10 Ggultra2764 [series:69#1552]
Serial Experiments Lain is one of the more memorable mind-screw titles that anime has put together with exploring man's relationship with technology in its focus on titular character Lain Iwakura. I should warn folks that this won't be a series you can simply watch and expect to be entertained as there's a lot to delve into when watching Lain and only those with a deep appreciation for indulging into philosophy, technology, literature and conspiracy theories would come to deeply appreciate this series.

Before we get into the more complicated stuff that earns Serial Experiments Lain its mind-screw reputation, let's cover the more standard material. The series delves into Lain feeling seemingly disconnected from her surroundings as she goes about with a mundane day. But hearing of a classmate's suicide spurs on her interest in exploring what is going on within the wired world and sparks a change in our teenage lead as she develops more of a personality and active interest in her surroundings. This leads her to seek friendship from classmates her age and become more engaged in the activities of the wired world. At the same time, the developments lead Lain on a journey of self-discovery to uncover both the origins surrounding the latest string of activities blurring reality and the wired world, as well as a search of her own self-identity as Lain comes to realize she may not be as ordinary as she believes herself to be. Lain's search for answers regarding the wired world make up one major aspect of the series that is best to be experienced as unveiling more of what she goes through would be leading into major spoilers for what the show offers up.

Another standard element to the series that sticks out quite prominently with Lain is its exploration on man's relationship with technology and this aspect eerily reflects how far technology has come where humanity has become very dependent on it. With Lain set in the near future, Internet technology has become a part of everyday lives with elements to it such as mobile devices, online gaming, hacking, modding, abuse of the anonymity it offers and younger users being hooked on it being the norm within the series. Now in 2015, these technological advances and ongoing issues are a part of everyday life. For more recent anime fans who don't get how this is a big deal, Lain was made back in 1998 in a time where the Internet was still in its infancy and the technology was not as widely accessible to the public. Nowadays, the Internet is easily accessible to just about everybody on the planet and this anime pretty accurately depicts how the technology would affect our lives in a near-future setting.

And now to indulge into the stuff that is not as easy to get into for the first time. One of Lain's most deepest elements it dabbles into is how we would define reality. The series explores a philosophical concept called subjective reality where an individual develops their own interpretations of reality through the ideas, thoughts and knowledge they take in through their surroundings and interacting with others. Lain's subjective reality is a rather abnormal one seen right from the very start of the series as she can hear the thoughts of others, hear the electronic buzzing emitted from electronic devices and witness mysterious events normal folks can not see such as teenagers randomly appearing to her or strange-colored shadows formed alongside telephone lines. Lain starts off as sort of a blank shell who is seemingly disconnected from her surroundings until her continued exposure to both reality and the wired world lead her to develop more of a personality and active interest in said surroundings. An effective show of this disconnection comes from an early scene in the series where Lain and a trio of girls are shown in separate camera shots to show the different types of subjective reality they live in, until one of the girls named Alice comes into Lain's camera shot to show the girl's acceptance of Lain as a friend.

Subjective reality is just one piece of the mind-screw fun that Lain offers up. Later episodes in the series feature plot twists regarding the origins of Lain's technology and what is behind the blurring of reality and the wired world. A good chunk of this information is revealed in the show's ninth episode through a series of montages that dump a great amount of information that involve government conspiracies and famous physicists having a hand in all the events. While the basic structure of Lain's plot is straight-forward enough to follow, the deeper elements of the plot are complicated enough as such where enough interpretations of said events can be thought up by viewers and it is very apparent that Lain's creators are quite richly educated to have a series like this dabble into rather complicated and obscure themes and events revolving around physics, conspiracy theories, technology and philosophy.

Visually, Lain is an above average quality title for its time as it sports highly detailed and realistic character designs and scenery that make use of subdued color tones to compliment the show's mysterious and surreal mood. Complimenting this animation style is the elaborate use of visual styles to compliment Lain's abnormal feel due to our heroine's unique origins and depicting the wired world that Lain often enters with backgrounds zooming in to depict the personal areas that other characters inhabit and black space representing the endless void that makes up the wired world. Animation for Lain is nowhere as expansive as what Cowboy Bebop dished out around Lain's time, but still gets the job done with showing off computer screens and an elaborate music video-like recap episode.

The soundtrack to the series is a bit tricky to talk about, mostly due to its minimalist approach. Outside of the beautifully sung opening song Duvet and the catchy ending rock song Tooi Sakebi, there aren't very many insert tracks to be found throughout episodes of Serial Experiments Lain as the series opts to instead rely on using sound effects to show off a rather chilling and unsettling mood at points when exploring the show's mysteries and themes.

Overall, Serial Experiments Lain is one of the all-time anime greats thanks to how baffling and thought-provoking it can be for its audiences. Outside of the show's exploration of the mystery surrounding Lain's identity and the blurring of reality and the wired world, it explores themes related to technology that are still relevant today, offers a great philosophical focus on how to define reality and dabbles into complicated matters revolving around physics, computers and conspiracy theories. It won't be for everyone due to how heavy the series loves dabbling into its mysteries and themes. But if you are the type of person that loves to think heavily while watching their anime, then Serial Experiments Lain is the title for you.

