Saturday, December 8, 2007

Serial Experiments Lain

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Serial Experiments Lain or Lain for short was directed by Ryutaro Nakamura, written by Chiaki J. Konaka, original character design by Yoshitoshi ABe, and produced by Yasuyuki Ueda. Lain is a cyber-punk anime it was first broadcast on Japanese TV in 1998 and is 13 episodes long. Lain is a very complex anime that focuses on what is reality and touches on many philosophical topics such as ones own identity,'God', and death; as well as other subjects like middle class families, communication, the internet (or the wired as it is referred to in the anime). Ueda said he intended Japanese and American audiences to form conflicting views on the series, but was disappointed in this regard, as the impressions turned out to be similar.

The main character is a teenage girl called Lain Iwakura, she lives in a middle class family with a cold mother, a computer obsessed father and an older sister named Mika. At the beginning of the series Lain has no real interest in the wired. It’s only when she receives an odd e-mail from a fellow classmate (that has committed suicide); that Lain starts to take an interest in the wired. At this point she asks her father for a better navi (or computer), and she then receives the very latest top of the line nivi. From this point on Lain’s life and the lives of everyone in the ‘real’ world is about to be turned upside-down. Ueda says that what Lain perceives to be real (and others in the anime) is reality to them, but to everyone else that's around them, they can't see it, it's not part of their reality. So in that respect, everyone has their own reality that another person can't see, and it's kind of a playoff between realities for each individual person. You should remember this when you are watching this anime and it will start to make more sense.

The first time I watched Lain I really liked it and I really did not think it was weird. But watching Lain this time years later I have to admit I was a bit lost at times. There is so much symbolism and subtle messages going on in this anime that it can seem really weird and a bit off putting. I still liked Lain even though watching it the second time round it was more confusing. This is not your typical anime there is no sex or war and very little violence. Now if you like your anime to be jam-packed with action, comedy or the storyline easy to follow then this may not be for you. But I would say this to anyone that may not like this type of anime; this is a really good anime if you want to dip your toe in the waters of odd anime that will make you think. Also Lain is being used as course material in universities. And finally if you thought this anime sucked because you really did not get it you should check out the links below to a few interviews that Uead, ABe, and Konaka gave it may change you mind. For those of you that like Lain you should check these links out as well because it gives you a better understanding of all the hidden meaning.
Interview with ABe and Ueda
Interview with Konaka
Interview with ABe and Ueda