Serial Experiments Lain... I should have written a review as soon as I saw it because it pretty complex but i'll give my best.
I was surprized when I heard Eva was meant to be a mindf*ck, because I kept up easily but I got really frustrated at how much it repeated itself. Considering how many confused people there are, maybe it didn't repeat itself enough but still I was determined with Lain I wouldn't fall behind here either. The premise resembles that of Lain, i've heard some people talking about symbolism and etc but I didn't notice any. Anyway that's my lil intro.
Serial Experiments Lain unlike Neon Genesis actually strived to confuse us because it aided the premise of the story in the first place, the only way you can be mindf*cked is if you take every little thing seriously and try to put it together like a puzzle. My interpretation is that this anime is in response to a few modern issues and a few older ones. Firstly the undeniable relevance of the ever-expanding virtual world in real life and the role of technology in alienating individuals from each other, in the real world. The haunting portrayal of Lain's family and particuarly her sisters' transformation, the disconnectedness of the family is unpleasent and their relationship with each other is virtually non-existant. There was some meta-philosophical questions that really don't interest me too, but the idea of dealing with multiple worlds and how these affect our identity is becoming more and more relevant. Lain with her family, Lain by herself, Lain of the wired and Lain with her friends all present very different Lains. How do we decide which one is the real one and which one is fake?
All of these questions to me seem very overdramatically posed but I suppose they're interesitng concepts to juggle with, the story itself is really not worth watching so I doubt i'll comment on it. It's an interesting and innovative way of examining the issue but it takes quite a lot to distinguish between how you should interpret something, someone or an event and what exactly exists only to confuse you and what is meaningful. In this way, Lain truly is a mindf*ck, but it adds to the concept seeing as I can't even see the reality, purpose or nature of the message itself. At the end of the day, if you find questions like "What if we existed purely inside someone else's dream" or "What if our existence on Earth has happened so many times that this exact same thing we're going through now happened before?" Very interesting and worthwhile questions then Lain is for you. if you are like "yo, whats this got to do with anything? How am I meant to use this information in real life?" then perhaps Lain isn't for you.
What can I say... it reminds me of Neon Genesis in style. The animation adds to the mindf*ck genre very well, I think Lain was so cute I felt a need to protect her!! With her crazy cool PJ's and whatnot, but many of the character designs were good not just Lain. I think the animation added a lot of information that no one really wanted, it didn't say anything and it just served to blurr the real information. However the animation is what makes a lot of people love SEL, so I'm not quite sure how to rate because i'm the middle of the two, so i'll just give 7.5.
Uhh, fit very well... I liked the OP quite a bit but to be honest the sound was just complementry to the story, there's nothing much to say about it except it did it's job.
I feel the main reason a lot of people may feel unable connect with the story is because outside of it's existence as a meta-philosophical anime it was crap. The characters were really uninteresting and only had the traits that were needed to get the point across, to be honest there wasn't much time for anything else. I don't personally regret how the characters were designed but they were a bit simplistic, if the plot had given some of it's burden to the characters then it would be much more interesting but instead they just get tossed around like rag dolls and then crushed under the weight of SEL's questions. Maybe giving them anything more would give them identity and then undermine one of the premises of SEL but still, I can't compliment the character design even if there was no room for them to be anything more than they were, it just means it won't effect the overall ranking much.
It's frustrating to admit it but I feel I missed a lot when watching SEL, many of the concepts and ideas slipped past me and I found myself picking and choosing what I found interesting and ignoring the rest. In spite of that, I honestly don't really find these abstract questions all that interesting, for example, whether or not I can exist without my body is beside the point; the real point is I can't leave my body in the first place. If you are interested in jesting concepts for the sake of jesting them then Lain is great, if you are too lazy to figure out the things that really matter then Lain is a waste of time.
I don't think this was a very good review but it's difficult to write about and i'm lazy, but hey if anything I said perked up ur interest then don't treat it as a spoiler and move on. My interpretation is not the true answer and if you are interested in seeing how far you can make it in Lain's world then this anime is probably for you, if you have no interest whatsoever then it's your call becuase it's still kinda fun to watch and if you hate thinking then stay away! ;D
Sorry for my faults in this review but I hope you enjoyed reading it anyway, please comment if you have something to say =)