Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain Vol. #1
By Roman Martel
February 18, 2002
Release Date: July 13, 1999
Lain is a young girl who seems distanced and alone. When a schoolmate commits suicide and then sends e-mails out, Lain becomes entranced with the idea. Is her schoolmate still alive? Soon Lain begins to delve into the wired world and it seems to consume her life. The first four episodes of Lain send you on a journey into the surreal.
Acting: Japanese: 4/English: 4
What can I say other than this show is nothing short of awesome? But I can also say that this show is not for everybody. The closest thing I can compare it to is any work by David Lynch. If he was given control of an anime studio and was into computers this is probably what he would come up with, or at least something similar. If the mere mention of Lynch sends shivers of horror down your spine then avoid this series like the plague (he's most famous for Blue Velvet, Dune, Lost Highway, Eraserhead and Twin Peaks). If not then dig right on in and have some fun.
Artistically this show is something else. The animation is very plain and simple but it is highly effective and creates the mood perfectly. Most of the imagery and style of Lain comes from its direction. The way images, sounds and acting work together make this series a work of art. The trick is you have to think here. This is not a simple sit back and be entertained anime; you've gotta be involved. There are lots of moments of quiet and of slow or non-movement. These all add to the overall feel of the show. The sound is excellent, from the droning of the power wires (how David Lynch is that!?!?!) to the sounds of the voices in Lain's head. Now we get to the plot. Well as far I as can see right now the creators involved in the show are in no hurry to let us in on the secrets of this world. Just let go and absorb what you are seeing, I can bet you money that later on all the little hints and images will come together and give us an overall picture. The acting by both crews is very good. The English dub works well and conveys the same sense I got from the Japanese dub. Again the acting style reminded me of David Lynch's work, long pauses between lines, long moments of silence... just plain creepy. As for the music, well, I like most of it. It supports the story and helps move things along. It fits in the world of Lain. I just don't like the opening theme (I know, prepare to string me up now). It fits the images and the flow of the opening but I never liked that style of music (yes I don't listen to the radio much now-a-days, I just pop in my best of the 80's tapes and drive. Am I scaring you yet? ;-) But for the series it works great and that's more important than personal taste in music, right?
Well the sound and the picture are both great on this disc. I can't imagine seeing this series any other way then on DVD. This is probably as close to the way the creators wanted us to see this series. It's important to keep in mind that the images and the sound play such big roles in the series that keeping them as true as possible is important. This disc lives up to the challenge and delivers. Another great job by the folks at Pioneer. The menu is very good. Its easy to use and works smoothly. It's not as flashy as some other discs but it's stylish and works without a hitch. The disc comes in a keepcase and the cover art is very appropriate. It's dark and disturbing looking. Flipping it over you are told all the appropriate information that you need. Including the suggested rating of 16 and up. As Chris has already warned, this is not animation for kids. Heck some scenes even creeped me out and they could really frighten young ones. You are even told of exclusive Lain stickers in the case. Which brings me to the goodies. You get Lain stickers (for your computer to creep you and your friends out on a regular basis :-). The disc has concept art, and two short commercials for the music. There is also an easter egg on the main menu. Play around and see what happens.
Well what can I say? This is my kind of series and I'm loving it. But it's not for everyone. This is a very creepy show, and very disturbing in places. If you like the work of David Lynch, or if you liked Pi, or Jacob's Ladder than see this without hesitation. If you didn't like that stuff then rent it first. It's worth checking out and trying. For me, it's an artistic achievement that I've been waiting to see for a while now in Anime. The last episodes of EVA were coming close but I think this does it a bit better. I haven't seen the whole series yet and I'm this hyped? Well, we'll see what happens. With all this build up I hope they can end the series. That is the hardest part of doing something like this. But I have faith. That's all from this critic ;-)