Serial Experiments Lain Volume 1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A_
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 4 - Australia / South America
  • Released By: Madman Entertainment
  • MSRP: 34.95 AU
  • 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 Volume 1

    March 01, 2002

Serial Experiments Lain Volume 1
© Madman Entertainment

What They Say
We’re All Connected
There is a world around us, a world of people, tactile sensation, and culture. There is the wired world, inside the computer, of images, personalities, virtual experiences, and a culture all of its own. The day after a classmate commits suicide, Lain, a thirteen year-old girl, discovers how closely the two worlds are linked when she receives an e-mail from the dead girl: “I just abandoned my body. I still live here…” Has the line between the real world and the wired world begun to blur?

The Review!
Weirdness in the Wired, as one of the best thinking anime shows comes to Australia. Hopes are high that Lain will produce a similar reaction to Evangelion, that of showing anime is more than the violent Japanese porn stereotype, even if the attempts to get Lain on TV didn’t succeed. But has that translated into releasing a local version the equal of the Region 1 release?

Two amazing stereo tracks, but then how can I not rave about Lain’s music with Boa’s Duvet for the opening titles ^_^. The music and sound effects sets the mood for the series perfectly. The sound effects and speech, which both range from very quiet whispers to the hum of power lines, come through clearly.

100 minutes on a single layer disc can be considered to be pushing things, but Lain’s video is great, with only tiny at best NTSC to PAL conversion artifacts differing this from the R1 disc in quality. The subtitles provided are the stock yellow style Madman prefers, which really sets them apart from the white hard subs for the neon rainbow asides and the green hard subbed lyrics for end song.

The menu is based on the blue Copeland OS authorize user screen of Lain’s new Navi, placed on top of footage from the show with some nice music playing in the background, and it even includes a “hidden” extra like the Region 1 version. Access times are speedy, and everything is well set out. I love having so many chapter stops per episode.

A nice selection of extras split into three sections. Concept art features 18 model sheets of the characters introduced on this disc and with various shots of Lain and her fathers Navi’s. The promotion section features the Australian Lain trailer, rare to see a trailer created just for the Australian market, and commercials for the Lain CD/Boa CD, the R2 LD/VHS/DVD release and the Playstation game. The Madman Propaganda section features trailers for other Madman anime titles (Blood, Akira, X, Gasaraki, Evangelion and Nadesico)

Some things never change, a double-sided version of the Region 1cover in transparent keepcase.
The front cover has the viewer looking up at a rather bemused Lain leaning against a chain link fence with power lines and the moon in view, seeing only minor changes from the R1 cover such as the M 15+ rating tag and the Madman insignia. The rear cover is much the same, with only the bottom half of cover with the licensing info and disc data being changed to the style Madman normally use. The inside cover features a repeat of the front cover on the preface side with the scene selection tables for the disc (8 per episode). Under the disc hub are plugs for four other Madman discs (Blood with second run cover, Akira with unused total black cover, BGC Tokyo 040 Vol 6 and Eva Vol 1). The disc itself features a close up on Lain from the front cover.

The series starts with a young girl committing suicide, and what appears to be a hoax when her class mates receive emails seemingly written after her death. One of them is Lain Iwakura, an extremely introverted girl who still acts rather like a child. She sees red-splattered shadows and hears the hum of power lines that others do not. The death of her classmate provides the reason for Lain to use her Navi (computer) and travel out onto the Wired (Internet). Things begin to more quickly, as Lain learns that an outroverted version of her already seems to exist in the Wired and is friend to everybody. Mysterious Men in Black watch her house. She provokes people to shoot themselves. Lain gets the impression that she’s meant to do something, but what?

Things rarely make sense but that’s the plan, as only tiny snippets of information are given out at a time, and each person will probably interpret the series differently. While a short series at 13 episodes, Lain packs a heck of lot into each episode, which is amazing considering the silence at times. If your not hooked by the end of the first disc, then Lain is just not your cup of tea. A disc that is the equal of the Region 1 release, and for once we weren’t screwed on the extras. Recommended.

English Language, Japanese Language, English subtitles, Australian Lain Trailer, Japanese Lain CD soundtrack commercial, Japanese Lain VHS/LD/DVD commercial, Japanese Lain Playstation commercial, Conceptual Artwork, Hidden Extra

Review Equipment
JNL-7001 DVD Player, Commodore 1802 PAL Color Monitor


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