Serial Experiments Lain

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Alternative Titles

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


Type: TV
Episodes: 13
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 6, 1998 to Sep 28, 1998
Premiered: Summer 1998
Broadcast: Tuesdays at 01:15 (JST)
Studios: Triangle Staff
Source: Original
Genres: Avant GardeAvant Garde, DramaDrama, MysteryMystery, Sci-FiSci-Fi, SupernaturalSupernatural
Theme: PsychologicalPsychological
Duration: 23 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)


Score: 8.061 (scored by 217760217,760 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
Ranked: #4802
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popularity: #257
Members: 583,617
Favorites: 19,467

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Mar 11, 2008
seraphjei (All reviews)
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
Jan 20, 2008
Qwerkzy (All reviews)
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
Jun 16, 2015
SSaturnis (All reviews)

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
May 1, 2017
AestheticOnion (All reviews)
What really scares us? Death or the oblivion? Of course, the oblivion. It is not dying itself that frightens us the most, but rather knowing that we will lose everything we loved and cared for. All of the memories we've treasured, the choices we've made and the people we've touched; everything will cease from existence. So why do we treasure our past so much? Is that just a collection of memories the nostalgia bounds us to, or is it the part of who we are?

Serial Experiments Lain is not your average show, and definitely not something you run into every day. It is a unique read more
Feb 7, 2012
AnimeViewerJ (All reviews)
Now let me start of by saying THIS IS NOT AN ANIME FOR EVERYONE! *minor spoilers included*

The story of Serial Experiments Lain is an interesting complex one to say the least. It starts of by a student commiting suicide saying she does not need to exist in this world anymore. The following day the students receive an email from the dead student and at first they think it is spam mail but that turns out not to be the case. Pretty much the whole show revolves around The Wired (or their version of a more advanced Internet) and how humans use it as a form read more
Aug 7, 2021
literaturenerd (All reviews)
Oh's time! I have been meaning to go back and re-review this anime for about 5 years now. My original review was very flippant, poorly written, and quite dismissive towards Lain. I gave it a 6 and the whole review was basically "Lol, can you believe this shit?! What a weird anime!"

Firstly, I want to go into a little background explaining my own experience with this anime and how my views have changed over time. I first saw Lain in 2005 and the best way to watch Lain in the United States at that point unless you had the money to buy the DVDs read more
Jun 1, 2015
SNKFanboy (All reviews)
"Pretentious", according to google dictionary is: "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed." honestly that definition very simply describes the anime serial experiments lain.

serial experiments lain's story can honestlty be described as a random collection of 'deep' ideas like human concsiousness and existentialistism and its relation to the web, full of forced 2deep4u moments and random exposition supposed to be 'clues' to figure out the needlessly confusing storyline, wich is only made worse with long periods with no dialog and only the sound of a computer humming, which makes for a very boring and uninteresting watch.

the characters aren't read more
Jul 2, 2014
ktulu007 (All reviews)
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
Dec 7, 2009
TheLlama (All reviews)
Usually, one can divide good anime into two groups. There's the ones that entertain you through your emotions; scooping you up in the adrenaline-rushing fights, riveting your feelings with heart-breaking drama or simply tingling your adventurous sides. And then there's the ones that makes you sit down and think. Ponder about deeper, philosophical dilemmas and questions such as those of existence, origin, connection. Serial Experiments Lain is among the few to fall into the latter category.

It is a fact that everyone in this world is connected. In our world, we have cell phones, the Internet; there's no limit to how we can connect with our read more
Sep 29, 2007
Venneh (All reviews)
Title: Serial Experiments Lain

Anime: Serial Experiments Lain was produced by Triangle Staff, who also did the animation for Magic User's Club and Boogiepop Phantom, and directed by Ryutaro Nakamura, famous for directing Kino's Journey and the upcoming Ghost Hound. It ran on Japanese television from July 6th, 1998 to Setpember 28th, 1998. Pioneer (now Geneon, now soon to be defunct) has licensed it Stateside, and the fourth and final volume was released on January 9th, 2002.

Story: Serial Experiments Lain kicks off with a suicide in its first few minutes. Then it cuts to a week later, when all of her classmates are read more
Nov 3, 2007
DrSleep (All reviews)
Lain is a young teenage school girl of no extraordinary ability -- especially with computers, now all the rage among her friends. She appears to have many friends, and while not unsocial or rude, she doesn't like to hang out with people. Each day begins with Lain coming out of the front door of her sunwashed , minimalist house, and descending a small ramp of white stone stairs, identified as such only by slashes of deep black shadows on the risers.

