Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain Cover Art featuring Lain
Serial Experiments Lain Cover Art

Overview

Serial Experiments Lain is a 1998 anime following a young girl named Lain as she explores the online world referred to as “the Wired.” The Wired and the real world have begun to blur for some of those in the online community resulting in suicides and messages from the recently deceased.

The story starts with the suicide of, Chisa, one of Lain’s classmates who believes that she no longer has a need for her body because she can just continue to live on within the Wired. A week after her death, other classmates begin receiving e-mails from Chisa which further shows the blurred line between the Wired and reality.

This is a good anime, but it does come with a few issues. First, there is a somewhat high barrier to entry because the series is very slow for the majority of the episodes. Second, the character designs aren’t anything special and there is very little music throughout most of the scenes which makes the show a bit boring to watch.

If you can get past these barriers to entry then you’ll be rewarded with a compelling story which still has relevance even today, 20 years after it was released.


Relevancy

Serial Experiments Lain is about a world in which reality and the internet, known as the Wired, are becoming intertwined to the point at which people can no longer tell them apart. Some characters are wary of the influence the Wired has, while others dive right in and let the Wired take over their very lives.

It seems that one of the major themes of this anime is the danger of thinking about the internet in the wrong way. On one hand you need to be able to tell the difference between online and real life, but on the other you need to realize that what happens online does have real world consequences.

Serial Experiments Lain walks us along the fine line between these two dangers and shows us examples of what could happen if you stray too far in one direction. Even though this anime is 20 years old at this point, the lessons we can learn from it are still just as relevant now, if not more so due to the growing amount of social media we are surrounded by.

Arisu (left) comforting Lain (right) after witnessing a murder-suicide
Arisu (left) and Lain (right)

Conclusion

While I enjoyed the anime overall, I feel I can rate it no higher than a 6/10. The narrative was good, but it was lacking in other areas as I mentioned at the start of this review. Some of those issues may have been intentional and others may just be the product of the anime being on the older side, but nevertheless it was a very slow burn.

Finally, without going too much into the details, the story did give me a Madoka Magica / Psycho-Pass vibe so it would be interesting to see if the writer of those series was familiar with Serial Experiments Lain.

The OP for Serial Experiments Lain can be found here.

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