Question re: "Serial Experiments Lain"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Allan Petersen, Oct 11, 2001.

  1. Allan Petersen

    Allan Petersen Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi there.
    I have been following this forum for a few years, and I believe that you can help me with the following question. Although it does not directly concern the DVD, I am posting it here. I hope it is acceptable (first post, folks).
    Having recently read reviews for the DVD release of "Serial Experiments Lain", I am very intrigued. The screenshots look very good and the plot seems interesting. I am generally very patient when it comes to watching movies, and I don't mind films that are slowly paced ("Lost Highway", "The Blair Witch Project" and "The English Patient" comes to mind). Several reviewers have likened 'Lain' to "Eraserhead" and "Twin Peaks", and since I am a big fan of David Lynch these comparisons have only served to fuel my interest.
    ...BUT...
    I am not very interested in the anime-genre as a whole. Currently I own "Akira" and "Ghost in the Shell" on DVD and "Wings of Honneamise" on VHS. Furthermore, I have seen "Urotsukidoji", "Fist of the North Star" and the "A-Police" series about 5 years ago. While I like "Ghost...", "Wings..." and "Akira" I absolutely detested (no offence, anime lovers [​IMG] ) the other three.
    There is no option of renting DVDs such as these in Denmark, and none of my friends are into anime at all. My only option is to buy the discs, so I would like recommendations from someone who is not necessarily a diehard fan of the genre.
    I would specifically like to know about:
    - Animation: How is the quality? I like the artwork I have seen so far, but how does it fare compared to, say, "Ghost..." (mostly excellent) or "A-police" (eermm, below average [​IMG] ).
    - Story: Does it appeal to the casually interested (i.e. me)? Does it require me to buy a 400+ page manga to fully understand ("Ghost in the Shell" was a lot easier to follow after that [​IMG] )? Does the tone vary wildly, i.e. serious one minute, then it suddenly turns silly?
    Thank you for your time.
    [Edited last by Allan Petersen on October 11, 2001 at 07:02 PM]
     
  2. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Judging by the other titles listed, I think you may enjoy Lain quite a bit. It is not silly at all. The artwork is fabulous, blending many different styles, so it is visually striking. The story is somewhat complex, and fairly disorienting at times, but I liked that about it. There is a fair amount of philosophy behind the series, so it isn't all surface flash with no substance. I really enjoyed it as an alternative to the fun and silliness I also enjoy in anime.
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  3. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Supporting Actor

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    Well, for firstly, there's a large difference in the styles of anime. And I'd definitely say it's unfair to judge anime based on the latter three titles you mentioned, because I'm heavily into the genre and don't care for those titles at all.
    Lain, however, is a great anime, and given the other titles you've liked, I'm fairly certain you'd like it. Lain is just plain odd from the get-go, very mysterious and symbolic. Even better, it all comes together at the end and has a definite answer and conclusion to things, even though parts aren't completely spelled out.
    The animation is decent, very good for a television show, though the style is minimalistic, which helps it immensely. The DVDs all look fabulous. I own all four, and they are absolutely haunting on my television.
    Give it a try, and if you hate it, never listen to our advice again [​IMG].
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    Mark Evans
    Low Rent Movie Critic, Low Rent Home Theater Owner, Low Rent Everything
     
  4. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    Hi Allan!
    I'm not a diehard anime fan either, but I also own Ghost in the Shell and Akira, along with some good OVA's (Tenchi and El Hazard) and, of course, the Lain series!
    This is an excellent show, and to answer your questions:
    Animation: Truly great, and the DVD's are top quality product.
    Story: Complicated, but original, no further researching necessary! [​IMG]
    Tone: Serious and low-key. Sets a special atmosphere, and the opening song is a hit!
    I bought these sight unseen, and I love them! Highly recommended!
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  5. Tony Lai

    Tony Lai Stunt Coordinator

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    I watched this over a weekend and it's unconventional to say the least.
    I think you probably need to watch it a few times because it's a DEEP series.
    Please explain it to me anyone who can.
    Or it's back to Urotsukidoji for me :)
    That's something I can understand...
    T.
     
  6. Michael Banks

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    Lain, I believe originally aired late night on WOWOW, and was meant for an adult audience. The show went on to win Excellence Prize of the 1998 Media Arts Festival by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs. This was Yoshitoshi ABe's first tv show I believe.
    This is not a title to compare to Akira or GITS. The show deals with what we consider reality, be it in the physical world or the "wired" ie: online world. I guess the main question of the series is, can our soul live on in the wired? It is a great show with very deep social meaning, in that we sometimes choose to live our lives behind a monitor and can lose ourselves. There is a hell of a lot more to it than that, but you get the point.
    If you want to see the serious side of anime, this is a good start. Hope this helps some.
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  7. Allan Petersen

    Allan Petersen Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, everyone!
    Looks like I'll be buying it soon. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Allan
    [Edited last by Allan Petersen on October 11, 2001 at 07:00 PM]
     
