If there’s one word to describe Serial Experiments Lain, it’s MINDFUCK. This isn’t one of those anime that would be easy to understand. When it was released, it was considered Avant-garde at the time (That means it was new and unconventional, yet successful). Even today, many people sing praises of it today, while others tend to disagree and call it ‘boring’. So let’s surf the net and delete Navi (Yes, THAT Navi), this is Serial Experiments Lain.
Story – 8/10
If you are a fan of the usual shounen genre, I highly recommend against watching this show. The anime is Avant-garde, so if you like the conventional anime style, do stay clear, an otaku fell into a coma for five years, just by watching this show.
As for the story, it’s a rather interesting case. The story uses the internet as its source of premise, which is a gold mine; with the likes of Sword Art Online and Summer Wars (One of these anime is not like the other; one of these anime is the better option). We can explore interesting themes like, dual life in the internet, identity theft, hacking, and social dilemma. And for something made ages ago, the anime ACTUALLY explores that. Which is kind of surprising considering this anime was made a year before The Matrix (I looked it up). The story, however, tends to move slowly, not too much to make it boring, but enough to make you feel calm and relaxed. Where am I going with this? I DON’T KNOW, I started writing this when I just woke up and even I don’t know what’s going on in my brain. But, neither does the viewer, as the anime tends to throw a lot of twists and turns (Hence, the MINDFUCK) that the viewer might end up losing his or her ground. But that’s not the selling point. So be sure to not spoil yourself, or you’ll lose the entire fun of it. But there is something about the story that clicks.
At the time, the internet wasn’t what it was back then. Social network wasn’t that sophisticated, and the only way to connect to the internet was to survive a 2 minute long ear-rape. The internet or, as it’s called in the anime, The Wired, is a lot more sophisticated than that. Now, let’s loop back to when it was first aired. The only way we can chat is through AOL, and Google wasn’t the ultimate search engine that it is today and Youtube only allowed you to watch 5 minutes worth of Naruto (I checked. We have come a really long way) Years later, Youtube started to gain momentum and Google started working on their e-mail editor, G-Mail. And today, we can communicate and show Otaku pride on the internet, tweet and start a revolution that can topple an entire government, and write reviews like the critics we aspire to be. Notice the pattern? If you don’t, wait till the enjoyment section.
Art – 10/10
Ahhhhhhh, I feel so calm. That’s one word to describe the art in the anime. The anime has a rather distinct style never seen for its time that is until Studio Shaft would adopt its own style of animation. But it was Serial Experiments Lain that pioneered ‘shafting’. The entire setting of the show relies more on aesthetic rather than the usual methods, to tell its narrative, which it does a pretty awesome job at. The character designs are also pretty nice. For example, Lain, for one, looked adorable in her teddy bear onesie, and everyone else looked like they want to kill themselves (Don’t hold your breath on that last comment) As for the art direction, it looked stunning, making the entire show a feast for the eyes. At times, it gets unsettling, at others, it gets trippy. The art is something one should go and check out for themselves, so should you have picked this up, just for the art direction alone, then you won’t be disappointed.
Sound – 9/10
This is rather difficult, since Serial Experiments Lain barely has ANY OST to work with. But, when you consider that the show uses overall aesthetic to tell its narrative, the show doesn’t need any sort of soundtrack, but rather silence to convey the atmosphere and the tense, unsettling aura the characters give off. As for the OP and ED, I guess it’s pretty good. The OP was rather nice and soothing to listen to; it towers in comparison to the ED THAT’S for sure.
As for the Voice-acting, I watched this series subbed. The seiyuu does a good job of portraying a normal family, a normal bunch of friends, and a shy, awkward girl. I highly recommend subs because there will be moments where you will need to read some Japanese and try to make out what they are trying to say, which is borderline tedious in the dub, since they don’t translate them. You sub the Japanese in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, yet somehow you miss the mark here?
Characters – 9/10
This is a rather eerie case, since most of the characters are just back-drops to the messiah of our digital world (Insert Digimon joke here), Lain Iwakura. She is a rather interesting case. She’s a student who goes on The Wired for the first time and all of a sudden, she’s a $#^&ing super-hacker! She lives in a comfortable family of four, with her mother, her computer-loving dad, and her bitch of a sis. Her best friend is her classmate, Alice, who worries about her. As the story progresses, and the more we know about Lain, the faster her world starts to break apart on itself. The show did it in such a way, we never see this coming. Honestly, I’m basically out of words in this department.
Enjoyment – 8/10
Have you ever watched Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes? It’s kind of like that. As the show gets older, it starts to become better since it becomes more relate-able to our current lifestyle and Internet culture. And it will continue to be so until our great digital goddess decries this as heresy and delete its existence from our realm (And sneak a DVD copy for Mondays). You might not have enjoyed it back then, but after all we’ve been through, you might find the similarities quite surprising.
Overall – 8.6/10
Serial Experiments Lain is an anime best enjoyed when you’ve had your fill the best anime has to offer. It was a pleasant joyride for me, and I hope you enjoy it too. ? You might not enjoy it, but hey, it’s okay if you don’t get it. I know the feeling.
Yikes! Was my writer’s block THAT long? I intended to finish this in one month, but it took MONTHS after 2017! Man, 2016 was a lame year after all! Oh well, my writer’s block is over now, so it’s best that I end my reviews here. Jeez, I always thought that my last review for Sci-fi marathon would be Steins;Gate and my last REVIEW would be RWBY or Gurren Lagaan. Look like this might be my last *finished* review. Well, looks like 2016 killed my reviewer side, welp THAT sucks. I guess I’ll stick to the numbers and start ENJOYING anime for a change. If you want my opinion, check the tag and the ratings, in the end however, it doesn’t amount to how I really feel about the anime. In my last written review (I guess), the last words I can say as a reviewer would be,
“Don’t be prick and appreciate what life has to offer.”
Old Lady- Even the little stuff?
“ESPECIALLY the little stuffs.”
That’s right. Even Angel Beats, Sword Art Online and *shrug* Re;HAA…HAAAAA………..Re;Hamatora.