anime and games, media

Half a Cyber Horror: Serial Experiments Lain

(As a small irony, I’ve noticed I name my opinion articles something fancy like other bloggers just trying to make the article look interesting to read.)

Usually it’s annoying to quit something when you are only halfway through it. However, it seems to be a tradition of mine to survive the first six episodes of a terrible anime after I discover it is terrible by watching. Serial Experiments Lain is only twelve episodes long, so I retain tradition while still quitting at the halfway point. Before I forget the contents of this show, allow me to inform you of why I quit.

First, you may have heard of Serial Experiments Lain as an excellent anime. People probably come to this conclusion for various reasons, but I think one of the main reasons is that this show is different. We’re not looking at your ordinary anime here – it’s not your typical, common plot. Nothing’s brightened by the usual moe characters (although for some odd reason, some people seem to like Lain’s appearance) or by any setting. Thing’s seem very drab, but not in a typical way. It’s weird, hence the title of the first episode. If you watch, get used to it because it will stay that way the rest of the show (or at least up to the point I watched).

Something wrong with weird? Allow me to explain…

The world in which the characters are in is rather calm. It’s an unsettling calm. There’s no music. Your mind is left to play with you. The lack of music, however, does make this show easier to watch. While moments can get creepy, nothing is really creepy because there is no music to emphasize the fear. The mood of the scene is disguised as the words. That’s about all you get: words. The fact that words can say so much does generate intrigue. But as the mystery developed and revealed itself, so did my apathy. It’s a rather shallow mystery, and any depth it contains is such that it won’t be explained in the rest of the show (i.e. it’s just the world’s technical aspects that writers accept as fact).

If you like looking at telephone poles and hearing annoying background sounds, this is the show for you. If you are sick of stereotypical television shows and want to watch somewhat creepy events late at night while still having a good night of sleep, this is the show for you.

The Problems

Spoiler alert!!!

First, the main character effectively controls the digital world that affects the real world. The real world and the digital world are blurred in a manner that no one know how. As a result, you get weird visions of ghost like figures, none of whom bother Lain (and her steady composure helps calm the audience) and some of whom she even speaks to. About halfway through the show, some religious terminology is thrown around as though the digital world had something to do with religion and prophecy.

There are definitely some disturbing parts of the show, though, as I said, they don’t hit you with as great an impact as you would get if music emphasized the mood. Death is not uncommon, and unfortunately, you get to see some of it (not just mentioned or implied).

The ugly side of society is shown throughout the show, including drugs, nudity, etc.

In conclusion, while it may be interesting in some respects to understand alittle bit of the world, there is nothing you really get from this show other than a few wide-eyed moments and a couple of yawns. Be prepared for a slow-developing show.

Spoiler: I did manage to figure out that there are two consciousnesses: one in the real world and one in the digital. Thus, the experiences of Lain’s sister for demanding fulfillment of the prophecy are just the experiences of her consciousness in the digital world. The fact that this occurred in real life is because of the idea that there is a blur between reality and the digital world. As I said, a rather boring artifact.

One thought on “Half a Cyber Horror: Serial Experiments Lain

  1. This is just how Lain splits viewers. For me, once I got to the final scene of episode 2, I was COMPLETELY captured by the tone and feel. I watched episodes 1 and 2 way too late at night, so I had to go to sleep, but I watched episodes 3-13 the next day in a marathon, without stopping and it just kept getting better, better and BETTER.

    I can definitely understand your position, though, because Lain is just such a weird, unexplainable, inexplicable thing. Everyone will take it a different way and the result may not be to your liking.

Enter the space and time of my little world... Welcome Earthling.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s