Name: Lain (Serial Experiments Lain)
Genre: Drama / Suspense / Mindfuck (it’s a word now)
number of episodes: 13 “layers” (episode)
Plot = A+
Characters = A-
Music = A+
Overall = A (or if you really watch it late at night and your eyes start to bleed about a B- or C+ at best)
As far as original and impacting series goes, Lain is very high up there. With a beautiful intricate (albeit slighty complicated seeming) story, superb art, combined with an awesome soundtrack (very popular and with english too) make this a instant classic. The story revolves around young Lain Iwakara and at first, the highly odd going-on’s around her life and school. To begin with she starts to get e-mails from her now dead classmate who committed suicide rather eventfully in the begining of the series. The world of Lain is very much like our own, with a newly burgeoning technology that connects everyone all over. Not the internet or World Wide Web, but “The Wired”. A world existing alongside our own, which slowly seems to be superceding at points along with our own. As lain herself says at one point, you are never alone. Thanks to the wired “we are all connected”. To this somehwat simple plot development add the suspicions that there is more than “one” Lain, that her family isnt what it seems to be, and that a mysterious organization called the “knights” seem to be behind something big. Mystery men in black, technology taking a frightening presence to our lives, and the intricate morals that arise as Lain delves deeper and deeper into the “real” world, finding more about herself and everything else than she would have ever thought. Full of beautiful plot twists, hithcock like drama and dark satire, and a general tone of something not quite right. Lain is perfect as a cure to the “happy shoujo” syndrome. An instant classic, which definately makes you think, wether you want to or not.
A deeply awesome soundtrack helps to carry this already excellent series through the paces. The main theme is famous work (well in anime terms, popular and such) by the british group Duvet. The soundtrack comes in many flavors, popular for some of its great techno and mood music. The main cd to pick up to get a flavor for the series is Lain: Cyberia. It plays like a techno roster from the fictional club in the world of Lain.(of the same name, Cyberia). It has the typical OST which is direct tracks from the series, as well as a few others for all flavors. Like the series its hard to dislike much of anything off the music, its nicely done.
The main focus, and subsequent title to the series is on Lain herself. How she is in the begining and how she slowly evolves. How she becomes what she always was and never was. Its hard to go into character detail without ruining some nice plot development. Lain is shy, not too outgoing, with an odd family life, and quiet curious nature. While she is not technologically apt at first, she slowly becomes tech-savvy indeed, brewing up her own home comp system.(in her nightie, like any nerd would do. What?! it prevents static)
The series while having a main focus on Lain has very important side characters.
Her schoolmates from school, among which she starts to learn about herself, her family though mostly regulated to her Father and her sister. Her father is a workaholic, while her sister is cold and distant, but increasingly paranoid until….well watch and see. The club DJ at Cyberia who is oddly best friends with Lain, even though she has never been there, nor done any of the things he recalls, lending to the more than one Lain plot. Psycho’s, paranoids, Wired addicts, children and the dark mysterious men in black.
They all lend great performance to the Lain series, and a great feeling underlying everyone, fear and paranoia.
My Thoughts(and spoilers):
I actually refuse to post any spoilers. I love this too much to give anything away, and even if I did you still need to watch it, to grab the context of it.
As it is i still scream when my friend says “Who is Justin…?”. Lain will definately leave you thinking, and deserves more than one watching. A great series, watch it with some friends so you can screw with each others minds later.
By Darknight ZO