Anime Name - Serial Experiments Lain
Aired - Jul 6, 1998 to Sep 28, 1998
Episodes - 13
Staff - Ryutaro Nakamura (Director), Yoshitoshi ABe (Original Character Design), Chaiki J. Konaka
(Screenplay), Yasuyuki Ueda (Producer)
Unlike most other animes at that time, SEL was not based on any manga or light novel, it was an original. Let me at first tell you that this is definitely not the only criteria that makes this anime unique. Firstly I would like to say that if you want a fast anime with lots of action or generally lots of things happening this is not for you; if you want an anime with romance or ecchi this is not for you; if you want an anime that starts with a bang from start and keeps on its definitely not for you; and lastly if you think after watching this you will soon forget the plot and get on with your next on watch list I say at the beginning its not that forgettable. This is an anime that makes you stop and think, makes you ponder the reality surrounding you and most certainly makes you question your beliefs. And if you think of the time when this aired that was and I think still is one of the most unique traits of any anime.
SEL is a story of a girl named Lain. She seems to be so ordinary at the start but please hold on till episode 3-4 then everything changes. At the beginning of the anime one of Lain's classmates commit suicide after telling everyone that she does not need to exist in this world anymore and next day all of her classmates receive an email from her. At first all thinks its a joke or something but slowly the plot progresses and we find the real truth. Lain was a shy girl with almost no experience of computers and the world of the wire (which is the writers idea of a much more developed form of internet) but she eventually finds out that she is quite skilled in computers and gets deeply involved in the world of the wired and then everything turns weird. If I say more of the plot I will just spoil the anime for you so let me just say this just be patient with the first few episodes and if you like a good story you will not be disappointed.
For me story is the best part of this anime and it gets 9 out of 10.
If anything is better than the storyline is SEL its the characters. They are only a few characters that are fully evolved to be true but still the rest are also developed with equal discretion.
Lain, the main character is probably one of the well portrait protagonists for me in any anime. She is created with so much attention to every aspect that its like a flawless character, all the dialogues and the sell-centered thinking gets viewers interested more and more to learn more about her reality and always makes them guess why is she acting like that. With every episodes Lain grows more and more until all watchers will grow into the plot progressively.
Other interesting characters include Masami Eiri who is although not a likeable personality but still the way he is portrait you can not but understand his logic too. Alice is another very unique character whose plot was another well placed part in this beautiful puzzle.
Rest of the cast includes Lains parents and sister, her other friends and mysterious Men in Black none of whom seems to disappoint either.
Characters are the strongest part of this anime and gets 10 out of 10 from me.
Arts are not the main feature of this anime and there is no stunning animations to make you go wow, but you have to remember it was 1998 almost 15 years ago so in that time it must have been not bad at all. There is also use of some experimental colored backgrounds wich actually gives some sequences good atmospheric value.
I will give the art.animation 8 out of 10.
In the anime they are is very sparse use of sound effects present. Sometimes even dialogues are so few but all just adds to the affect of the unique atmosphere the director was trying to create. Most of the sound used in the anime are ambient stuff but the opening track by Boa and the ending by Reichi Nakaido are so good that most people will definitely check out the soundtrack for those. Overall the tracks and the ambient noise pieces and blend of sparse effects and dialogue adds immensely to the overall enjoyment of the experience.
I myself like the OST quite a lot and still listen to the Reichi Nakaido ending occasionally.
Sound gets from me 9 out of 10.
At the end I would like to say that this anime is a piece of art and like most art is not for everyone. But people who like food for thought with their entertainment and a good overall story and unique characters (lets face the truth, now-a-days good and unique characters are such a rarity in animes) should not miss out on this anime.
All this talk of this makes me want to watch SEL again and that is also another point for this anime its re-watch value.
9 out of 10
If you want more info and other reviews of this show check out its MAL page - http://myanimelist.net/anime/339/Serial_Experiments_Lain/