:: Serial Experiments Lain ::Reviewed By: Jhoh Cable
When you finish watching this 13 episode series, you realize how disappointed you are that, like so many "all flash no substance" anime movies and shows already out there, it actively chooses not to make sense in the end. It leads you along with promises of intrigue, and interesting surrealist touches (the shadows that seem spattered with blood, or whirling with colors, visions of a society where electrical wires cover every space of land). When you begin watching the series, you hope that there will be a meaning to this, and in the end it will all make sense and be satisfying.
But the end, like many pretentious anime endings, chooses not to make sense, and instead throws in a lot of extremely tired cliches about questioning God or creating God, stuff that hasn't been interesting in 20 years. It's really a crime against anime and entertainment itself that some creators of an art form with so much potential would choose to create a resolution that requires you to dig up interviews or notes revealing the meaning of the ending, instead of getting that meaning from actually watching the show. It's possible to have an ending that is vague but resolves something. In the end of this series, nothing is resolved, and through the muddy events, you get a sense that there's really no hidden meaning, just an intentionally dense climax that doesn't leave you any real questions to ask or answers to figure out.
It's really too bad, because the episodes leading up to the ending are pretty interesting, no matter how much mystery clouds things. You get a sense that the weirdness that ensues will be part of a later plan that pays off big. For the first half of the series at least, it's an interesting trip. But since you get the feeling that it will lead somewhere great, it only makes the entire show worse when it goes nowhere.
Most anime with pretense of being more important just rip their ending from Stanley Kubrick's 2001. Akira being the best example of this, an ending with supposed hidden meaning, but no clues to figure out what it could be, until you one day find out that it's really just an extremely truncated version of a manga that DID have an ending that made sense. Hopefully, for the sake of real art, and not pretend art, shows like Lain become outdated and seen as the pretentious yawnfests that they are. For these reasons I really can't recommend the show to anyone who requires substance in their stories.
:: alternate reviews ::
Alternate #1 - Bel
"Lain is an eerie show, which relies a lot on atmosphere. You might love it or find it boring, but you can't stay unaffected.
I understand the position of the other reviewer.." (read more)
Alternate #2 - Keitero-sama
"This anime has some nice artwork worth noting. The music is good too. Thats all thats really good about it. Unless you are a hardcore si-fi (as I am), pass up on this. There i.." (read more)
Alternate #3 - AtlanticBlue
"Nice opening song, nice animation and atmosphere. But tries so hard to have depth when there clearly is none. A big disappointment really, I bought the series anyway, only bec.." (read more)
Alternate #4 - BitCloud
"A modernized rip-off a EVA. I found it to be a terrible waste of time, however on the plus side, it did set a standard for "bad anime"..." (read more)
Alternate #5 - nicholaa
"Some people might love this anime, some might find it boring.. unfortunately i'm the latter type... after 6 episodes i just couldn't continue already... it became confusing, b.." (read more)
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