Last updated Friday, October 30 2015. Created Saturday, January 05 2008.
Buy 10 8 9 9 8 10 adiree [series:69#1804]
a truly magnificent anime... i bought it before even knowing about it, having just seen the cover picture and some assorted fan drawings that caught my interest, and i was happily surprised... the art and animation are 'simple' - the less is more attitude, is suppose - but it's because it's simple that it works... had the animation been anymore complex, it might have taken away from the story.... the soundtrack was great, but more than that, and something not rated above, is the sheer sound of the film... sound... like the buzzing of electric lines, or lightbulbs - it happens, and the more it happens, the more eerie it becomes, the harder it is too listen to, because it becomes so tense, so dramatic.... the sound of the SLE is absolutely spectacular, rivalled only so far in my viewing experience by the lack of sound in the samurai x OVA's... it's worth watching solely for that purpose as the sound itself is sheer artistry...
the characters are fascinating! beautifully rendered, complete, whole characters, and there isn't one i did not empathize or sympathize with! the characters were outstanding....
and the story... the story is extremely intricate, and just like in the real world, where information is tossed at us at every random second of the day, it's terribly easy to get distracted from the story, it's easy to lose focus, which, i felt was part of the story in itself.... essentially, the story is about a search for self, for identity, for purpose, and though the ending changes that search into something from a sci-fi horror film, be aware, that the search itself has not stopped, it's just that we, as viewers, as consumers of electro-bites and networks, have been distracted from the search by something far more dramatic... but the drama is just as intriguing as the original sense of the search... yes, it goes unrealistic, but, maybe that's the point?
have a box of tissues handy, and be prepared to cover your eyes a few times as there are some 'shockers' involved - this anime has few inhibitions!
a piece i highly, highly, highly recommend!!!

Last updated Saturday, January 22 2005. Created Saturday, January 22 2005.
Buy 10 10 8 5 10 10 Bardock [series:69#1231]
Just one of those animes.....
It starts off with this girl killing herself.
People then recieve email from her, but it is believed to be a hoax.
Lain, a shy, distant, thirteen year old recieves a e-mail from her, talking about the "wired" on her Navi (a high tech computer). Since then she gets dragged into the mess with the wired.
As the wall between the wired and the real world begin to fall, more and more chaos begins by "the creature" of the wired "god".
Not gonna tell anymore, and there is a lot more, but it is creepy at the end.

Last updated Sunday, September 12 2004. Created Sunday, September 12 2004.
Buy 9 10 7 7 10 9 Anonymous #1431 [series:69#1431]
'Lain' is a excellent Anime with incredible philosophical and psychological depth. The basic story has been summarised above well, so I will highlight some basic concepts.
Communication-Information - There is a strong suggestion at many points in the story that information is the fundamental building block of the universe, both the 'wired' world and the 'real' world. Lain says 'everyone is connected', and her 'father' makes this point in episode three or four.
The 'Collective Unconcious' - This is a concept coined by Carl Jung, who believed all human beings share a reservoir of information and knowledge built up over three billion years of life's evolution. We also see Jungian archetypes (the 'shadow' of Lain, the 'Goddess' vision, etc) appear many times in Lain as the collective unconcious is brought to the concious level. We also see references to Jungian studies in Alchemy (Homonuculus, the Symbol of the Knights Templar, etc).
Progressive evolution: Eri seems to be the mouthpiece for Hegel, believing history to be an unfolding of progression to the 'God of the wired.'
Existentialism - A lot of ideas from Sartre, Heidigger and Husserl can be found in here, from how time and conciousness are perceived and also how they create the 'ego' or self. Also Lain's attempts to figure out 'Who am I' resonate a lot with the concepts in existential philosophy about being coming from existence, life-projects, etc.
Greek Philosophy: Lain's visions of water flowing through her soul seem to symbolise Heraclitus, who said 'all is flux.' (This also hints at the Buddhist idea that flowing time and change are illusions of perception or 'maya' enforced on the world by the concious ego). Also Chisa's notion 'You no longer need bodies' is actually very close to Neo-platonic mystical ideas about the transmigration of the soul (retold by Plato in the dialogue 'Phaedo.'
-The Existence of God and the world
God seems to be a collective archetype or mass hallucination with basis in the organisation of information by the human mind. The external world is not so important as the existence of a knowing subject to create it, sort of similar to Descartes 'I think therefore I am' (Lain says this a few times at different points), or the need for intentional grasping of objects by conciousness to become aware of their existence. (Husserl again).
Postmodernism - Some postmodern themes are touched on, including a lot of concepts well known to cyberpunk, such as the 'consensual hallucination' of the online world (Gibson, Neuromancer), empty signs standing in for nothing in particular, or an infinite number of other things (Derrida, Baudrillard). Sinister overtones of 'Ziabatsus' are also included.
Overall assessment: I agree Lain is more a dystopia and a utopia. Despite many underlying symbols of progression to higher levels of conciousness, we also see symbolically the alienation of the modern subject, the fragmentation of the indivdual, the destruction of the typical family, and the undercurrents of sex, violence and anarchism on the wired world. Suffering occurs a lot and a lot of this series reads like Schopenhauer, who pointed out the illusory nature of the 'real' world and the reality of suffering in it.

Last updated Sunday, June 13 2004. Created Sunday, June 13 2004.
Buy 9 8 10 8 10 10 Brian Copperton [series:69#1385]
THe LAIN series simply put is not as such philisophical/science as more so theological philospophy. Then again it has a differant meanning for each person. True you need to watch this series one after the other from start to finish to get the effect. The sound track the lights, like a mind control mechanisme I guarentee it will leave you a wide eyed zombie vuagely mouthing the words "Wow.. "
"Truly, no matter where people are, they are always connected."
This is a must own series. The library is sending hired goons out to get their copy back of me and I will not let them have it.

