Serial Experiments Lain is a very intriguing anime and it’s one that will make you think a lot more than the average show. I am one of those viewers who believes that you should always form your own opinion after finishing something. So, there are probably a lot of theories about what really happened throughout the show, and I’ll try to shed some light on it. The series is pretty short and only contains 13 episodes, but it’s enough to set the tone of the show. You know that this won’t be your average anime when the narrator doesn’t sound like a good guy. The theme song also isn’t that cheerful and it’s a hint of what’s in store.
Chisa jumps off of a building, but instead of dying, her soul goes into the “Wired”. Without a body, she has complete freedom to do whatever she wants and be wherever she wants. Or so she claims. Chisa doesn’t actually appear much, but it sets the seeds for the real protagonist of the show. Lain is gifted with special powers that help her in the “Wired”. The ability has some pretty good perks like teleportion and granting the user a genius level intellect, but the downsides are pretty lethal. The wired rapidly spreading and people are beginning to mysteriously die around the world. Lain could care less about the strangers, but will she be able to protect her friends and stop the “Knights”?
Lain isn’t a bad main character, but I can’t say that I ever got around to really rooting for her. For the first three episodes, she’s extremely quiet. (Reminded me of Peter Parker from The Amazing Spiderman movie) She got better when she began to talk more and started utilizing her powers in more effective ways. Of course, Lain’s abilities seem to have a mind of their own and there are other Lains running around….or so it seems.
Lain has three friends, but the only one to really get a large role in the series would be Alice. For the most part, she attempts to help Lain through her school life and even tries to make Lain have some fun. She’s a good character until we get a pretty big plot twist that made her into an unlikable character. I never really cared for the character before then either. She was constantly thinking that Lain may have been responsible for various things and then changing her mind abruptly. (Of course Lain usually was behind those things….)
“god” also appears and he’s in charge of the wired. He admits that he’s not the real God, but he’s the god of the wired world. He is everywhere at once and his power knows no limits. Unfortunately for him, one can only be a god if others worship him. Lain gets an idea and takes him on. This “god” character was pretty underwhelming and he’s definitely not much of a fighter. There are also two government agents who spy on Lain for most of the series, but in the end they are just pawns in a bigger game. The humans are extremely weak in this show. A little girl armed with a teddy bear succeeds in completely terrorizing a grown man and he runs all the way home. Unfortunately he’s unable to get the lock to open and things don’t go very well for him.
Alright, let’s talk more about the show as a whole and what really happened for most of it. My guess is that Lain was created a little before the wired so that she could control it. Or that she was an all powerful, cosmic entity who wanted to experience life and adopted a human form. Were her parents really her parents? I’d say that foster parents may be a better term and it would explain why they act pretty fake/off for most of the time.
After Chisa jumped and left the school a message, it slowly started to reawaken Lain’s latent powers. At first she couldn’t control her abilities at all and developed split personalities. “Wired Lain” was a lot meaner than the normal one and had a much better perception of her powers. She was basically the total opposite of the regular Lain and probably would have made for a more interesting main character. Lain’s other personalities started exerting their influence on the wired a lot more actively as they went out of their way to knock off some civilians and even mess up Alice’s social life. Lain’s other personality may have deleted her sister as well, but it’s possible that the Knights had something to do with it. The sister’s scene was pretty intense and she put up a decent effort, but nobody can escape the Wired.
The border between the real world and the wired continues to weaken throughout the show. Eventually, humans in the real world can even see Lain up in the sky as a messiah type being. They take it pretty well and nobody ever asks Lain about it. That should probably be the first hint that something’s off….
Lain has unlimited power on the wired and since the real world is almost completely connected to it, her abilities are enhanced in both worlds. She seems to have some telekinesis (Shown in her battle against “god”) and she’s a very advanced reality warper. Not only can she alter people’s memories, but she can also completely rewind time to whatever point that she feels like. It would seem that Lain could have become “god” at anytime, but she didn’t want to give up being a normal person. She liked having a body and not live her immortal life as one with everything. Based on the ending, it would seem that she has made her choice on whether to stay as an immortal humanoid being, or an abstract entity.
There are also some mild hinting that Lain could in fact be an alien. I wouldn’t be surprised, since the government found the alien ship near the end of the show. There are definitely a lot of theories that can be had here, but the important thing is that you know the basics.
1.Lain is All Powerful
2.Lain is “god”
3.Lain can do anything.
Everything else is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things when you think about it. Lain could have just created the entire planet with her abilities, which would explain why things always went badly for the victims. When the sister was trying to escape, people would flicker in and out, not to mention that reality seemed to be against her. In a way, Lain is just toying with everyone as she watched from above. Most of the time, she’s not doing it consciously, but eventually she begins to understand.
One negative of the show would be the lack of fight scenes, but you’re not really supposed to expect those in this show. None of the characters ever really get to be likable characters and there is some really unneeded romance scenes during the show. I liked the theme for the night club that the kids would go too, aside from that, the kids were pretty awful characters.
This anime is a very unique experience to watch and I’d recommend checking it out. There are a lot of really weird and random moments that increase the spookiness factor of the series. It may be the closest that you’ll get to a horror show about the cyber world. It contains some elements from The Ring, The Matrix, and a whole bunch of other things. It’s a good way to learn some fun facts as well. While most of the show can be considered “trippy” with all of the assorted lights and crazy camera angles, the final episode takes a break from that for the most part. The Red light from the first 12 episodes finally turns green for the final one. Knowing this show, it was probably symbolic for something. Anyway, this definitely makes for a great anime to watch during the dead of night!
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