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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheaply animated, slow, poorly voiced and brilliant
I know a girl who always seems a million miles away. She is essentially closed to all of us, living mainly inside herself. She appears, ostensibly, comfortable with her singular existence; but is probably unable to function truly alone. She's the kind of person that a lot of people are once or twice in their lives. She could easily be skirting around a nervous breakdown,...
Published on 25 July 2008 by D. Beverley

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi presented as though you're surfing the web
When I read that a girl receives an email from a dead classmate, I thought this series would deal with issues around the afterlife, instead the series is about the possibility of the internet merging with the real world through advances in technology.

The issue I have with the series though is not the subject matter but the way it's presented; in what I assume...
Published on 1 Nov. 2007 by FDLab1


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheaply animated, slow, poorly voiced and brilliant, 25 July 2008
By 
D. Beverley - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Serial Experiments: Lain Collection [DVD] (DVD)
I know a girl who always seems a million miles away. She is essentially closed to all of us, living mainly inside herself. She appears, ostensibly, comfortable with her singular existence; but is probably unable to function truly alone. She's the kind of person that a lot of people are once or twice in their lives. She could easily be skirting around a nervous breakdown, caused by her extraneous introversion. The titular character of Serial Experiments Lain could almost be based upon her somewhat sad existence.

Lain, the lonely little girl stood on the bridge watching those she knew better than was known by, removed from the memory of, is extraordinary. There must be something about her that is enough to captivate herself, but for some reason it is too difficult to share it. Ever felt like that?

Sounding pretentious yet? Well that's no big deal. There's something in this series that speaks volumes.

SEL is cheaply made, somewhat poorly voiced (English dub), and was broadcast at 1.30am in Japan. It was, however, a surprise hit. It's not difficult to see why. Critics point out a similarity to Neon Genesis Evangelion's later episodes, and do so with some foundation. Perhaps part of that success was due to the stupendous NGE wave, but SEL is very good regardless.

Lain Iwakura is a young schoolgirl with little interest in technology. Her friend's introduce her to the Wired - an alternate internet - and she quickly becomes obsessed. She finds an outlet for her bottled up persona in the faceless world of online interaction. Things become more complicated with a string of suicides. Online presences claim to be the deceased, and encourage others to free themselves of their material existence to run free in the rhizome of the collective consciousness. Lain delves deeper into the Wired, exploring the tenuous gap between real life, and the network.

It's certainly not an untouched subject in anime or other media, but SEL captivates well. Similar to Hideako Anno's work not only in approach to mental strife, but the use of interesting angles, simple designs and excruciatingly slow pace.

When I first watched this series, about six year ago, I must have been a massive stoner because I had no idea what was going on, and stuffed it in the back of a drawer somewhere. On second viewing there was a lot in there to think about. Very interesting issues are, if not discussed, exposed. "You don't have to remain a wretched human being forever" - the world is but a physical representation of the information flowing through the Wired, given presence merely to verify its existence - very Ghost in the Shell, perhaps.

It also comes out with some dark matter: "So you want to hurt too, do you? Do you want your heart to feel like it's been scraped across with a rasp? If you do, don't look away, whatever you do," opens episode 8. Creepy.

At times it does feel as though it is a bit full of itself, and reluctant to give away what the hell it is essentially banging on about (though nowhere near as bad as Lost). The tiny budget doesn't help this along - there are many single-cell moments and count-the-frame animations.

However let's forgive it, because it is clever, and it's okay to know that you are clever sometimes.

The ending wasn't quite what I'd hoped for, though I did like it. The message to take away, though, is that your life comes down to what you believe it to be, and what you want it to be. If you are not remembered, you never existed. If you do not share knowledge, then you may as well not have any. There is one truth, that is the truth, and that is you. Something like that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird wired indeed but well worthwhile, 8 Jan. 2008
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It's not easy to say much about "Lain" without giving away plot points - though the plot is not so easy to summarise, come to that, either! Tvtropes calls it "creepy cool shojo cyberpunk", all of which is true enough. Initially it's very hard to work out what's going on, but this is certainly deliberate and mirrors Lain's own perplexity in her very odd and scary world. Eventually things do get clear enough.

If you're well up on classic anime you probably know about "Lain" and don't need my recommendation. If not, I guess it's likely to appeal to the sort of person who likes David Lynch movies AND ALSO "Spirited Away" or "Princess Mononoke". If you think the first half of "The Matrix" is wonderful, and find it disappointing when the film turns into a much more ordinary action movie, then you might do worse than to check out "Lain".

Visually it's very well done and it's continually inventive and intriguing even when obscure.

A final note - the protagonist is a very immature 13 year old girl, but the series is not suitable for very immature 13 year olds. There's little violence or overt sexual content, but there's a good bit of the slightly creepy sexualization of young girls which is obviously no big deal for Japanese audiences but could be uncomfortable for some viewers (maybe more unsettling for uptight old men like me than for actual teenagers, though). Child suicide figures quite prominently in the plot. The general tone is serious and adult and would be perplexing for a young child, but very rewarding for a bright and open-minded 14 or 15 year old - or adult.

The sort of people who like this will like it very much indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cerebral, 6 Jun. 2013
By 
D. P. Flanagan "ithuriel" (Leicester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Serial Experiments: Lain Collection [DVD] (DVD)
One of my favourite Anime's designed to make you think whilst being engrossing, with stylised art and a nice short 13 episodes of mind bending mystery from the late 90s.
Schoolgirl Lain receives an Email from a dead girl who claims to have found God on the internet and down the rabbit hole you go.
Just when you think you might know what is going on it throws up more questions and keeps you thinking and asks questions of reality or how reality is perceived and personality, how the mind can change and how we, I, you react to others and the world.
The soundtrack is well done and with an excellent mellow opening piece.
So if you feel like some delicious mind melting candy this show is well worth the time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi presented as though you're surfing the web, 1 Nov. 2007
By 
FDLab1 (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
When I read that a girl receives an email from a dead classmate, I thought this series would deal with issues around the afterlife, instead the series is about the possibility of the internet merging with the real world through advances in technology.

The issue I have with the series though is not the subject matter but the way it's presented; in what I assume is the directors attmept to make the programme as close to surfing the web as possible the standard narrative is replaced with a jumpy blast of information which I found hard to follow.

Saying that though I was pleased with the story progression and I think it has taken a rational look at what the future maybe like if we continue to increase our dependency on computers. There are also good points to think about ie. which is the true you: your user profile or the you that goes to school/work etc.

If the storyline was easier to follow this series would have got 4 stars due to the origional story but as I found it hard to follow due to the jumpy narrative presentation it stays at 3 stars
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exellent graphic, 23 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Serial Experiments: Lain Collection [DVD] (DVD)
i m not an expert in anime or manga i just like drawing and this serie got very nice view of japanese urbain scenery the graphism is exellent
the story appear to be interesting and non conventionnal and it echoes a serie of the director takashi miike but not as crasy
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Serial Experiments: Lain Collection [DVD]
Serial Experiments: Lain Collection [DVD] by Ryutaro Nakamura (DVD - 2007)
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