Serial Experiments Lain – Episodes 10/11

Whew. Final set.

End of a brief, exhausting era. These two weeks have conclusively proven that this many writeups is too goddamn many, but Lain was definitely a fun ride. Lez do it.

Episode 10

2:24 – No voice to start at all this time, huh?

3:53 – “You’re dead, aren’t you? A dead human has no need for a body.” Alright, let it all out, show

4:27 – And it seems like Lain is speaking from “God’s” body now

6:18 – So was she having a conversation with herself? With a representative of her conception of the God either she or Lain of the Wired might represent? Bleh, I’ll just let it play, it’s making its own choices now

9:43 – So is the very first assumption I had to make to inform any hypothesis – that the physical world wasn’t just another construction – the one they’re now saying is false? Or are we still in Lain’s head. Or are we always

10:42 – Wait, what does her sister represent? Eh, again, I’m sure it will explain itself soon enough

12:16 – Aw, that was a great little scene. Some nice lines by the actor formally known as Lain’s father, and the bittersweet idea that a being born to have mastery of Wired connection desperately craves the smallest hint of real, physical connection

13:25 – “The Wired’s God is a God because he has worshipers.” They keep bringing up this concept, and it’s pretty interesting. Are they saying that the information of the Wired has no value in the abstract, and that it is only through observation that such things become tangible and powerful? It seems linked to the idea of informationcontrol as being the indicator of power within the Wired – which doesn’t seem to fall in line with singularity ideas, and instead promotes the idea of the various personas of the Wired as still maintaining agency and individuality even when fully integrated into the information – the replacement of one world with another that isn’t quite as different as I suspected

14:28 – Welp, there’s final confirmation that woman was a Knight… and I guess maybe confirmation that the Knights exist in physical form

15:27 – A nice parallel and actual truth here, where the only thing that gave Knights actual power was the exclusive knowledge of themselves – when that information’s exclusivity is lost, their Wired invulnerability becomes tied to their physical fragility. Fuck ’em up, Lain

19:37 – “We still haven’t figured out what you are… but I love you.” Both her official fake-father and her shadowy caretaker express real emotion for her. Interesting to see the forces designed to maintain the illegitimacy and artificial nature of the Wired all ending up feeling a genuine and undeniable emotional connection to a being naturally designed for the Wired

And Done

Welp, still not sure of this God, but everything else seems pretty clear. It was a little abrupt, but I’m glad the Knights got handled in a thematically satisfying way – all the conspiracy stuff is kind of secondary to the questions the show is now dwelling on. This was a very good episode.

Episode 11

2:30 – Ojeez, integrating Lain’s crazy new apparatus with the standard opening shots. It’s weird, she’s more and more dedicated to maintaining a physical connection even as she more fully connects her terminal to the Wired

3:20 – And the light turns green. That can’t be good!

11:47 – Well that was… half an episode. Hm. Once again, the show takes something carefully implied (how important Arisu and specifically her physical contact with Lain are) and makes it explicit so nobody’s left behind, but I guess that’s kind of necessary in a show like this. Not sure what else that whole sequence was really doing – the only contrast of scenes that seemed meaningful was Lain’s disappearance from the classroom being contrasted against her strangling of Lain of the Wired, which maybe implied that Lain of the Wired actually did take over her terminal, and she killed her own connection with the world. But I don’t think it actually was implying that (the show seems to constantly waver on how tangible Lain is at a given moment), so I dunno

The times when this show takes a step back and basically explains everything that’s been happening to the audience make me wonder if I’d be the absolute worst person to actually write a show. The balancing acts smart anime have to perform to entertain a wider audience seems like a really tough thing to learn and maintain – shows like OreGairu and Gargantia have to appeal on multiple levels at almost all times, and shows that simply give mainstream audiences the finger (like Shinsekai Yori) tend to pay for it dearly

13:45 – “Lain, you’re basically software.” This guy is one smooth operator

19:25 – So is Lain better at manifesting in the Wired than she is at sending another manifestation into the real world, and that’s why she shows up all bizarre and half-alien? Or is there more truth to this portrayal than that?

There’s also another one of the many great, deliberate contradictions these last few episodes have been creating in Lain forcing herself to become more attuned to the Wired so she can gain the power to salvage her physical life

22:20 – Hah, the “Be” floats in before “To _ Continued.” You’re adorable, Lain

And Done

Damn! Even with the first half being a sort of random memory clip show (that I guess represented her full download, but I don’t know what it actually did other than that), that was still another great episode. I really like the ways this world works when pretty much everything is out in the open – the finale with Lain’s family, the Knights, and the G-Men last episode, and now Lain’s desperate, self-destructive attempts to save her friendship with Arisu. Great, great stuff