  8. Kong Chang

    Kong Chang Screenwriter

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    You can't compare the latter three movies/series, Urotsukidoji, Fist of the North Star, and A.D. Police (there is no such thing as A-Police).
    While the first OVA series (the first three episodes) of Urotsukidoji was well done, albeit the story revolved around hentai stuff, the story was intriguing to say the least. Anything after the first OVA series sucked pretty badly.
    Fist of the Northstar is based off a popular manga in the 80's. There was a tv series and movie based on FotN. I think the only stuff that is out is the movie version, unfortunately. And the problem with the movie, it is very linear and very non-thinking movie, a lot of action, little plot, which is sad but that is how it is in the manga as well (and the manga was really popular in Japan).
    A.D. Police is an off-shoot series of Bubblegum Crisis OVA series. It is also an OVA series consisting of 3 episodes. However, this was a pretty drole anime consisting of more raunchiness and lots of action with little plot. Hence that is why it ended on a weird note. No money to back up for more episodes.
    ---
    Serial Experiments Lain is an anime made in the late 90's and as its total display, it is an "experimental" anime, the first of the production company. (2nd series from same production is Boogiepop Phantom, a horror genre, and 3rd series from same production is Niea Under 7 or written as Niea_7, which is more comical and lite about a UFO alien living/coexisting with a poor student). However, since it was "experimental", it received a sucky timeslot on TV (I believe it was showcased on Monday or Tuesday at 1:35 AM!!! TV series are weekly showcased, not daily like it is in U.S.). So the series never did so well, since the ratings for it sucked big-time. Otherwise, it developed a cult status once it hit home video, especially in America, since word of mouth about the series flew like wildfire. It is a slow series that has deep philosophical altruisms, and can be said to be akin to a "Matrix-like" feel but without the action. Also, Lain is a TV series. It is not a movie. Big difference.
    For those who don't understand it, we can go more into details in spoiler tags. [​IMG]
     
  9. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    It has been quite awhile since I saw this series. The story can be quite the head scratcher. The first time I saw it, a lot of the time you were left thinking "what the hell just happened"? It is totally serious, no wacky anime hijinks in this one. There were a lot of plot threads which had no backstory to explain why they were there, interpretations are basically left up to the viewer. That is the way I remember it anyway.
    The animation is no where near something like GiTS but Lain was a TV series, which would account for the lower cel counts. The series also reused scenes, probably partly due to budgetary restraints and partly because the story called for it. This series used an unusual color palette, a lot of anime uses bright, saturated colors; this series used a pastel looking palette which made it looked a little washed out....it definitely fit the depressive mood of the series. The soundscape also was used effectively to create the moodiness. The opening song wasn't too bad.
    I thought it was an unusual anime compared to a lot of the stuff that is being put out. I would normally recommend renting something like Lain first but you don't seem to have that option. I would wait until the box set came out and buy it since it will probably be cheaper doing it that way, than one at a time. If it turns out to be something you don't care for, it would probably be easier to unload it.
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  10. Jun-Dai Bates

    Jun-Dai Bates Stunt Coordinator

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    The transfer on Lain is not great. It's great by anime standards (though not as good as Akira or Ghost in the Shell), but it's soft and a tiny bit shakey, with some artifacting. Definitely watchable, and *definitely* better than VHS.
    The animation is neat. One the one hand, it's easy to tell where they cut corners (it's not exactly Akira or GitS), but on the other hand, they did an incredible job with what they have.
    buy it. If you don't like it, give it to me!
     
  11. Ian C

    Ian C Stunt Coordinator

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    The thing about Lain (and the upcoming box set especially) is it will be easy to sell off if you don't like it.
    Oh...I also highly recommend it.
    Bo.
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  12. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Lain is kinda weird in many ways. The story, the way it was told, and the animation are very interesting and nothing like it has been seen before, AFAIK. Its great though.
    If you liked GitS and Akira, you should like Lain.
    I also reccommend you look for some other anime titles (movies since they aren't multiple discs to buy) or revive one of the anime threads.
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    The "Fist" movie is condensed to 2 hours from a 120+ episodes television series of the same name. It's mindless, structureless drivel. The actual show isn't much better BTW
    It's available (not all of it, least not yet) on VHS from Manga Entertainment. DVDs coming next year
    Jeff Kleist
     
  14. Allan Petersen

    Allan Petersen Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    Allan,
    Lain has a very consistent look and feel, and as mentioned, the quality is top-notch.
    It has a nice blend of traditional animation and CGI, but it works very well...
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    ~ Stud. Polyt. ~ Artur Meinild ~
     
  16. tyler O

    tyler O Stunt Coordinator

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    I love Lain. I have some Animation, and some Anime, but I don't consider myself a die-hard. I honestly can't say enough good about the Series (or OVA if you prefer [​IMG] ) It's best to go into with an open mind, the less you know the better. Try to watch them in order (You really really should). The first time I watched over a 2 day stretch and I feel like I took it too fast. There is repeating, but it is to a neccessary extent and effect. I liken it to a work of Lynch if he worked in Animation over a series that he had full and direct supervision of. A truly wonderful work of art. In my opinion of course...
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  17. Nathan_H

    Nathan_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Another reference point: I would say the similarities with Lynch's films are less strong than with, say, the x-files, but from the perspective of a pubescent girl, with a hefty dose of the cyber-sci-fi novel "Snowcrash" thrown into the mix.
    [Edited last by Nathan_H on October 13, 2001 at 12:44 AM]
     
  18. Allan Petersen

    Allan Petersen Stunt Coordinator

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    That sounds great, Nathan!
    "Snow Crash" is the best cyberpunk novel I have read sice "Neuromancer". This is certainly one for the order list now!
    Thanks again,
    Allan
     

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