Last updated Saturday, May 08 2004. Created Saturday, May 08 2004.
Buy 6 7 7 10 10 10 Aerith Hotaru Lockhart [series:69#1269]
Welcome to the greatest physcological thriller ever created. If you like series that make you think and mess with your head, you're going to like Serial Experiment Lain.
Lain is a young girl who becomes interested in the "wired" after a dead classmate sends her an e-mail. She soon learns that everyone has two sides, their real life personality, and the personality of the "wired". As she tries to grasp whether or not the "wired" is truely another world, whether the real world and the "wired" are the same, and what is God's role in all of this, she finds herself in an endless spiral in which she causes many to give up their mortal bodies.
This series is truely dark, and will make you question your surrondings. Fans of Evangelion should find this quite enjoyable. Also, those who enjoyed the American movie series The Matrix will like this series. And for you computer junkies out there, you can't live without at least seeing this series once.

Last updated Sunday, March 14 2004. Created Sunday, March 14 2004.
Rent 7 8 7 9 8 MasterYoshidino [series:69#598]
Argh, first time watching it sorta went past my head on the theme. Then don't mind me i am more into h than anime.
The basic theme is about Chisa and that she is still "wired". ehh, well kinda hard to explain how the anime develops, but this is more of an anime that makes you have to think what is going on. sort of like the lines around movies like "the matrix". The music was good, especially the intro. Well I vouch a "rent" but anime fans would probably want to buy it anyway.

Last updated Saturday, November 01 2003. Created Saturday, November 01 2003.
Rent 8 7 9 10 6 Marcus [series:69#679]
Lain is definitely an acquired taste, boasting a surreal atmosphere, fractured plot, and the most introverted protagonist imaginable. Oh, and telephone wires dripping blood. And school children with an unusual propensity to throw themselves off buildings and under trains. Lain is dark, twisted and disturbing; if this isn't your thing you'll probably just find it confusing.
Unlike many, I thought the characterisation was very good, especially Lain herself. Having a character such as her 'carry' the series was a risk, but we develop an empathy with her. She's as unlightened as the rest of us at the beginning, so she acts as our guide as the story progresses. The supporting cast is diverse, from the relatively normal Arisu to the enigmatic Men-in-Black, to the deluded 'Kami-sama'. As the series is only 13 episodes and focuses heavily on Lain, there's not much room for development of the others, which is a pity. These characters are complemented by eerie sound effects and disturbing visuals, some of which are just plain weird (like the red splatter in the shadows).
The biggest weakness, I thought, was the actual story. It's not bad by any means (it's actually quite clever) but seems a little too shallow. The brilliant first half keeps us guessing at every turn, but once things begin to make sense, Lain loses its edge. It's still enjoyable, but feels a little bit of a let down. There's also a case of 'Eva' syndrome, trying desperately to tie up all the loose ends and not quite succeeding. To be fair, Lain does a better job of actually 'ending' than Eva, and the final episode is quite touching.
If you can excuse the fact that it's not as deep as it first seems, Lain is, if nothing else, a unique, well-presented and unnerving series. A bit of a shame about the second half, but a 70% right Lain is still a very good anime.

Last updated Friday, October 17 2003. Created Monday, September 22 2003.
Watch dhrachth [series:69#962]
Very cool animation, nice music, not the best storytelling.
It clearly had a larger 'message' but the creators didn't seem to get any farther than simply raising questions--which is a total cop-out if you ask me. The way the story was told seemed specifically designed to confuse as well, ie large blocks of totally unexplained happenings followed by large blocks of facts thrown at you rapid fire.
My theory: anime designed to "make you think" by being well enough produced to lead you to expect 'great things' when in fact there's not a whole lot there. Of course, as a student of philosophy, maybe I have standards that are too high.
But, hey, it looked cool.

Last updated Thursday, September 11 2003. Created Thursday, September 11 2003.
Buy 7 10 10 10 10 10 Ashibaka [series:69#575]
This is like Evangelion, except it's good.

Last updated Wednesday, September 03 2003. Created Wednesday, September 03 2003.
Rent 10 10 6 2 2 2 Vash [series:69#907]
First of all,the artwork was done pretty well with its blend of colours and gloomy characters matching the mood of the story.
To me,the music was dreadfull.It just didnt appeal to me and its not the type of music you'd be listenin on a regular basis.
The idea of the story was ok,to people who hate thinking,this anime will rank in ur top 20 worst ever anime list.
Since im one of those who dont like thinkin too much,i have to say it didnt appeal to me very much.Its just too weird for my liking and leaves you confused.

Last updated Friday, August 29 2003. Created Friday, August 29 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 [series:69#802]
Lain is by far one of my favorite animes of all time. The story is deep, well thought out, and very entertaining throughout. The characters develop perfectly, the atmosphere is incredible, and the story is flawless. Some of the story is left slightly open ended, leaving the viewer to fill in his or her own conclusions.
Tech heads will relate to this story effortlessly. The Wired is easily a souped up version of our own Internet, and the history isn't outrageously far from our own and well explained. The parallels between our world and this fictional world really make things interesting. This series really hits a sweet spot for sci-fi technological dramas.
Every anime fan should see this series, but be prepared for a brain twister. I've watched it a good five times and I can honestly say I still find new tidbits of the story every time. You just can't sit back and put your brain on cruise control; You must make an effort to follow the story or it will leave you mercilessly lost and confused.
And remember folks, this is fiction. You have to be willing to suspend belief a few times and accept the universe of the work at hand. Those unwilling or unable to do this, need not apply. Think of it as a deep mystery novel. Even when following the concrete parts of the story with great attention, there's enough misdirection to leave you wondering what if... and that's half the fun.
If you simply can't accept that the story isn't handed to you neatly gift wrapped, and that you may have to fill in the details from your own imagination, then go watch a simpler anime. This isn't for you. If you like the confusing story of animes like Neon Genesis Evangelion, or Boogiepop Phantom then you'll love this. If you live and breath technology, you'll only love it that much more. All in all, this is a masterpiece of animation.
Reviews & Fan Art

