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Serial Experiments lain: DVD 1 Navi
Violence: medium
Sex/Nudity: none
Music: C +
Runtime Episodes: 25min/4
Overall Rating: A
Artwork: A
Story: A
Comments: There is a Japanese playstation game of this anime and a Lain art book from Yoshitoshi ABe, which has a short comic of Lain in it.  youtube.  9 game videos.  Review of the game here.
Voice Acting English: A
Voice Acting Japanese: B
Genre: cyberpunk
Extras: 30 conceptual drawings, promo video (live action), dvd credits.  There is also an easter egg if you click on the e on the main page.

Date Reviewed: 12/8/09 Last Updated: 0/0/00

Basic Premise: Social introvert Lain receives an email from a classmate who died recently.  Lain begins to discover the world of the internet and technology.
Review: This anime takes me back a bit.  I saw this one when I first started downloading anime and it set a high standard for the rest of the anime that was to follow.

The story is about Lain who is a very introverted, shy girl who doesn't talk much and is very innocent when it comes to the world of the internet or the Wired.  One day a classmate kills herself and the next everyone in the class gets emails from the dead girl explaining that it was only her body that died.  No one really understands and everyone figures it is just a prank.  Lain gets an email too, but she doesn't notice, because she doesn't know the first thing about computers, let alone the internet.  Her friend Arisu convinces her to at least check her email and lain does so to fit in.  Lain asks her dad, who works extensively with computers, for a new computer and he is happy that his daughter is showing an interest in computers and happily obliges her.  It is here where Lain begins to get more involved and interested in computers.  We also discover that there are many other groups

Her friend Arisu pressures her some more to become more outgoing and to go with her and her friends to Cyberia, a cyberpunk cafe.  Lain is very reluctant and turns Arisu down several times, but eventually joins them.  When she arrives there is a man who is high on accela, a nano-mechanism that sets off a frequency designed to accelerate the response time of the human brain.  He is shouting and waving a gun scaring many people and terrified himself.  He claims or rather demands that the wired world should not be allowed to cross over into the real world.

That is about as far as I can get in giving this dvd a rational storyline.  It is more of a story about technology developing at such a fast rate that ethics can't keep up.  The best way I can describe this dvd is with a series of questions.  Where is technology headed?  How much of our lives is controlled by technology and who is controlling that technology?  How is the internet influencing how we socialize?  What kind of crimes will be committed in this new information era?  With technology increasingly able to imitate reality we need to ask ourselves what the human soul really is.  If we don't then what is the difference if we have an organic brain or replace it with a computer?  As video games become more advanced will we be unable to distinguish reality from fiction?

This series takes a very hard look at these questions and despite this anime being nearly 10 years old the content does not feel dated at all and the questions and scenarios are more relevant now than they were then.  

Lain is different in that there are CIA spooks who are suddenly monitoring her 24/7 and she is getting anonymous messages from hackers.  It appears that she is also being pursued by ghosts; at least she is becoming aware of them.  To Lain the Wired is more like a physical entity, which she takes to like a fish to water.

I really like how the answers are not cliché like superpowers or that the world will be controlled by an evil hacker or that we will enter a new dark age as technology all fails at once, which means we should not rely on technology as much as we do.  The series has more of a ghost in the shell feel to it, but addresses more issues, like sociology, psychology, and religion.

There are times when I like the English more than the Japanese voice acting and vice versa.  The primary difference that I could see is that in the English version Lain's voice is much more halting like she is more emotionless.  In the Japanese she seems a bit more unsure of herself.  Either way, I feel sorry for Lain.  Her mom is very distant from her and she does not have a close relationship to her sister.  Her sister finds her weird and actually rather frightening as Lain's obsession with technology becomes more dramatic.  Whether she realizes it or not Lain's only friends at all in the world is her friend Arisu at school and her dad.  I get the impression that Lain seeks to fulfill her emotional needs through the internet.

I gave the music a C +.  It seems a little low, but the main song was great and the ending theme was just not as enjoyable.  The rest of the musi is really spooky mood oriented and sparse.  It didn't really do much for me.

Conclusion: A very confusing anime that takes a hard, philosophical look at the direction that technology is taking us whether we are ready or not.

Publisher: Pioneer
Related Website: http://misslain.homestead.com/cyberqs.html (does not work well in the Opera browser) playstation youtube video
Where Found: This is still well known enough that you can find copies easily enough.
Copyright: 1998
Author: Yoshitoshi Abe
If you enjoyed this anime try: Haibane Renmei


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