Sunday, July 04, 2010

Review: Lain (Serial Experiment) anime

Lain (Serial Experiment) anime
Directed by Ryutaro Nakamura

This is my first foray into reviewing an anime series, but certainly not my first time watching one. I think I bit off more than I expected with this one. Serial Experiment Lain is an anime series that originally aired in 1998. In it's simplest form it is about interconnected networks and an internet analogue called the Wired. The main character Lain at first appears to be very technically inept but through pressure from several different directions begins to show an interest in the interconnected Wired. Weird deaths start to happen, bizarre thoughts and images become more and more prevalent which it would seem is all designed to make us aware that the main character Lain is much more than she seems. She may be real, she may not. the actions all about her by the same nature either really did or didn't happen. The main point that seems to be trying to be made is that everything in the world, people places things and history all owe their existence to memory. The more the series goes on (there are 4 dvds) the more convoluted this logic become and the more existential the actors and actions become.

My first impression was that it was all very much Matrix but in truth it is ever so much more complicated. There are levels upon levels many of which really are not explained. There seems to be a healthy bit of misdirection as well where character pronouncements seem to be nothing more than assumptions at times.

Add to this some very lawn mower man type graphics and at times you have a very confusing and disjointed viewing experience which never really clears up at the end of the last episode.

That being said, even if it were not a 10 year dated series, it is amazingly thought provoking.

Some of the statements about the form and function of history, say, are items that will get you thinking. The graphics are certainly not sumptuous as other animated features and that really has to be deliberate - stark is stark and form follows function.

Look, this is not powder puff girls or Astro Boy, Lain tends toward adult questions and even that they seem to spout from the mouth of a 13 year old school girl makes them that much more disconcerted.

But all in all, the series is good and certainly holds up well. Though the end of the last decade had the mind set that bigger is better and therefor pipes and wires are high tech. Really, from their perspective could they have truthfully foreseen the amount of computer power that would be crammed behind a 22inch lcd? See my point. Otherwise the series is very much worth the rental.

Its dvds so extras are pretty much non-exsistant and to be truthful, weirdly disturbing in the motion reference shots of real a real person. I can't for the life of me figure out why they felt the need to include them. But that is not even going to come close to me saying don't bother.

Its a good high 7 or 8 If you're like me you will have to resist tearing through the episodes.


Anonymous said...

Very good anime. I guess.

Beam Me Up said...

Wow, flash from the past! It is always good to know that people continue reading your posts. If you like anime, yes, Lain was one of the most inventive I had seen up to that point. Over the past couple of years however there have been other titles. Was it Lain that caught your interest or are you interested in other series?