Last updated Tuesday, June 24 2003. Created Tuesday, June 24 2003.
Buy 9 9 8 9 10 kakyuu_prince [series:69#404]
Being one of the first anime I ever saw, this series had a major impact on me. I have watched it many times and have owned all of it for years and am still not bored with watching it. The art is realistic and unique in style and the animation is used very efficiently to create the special ambiance that Serial Experiments:Lain has.
The music is well done and ehances the scenes well. The opening theme song, Duvet by BoA, is absolutely gorgeous and I never get sick of hearing it. It has very nicely done vocals with a good tune and the themes of the lyrics fit the series well in my opinion. The story is fantastic and instantly interesting. It's also complex, with many plot riddles that you have to solve which makes the anime infinitely interesting. The characters, especially Lain, are always fascinating to scrutinize. The story is very appealing to me and changed the way I thought about many things. The only problem with Lain is that during the middle of the series, the story sort of starts to bog down and becomes a little too convoluted. It gets a little lost in all of its questions and theories, bombarding the viewer with a bit too much information at once. This makes Lain a series that is definitely not for casual fans who like a little action here, a bit or comedy there, and maybe a good romance along in the bag. Lain gets pretty heavy with some complex theories and could be controversial to some, considering we open into the series with the very first thing being a girl's suicide. I greatly enjoy this series and find it infinitely interesting to watch. It's quite a good anime as well as one of my very top favorites.

Last updated Tuesday, June 17 2003. Created Tuesday, June 17 2003.
Rent 9 8 7 9 7 8 Devil Doll [series:69#752]
[Score: 78% = Rent. Recommended SciFi/Mecha animes: Shin Seiki Evangelion, Uchuu no Stellvia, Koukaku Kidoutai STAND ALONE COMPLEX]
  • Drama: Med (ultra-complex story, dark and weird)
  • Comedy: None (suicides don't tend to be that happy)
  • Action: Low/Med (just when you believe nothing will ever happen)
  • SciFi: High (computers, internet technology, and... god?)
  • Ecchi: None (some schoolgirls involved, and even one daring scene, but... none)
There is no other anime that split my heart in two like Serial Experiments Lain. This one could have become my number one anime had they not decided to destroy everything on the way ...
Layer 01-08 are great in any aspect, creating an unique gloomy atmosphere (where especially the musical score is a treat - just don't try to listen to it without the movie, this won't work ... and I love those colors) step by step, showing interesting issues and offering lots of false clues. The philosophical aspects did remind me of Shin Seiki Evangelion, but even more of Koukaku Kidoutai.
And what's unique in this Anime, you basically have one character that everything depends on, and the rest is just package. The girl Lain is the story - you can nearly forget about every other character (except for Alice, in the second half of the series).
But then, halfway through the story, the author simply threw away most everything you believed to be important, citing a lot of unnecessary "Area 51" stuff from other sources (one episode is nothing but some 'history book', no story continuation at all, and geez - all this "IP7 stuff" is just a bunch of crap, from a technical point of view - which is so sad because the "Navi" and "Psyche" stuff works just fine) introducing lots of new characters and questioning everything you believed to know before (this is the "Matrix" feeling you might experience ;-). I simply don't need Lain looking like a Martian, standing at Alice's door - this is ridiculous (while the particular conflict scene with Alice is a daring highlight IMHO).
Layer 13 isn't more confusing than the ending of NGE (which I like a lot), but it is just so sad to see what great chance they have missed in Layer 09-12 (except for Lain 'taking care of' the Knights, which is nicely performed ;-).
A "Serial Experiments Lain" following the path of the first 8 episodes (and staying away from the "Roswell stuff") would definitely be in my top three - being as it is, I still recommend Layer 01-08 (Lain's development throughout the whole story is great but with time it becomes more and more pointless how well she can actually do as the targets keep shifting all the while), but don't be disappointed if none of your many questions will ever be answered - this role is up to yourself.

Last updated Friday, June 06 2008. Created Saturday, June 07 2003.
Buy 9 10 7 7 8 Ileenka [series:69#669]
What can I say. I came across this series on my residential college's network. without any preparation, no synopsis to guide me whatsoever, and on a bored schoolday night (yes i'm that lazy) i started the first episode. to be completely honest, the first few episodes really get you in suspense. all those questions in ur head go,
"wow,what the hell was that?" "what's this supposed to mean?" and you started to get excited and all that. however as i reach around episode 8 or 9.. boredom started to kick in. i started to watch very fast at episode 10 thru 13 because i wanted to get it over and done with. that guy 'GOD' is totally creepy. when he made his first appearance, i felt as if i'm watching a horror movie. the only character that seems to display some normal,human-emotion other than Lain herself was Lain's father (or was he not her father? aha). the story melds into such a way that my head hurts just by frowning. i personally dislike the way the story turns out to be, and also, in a sense, how slow it drags on to its ending. if u like deep,provocative thinking stuff, buy it. this is definitely for u. it leaves me thinking for quite a while after watching the entire series, because it gave me a very strange and uneasy sensation. to sum it all up and before i confuse u any further, this is totally a great animation work, but the storyline is not really everyone's cup of tea. for me, it's quite a bit of a sanity challenge.

