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SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN #1 - - Special Review

Lain totally rocks out the depressive monochrome with style.

I figured I’d take a break from my quest to watch the pilot of every new show on Crunchyroll and resume my quest to view every single pilot available on Hulu. Who knows when or if I’ll ever complete either goal, but after enough half-baked #1’s that make me long for the days when anime came to America through a finer filter, I really wanted to watch something that’s had a bit more of a consensus of lasting praise.

Here’s the show that rocked Alexei’s teenage world back in the 90’s. I missed this particular ship when it first went sailing, and I finally board it with a bit of trepidation. I really didn’t like TEXHNOLYZE, and I’m weary of watching a show that’s so often been praised as something “THE MATRIX totally ripped off!” by fans who are very probably carry a blithe unawareness of VIDEODROME and the Sprawl Trilogy.

There isn’t a lot going on in this opener and, for once, that actually works to the show’s benefit. There’s a palpable sense of mood and menace oozing from every artistic flourish; rendering an experience that hits on a surprisingly visceral level for all its intellectual aspirations. At points, I was planning to call this an AMV that Aphex Twin might’ve supervised, but the evocative and symbol-rich plotting really draws ERASERHEAD more to my mind. Indeed, it’s the most Lynchian anime I’ve ever seen.

Given the show’s enduring esteem, and the amount of second-hand spoilers I've already been exposed to, it feels a little futile to speculate about what comes next (especially considering that I most likely won’t get to see the rest of the series through here, either). At the least, though, it’s worth it to say that this had more color and style than the most titles in the bleached-out cyberpunk anime sub-genre that I so often have so little patience for.

Watch this episode, “Weird " here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

metalsnakezeroon Feb. 12, 2013 at 1:10 p.m.

I wont say much since this show all about mystery but it has similar ideas to Madoka Magica.

YotaruVegetaon Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:14 p.m.

First off, I'd like to say that this is one of my favorite OPs, from top to bottom. Just a great choice for an OP song.

People say that the Matrix came from a few things; people like to say that popular things ripped off the stuff they like a lot.

Anime fans in particular like to claim that American productions took from Anime. I propose that they want to give strength to Anime as a superior over works from other countries. Sometimes, the fans totally right (Inception) and other times there's not really any evidence (Last Resort).

Lain and The Matrix came out very close to one another, so it's ridiculous to say that one took from another. It is also an original animation, and not based on a book, so that wasn't a possibility for the Wachowskis either.

I never got through Technolyze. It didn't really catch me.

Aleashaon Feb. 13, 2013 at 3:14 p.m.

I haven't yet got to this one myself but your description makes me want to perhaps check out this one sooner rather than later.

Darokion Feb. 14, 2013 at 8:16 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta said:

First off, I'd like to say that this is one of my favorite OPs, from top to bottom. Just a great choice for an OP song

I found a random memory card for my PSP, and was elated to find in the music section that Duvet was there. One of the best OP ever. I liked this more than Texhnolyze, and still regard Texhnolyze highly (and might be one of the rare people who place it above Haibane Renmei in ABe's work).

zaldaron Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.

I wouldn't place Texhnolyze above Haibane Renmei but that is likely simply because I like a show with some hope rather than a show with none. Lain though, oh man Tom. I know nothing about your finances but you NEED to find a way to see all of this. They are rereleasing it I think or it is still in circulation so maybe get the company to send it to you? If you haven't seen this show you need to see it now! Such a wonderful and atmospheric show.

Your comparisons to Lynch are also appropriate and something the other movie buff I showed it to long long ago mentioned. If you like Lynch you owe it to yourself to see this show NOW.

YotaruVegetaon Feb. 15, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.

@zaldar: @Daroki: Still have not seen Haibane Renmei. I know I have to get to it, because I always hear about the feels associated with it.

Dig Deeper into Serial Experiments Lain

A young girl finds herself caught up in the world of the Wired in this sci-fi cyber-drama.

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