Director Ryutaro Nakamura's SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN is rightfully considered one of the most revolutionary anime series of its time and well into the forseeable future. read more
May 19, 2010
no_forehead (All reviews)
I've watched this show 2,769 times and still can't make any real sense of it. And I for God's sake like philosophy and science fiction very much.

Its metaphysics are somewhat contradictory, and some things are never explained in any way, and any theory I'm able to form about all this show presents leaves something out.

Its important characters are all shallow and don't show any kind of appropriate/understandable emotional reactions. This is by no means the number one show I'd recommend if you wanted to think about the effects modern technology has on people's lives.

I figure this is after all its ultimate goal: to illustrate read more
Oct 15, 2010
DirtyMidnighter (All reviews)
Serial Experiments Lain is a difficult anime to grade on a scale. While the philosophical ideas that the series focuses on- instrumentality, cybernetic integration, loss of identity through prolonged interaction with the digital world- are thoroughly thought provoking and interesting, the execution of these ideas are inconsistent. This is a case of a series being a bit too ambitious for it's own good. The concepts to make the series work are all in place but it lacks a solid foundation to give it that push into the realm of excellence. It is a series that seems to constantly present fascinating ideas only to have their read more
May 15, 2014
BartyYuushaGeah (All reviews)
For my first anime review on this site, I'll be doing a series that I can confidently say is both one of my favorite works of fiction that anime has to offer that I've ever seen as well as possibly one where I can never ultimately decide how much I genuinely love it or just absolutely appreciate it even if I won't obsess over it.

Now with that out of the way, I guess I'll get into the review.

Serial Experiments Lain is NOT your average anime. At first glance, it might look a little bit like the Matrix movies or Ghost in the Shell read more
Oct 14, 2013
PetitFours (All reviews)
Serial Experiments Lain. Such an eerie piece of astonishment. And such a psychological thriller that is so full of philosophical ideas integrated in technology around us. This anime is one of those I have watched that required more time thinking or researching than watching (and making it hard to write this as my first review) - but it was definitely worth it. Apparently the 1998 cyberpunk anime was not made for the majority market, thus if you would prefer more actions than philosophy and thinking all over the series, there is a chance you will find this anime dull and boring.

Story - This is an read more
Sep 10, 2011
Karhu (All reviews)
So, Serial Experiments Lain or like I like to call it; Serious Experiences of Mindfucking.

It's an anime you get when you put 2001: A Space Odyssey, Inception, The Sixth Sense, Threads of Time, Air, TRC, Nisio Isin, Guy Richie and couple hundred other things in a big bucket. The you give that bucket to Chuck Norris who shakes the ingredients and squeezes the bucket to smaller size. But it's not over yet. Chuck gives the bucket-like thing to Andy Dick. Andy comes near your head and starts to push the bucket inside your head through your ear. He isn't doing it in gentle way. Your read more
Apr 6, 2015
lawlmartz (All reviews)
Present day... Present time! hahaHAHAHAha

"What isn't remembered never happened. Memory is merely a record...You just need to rewrite that record."


The term "existentialism" gets tossed around a lot when talking about psychological narratives. Perhaps it's that existentialism is a theme common to many stories that not only makes them more interesting, but encourages the viewer to ask questions about themselves, and be more introspective. Perhaps it's that existentialism is a concept central to the being of psychological intrigue, and one that also lends itself to storytelling. However, Lain is existentialism in its most pure form.

Story: 9

Serial Experiments Lain is extraordinary, and not in the most read more
Aug 28, 2013
post_human (All reviews)
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 read more
Jun 26, 2012
anaract (All reviews)
Lain was an incredible anime. It blew away all the anime stereotypes by creating a story with almost no romance, action, or comedy. It was a story of a girl who got so in touch with her virtual identity that she essentially broke the border between reality and virtual reality. Without giving away too many spoilers, I'll try to elaborate on what the anime is really about.

It's basically putting reality into question;
What really gives us our identity? Memories? Because if no one remembered us, how would we be identified?
But memories can be lost, destroyed, changed. Meaning that our identities themselves can be lost, destroyed or read more
Jan 25, 2015
guywholikesanime (All reviews)
Note: I ain't no english speaker

Everyone is connected

I recently finished one of the most iconic and groundbreaking anime in history. Honestly is very difficult to write a review as my brain is trying to recover from the mind-melting experience of watching Serial Experiments Lain, but I am going to do my best.

SEL is all about making you think. While other anime want to simply amuse you, SEL tries to connect with you and tries to create some kind of "bond" between you and your conscious, pretty much what NGE and GhitS do (or try to). SEL uses (and abuses) your intelligence and your darkest feelings read more