Last updated Thursday, May 01 2003. Created Thursday, May 01 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Nurika [series:69#549]
Wow, what can I say about this anime? I absolutely loved it. I mean it really works up your mind. And it brings up the questions that just seem to freak and creep you out at the same time. And the questions you never seem to bring up.
I loved the story of the sci-fi plotting. It was freaky and wicked! The animation and ESPECIALLY the sound was awesome! I loved the art too.

Last updated Thursday, February 20 2003. Created Thursday, February 20 2003.
Buy 8 8 8 9 9 8 Volk [series:69#541]
Serial experiment Lain is one of my all time favorite animes. I didn't know what to expect when I started to watch the series. I knew that it was "weird", but I didn't expect it to be as deep as it was. The themes and ideas presented in this jewel made me take look at my life from a different point. Don't expect to have all the answers handed to you when you watch this anime. In order to trully understand and enjoy this series, you must be willing to spend some time thinking about what you just saw.

Last updated Sunday, February 16 2003. Created Sunday, February 16 2003.
Avoid 8 7 6 8 0 0 Ðå kïÐ [series:69#464]
This a complete waste of time dont do anything to it its boring and takes too long to figure out, but i'd like to get naughty with LAIN tho, nice girl turn to a straight ruffryder.

Last updated Sunday, February 23 2003. Created Tuesday, February 11 2003.
Watch 5 6 6 7 6 6 AstroNerdBoy [series:69#436]
Ah, another of the "thinking persons" anime titles. You know the type of anime that supposedly challenges your concepts of reality. People and places aren't exactly what they appear to be. Worlds collide (of computer and RW). Oh, and don't forget the symbolism 'cause it is everywhere!
I agree with those reviewers who say they don't see a Matrix connection. Don't watch this thinking you are getting some sort of anime-Matrix clone.
I won't bore you with summary since there are plenty of reviews ahead of me with that. I will tell you that this series did not live up to the hype. If you like anime where you can come up with your own "deep" thoughts, you'll like this. Personally, I didn't care about all that nor did I ever care about Lain. Had I made a connection with her, I suppose my rating would have been higher.
I won't say "avoid" this because it isn't that bad. Watch it for yourself and see if it lives up to all of the hype. :-)

Last updated Wednesday, September 03 2003. Created Monday, February 10 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 MutationX [series:69#532]
Its hard to put into words the feeling you get from the first time you watch the series. Its more of an emotion i guess.
Im sick of hearing the Matrix comparison. Becouse i see nothing of the sort. Maybe in the 11th episode you get a small glimpse of the city skyline in an alternat view? Or maybe its the fact that the story does not come to gether till the end? Or maybe that most of the reviewers have nothing else to compair it with. Using a shotty movie that stars a pitiful actor to compair to this wonderful piece of art is just lame. So stop it.
Lain's story is on so many levels. Some of the levels we cant even see. Its like reading Tolken, there is so much of the story we dont know. And we are just given a glimpse into the void. Its kina like watching the film 8 and 1/2 (by the great Federico Fellini) We are just an observer of the story, not a part of it like in most anime/manga. Most ainme/manga are just product to sell more poroduct, and not real art. Ex. DB, pokegay, sailor lame. Thats not art! They are just commercials to by more crap.
So if you want to use your mind trying to see deeper into the plot. BUY this series. Its a good investment in some real art. That is so hard to find these days.

Last updated Saturday, February 08 2003. Created Saturday, February 08 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Sayo [series:69#496]'s anime like this that makes me wish I were a good reviewer... OK...
I want to say that I believe this is the best anime I've ever seen. I'd like to say that it's the best out there, however some don't share my views on genres.
Lain is a very in-depth show with many mind games. One can not simply sit down and take it all in so easily. It is essential to think deeply and watch carefully. o.o I'm not going to say much. I don't want to give away the magical-ness of Lain. I'm so glad that the whole techology genre finally spawned a good series, though...

Last updated Wednesday, January 15 2003. Created Wednesday, January 15 2003.
Buy 8 8 8 7 10 Almost Eilonwy [series:69#428]
Gee, what else can I say that hasn't been said? Who knew that a 13-episode series could cause so many headaches. This is one that you'll have to watch over and over and over again to pick up on everything.
We are all connected through the Wired. That is the concept repeated to Lain over and over in this series, however, she comes to realize that that isn't true. The connection is false, and only through personal, real-life relationships can people truly be connected. Lain is partly a social commentary on the effect of the net on how people view relationships now. Throw in stuff about God and reality, and you have one hell of a mind-bender.
The animation is simplistic, but effective. The style is dark and dreary, and there are some perfectly eerie moments. The background music isn't terribly outstanding, but the opening animation and song is just wonderful.
If you like a multi-layered story that will make you ponder and ponder and ponder some more, watch Lain. No, buy Lain. You won't regret it.

Last updated Friday, December 06 2002. Created Friday, December 06 2002.
Buy 9 8 10 10 10 10 Helen [series:69#340]
Well...I think all the other reviewers have said pretty much everything there is to be said... and now its my turn.
First off, Lain is NOT light watching. In fact, watching this late at night probably won't give you the most pleasant dreams. And you probably won't understand it as well unless you watch it twice. At least. It seems every time I watched Lain I always saw something new, and understood new tidbits of the story I didn't get before.
Also, it seems everyone I know who has seen Lain gets something different out of it. With shows like this there is no wrong answer, but still, you have to think a lot to understand stuff like this, its definitely not the light fluffy type anime.

