Anime Discovery the Third: Serial Experiments Lain – #53

It was one late afternoon and Hybrid was doing nothing but lounging around in his home considering and then came a knock on the door and it was Neon at the door and he was telling me all about this anime called Lain and he told me that the anime was worth a look from his point of view and it was a serious mind fuck of an anime. Considering this was one year ago, I reviewed Neon Genesis Evangelion and we all remember that spiral cluster of a show and I decided to take a look into this anime and ask if Neon wanted to join and he said sure, he’ll join for a while…..

4 ½ HOURS LATER……

I have a surprised look on my face with an eye twitching and surprising I didn’t feel asleep (I think my rocking chair causes me to sleep. It usually happens) and wonder what in the hell did I just watch? Neon said that is how most people say or feel after watching this show and so…….

 

Well, just like when I reviewed Neon Genesis Evangelion back in January 2012, it’s time to look into another mind-fuck anime that was made in the ‘90s, only this time I’m revisiting the works of one writer named Chiaki J. Konaka and character designer Yoshitoshi Abe and yet their only other work I have ever reviewed is Texhnolyze and yet I felt like I couldn’t get into that anime but yet I wonder, what can be different about today’s review? Besides that this is only 13 episodes and it should a breeze to watch, it is still worth the mindfuck.

Here’s a little backstory of the series. What is The Wired you may ask? “The Wired” (not just the internet) is the human communication network through telephone services and internet networks as it can be linked to enable unconscious communication between humans and machines without being face-to-face. Part of that project is courtesy of Eiri Masami, the project director of Protocol 7, who included his code for his creation to have control of The Wired by “uploading” his consciousness into there and then, died a few days later in actuality.  If such a link was created, the network would become equivalent to Reality as the general consensus of all perceptions and knowledge. The thin line between what is real and what is possible would then begin to blur.

Now you must be wondering, where does the character Lain comes in and what it is about her?

 

At first, Lain Iwakura is introduced as this very painfully shy and introverted junior high school student with a few friends and interests, not really knowing much about the world or even in computers, considering in the first episode she either didn’t know much about it since the first episode was about a fellow student named Chisa Yomoda committing suicide and an email from her was sent to all the students and Chisa tells her (in real time) that she is not dead, but has just “abandoned the flesh”, and has found God in the Wired. Now onto the character of Lain and usually I would state that if she is likable, relatable, important to the plot, all of that and well…….it’s no second guess that she is most of those things because most of us did felt like Lain once upon a time and it’s very common that people have this trait and it can’t just be solved overnight. Her home life isn’t exactly daisies, although it’s more like pushing them, i.e. the mom is very harsh and apathetic, the father does care for her but is often busy with work and her sister is kind of a snooty bitch.

The show covers the themes of communication, loneliness, mental illness, reality and theology. Communication as one of the theme is an example of Lain’s friend Alice (who does act like a real sincere friend and can relate to how Lain is) trying to help her socialize with other people including the clique she usually hangs out with and going to the nightclub Cyberia (not that Siberia). Loneliness is the prime example that represents the character of Lain herself and her aforementioned family life.

Mental illness does play a big part of the series as in the divided world of The Wired and reality (also part of the theme) but when she enters the world of “The Wired”, personalities of her begin to grow, multiply, and expand as the shyness continue to diminish a bit and yet more of her darker side and split personalities separate from her and could take over her physical life as well as her Wired life. The first one is her real-world self, second one is her Wired personality, and last her evil, devious personality which can put the real Lain or the ones close to her harm.

From what I get from here, this is one anime that isn’t very linear in his story section and at some parts, I got confused with some of the dialogue that was written and most people even thought that Neon Genesis Evangelion was an influencer to the series. It was denied by Konaka and seen he never seen it until he finished the fourth episode of Lain. I can see a little of EVA but while EVA just spread thin during the last 2 episodes, this fits the right amount of just 13 episodes and doesn’t drag for too long like their later effort Texhnolyze.

 

The animation was brought to you by Triangle Staff, whose other famous shows include Slayers, NieA under 7 and assisting on other works and yeah, this series shows its age and vintage as it’s been around for almost 15 years, so it’s evident enough the show may not look that good to fresh eyes and character designs are much the style of Yoshitoshi Abe with his trademark character appearances.

 

Music is almost minimal with the exception of a few music choices of grunge and industrial tech music used as background music. The OP theme “Duvet” was written and performed in English by the British band Bôa was one of the many anime songs that I listen to willingly, even if I’m not watching the anime itself. It’s still a very great song in its own form. The ending theme, “Tooi Sakebi” (Distant Scream), was written and composed by Reichi Nakaido, was an okay song but it never stuck to me like the opening theme. The English dub, made by Animaze/Geneon (now FUNimation is distributing it in North America), wasn’t bad and yet it had its odd hiccups with the acting although Bridget Hoffman playing Lain was the best and only standout performance throughout, although Kirk Thornton as Eiri Masami deserves some praise as well.

 

FINAL VERDICT:  This is one mind-fuck of a series and it is a damn good mind-fuck, possibly enough to say that I like it more than Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is pretty easy to like an anime better than that show. Most characters of the show are mainly some people I felt close related to in a way, especially with Lain. The story can be confusing to make a detail out of it but maybe a re-watch, you’ll probably get it.

 

Lain is definitely worth the watch if you have the time, and that’s why it is a

PLANET TYRO RATING: FIRST CLASS / 9/10

 

And that’s how I felt about this anime, as I explained to the young Neon and we ended that talk with thinking some other conversional topics like what movies we seen the past year, television shows, basic other things and we call it a night and said our goodbyes. Then Hybrid went on to sleep that night and said that this is going to be different this year. No Anime Gods, No drama bullshit. I’m just doing my job as an anime reviewer without any consequences to deal with. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

 

 

And next time, I will be reviewing………

 

 

And until then, I’m MAK2.0 aka The Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.

 

SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN – animation by TRIANGLE STAFF / distributed by FUNimation Entertainment (formerly GENEON)

THE MIND OF THE HYBRID ONE – my Tumblr page.

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