Top positive review
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"You mustn't confuse it with the real world"
on 24 August 2007
If one were to describe this anime series with one word, there would be none better than the title of the first episode: WEIRD. But this description would only scratch the surface, and below that we find a rich and complex plot that transports the viewer through an array of emotions and states of mind. At times you will be baffled, at others elated, and in between you will try to grasp the tiny details that make this one of the most enigmatic series I have ever watched.
The story starts when a young girl kills herself and soon afterwards her classmates start to get emails from the deceased. Lain is one of the students getting the messages, and she is an introverted kid who has problems relating to others. This results in Lain being eager to understand more about the mysterious "ghost" and learn about The Wired, which is a world that allows people to escape reality (similar to our Web). But what happens when the two worlds start merging, and what people though was fiction begins to affect their lives?
As the series progresses, the duality between The Wired and the real world virtually disappears, and the effects are extremely interesting to observe. Questions will begin to pop-up in your head, in similar vein to those presented in "The Matrix". At some points, the series may get complex and confuse you, but keep at it, the rewards are worth the "pain".
It is not usual to find films in this genre that deal so well with psychological and existential issues, and even those that did not like this series have to recognize that at least it possess originality and deviates from the standard path followed by so many anime directors (evil vs. good with lots of fights and blood).
In terms of the graphics, you will not find anything extraordinary there, especially in terms of the settings, since the level of detail is rather poor. But I believe that this was probably done on purpose, since in this way the viewer is be forced to focus her attention on the more important aspects of the story. Some people may also find the series a bit slow at times, but I think the slow pace in these moments is warranted since its usage serves the purpose of getting us to think about the consequences of what we are observing. This was also done wonderfully in the masterpiece "Grave of the Fireflies".
I believe that this is a must see for anime fans, since you will find a whole array of new and interesting concepts being used. To those not familiar with the genre, I would recommend that you watch this series only if you do not mind complex plots and at times slow progress of the action.