Last updated Monday, July 01 2002. Created Monday, July 01 2002.
Buy 10 10 10 7 10 10 Alex Black [series:69#128]
Lain is one anime that is the cause of disputes between fans as to whether it is an instant classic...partially because you have to think your way through it. I know some people don't like to think, so if that's you, you might want to go watch something with explosions and tits instead.

Starting with art and's like nothing I've ever seen before (and I've seen a lot of anime). Yoshitoshi Abe deserves a lot of respect as a character designer. He's used many of the standard conventions of anime art, including the large/exaggerated eyes and highlight/shadow scheme, but in a unique way: the designs have a softness to it that makes it less severe than, say, Ninja Scroll, amd the characters aren't cutesy and don't have heart-shaped faces (Rumiko Takahashi draws her characters like this.)

But the art is accentuated by the "camera angles" and the shots in which certain aspects are accented. In film, it's the cinamatographic aspect of a work, which includes how each shot is planned and framed. From the multiple angled shots and the combination of what are the equivelant of zoom wide shots, it gives you a great idea of the scope of the big, scary world around poor little Lain...

There's something great in the detail of this series. Close ups of the eyes, floating mottled patterns in the shadows, bouncing lights in Cyberia. And I love the shots of the power lines and the coinciding electric hum...haunting.

I've often heard people complaining about the color...the slightly desaturated, dull look that almost has the same feeling as a sepia-stained film. I however, think it's incredible, and a wonderful change from all the bright primary Gundam crap. Yet, the series isn't all dull colored...there are lots of bright colors to feast your eyes on, all more emphasized by the calm-washed out look of the rest of the show.

The story was good...but the plot was great (and yes, there is a distinct difference between the two). It was so well done and gradual that it was hard to get at until I finished the series, but it was very well done. I take issue with dimwits who call is disorganized and who claim that there is no real guys need to go back to school to take a literature course, then you'd understand how this wonderfully constructed plotline works to ensnare the viewer into the web of intrigue surrounding Lain and her dealings in the Wired.

The subject matter is thought-provoking, but not brain-fuckingly so. Although a lot of people like to throw the philosophy around, I'm of the opinion that Lain works primarily on a psychological level...addressing the Jungian idea of collective unconscious much the same way that Evangelion does. That's not to say that it isn't also philisophical, but it poses the questions of existance and such without really addressing the possible answers to these questions.

The music of Reiichi "Chabo" Nakaido was is not only great(to my taste)but was very appropriate. It's both calm and soothing in places, haunting in others, and assaulting in yet others. They provide the piece with a great mood. The title song "Duvet" by BOA, is one of the best anime themes of them all in my estimation, as well as one of the best lyrical songs I've ever heard.

As you can probably tell, I am a bit of a fan of Lain, and I encourage everyone to watch it. You will be required to think through it, so if that's a problem, you might want to go watch Lupin or something.

Last updated Monday, April 22 2002. Created Monday, March 18 2002.

Buy 8 10 10 5 10 10 Dan [series:69#242]
This is an anime that makes you think... along he lines of Perfect Blue and the movie K-Pax. These are my pereference of movies I like to watch. I like how the main character "Lain" develops throught the story. I saw the 1st episode once a while ago and thought this was gonne be a bad anime. Recently I bought the restof the anime series, and was astounded. This is a must see for people who like Perfect Blue and movies that makes you think and question what happens in everyday life.

Last updated Sunday, November 25 2001. Created Sunday, November 25 2001.
Avoid 7 8 5 6 5 Sutekh [series:69#227]
Ok so one producer walks into a bar and says to another producer I have the perfect idea for a new animation.
Oh yeah says the other producer.
Yeah it will be all dark and brooding with a little girl that is all dark and brooding and we will throw in some philosophical ramblings I wrote when I was coked out of my mind and it will be bad a**.
This is what I think occurred in order to create a series as brutally nonlinear as Lain. I find myself more and more upset that Courtney forced me to watch this. Yes I am Kyle and yes I was about to gouge out me eyes after watching this. The story has no continuity and there is no climax or resolution at all. I dont want to be more specific because I might give away all the great plot development. NOT!! Run save yourself I was not as fortunate as you, please save yourself!

Last updated Monday, October 15 2001. Created Monday, October 15 2001.
Avoid 8 6 3 6 1 2 skyknyt [series:69#29]
A trend was started by Neon Genesis Evangelion, it was a trend towards more 'philosophical' anime.
However, incoherence does NOT equal depth. Watching the first tape left me wondering "why did I spend money on this?" I was left thinking of the matrix, except that this movie wasn't even impressive like the Matrix was. It has all the pretension without the explosions or the (gasp) acting. I have a feeling that most positive reviews of this series are more like "Wouldn't it be 1337 if MY computer did that? WHOA, they said Nanotechnology! How 1337!" As well, it doesn't help that every episode is aobut 50% repeated footage, seemingly added to make the tape longer.
Actually, the best example would be the last two episodes of evangelion, except without the rest of the series as foundation. Most people seem to connect the random imagery together with their imagination which, while admirable, doesn't make up for the complete lack of plot. Its like they use incongruous images to make up for narrative confusion.
This is a showcase for excellent art and no writing budget. Rent the Matrix or Evangelion 0:13 instead.

