Beginning a new series of topics, called Anime Discussion.
The idea is to discuss about some animes where the theme escapes the common-place.
For the first anime of the series, I brought Serial Experiments Lain.
The discussion might have spoilers, so if you still didn’t watch it and intends to do so, read this topic some other time… though it might be interesting to read this even before watching it.
I’ll try not to write too much, otherwise no one will read.
About the anime: Serial Experiments Lain is one of the classics from renowed author Yoshitoshi Abe.
Story is centered on Lain, a girl from a middle class (somewhat disfunctional) family.
One day, she’s introduced, with a new computer, to the “Wired”… which would be the Internet somewhere in the future.
From this point on, serveral elements enters the scene… conspiracy theories, ghosts that speaks through computer networks and other elements.
Critics: Lots of people said they didn’t understand the anime. Several actually abandoned watching the anime because they couldn’t understand what was happening. The anime has a weird strange style, figurative, with elements and ideas hidden here and there. It’s an anime for adults, not in the sense that it has erotic content, but because it has themes too complex for kids and teens.
Idea behind it: Like several other works with philosophy themes, Serial Experiments Lain was made “complex” on purpose… rather than entertaining and linear, it’s story is an open invitation to reflection. Some of the themes are:
- Reality frontiers;
- The individual and collective perception of reality;
- What resides on people’s memories;
- Consciousness, interconnection and hallucinations.
Breaking it open: Trying to decypher the anime plot, we have Lain as some kind of key that could open the frontiers between the real and virtual.
To do so, Eiri Masami has hidden some codes in his research about Protocol 7, the “Wired” official protocol while he was working for Tachibana Computers, a company that holds almost complete monopoly over computers.
Those hiden codes would give complete control of the “Wired” to Masami, through a wireless comunication which would work without limits using a theory known as Schumman Ressonance.
That system would have such a great influence in a future were practicatly everyone is connected to the “Wired”, that the distinction between what’s real and what’s virtual would break, bluring the very definitions of the reality concept.
Despite the story complexity, several main elements to understand what’s happening are presented to the viewer only in the middle of the series, which causes even more confusion for those who watches just some of the first episodes.
Finally, several other elements are present, with authors quoting dystopic literature, Jung, themes like shyness, solitude and social isolation, differences between real and virtual personalities, theology (clearly presented by the end of the story) among other stuff.
The end (SPOIERS): Right next to the end, Lain realizes what’s happening, and finds out that she can alter other people’s perception anyway she likes. Through that, she can control reality.
Some people interpret that, realizing the power she has (godlike), she decides to erase events and memories connected to her virtual existence not only from other people, but from herself too, so she can go back to having a normal life, rennegading the absolute power she could have.
Conclusion: I didn’t get to all those conclusions by myself, and I think it’s hard for anyone to get to it alone. Maybe it’s even better to read spoilers about the anime to fully enjoy it in the way planned by the authors. But I sincerely liked the anime, and I think it’s one of the examples which show how animes has much more to offer, and are much more mature than a major part of western society thinks they are.
I invite readers to new reflections, questions, and quoting ideas that are on this anime.
Here’s the anime opening: