Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Anime review #2 - Serial Experiment Lain

Serial Experiment Lain - directed by Ryutaro Nakamura (1998)

The thing that drains you of your life force, one episode at a time

SEL is an experimental anime that disappoints across the board.

Even this picture sucks, because it mentions Lain.

The plot is minimalistic to the bone. An adolescent girl gets hooked on the internet (which is called the "Wired"), visits a club with her friends, finds out her parents are actually actors or something, discovers she is only the material reflection of her "ghost in the machine" actual self (in other words a program), meets the "God" of the Wired (who turns out to be a forgettable loser) and ultimately rescinds her material existence to remain a silent, virtual watcher.

Now if you think something like - Wow, this is somewhat similar to the Matrix, this could be awesome! - No. This is nothing like Matrix. Not even like the sequels, and it hurts to use those as a positive example.

Describing SEL in only one word is easy, and the word is BORING. There are really no words for how watching the trickle of extremely repetitive events (well, traces of events), none of which ever form a coherent plot, bores the living shit out of the viewer! Watching Lain is best described by an analogy describing the results of eating spoiled (or really, any) fast food: Shit flushes through you, leaving no traces behind. What I can actually remember of the occurrences in Lain (like e.g. a girl committing suicide in the first episode) is not even worth mentioning because the mindless drone level of the series shuts out any event from being interesting, meaningful, or consequential! Watching this as an anime is utterly pointless. While viewing Lain I briefly thought about the idea of somebody creating an audiovisual collage from the footage, but that thought passed quickly. To boil down Lain to an essence, nothing happens and what happens... amounts to nothing.

One thing that usually never distract me is the unusually bad voice acting (we are talking about the original Japanese here of course, I don't watch dubs as a matter of principle). Lain, especially the fake one (I'm as confused as you are here...), has a really ugly, unsympathetic and toneless voice. Also, the obligatory stupid trio of little kids ("cool" wannabe protagonist boy, bratty girl infatuated to aforementioned and snot-nosed loser sidekick - so Naruto didn't even invent that... huh) has voice actors even the lousiest fandubbers (now that's a tautology) wouldn't hire.

What remains from Serial Experiment Lain are the bear pyjama (if that had been featured in a BETTER anime, it naturally would have assumed cult status) and Lain's stupid hair tie thingy. By the way, Lain has the ugliest eyes I've ever seen by far. Geinus (sic) idea, by the way, making her eyes the same colour as her hair. *puke*

That quote about the abyss staring back at you never was more appropriate.

Some episodes had visual noise comparable to the battle scenes in Puella Magica Madoka in it - I really hate that shit.

Oh yeah, and contrary to what the screenwriter stated, the Evangelion ripoff shots really pile up. But what's new in Animeland... what's new.

With all it shortcomings and lack of any good material or ideas whatsoever, SEL luckily still can't conquer the title of worst anime of all time... that honour remains with the dreadful vortex of suck called... no. Let the horror be unnamed for now...

...or not. Naruto Shippuden. The horror.

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