Before the twelve minutes or so of random cut-up imagery accompanied by an indie/rock/jazz/noise soundtrack, attempting to explain what has happened in the first ten episodes of Serial Experiments Lain has even finished, my conscious mind has switched off and my unconscious one has taken over, and I’m just a catatonic heap, zombified as I watch what could possibly be one of the weirdest things I’ve seen for ages. And even after watching these final three episodes, I have actually no idea, no fucking idea, what the fuck this is meant to be about!
But to be honest, I doubt seeing the first ten episodes of Lain would do anything to increase my understanding of what appears to be an uneasy partnership of chill-out room amateur psychology and philosophy involving the mind and computers and evolution and God and all sorts of similar things – I’m sure it’s much more coherent if you’re tripping you’re balls off!
I don’t know whether it’s sadistic irony or completely unintentional when heroine Lain tells us, “Once you figure it out, it’s all so easy!” because it’s not at all. It just gets harder and harder to understand as the series moves on! I’ve heard this described as very deep and meaningful, so maybe I’m just thick, but I’m sure the fact that the characters – their eyes are big enough to tell – all have dilated pupils is no accident.
For the most part, Lain is just one massive head-fucking trip, although it does lose its intensity a bit during the final episode (which doesn’t really need to be there). Yet still I enjoyed this, thanks to the fact that it’s so weird – not to mention the great animation and soundtrack (and those brain-frying opening scenes!). And I reckon that a lot of other people, freaks rather, would enjoy it too. Because it’s so weird though, I feel it only right that I ask myself: Is this just a pretentious piece of art-wank? Or are these filmmakers genuinely mad? I choose…