After watching fabulous guys doing some figure skating, I decided to go a little darker again, and caught up with Lain, which I’ve been wanting to watch for over 15 years now. I remember watching the first episode back in the early 2000’s, and although it was captivating, I never got around to watching the rest. Maybe that’s a good thing, as I don’t think I would have looked at it the same way I do now, with technology being the very core of our modern existence, which is what Lain portrays. But enough about that, as I’ll dig deeper into it after a short review, for those who might not know what it is about.
The series focuses on a schoolgirl named Lain, who is the silent and shy type, with barely any friends, and nothing much to do outside of school. After a schoolmate commits suicide, and a lot of students get e-mails from her after her death, Lain decides to dust off her old Navi, and see if she has any mails. And she has one! Her dead schoolmate starts chatting with her through mails, and keeps telling her to leave her body behind, and come into the Wired.
Intrigued by it all, Lain asks her father for a new Navi, which she promptly gets, as he is very much into this technology himself. He does tell her though, that the Wired is not the real world, and that she should stay safe. After this, things start getting really weird, as there is apparently a Lain doppelganger in the city, who acts nothing like the Lain we know, but seems to be immensely popular.
As Lain digs deeper into the Wired, she starts questioning her very existence, and although a friend tries to help her through all the mess that seems to surround her, all she does is hurt the ones she loves, including her own family. As if that wasn’t enough for the young girl, some mysterious men seem to keep an eye on her, and know more than she does herself.
Looking at Lain with modern eyes
Serial Experiments Lain is from 1998, and was far ahead of its time, almost predicting the future. Let me first warn you though, that the following text is full of spoilers, so don’t read on if you want to watch the series yourself, and build your own theory.
By the end of the series, a lot of questions remain unanswered, but it’s no secret anymore, that Lain is in fact a goddess, and can control both the Wired and the real world. “Everyone is connected” is the main title of the series, and it couldn’t be more true. Whenever Lain wants to, she can erase people’s memories, appear as an image in the sky, and other things no normal human being would be able to. It is stated, that she was in the Wired before it was invented, so Lain basically is the internet, and humans kind of just freed her.
Throughout the series, she acts more like a person with multiple personalities though, not knowing anything about what she did the day before, or why people know her from the Wired. Of course, a goddess can be wherever she wants, at any time she wants, and that’s exactly what Lain is. She doesn’t remember it because a part of her chose to be human though, and wants to live a normal life. It is quite obvious when looking at her family, that something is utterly wrong with it. At first, it seems like every other family, where the kids have their own stuff, and the parents go about their days, but there is no love in this family at all, not even when they sit together and eat.
It is of course shown later, that Lain has no real family, and that it was all staged, because she wanted to try out the human life. The funny thing is her father though, who says that he loved her, although he hated being a family man. Other parts of the series tend to make me think, that he actually IS her dad, but in the Wired. He knows a lot, can manage a Navi with ease, and always takes care of her, and is even there for her when she gets lost. He must have some sort of power, and maybe that power is being her creator, the real god of the internet and humans. Maybe she is really just a teenager who wants to explore the world, and her father is there to guide her.
Anyway, looking at the way the Wired is portrayed and explained, it’s basically just what the internet is now. Seeing as the series is almost 20 years old, that is one heck of a foresight! I couldn’t help but think about all the social media we have now, and how some people act as if they were gods, as soon as they become popular on the net. Lain’s many personalities also seem to me like the faces we put on when entering the internet. Are we truly ourselves, or are we what we want to be? Many seem to be someone completely different on the internet, than they are in real life. Again many enjoy the anonymity of the internet, like the floating mouth, or the dolls without faces shown in the series.
In the end, Lain resets everything, and people actually seem happier. If that is also some sort of prediction of the future, I wonder if we would actually be happier without all our modern technology, and of course the internet. Right now, we are all connected, be it via the phone, computer, or even something as simple as a handheld console. We are all in the Wired, and we have many faces. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? If you have watched Lain, then maybe it is, because as of right now, we’re not thinking about it. It’s just a part of our everyday life, and we don’t think…