Last updated Monday, July 23 2001. Created Monday, July 23 2001.
Rent 10 10 6 7 6 Kaneda [series:69#87]
Hmmm... how do I describe this anime?
honestly at first it kinda hurt my head. Random messages jumping up... the plot barely legible.. but as it went further into the series it got really good... basically if you dont intend on going deep into the series dont bother. At first the series makes no sense whatsoever...Though the art is stunning.. your gonna have to go all the way in.. it truly is an odd anime.
Also if your not looking to use your brain while watcihng anime .. dont bother watching it either..
For those of you with the patience to go through the strides and who appreciate good thinking anime this is a good anime for you.

Last updated Wednesday, April 11 2001. Created Wednesday, April 11 2001.
Buy 10 10 10 10 9 Midnighter [series:69#94]
Definately a great anime. Lain is wierd, yes, but not as confusing or "mind-f*cking" as everyone says. I found it highly enjoyable, and smartly written. Conspiracy fans will dig this one,as will computer buffs.
I also take issue with people who compare it to the Matrix. The Matrix was about gunfights wrapped around a paper-thin plot with first-year philosophy ameteurishly thrown in for 'substance.' Lain is genuinely intelligent and questions existance, God, and man's ability to evolve with depth and substance. (I have to admit, I did love the Matrix,though)
The traditional cell animation was just remarkable, and the character designs were unique and cool. The music is great,a weird blend of rock, industrial, punk, and god knows what else.
To sum up,Serial Experiments Lain is definately strange, but definately excellent.

Last updated Friday, March 02 2001. Created Friday, March 02 2001.
Unevaluated 0 0 0 0 Black Panther [series:69#142]
This anime say the least. Dont get me wrong it is getting good, but it's just very weird. Its not a anime that you can "read" very easly, so if your like me and can usally read between the lines, dont try!!! It wont do anything for you, at least as far as i have seen, which is only the first tape...which says a lot huh? So for right now, I will remain unevaluated.

Last updated Friday, March 01 2002. Created Sunday, February 25 2001.
Buy 8 8 5 6 10 10 Dr.Yoshi [series:69#110]
Yet another anime series I got for christmas.
I really didn't know what to expect when I begain to watch this. My friends didn't want to tell me anything about it.
All I new was that it stared some young girl named Lain, who looks really creepy on the DVD cover, and has a cool hair cut. What I got was so much more.
I watch the whole series in one night. The story line has you thinking the whole time. Unlike everyone else I really don't want to give away the story line because in this series the fun part is the way each episode ends with out answer the main question. What's the main question???.......
Well to find out for yourself watch it.

Last updated Wednesday, December 27 2000. Created Wednesday, December 27 2000.
Buy 9 8 9 9 10 10 Courtney [series:69#80]
When I first bought and viewed LAIN I was with my boyfriend, Kyle. In the span of a week I aquired and watched all 13 episodes of the series and found myself going "What the F***" at the end of it all. I was a little better off than Kyle since he was grabbing the side of his head and trying to goudge out his eyes with his thumbs. I was almost persuaded to think I wasted my money on a 13 ep. headach that had the continuity of the NEON GENESIS EVANGELION finale, but then I actually thought about all of it and realized I watched something pretty amazing and insightful. Yes despite it being very vague and disorganized LAIN has managed to put its finger right on the pulse of what it's like to live in our world today. It shows a society that infects itself with a distance and apathy toward the people within it while it makes you wonder just what defines a reality or creates a God. Are we all so caught up in the technological revelution that it's come to the point where we no longer recognize those around us or ever even knew ourselves? This is some scary and depressing stuff to think about but it's the way things are. There is a fantastic quality to LAIN that most definately makes it sci-fi but the core of it is our everyday life. Watching Lain's journey through this world, her "home and social life", and herself is easy for any person who's self-aware to identify with. All you have to do is be perceptive enough to recognize just what point LAIN is trying to get across and, like anything in life, it's a little different to everyone.
Don't assume going in LAIN will just hand you the answers. In a show questioning reality, religion, and society IMHO I think that trying to tell everyone the answers to the questions the show raised would be nothing more than a sign of arrogance and ignorance. No one can explain why things are so messed up and confusing in the world so don't look to a 13 ep. show to clear it up for you. Lain had to seak out the answers she wanted and needed, just like all of us do every day of our life. I think the opening theme DUVET by BOA sums up just what everyone is really after in life: Just a little understanding and connection.

Last updated Monday, October 29 2001. Created Tuesday, September 26 2000.
Rent 7 7 0 9 CatWoman [series:69#65]
The reson I put rent on this one is becouse I, like Coyoty, have only seen the first tape! So far it is really good! I find the story line griping and I love all the semblisum in it! I think that the charicter development is interseting, but I hold back any judgment on that becouse, just seeing the first tape, I do not know all the charicters well enough to say! This doesn't seem to have any bad parts in it yet, but the person who wrote it seem to have an obsession with kissing, but this isn't one you would want to see with kids anyway, not becouse it is dirty but becouse they would be asking you questions all the time about what stuff ment and you would end up missing half of the show!
I will keep you posted as I see the next tapes!

