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by Dave Kosowsky

Serial Experiments Lain is what has recently come to be known as a post-Evangelion anime. It uses personal relationships as the focal point of the plot, specifically the main character Lain's relationship with her friend Arisu. Wrapped around them is a complex and sometimes cryptic story about the existence of society, humanity, and relationships.

The primary question which the series addresses early on is: "What is Lain?" It then proceeds to lay out the answer to the viewer in a sometimes straightforward, but often symbolic storyline. Although not as cryptic as the last few episodes of Evangelion, Lain borrows many of the storytelling ideas and concepts. With several long cuts, Serial Experiments Lain is a slow moving but deeply intellectual and emotionally manipulative anime. Lain's facial expressions seem static, like Ayanami Rei, but as her character develops so does her ability to interact and with it, her facial communication. As we follow Lain's voyage of self-discovery, we are thrust into a complicated tangle of scientific intrigue and technologically complex plot.

Serial Experiments Lain has some of the cleanest, smoothest and beautiful animation this reviewer has ever had the pleasure of viewing. It often takes on a somewhat minimalist style, similar to that seen in the old video game Out Of This World (Does anyone else remember that?). But, do not shrug this off as a cost-cutting or lazy measure by the animators. It is far from it. Since the backgrounds do not utilize this same minimalist style, the uncommon appearance of a more artistically complex character is even more striking than it would normally be.

Lain's transition to DVD is flawless. The clarity of the animation comes through in scores, with crisp clean pictures on all occasions. No distortion or artifacts can be found on any of the discs. The audio track is superb. The ambient tracks create a spooky technological setting in the world of Lain. The subtitles are in the standard yellow with black outline, making them exceptionally easy to read. The simple yet stylish menu system allows access to every scene and comes with a few secret extras, namely several slightly ridiculous shorts, each lasting a few seconds.

Pioneer hit gold with this series. Lain is the pride of this author's anime DVD collection right now, and would be the pride of anyone else's as well. With gorgeous art, fantastic writing and a deeply involved plot, no serious fan should be without this intellectual and philosophical anime. And for those readers who still are not sold on this anime, how about the added bonus that it also comes with neat little stickers for your keyboard? Come to the Wired. Discover Lain.


Serial Experiments Lain
Released by Pioneer Entertainment
Volume 1: Navi

VHS Dubbed
Catalog No.: PIVA-2231D
MSRP: $24.98

VHS Subtitled
Catalog No.: PIVA-2231S
MSRP: $29.98

DVD
Catalog No.: PIDA-2231S
MSRP: $29.98

Vol 2: Knights

VHS Dubbed
Catalog No.: PIVA-2232D
MSRP: $24.98

VHS Subtitled
Catalog No.: PIVA-2232S
MSRP: $29.98

DVD
Catalog No.: PIDA-2232S
MSRP: $29.98

Vol 3: Deus

VHS Dubbed
Catalog No.: PIVA-2233D
MSRP: $24.98

VHS Subtitled
Catalog No.: PIVA-2233S
MSRP: $29.98

DVD
Catalog No.: PIDA-2233S
MSRP: $29.98

Vol 4: Reset

VHS Dubbed
Catalog No.: PIVA-2234D
MSRP: $24.98

VHS Subtitled
Catalog No.: PIVA-2234S
SRP: $29.98

DVD
Catalog No.: PIDA-2234S
MSRP: $29.98


 

 

 
     
 
 

 

 
   
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