Serial Experiments Lain was released in July 1998. It was written by Chiaki J Konaka and produced by Triangle Staff. The series spawned a game and a manga based on it. The series lasted for 13 episodes and ended in September the same year.
This anime is a look into the future and not for the best reasons. It talks about internet addiction and how the internet or the wired is not real. There are self driving cars and automated signal and other systems. People are completely trusting of these things and never think they will have a problem. People having their own personal computers that they carry around with them. There is a learning artificial intelligence, AI, systems and they are smarter then us. All these things are happening now.
There is a medical condition called problematic Internet use or PIU, which is internet addiction. Go take five seconds, look at any social media site and you’ll see people living online. Self driving cars are only about five years or less away, at least for the general population. They are already a thing. Almost all the stop lights in California are automated. There is almost no one who does not have a cell phone in this day and age, it is a personal computer, if you didn’t know. When some one doesn’t have one it is very odd. It’s like why wouldn’t you have one? AIs are a thing. The rate that they learn is cr
azy and scary. Stephen Hawking has gone on record saying that if we build an AI that is to smart, it will be god. This statement came out in early 2015. Just think about that for a bit.
This is about an AI, Lain, who became God. It also deals with the fact that it wants to have a soul. This idea that machines have a soul or a ghost is not new, Ghost in the Shell was first published in 1989. Were Ghost in the Shell deals with more, you have to keep your soul in the midst of all this technology. Serial Experiments Lain is more technology has a soul.
The only thing that I do not like about this anime, is it is an incredibly show burn. It makes sense why they started it very slowly later on. But, you do have to fight to get to the point were stuff starts happening. It’s not like five episodes in no, it’s like nine or ten episodes in. Some thing that is 13 episodes long, that is a really slow burn. It is worth the wait but it’s a little hard to get there. The final episode, I felt also drug. It could have easily ended half way through it. I understand why the last 12 minutes were there, but it wasn’t needed.
The other thing that I didn’t like all that much, it was weird. There were some really cool things that happened. Some of the stuff though, was just made you stop and go “what?” It fits with the story, but you kind of have to know what you are getting into.
This anime is a little bit of a scary look into the future, but that is why you need to watch it. Because, this type of thinking can not stop. We can’t stop think about how now will effect the future five, ten, 15 years down the road. This anime is very a head of it’s time. Which is awesome.
Photo Credit: Serial Experiments Lain, Triangle Staff, FUNimation