English: Serial Experiments Lain
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 6, 1998 to Sep 28, 1998
23 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.971 (scored by 57462 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
cyberpunk drama mystery psychological sci-fi
SynopsisLain 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.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Serial Experiments Lain: The Nightmare of Fabrication
Characters & Voice Actors
Review for Serial Experiments Lain by John Kim
Introduction: I find myself typing this review thinking more about the conceptualization of existence, than the anime itself. Above all, there are two standards I hold true for anime. There are anime that simply entertain for the sake of enjoyment, and there are anime that stretches the boundary of human imagination. Serial Experiments Lain falls in the latter category and for this reason Serial Experiments Lain stands out as a true classic. Serial Experiments Lain pushes the envelope of what the perceived notion of what can be done with television as a medium. The show doesn’t just provide entertainment; it provides insight, and profound views and beliefs about technology and the role it plays in society. With that said it's time to get on with the review.
Story: Given that Lain’s story progression is very disjointed, if the execution were to be even off by the slightest, the show would have been ridden with plot holes. Lain however doesn’t need worry about plot and story in the same sense as other anime, but instead relies on the atmosphere and the characters to tell the story. What little plot Lain does have, the show works with it fabulously. Now some may argue that Lain is completely plot driven, but to each his own. Personally I believe that Lain strays as far as it can from bland episodic story telling, and in essence is similar to Citizen Kane in the aspect that the story has little to do with the show. Lain above all is a character study, and the plot only moves forward under the characters.
Art: Despite the art being off center in terms of traditional anime, it hardly deters from the overall enjoyment of the series. It is important to note that the series actually benefits from the unique art style presented in Lain. Art is not a big pulling factor for Lain, so if you are a fan of high quality art, you may be in for a rough ride.
Sound: The series relies on a minimalist approach to sound and music. Dialogue is sparse, but very profound. Sound effects are seldom used but with brevity, and has a lasting impact on the viewer. Once again, this lack of a quality that would normally be detrimental to an anime’s enjoyment, but becomes one of Lain’s strengths. The sound of the electricity running through power lines, the empty sound of Lain typing on her keyboard, and the scarce use of music. These are all memorable pieces of sound effects that adds to the overall impact of the show.
Character: Now this is where Lain shines brightest. In a vast wasteland of mundane same-old, Lain sticks out as an anime that takes its characters to a level that most anime can only dream of achieving. The character of Lain is perhaps the most deep and relevant characters in anime today. To explain upon this point, one would have to watch the series and comprehend the various themes and motif’s on one’s own. But in order to be brief, Lain’s character can be summarized as ascending from human status, to near God like power through the prowess of the internet. Ahem, I mean, “The Wired.” It’s a simple concept and seems like it has been done before, giving credit to the argument, and it probably has. But the beauty here is the cast of side characters that surround Lain. Her sister, her father, mother, and friends, are all extremely deep characters, that although don’t appear to be, are actually extremely poignant in their own right.
Enjoyment & Closing: If watched with an open mind, Lain will do more than simply entertain. It is truly revolutionary anime for its time, and the amount of depth in the show is utterly staggering. Never in my years of watching anime have I seen a show as thought provoking as Lain. If one were so inclined to contact me, we could talk for hours upon hours of the religious symbols, and religious references that run about the shows course. We could then change the subject to comparing Lain’s character to that of philosophy of the Jungian Shadow. We could converse and discover deeper and more universal meanings as time progressed. Lain is such a show that the viewer doesn’t just watch it. The viewer must be pushed to think, and who doesn’t want to do a bit a of thinking once in a while? read more
Unlike most other animes at that time, SEL was not based on any manga or light novel, it was an original. Let me at first tell you that this is definitely not the only criteria that makes this anime unique. Firstly I would like to say that if you want a fast anime with lots of action or generally lots of things happening this is not for you; if you want an anime with romance or ecchi this is not for you; if you want an anime that starts with a bang from start and keeps on its definitely not for you; and lastly if you think after watching this you will soon forget the plot and get on with your next on watch list I say at the beginning its not that forgettable. This is an anime that makes you stop and think, makes you ponder the reality surrounding you and most certainly makes you question your beliefs. And if you think of the time when this aired that was and I think still is one of the most unique traits of any anime.
SEL is a story of a girl named Lain. She seems to be so ordinary at the start but please hold on till episode 3-4 then everything changes. At the beginning of the anime one of Lain's classmates commit suicide after telling everyone that she does not need to exist in this world anymore and next day all of her classmates receive an email from her. At first all thinks its a joke or something but slowly the plot progresses and we find the real truth. Lain was a shy girl with almost no experience of computers and the world of the wire (which is the writers idea of a much more developed form of internet) but she eventually finds out that she is quite skilled in computers and gets deeply involved in the world of the wired and then everything turns weird. If I say more of the plot I will just spoil the anime for you so let me just say this just be patient with the first few episodes and if you like a good story you will not be disappointed.
