When I started watching Serial Experiments Lain, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I only barely glimpsed at the overview before starting. (I actually picked this one up because the name just sounds cool, and so is the cover art.)
From the cover art, I thought this might be a horror anime. “Boo haha,” that kind of thing. I was very, very wrong.
While not horrifying in the sense I was thinking of, Lain definitely is very, very disturbing. Lain is both psychological and philosophical, much like the infamous final two episodes of NGE. But Lain is much better than those. It’s still a nightmare for your brain to process all the information that is presented, but I think with a second viewing, I would be able to understand it a lot more. But I’m going to wait at least a couple months to let my brain cool down before I do that. Or maybe I shouldn’t have watched it all in one day. Watch one, then think about what happened for a day, then watch the next one… Yeah, that would have been a better approach. Oh well.
Anyway, yeah. Lain is disturbing. The atmosphere presented in the show is… Hmm… I’m having trouble coming up with suitable adjectives to describe it, besides just disturbing… The word “suffocating” comes to mind. The colors seem washed out, as if somebody turned up the contrast very high. The sound and music is very minimal, often simply the electricity humming in the Wires, or the empty clacking of a keyboard. And those shadows… Brrr…
If you want an anime where you don’t have to think too hard, Lain is not for you. If you want an uplifting, happy story that’s fun, Lain is not for you. If you want a bleak, confusing anime dealing with issues around technology and human consciousness, Lain is for you. Even so, I really did like Lain.
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