Title: Serial Experiments Lain
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Supernatural
Summary: Lain Iwakura appears to be an ordinary girl, with almost no experience with computers. Yet the sudden suicide of a schoolmate, and a number of strange occurrences, conspire to pull Lain into the world of the Wired, where she gradually learns that nothing is what it seems to be… not even Lain herself.
Review: Serial Experiments Lain is probably one of the greatest psychological anime I have seen. It offers a lot story patching and development. However, the greatest feat any psychological anime can do is get the viewer to start thinking. When I say “start thinking” I mean beyond just the anime itself. The anime should try to take the user to a new level of thought process, questioning where reality is headed or where reality has already is. Serial Experiments Lain was of particular interest to me because it deals with a cyber world, the Wired.
When I first started watching Serial Experiments Lain I did not estimate correctly the sense of horror it bestowed upon me. As I sat watching the first few episodes alone in the dark I came to realize that I have been sucked into this mad world and the darkness around me was slowly pulling me in further. My heart would race every cynical laugh or shrill scream. At this point I knew that it was going to have a great story. Low-and-behold it did. Serial Experiments Lain wasn’t one of those anime that had a perfectly linear fashion. Often times scenes would jump from one character to the next as you try to fit the pieces together. Even now I wonder who Lain really is, what the Wired really is. It is an anime that gets you thinking how powerful the virtual world can become. Talks of who is God, are they truly a God, and what is considered a God all circle through your mind as the story progresses. At first I found it very difficult to understand the point of the anime, but after a while I came to the conclusion that it is meant to be open ended. Different seeds of ideas may be planted in your head compared to someone else who has watched it. I think these type of anime are one of the best because it leaves room for discussion. However, it is difficult to talk about the anime with someone who has never seen it. Trying to make the events in Serials Experiments Lain into words proved tough for me. In terms of story this anime did a magnificent job getting my brain cells pumping and having sitting at the edge of my seat trying to patch it all together.
Equally as good was the art. Now this anime was made in the late 90’s which shows a huge change in art from most present day series. Despite this, Serial Experiments Lain was still an amazing piece of work. I think that lighter shade of colors complimented the atmosphere greatly. It gave an eerie sense of cheerfulness yet dark mystery. The characters all seemed innocent and carefree at first, but that soon changes through the course of the anime. I think that the art did a wonderful job keeping a feeling of uncertainty in the air. I also loved the subtle difference in shadows. While some were normal shades of grey, others had creepy designs and matter within them. This unique art take made me think that there was a message in those unusual shadows which I am still trying to figure out to this day. I also enjoyed the small changes in the characters’ expressions which matched their change in personality. I could see the feelings of paranoia and fear in their faces.
The soundtrack was also pretty well done. I really liked the background music because it complimented the story and art. All three subjects seemed to hone toward a horror and mystery. The opening was a melancholy song by Boa. “Duvet” is probably one of my most listened to songs after Serial Experiments Lain. The vocals and melody are out of this world.
Final statements: As a general anime I would say this is a high priority watch because you don’t see many like this now-a-days. However, if you are into mystery, horror, mind boggling anime then you definitely need to pick this one up.