For me story is the best part of this anime and it gets 9 out of 10.
If anything is better than the storyline is SEL its the characters. They are only a few characters that are fully evolved to be true but still the rest are also developed with equal discretion.
Lain, the main character is probably one of the well portrait protagonists for me in any anime. She is created with so much attention to every aspect that its like a flawless character, all the dialogues and the sell-centered thinking gets viewers interested more and more to learn more about her reality and always makes them guess why is she acting like that. With every episodes Lain grows more and more until all watchers will grow into the plot progressively.
Other interesting characters include Masami Eiri who is although not a likeable personality but still the way he is portrait you can not but understand his logic too. Alice is another very unique character whose plot was another well placed part in this beautiful puzzle.
Rest of the cast includes Lains parents and sister, her other friends and mysterious Men in Black none of whom seems to disappoint either.
Characters are the strongest part of this anime and gets 10 out of 10 from me.
Arts are not the main feature of this anime and there is no stunning animations to make you go wow, but you have to remember it was 1998 almost 15 years ago so in that time it must have been not bad at all. There is also use of some experimental colored backgrounds wich actually gives some sequences good atmospheric value.
I will give the art.animation 8 out of 10.
In the anime they are is very sparse use of sound effects present. Sometimes even dialogues are so few but all just adds to the affect of the unique atmosphere the director was trying to create. Most of the sound used in the anime are ambient stuff but the opening track by Boa and the ending by Reichi Nakaido are so good that most people will definitely check out the soundtrack for those. Overall the tracks and the ambient noise pieces and blend of sparse effects and dialogue adds immensely to the overall enjoyment of the experience.
I myself like the OST quite a lot and still listen to the Reichi Nakaido ending occasionally.
Sound gets from me 9 out of 10.
At the end I would like to say that this anime is a piece of art and like most art is not for everyone. But people who like food for thought with their entertainment and a good overall story and unique characters (lets face the truth, now-a-days good and unique characters are such a rarity in animes) should not miss out on this anime.
All this talk of this makes me want to watch SEL again and that is also another point for this anime its re-watch value.
9 out of 10 read more
Boogiepop Phantom and Serial Experiments Lain are very slow-paced and have very little dialogue. They both attempt to be philisophical....
90's anime style ownage: dull atmosphere, squared character design, electro music on the background, overcrowded city depression, urban mysteries of the concrete-cable town, new age at its best.
strange deaths, beautifully haunting music, and strange color schemes make these two anime series almost siblings. . .
Both mess with your brain. However, Boogiepop creeps you out with supernatural, where Lain (which does have bits of creepiness) uses the modern phenomenon of internet and the decrease in human contact. Boogiepop is perhaps less philosophical than Lain and less conceptual
Also a very surreal anime with somewhat similar darkish style.
Lain and Boogiepop Phantom are soul mates; they deliver highly convoluted stories with intricate plots that are presented in a non-linear way, which allows for some extremely disorientating moments. The mood of both is very dark and menacing; virtually all scenes are charged with nervous tension. Lain is more coherently philosophical while BP is somewhat disjointed but they share the same spirit of subversive violence, enthralling confusion and constant questioning.
Both employ a philosophic style, approaching dark, almost disturbing themes and nonlinear, vignette-effect storytelling. The character designs are similar, not surprisingly because they are done by the same artist (Shigeyuki Suga). Both series also use sparse color palettes, with Boogiepop Phantom extending it further to noise-filled, sepia tones, to reflect the anxieties and tragedies of the characters as well as give the series an over-all psychological, surreal atmosphere.
It seems that Lain and Boogiepop share the same gothic approach to their respective views of the world. I like how both make you really think about their true meanings and how deep they really are.
Watching one is like watching the other. :-D
Boogiepop is a more violent, mysterious, horror version of Lain.
Both have schoolgirls as protagonists; both have some kind of “god” in them; both are creepy, confusing, and complex; both have awesome dark/electronic/industrial music, and the same character design, atmosphere, and slow pacing.
If you liked one, you’ll love the other.
Darkness, mystery, psychological thriller... highly recommended !!!
Total mind screw. Serial Experiments Lain is more understandable and has a (sympathetic and well developed) main character, while Boogiepop Phantom is more confusing and creepier.
Both are outstanding creative series, have a really alternative development, similar art, treat about dark stuff like suicide and gives a lot to think.
Both shows are very similar to one another, and both deal with the same basic thing, the degradation of the human mind. But while Lain deals with one single person, Boogiepop Phantom deals with a larger group of people who are all connected.
almost the same art style & similar atmosphere
This show shares the same character designer and key animator as Lain. It's also very dark, gloomy, and deals with how young people living in modern Japan are disconnected from one another. Boogiepop delves more into the horror genre and it's a little easier to follow, but in terms of atmosphere and storytelling style they are quite similar.
