Ranked #552

Serial Experiments Lain

Alternative Titles

English: Serial Experiments Lain
Japanese: シリアルエクスペリメンツレイン


Type: TV
Episodes: 13
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 6, 1998 to Sep 28, 1998
Premiered: Summer 1998
Broadcast: Unknown
Studios: Triangle Staff
Source: Original
Duration: 23 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)


Score: 7.981 (scored by 76,992 users)
Ranked: #5522
Popularity: #168
Members: 173,103
Favorites: 6,100
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.


Lain Iwakura, an awkward and introverted fourteen-year-old, is one of the many girls from her school to receive a disturbing email from her classmate Chisa Yomoda—the very same Chisa who recently committed suicide. Lain has neither the desire nor the experience to handle even basic technology; yet, when the technophobe opens the email, it leads her straight into the Wired, a virtual world of communication networks similar to what we know as the internet. Lain's life is turned upside down as she begins to encounter cryptic mysteries one after another. Strange men called the Men in Black begin to appear wherever she goes, asking her questions and somehow knowing more about her than even she herself knows. With the boundaries between reality and cyberspace rapidly blurring, Lain is plunged into more surreal and bizarre events where identity, consciousness, and perception are concepts that take on new meanings.

Written by Chiaki J. Konaka, whose other works include Texhnolyze, Serial Experiments Lain is a psychological avant-garde mystery series that follows Lain as she makes crucial choices that will affect both the real world and the Wired. In closing one world and opening another, only Lain will realize the significance of their presence.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]


Serial Experiments Lain won the Excellence Prize in the 1998 Japan Media Arts Festival. It has been subject to commentary in the literary and academic worlds such as the Asian Horror Encyclopedia and The Problem of Existence in Japanese Animation by the American Philosophical Society.

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Related Anime

Characters & Voice Actors

Iwakura, Lain
Iwakura, Lain
Shimizu, Kaori
Shimizu, Kaori
Mizuki, Arisu
Mizuki, Arisu
Asada, Yoko
Asada, Yoko
Eiri, Masami
Eiri, Masami
Hayami, Show
Hayami, Show
Iwakura, Yasuo
Iwakura, Yasuo
Oobayashi, Ryuusuke
Oobayashi, Ryuusuke


Ueda, Yasuyuki
Ueda, Yasuyuki
Producer, Original Creator, Planning
Maseba, Yutaka
Maseba, Yutaka
Nakamura, Ryuutarou
Nakamura, Ryuutarou
Murata, Masahiko
Murata, Masahiko

More episodes Episodes(13/13)

Episode Title Aired
1 Weird
Jul 7, 1998
2 Girls
Jul 14, 1998
3 Psyche
Jul 21, 1998
4 Religion
Jul 28, 1998
5 Distortion
Aug 4, 1998

Opening Theme

"Duvet" by Bôa

Ending Theme

"Tooi Sakebi" by Nakaido Chabo Rei'ichi

Write a review | More reviewsReviews

Mar 11, 2008
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 read more
I found this review Helpful
Jul 2, 2014
Serial Experiments Lain is a psychological horror, sci-fi, cyberpunk drama anime written by Konaka Chiaki and developed by Triangle Staff. On one hand, I've seen enough things claim to be psychological with virtually no psychological content that I'm a bit skeptical. However, I've also seen plenty of anime with legitimate psychological horror elements foremost among them being the absolutely stellar Perfect Blue. This will be the only anime produced by Triangle Staff that I've seen so I can't provide an educated hypothesis based on that. I will say that I've seen some other anime that Konaka Chiaki was involved with, though not the head writer read more
I found this review Helpful
Jan 20, 2008
I'll just cut to the chase. I don't recommend this anime. I'll start out with the good things. The art is superb and very atmospheric. It's drawn in a unique style and it might be worth watching an episode or two for just this fact alone. If I were ever to direct an existentialist anime, I would definitely turn to this series for some major inspiration. The opening theme is well chosen and the sound effects are fairly good.

Now for the bad-- everything else. Serial Experiments Lain tries to tackle the problem of existence and identity read more
I found this review Helpful
Jun 16, 2015

Serial Experiments Lain is a paragon of many dimensions, and completely unparalleled in many more. It's a masterpiece of intellectuality, and utterly unparalleled in providing a mind-warping trip into extreme psychological and philosophical themes whose impact lingers and haunts like nothing I've ever experienced.

This is going without saying that Serial Experiments Lain is one of the most inaccessible creations of art to grace the medium of Animation, and it is difficult to even describe its complexity. There is a broad range of ideas, all of which have massive depth in their facets, which could all be focused on as a main point. read more
I found this review Helpful


Anime: Boogiepop wa Warawanai: Boogiepop Phantom
Boogiepop Phantom and Serial Experiments Lain are very slow-paced and have very little dialogue. They both attempt to be philisophical.... 
reportRecommended by selective_yellow
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion
If you like complex thinking, you should watch this. Very psychological. 
reportRecommended by PandaPuff
Anime: Ergo Proxy
similar themes and even look and style of the animation. 
reportRecommended by dollie_mixtures
Anime: Dennou Coil
Both are the stories about a cyberspace layered on the real world. The concepts and details are bit more confusing and scientific in SEL. SEL is a must watch for anyone who like sci-fi anime like Dennou Coil. 
reportRecommended by abhin4v
Anime: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica
Both shows center around a girl, whose fate is unknown to her. The answers they are looking for unfold as the the two series progress. In the end they both stand alone before a great challenge and they both have to discover that they can ultimately change the world as we know it. 
reportRecommended by Radzeer
Anime: Mousou Dairinin
Perception and reality: the divergence between what one perceives and what might exist is at the heart of both series. Paranoia Agent follows a more psychological approach to unravel the relation between these vectors while Serial Experiments Lain has a more philosophical take. It is likely that those who enjoy abstract deconstructions of identity will appreciate these exercises in surreal existentialism that are Lain and Paranoia Agent. 
reportRecommended by Nocturnal

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