Anime Review: Serial Experiments Lain

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Well, it looks like November is coming to a close. It has not been exactly easy for me, but things have not been hard either. I recently got some gift cards for iTunes and got some music albums and a show. Today, I will be reviewing the show, which is called Serial Experiments Lain.

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Lain is an ordinary girl, or so she thought. One day, after a classmate committed suicide, people receive a message from the deceased, but that is not the only thing that is happening. Her friends keep saying that they saw a person who looks like her, which gets her wrapped up in a WAN, much like the Internet, called the Wired. However, people are now after her and she must find out why she is so special.

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I am really not certain about this, but I cannot really say that I hated it too much. Lain seems shy, but at the same time, not that well connected to reality. After all, she does appear to talk to herself. I really liked how she did not seem that familiar with computers and such, since she asked her father to help set up a new computer and did not seem to check her email that often. We were all like that at one point, even the people that everyone today calls computer geniuses. I certainly do know about everything in the computer world. However, for people like me, simple things on a computer are now being taken granted right up there next to our ability to walk. At the same time, that is bound to happen because we forget what we do not repeat and things we do repeat become dull. Likewise, Lain appears to have taken the same course. I also liked how Lain went from being shy to being a social person. It kind of reminds me of myself a bit. I have mentioned before in my review of Cage of Eden Volume 5 that schools are a cage in our society. It not only stifles the imagination though, as the dots board example was supposed to demonstrate. I was a quiet student in those days, not really speaking to any classmates. A classmate confronted me about it at one point, but that really did not change things and I was seen as a good student by most of my teachers. At that time, I found out that teachers only want the answers they want, but that had nothing to do with being shy. No, what really revealed the fact that school made me shy was the fact that I did not talk with coworkers much at the start of my job training at a thrift store. The fact that one could not speak in class without being called out or raising one's hand helped make it so. The other thing was the fact that back then, just like right now, I just did not want to be bothered by people I do not know or get into a verbal or physical confrontation with people, which happens when I want things to be the way I want them, even if it is not right or the correct answer. I did open up more though at that time, just like Lain opened up a bit in this show. Another nice thing about this show is that is highlighted the fact that reality cannot really be defined. My church says that this is not reality here, but that does not change the fact that reality is different for everyone. Lain herself thought that she was a real person then she became disconnected. I cannot really say how common it is for people to be disconnected from reality, especially since people have for so long believed in so-called facts based on logical fallacies like the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam, which I mentioned in my review of Detective Conan (Case Closed) episode 26 (Japanese count). However, I can say that it has indeed happened. Lain also seems like she would make a good detective. No, this is not a show that can be categorized as a part of either the detective, mystery, or crime fiction genres, but Lain does seem to notice things pretty quickly and certainly did not overlook the obvious in the end. The fact that the difficulty of how reality can be defined, as well as the fact that Lain experiences thing and changes like we do are certainly good things.

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Although the show was good, there were definitely some issues. I might be able to notice things quickly, but things were quite confusing. For much of the show, I was wondering whether or not I was seeing things in the real world or not, even up to the final episodes. I cannot really believe that this was supposedly one of the best shows out there. The creators might have intended for this to be like that, but it just makes things hard to follow. As I said in my review of Weston Kincade's Invisible Dawn, I cannot really judge things I cannot follow, but in this instance, it is between the real world and the Wired world, not the placement of events. As if the ability to follow things was not bad enough on its own, there is a bit of a consistency issue, at least with this release of the show. Most of the episodes are fine and display as they should, although it is in the 4:3 aspect ratio, known as full screen, but the 9th episode did not fill up the screen like the others did. It shows the black bars of old on the top or bottom, which annoyed me a lot back when I had a television that did not support widescreen. No, I do not watch my shows on a display that does not support widescreen. In fact, this is happens in Quicktime, which is the only media player other than iTunes that supports iTunes video without decrypting the DRM, and it is supposed to automatically adjust window size the dimensions of the video. It is like a full screen video was taken and forced into a widescreen letterbox. Fortunately, this is a only a one time thing, because if it does not take up the entire space of a window dedicated to the video, I cannot say that this will look any better on a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet. Since I do not have the DVD, which was released yesterday according to RightStuf, I cannot say if this was a problem with the master footage. I expect this kind of stuff from Kodsha's manga releases, not a title released by FUNimation, though I would have to more correctly say Geneon, since FUNimation has not really done anything special with the rereleases of Geneon titles, just like the situation I mentioned in my review of Last Exile. The fact that things were difficult for me to follow and the fact that one episode had a widescreen letterbox when it should not have had puts a damper on this series, but much more the former than the latter.

Despite the fact that the show was not really that bad, except for how easy it was to follow, this was not the best release on iTunes that FUNimation has made. I recommend this to fans of science fiction, but one might want the DVD or Blu Ray release instead of the iTunes release, supposing that things were more consistent on disc.

What are your thoughts on Serial Experiments Lain? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.