The two shows are both willing to progress the story without clearly defining it to the viewer in full. It instead lets you take the knowledge you have and attempt to piece the events from it. These both have effective, dark, dreary atmospheres. The artistic styles are similar and have a huge payoff when you get a full story out of it.
I'm sure everything about similarity of those two wonderful non-mainstream anime was said already so I'm just adding a vote.
similar psychologic effect, similar atmosphere
Both have strange deaths and haunting music. There's a creepy atmosphere to them both. With dull blurry-like colored backgrounds and characters.
Both series involve disturbing, psychological elements born through twisted technologies. Dark atmospheres encompass the lives of seemingly average students, each with their own past tragedies and/or mental instabilities. A first glance, the plotlines are confusing—albeit, both TV shows are intended for viewers who enjoy re-watching episodes to digest the subtle details, symbolisms, and intellectual undertones.
If you like complex thinking, you should watch this. Very psychological.
They're both very psychological and philosophical. Lain doesn't have Mechs or fights, but they're still rather similar.
Lain and Evangelion are intrinsically complex series. In both there is a strong presence of technology, which underlines the problematic relationship between individual existence and collective psychological archetypes of a symbolic order. These anime address topics such as the self, the body, the role of communication and the possibility of forging bonds. Lain is heavily intellectual from the outset and slow-paced through and through, while Eva only develops its conceptual core in the later episodes and is much more action-driven. Lain and Eva are prodigies of existential thought transmitted through a visual medium; and as such they go hand in hand.
Both are very deep, and make you think. They have somewhat similar theme, but the setting is very different.
Lain is no doubt a series to be enjoyed for every NGE fan that was attracted by NGE's psychological scenes.
Both have deeply complex plots and deal with the human psyche
Makes you think on what the hell is actually happening in the anime, and what the characters are thinking and what leads to their actions.
Dark, psychological, philosophical, mysterious, Lain and Evangelion are very similar thematically and tonally. If you like one (or if you didn't absolutely hate the last two episodes of Evangelion), you'll almost certainly like the other.
Both makes you think of life. (Що Лейн, що Ева дають підстави переосмислити життя)
Two great psychological anime. In both almost all the characters have their own individual inner world, incomprehensible even to themselves, do not speak already about others. Immediately recall the words of Gendo Ikari: "No one will ever fully understand another person".
So, to fully enjoy these masterpieces of psychological need to put it mildly, "to apply the brain." Well, if you're fans of the genre ala "Lucky Star", or "Azumang's" image not recommend.
I've watched both of this anime and i think that anyone who has watched Neon Genesis evangelion should also watch serial experiments lain.The most common thing between these two anime is the psychological aspect.Both of them have a complicated history and also characters.Even if the history is not the same (of course) they both have to do with technology and future.Also the main character are almost the same,with big personality problems and duple personality sometimes.Also i think that in both animes the characters surrounding the main characters are problematic and difficult to understand .
Both are science fiction titles that are also psychological thrillers.
Both these series are psychological in nature. It explores the idea of existence, self and being. You'll end up questioning yourself. Although NGE has more action and SEL has a slower pace.
Both have similar themes dealing with "god" and self discovery. They also share similar art styles and story telling mechanics.
Heavily influencing deep psychological thinking, themes like Existential philosophy and Depth in human inter-relations, both shows intersect in the point where the viewer is left with more meaning behind the plot and span of episodes.
If you like Complex themes, and thought-skewering eeriness, watch them both.
- Both are psychological and deep
- Both are mindscrewy (Lain more so than Eva)
- The last two episodes of Eva are the most similar to Lain
Revenge of the late 90s with these two unique pieces. Serial Experiments Lain is only similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion with the undertones, as well as the atmosphere and overall impression both series tend to leave with people. Evangelion will leave you somewhat shaken in what you consider to be "normal" in the ways of human psychology, as well as taking you through a detailed unraveling of the main characters, whereas Lain will leave you wondering more about the duality of the self and the responsibilities associated with near God-Like power (something that the viewers of the End of Evangelion wish had been discussed with a certain character). Both have a haunting feeling that I associate with them, as Demolition D+ would say, an "over your shoulder, God is watching" kind of feeling, an omnipotence hidden just beyond our view. If you enjoyed Eva, you'll enjoy Lain.
- both delve deeply into philosophy, and psychology
- both require your brain turned on
- both are complete mindfucks
Opening Theme"Duvet" by Bôa
Ending Theme"Tooi Sakebi" by Nakaido Chabo Rei'ichi
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Shakaw [Shakaw] (Brazilian Portuguese)
Oga [Oga] (Brazilian Portuguese)
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