The Nightmare of Fabrication is a beautifully drawn full-color manga from Yoshitoshi ABe. The 18 page short story can be found in the "an omnipresence in wired 'lain'" artbook.
It's a bonus story which apparently isn't related with either the anime nor the PS game. It shows characters who were included in the PS game but not in the TV series (like the psychiatrist), but also determinant characters from the anime who didn't appear in the video game (like Deus).
“I want to talk to someone. Who can I talk to?” - Lain, The Nightmare of Fabrication
“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone”. - Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea
This is a short story which is part of Lain Omnipresence in Wire art book. Not only does this book present absolutely awe-inspiring lithographs of original artwork from Lain but also the archetypal work of the multi-talented Yoshitoshi Abe continues to show his talents as a mangaka, illustrator and script writer. It is not only a beautifully crafted manuscript, but its images capture the likeness of a soul. It
is visually stunning and the artwork contained within it is rich, unlike so many other art books I've come across that present you with bland imagery. This is the best art book I have seen. From simple sketches to finished artwork – you can see in every piece an astounding discovery, a masterful book and a visual treat.
I believe good fantasy and imagined art can be based on solid foundation of realism and I really think ABe is throwing in plenty of his own style / imagination based on what he sees and what he feels in this manga. There is no place for a landscape here, since everything is a suffocating enclosure (like a stressed mind), then capped with melancholic shading, dark colors, and outstanding texture. The figures are graceful, but alternative, elegant, yet perturbing, balanced and each mark combined to give poetry to the overall. The most important aspect of the work is the life that is captured in the drawing. That which is presented is that which is important, and everything else fades into the background. There’s a considerable amount of red through the pages, from Lain’s iris to a red string.
The plot is like an alternative story of Lain. Even though it is like a thumbnail sketch of some questions that are presented by the anime and contains one of the important characters of the series, Deus, this story also presents a character who is unique to the game of Lain released for Playstation in 1998 – the therapist. Like in ABe’s White Rain, we abruptly see a girl who does not know her location or identity. Her only companion is a stuffed little dog. She opens up his belly in order to discover if he really carries an existence, and also to give him the features which she wishes him to have. Then she starts to recreate her empty reality, filling it with her own conception of truth. She wants to recreate her mother, her father, her sister, her friend, and essentially herself.
The only background of the story is this dark empty room and Lain is all alone – it’s like the space around her is still "loading". This oppressive scenario, however, starts to be freighted by her frustrations. The prospect ceases to be a physical one and starts to find itself inside Lain’s head. Other characters are just presented as simply recordation of Lain’s mind as their existence is submitted by her memories. Eventually, Lain starts to wonder if she herself, this individual who she considers to be Lain - this girl who has this name, a place of birth and age - isn’t as well merely an interpretation of some data – and the darkness starts to fill the room once again.
We can see some plot devices in this narrative: the stuffed little dog acts as a Chekov’s Gun, Jonbar Hinge, and Framing device. Moreover, we see a unique space and time, and deus ex machina, exactly like in the classical theater (besides the fact that the story discusses metalinguistically both Aristotle’s conceptions of mimesis and catharsis). The plot explores human psychology and existentialism’s theories and the characters are usually more symbolic of the ideas they represent. In summary, we are presented with an alternative quest for God.
This dark room where Lain starts to recreate herself through the computer is probably a sketch that some people may identify themselves with. Ugly people doing beautiful profiles and pictures, quiet individuals talking too much on forums, lonely ones making a lot of friends in the internet. Everybody is trying to improve somehow, even if in the end it is a lie of who he/she really is – although, by a different point of view, this may be his/her real self. Familial problems, relationship problems are things everybody can identify themselves with. So it’s like not only the other characters, but the reader himself is dragged to the thoughts of the protagonist.
Someone once defined good art as something that can stab you in the chest. This masterpiece stabs you in your head, in your heart, and invites you to stab yourself, this lie that maybe you have been carrying. Know thyself. Sometimes, even if you drown yourself in the internet and feel like you’re surrounded by people, you still may be utterly alone. Even if you have a computer which you think is everything you need, in reality you may have nothing. People cannot really connect, that’s why it is so cold. On the other hand, “if no one knows, it can be the same as if it never happened at all” – a fabricated nightmare.
Serial Experiments Lain needs no introduction. Despite the controversy regarding it as a massively head-scratching expereinceback in 1998; it rapidly became a cult classic, debated at most popular forums or websites at the time, or -as it's said in Lain terms: in "The Wired". 'The Nightmare of Fabrication' is a one-shot manga release written and illustrated by Yoshitoshi Abe (Texhnolyze, Haibane Renmei, NieA Under 7, and obviously Lain). This short story definitely lacks the level of mindf*ckery that the TV series presents in its 13 episodes format; but it still shares lots of the thought-provoking theme exploration that made the show such an interesting success.
I wouldn't recall a true necessity of such a manga. It's mainly an extra track so if you happen to read this try not to take this review very seriously due to this actually being just a look so to let you know what is this about (and yes, even if it is for a one-shot).
The plot is so short and simple that's very difficult to bring good points without leaving some spoilers out, so I will just imply that it kicks-off with one of the multiple perspectives Serial Experiments Lain can be interpreted. As you may know, the themes involved in the series are those such as the god, the concience, the memory and the existence within a world that's severly changing its sense of reality (due to the presence of the Wired). The characters are not something truly outstanding either, as they just can't stand on their own in such a short manga; adding that the only well-rounded character in the whole show is Lain herself. But in spite of these huge problems, it's a very well-achieved illustrated message as it can be understood even without a clear context, making ths short story a nice introduction to what the TV title has to offer.
The drawing is exceptional, I must admit. Yoshitoshi ABe has always been a fantastic art designer, and he clearly proved it in this short comic book. The colors leans towards dark violet and black, and the general shading makes the work a flamboyant noir illustration.
Being myself a huge fan of the TV show, I enjoyed this little piece of content. There's a message one can care about at the end; so I honesty call it a quite fine short story, avoiding any kind of bias I tend to have with my favorites.
Seeing how this title is mostly an 'extra', it feels semi pointless -even idiotic to write a review about it. As you can see, there's not a lot to talk about. Maybe this writing will serve, instead, to recommend the big picture that's the 90s anime classic. Still, take for sure that this is a little fine introduction to the Lain universe...and beyond.