“Finally she begins to realize that she is either reality’s only hope, or its worst enemy.”



Disturbing, perplexing, sometimes infuriating, Ryutaro Nakamura’s serial experiments lain
covers some of the same themes as The X-Files and the films of David Lynch.
When introverted 13-year-old Lain receives an e-mail from a dead classmate,
she gains access to “the Wired,” a virtual world that promises unlimited
power to those who can exploit it. Gradually the borders between the real
and the virtual blur, and Lain’s own identity begins to fade and fragment.
Her parents tell her that she is not really their child, her online self
grows in power and independence, and shadowy organizations pursue her in
both worlds. Finally she begins to realize that she is either reality’s
only hope, or its worst enemy.

Nakamura keeps the pace of serial experiments lain deliberately slow, imbuing
the early episodes with a sense of mounting dread that pays off as the
plot develops. The anime technique of panning across static images creates
a meditative stillness that works perfectly, and the repetition of certain
key images gives them a dreamlike significance. Viewers will either love
or hate the complex plot, which seems intent on incorporating every possible
paranoid conspiracy, from sinister nanotechnology to alien plots. However–unlike
many other anime–it somehow hangs together, and frankly not understanding
everything is part of the pleasure of this kind of story. Fans of action-heavy
anime and people who like every loose end tied up should steer clear, but
those who surrender themselves to the slowly unfolding mysteries of the
plot will be amply rewarded. –Simon Leake 

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2022: I publish a weeklyish email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca., where I practiced with Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison and was involved in various pro-ecology and social justice activist activities.