I was surfing through the net one day, and saw that my favorite techie channel, Net TV, was showing Serial Experiments Lain. There's also lots of praises for the anime in their website. Actually, I've seen the name Lain every now and then in techie and geek sites, heaped with many webmasters' and reviewers' rhapsodies about it.
So what really is Seral Experiments Lain? Is it really worth all this excitement? At 13 episodes, I thought I should just go ahead and find out.
"I still live here. I just abandoned my body."
So Chisa wrote in the email.
After reading the letter, Lain's life changed. She was befriended by three schoolgirls who tried to coach the quiet Lain out of her shell. Lain suddenly developed this curiosity on computers and desired a new Navi model, their version of a personal computer, of which she asked her computer geek of a father to get her one. She mysteriously receives a small hardware that when integrated into her Navi allows her to enter cyberspace, called The Wired. She transformed to a new persona when in the Wired, a Lain that's the complete opposite of the Lain in the real world. She developed an obsession with her Navi, constantly upgrading her hardware and software until her chaste, stuffed-toy-ridden bedroom resembled a computer hacker's headquarters. Two suspicious-looking men in black suits would camp outside Lain's house, observing her. And Lain's friends claimed that they've seen another girl who looks like her, only that she doesn't act like her at all...
Essentially, it's about the Internet, and how Lain was transformed from shy teenager to an extrovert when she's in the Wired. Call it Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde if you will. It's fine in the beginning, there's a solid plot here. I tried to figure out the cause of Chisa's suicide, and her reason for sending emails to people with a cryptic message.
Then I watched the
succeeding episodes--they call it by "layers", and I was lost.
Scenes were inserted that don't seem to make any sense at all, and most
of the time there were shots of black and white images, or swirls of color.
There are even actual images from a video cam. I think it's the creators'
attempt at artistry. Or else there's a reason for those images. In any
case, it's again up to the viewer to interpret the ambiguous, seemingly
nonsensical stuff. The ending of Lain, even though I wasn't able to follow
much of the story, was more or less predictable, from an anime that makes
you expect the unexpected.
Obviously, I won't pretend to like Lain. Inspite of its 13 episodes--not really that long--I found Lain boring to tears. Literally, since I felt my eyes tearing up from sleepiness. I felt that the creators of Lain are computer geeks with a PhD in philosophy; they overdid their depiction of cyberspace with melodramatic philosophical stuff. I've seen it in Neon Genesis Evangelion. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm not into psychodramatic stuff. So is it my fault if I wasn't able to understand all those layers from Serial Experiments Lain? To each his own, they say. I just happen to have a different taste ^_^