Serial Experiments Lain

A review by Rahul Ghosh

Lain Iwakura is the sort of ordinary girl who isn’t much tech savvy in the era of computers but a string of events consequently leads her to get devoured by the world of ‘wired’. So much for a plot summary, for the rest Lain lives up to it’s name as a bonafied mindfuck of a series.

Speaking of a theme or central idea, well Lain doesn’t have one… to be precise the theme is not bound by any single strand of interpretation for what i recon Lain throws at us several dimensions of symbolism, at almost every scene. Most of the time you’ll be just blankly staring at the screen going “What the fuck is happening ?”, yes.. Lain is just Incomprehensible at almost every second, and honestly I wouldn’t recommend watching the series to anyone Well here’s my take on the series :

Lain presents to us an era of technology at it’s peak, Lain Iwakura gets a hang of using computers and slowly gets addicted to it, the series came up around ’98 pretty much before the Internet or Computers were playing a major role in real life. Now here’s the weird part, the show presents a world of social network called the ‘wired’ very close similarity to concept the social networks in today’s time and as the plot progresses it vividly shows to what or how much extent can computers/internet (wired) devour reality, pretty much what is the issue in our present time. The show goes further ahead a bit into the world of ‘wired’ and presents a society called the ‘Knights’ a group of possible vigilante, I could very much relate them more or less to the conception of societies like ‘Anonymous’ over the internet, so to sum up it had me awestruck to even question what if the series deliberately predicted the current era way back in ’98 ?
Each episode follows the same routine portraying a busy street in the night, hustle and bustle, the people mechanically going along with the monotonous flow of life. the day always is portrayed in bright white and black shade with a buzzing sound of nothingness to the ears. Much like a Wasteland as T. S. Eliot had portrayed in his poems, how disintegrated modern urban life is, people do not rather cannot relate to one another, each day everyone has to get up, put on their facade of hypocrisy and go along with the monotony. The series definitely is influenced by Eliot. The show further digs into the conception of God, at one point Lain Iwakura is deemed as a God but again dives back into deeming that God doesn’t exist or further God is merely a concept created by human beings. To say again the show throws at us several interpretations of the conception God and deliberately makes it incomprehensible to one single strand of thought. Maybe because the conception of God IS supposed to be incomprehensible to the understanding of humankind ? A possible influence of Stanley Kubrick ? 2001 a space Odyssey ? lol can’t say for certain though
There are many more symbolism through out the series that needs to be dealt with and not possible with a one time watch, Lain as a series is exhausting to follow and at times it will seem like the series itself is giving a pale cold stare into your soul as you blankly stare at the screen trying to comprehend it every second.

I’ll end quote the lines from a Poem by T.S.Eliot, the poem is called ‘Hollow men’ :

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

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