Last updated Monday, August 28 2000. Created Monday, August 28 2000.
Buy 5 6 7 9 9 The Coyote [series:69#64]
Without a doubt this is a thinking persons anime and for that reason I enjoyed it. This very much has a feel of the matrix to it (like that hasn't been said before) But the story line is far from being a direct copy as I feared I have only seen the first tape, I found the story line griping and very interesting. I wasn't very impressed by the art or animation, and I'll reserve my judgement on the character design till I get futher into the story. (Lain and her family seem a little bland and sureal for me right now.) But wihtout a doubt the story line is very griping. The opening music is very good as well I'll keep you posted

Last updated Saturday, August 26 2000. Created Saturday, August 26 2000.
Buy 9 10 8 9 10 10 Anonymous #69 [series:69#69]
The Series touches subjects as of How Internet Magnifies our alter ego, how the souls of human beings are caged in their "phissical" bodies... and living their whole life like this they have been needing and depending on their five senses... "But what assures you what you're seeing is what there is? what assures you what you touch smell taste listen to is what it is...? Human beings have builted, named etc. things based on how they see things etc.... so what makes those things be coorect the way they are? ever question God's existence? be it known that Kabbalah teaches two existence... the essential and the phissical, Essential cannot be seen but is there... allways been and ever be... God lies there... anyways... thats putting more complexity to it all... if more interested go to [] and/or look for Shuman Resonance and Collective Unconcious theories... The Series is a [MUST See][Must Analize] ANd we Gotta Love Lain, Lets All Love Lain... one more thing... "Don't trust what you haven't seen heard tasted or smelled... even so don't trust what you have... use the tool God has given us... [The Mind]"

Last updated Sunday, August 06 2000. Created Sunday, August 06 2000.
Buy 9 8 7 7 9 8 Bryan [series:69#14]
It is wonderful to see a cyberpunk/internet movie which works, as so many of them don't. There is so much to this series. Sure, parts of it don't seem to blend in completely to the whole. I think that the 'Serial Experiments' in the title is writer Chiaki J Konaka's way of stating that many of the ideas in this show are not meant to add to the whole, but stand as tangential paths in the world of SEL.

Reviewing Lain without spoilers is very difficult, though I could pretty much explain it frame by frame and you would likely come away with a different opinion. This is not to say that it falls into nonsense. No sir. There is a very strong plot here, and some very definite points. That is part of the show's strength, as it has some meat on its bones. Sure, like an over-cooked chicken it might be easy to pull apart, but considering the average anime plot line I'm very happy to have the chicken.

In short, Lain Iwakura is a middle school girl. Several suicides have occurred recently, including one rather dramatic death at her school which opens the series. Many people at the school receive email from the dead girl, including Lain (though she has to be told about it as she almost never checks her email). As Lain becomes increasingly immersed in "the Wired" (ie the internet), her reality becomes more and more polarized. She discovers that there is another Lain out there, possibly several. Soon her entire room is filled with electronic equipment. We never really know where it comes from, it almost seems to grow around her, building upon itself as her need to explore the Wired grows. Lain begins to realize that she may not even be human, or at least a corporal being, but possibly a manifestation of the shared thoughts and feelings of everyone in the world (see Shuman Resonance).

You could say that the basic idea behind the series is that of communication. In some parts, around eps 10 and 11, this message is provided in an almost documentary fashion. This is NOT a documentary, however, with truth and fiction turned on one another so well you'll be clapping in appreciation (well, I was). You also get a lot of neat pointers if you want to review more on the web. Odds are you'll be looking up folks like Ted Nelson and his Xanadu project after the show.

The production team of this series elected to create a world where reality and the Wired do not feel markedly different. There is a dream-like quality to everything that happens. The series is intentionally disjointed from an editing perspective. We see Lain leaving the house, the exact same shot, in several different episodes. We see here walking to school with her friends and sitting in the same classroom, her classmates grayed-out, time and time again. These same three scenes are repeated (among others), I think not from a lack of creativity (or background painters ^_^), but because Chiaki Konaka wants this to feel like recounted memories. And we all know how memory is. We only remember certain things. Like the line from All About Eve where one character can remember everything that happened the first time they all met Eve, but she can't recall where they went after that for dinner.

I can't stress how effective decisions like this were. It is so evocative, it is so damn good! This is perfect cyberpunk. This is so much better than glossy, over produced, loud but basically brain-dead fare like the Matrix (which I own, mind you). I could go on, but to really join the club you've got to take the ride!

Last updated Sunday, July 02 2000. Created Sunday, July 02 2000.

Buy 9 10 7 10 10 8 Anonymous #49 [series:69#49]
This is probally the best anime out there-- *IF* you're not a Sailor Moon/Pokemon person. It is a story with awesome depth, frequently keeping you in the dark for several epsidoes. Very much like The Matrix, things don't become clear right away, and reality seems warped and twisted.
SE:Lain covers the familar 'humanity in a digital world' plot, but does it with a style like no other. Characters are very understated, sometime seeming to be cold and unemotional, but this is understandable because the focus is upon Lain, who (at least at first) is unemotional and reserved.
Buy the whole series and watch it-- and again, again and again. It'll never get old.
Oh, and the opening music, 'Duvet' by Boa, is spectatular!

Last updated Wednesday, June 21 2000. Created Monday, June 19 2000.
Buy 8 10 6 6 10 10 Tsuki [series:69#8]
Every now and again, there will come a completely new, completely chilling series. And here is Lain. I can't find the right words to describe the series. It's vaguely about a girl who slowly becomes interested with computers, with the "wiRed," about finding out more about alternative self. Who knows? I think if you watch it, you'll see something completely different. And that is why this series is so cool. ^_-;

Last updated Monday, September 06 1999. Created Monday, September 06 1999.

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