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Serial Experiments Lain Vol. 3: Deus (1998)

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Studio: Geneon
Genre: Anime, Science Fiction Anime, Drama Anime, Fantasy Anime
Running Time: 75 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

This heavily cerebral anime series uses its quiet, young protagonist, Lain Iwakura, to explore traditional philosophical elements of the cyberpunk genre: God, the digital world, physicality, and the collective conscious. The story opens with the suicide of one of Lain's classmates, Chisa Yomoda. Lain is shy and childish, even for a girl of 14, and knows almost nothing of computers. It is very strange then, when Lain receives an e-mail from Chisa sent after her death. The message says that Chisa is not dead but simply abandoned her flesh and is still alive in the Wired, the limitless world inside all computers, portrayed similarly to the Internet. Lain then begins to explore the Wired, and as she does, a seemingly new person emerges from her. It appears that there are two Lains, the one in this world and the one in the Wired -- or even that Lain is omnipresent, a force greater than either of the two. Serial Experiments Lain poses many questions, perhaps the most important of which is just how contained is the Wired? Does the Wired exist within this world or is this world just an image projected by the Wired? ~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide

Contains episodes 8-10:

  • Rumors
  • Protocol
  • Love

GreenCine Member Reviews

First decide what makes a god and whether we accept that existence by hneline1 November 8, 2002 - 10:20 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Each episode of this series throws curve balls. After watching this disk, Lain now reminds me of a mixture of Alice in Wonderland, X-Files and The Matrix with a good dousing of cognitive spiritualism. Without revealing too much, the key event in these episodes is that Lain does something that may or may not have warped her reality, and we question what is her reality. She meets someone who may be God, and we question what is god.

It's hard to review this disk without spoilers. If anything, because this disk is about "Deus", let me explore one topic. A friend of mine made the comment that both Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain explore God and spirituality and the possibility of a meta-connectiveness among humans. However, one difference is that Evangelion's philosophical foundation is one of belief, because the existence of God is already accepted, while Lain's foundation is agnostic or atheistic, because the existence of God is still questioned or outright denied. In this light, I think that Lain asks the harder questions -- if there is a consciousness with godlike powers in the Wired (how many scifi stories have explored THAT topic!), we must first decide what makes a god and whether we accept the existence of that consciousness, before deciding what will be our relationship to such a being. In that way, Lain is pure cyberpunk. It's more consistently internal and questioning than Evangelion (except in Episodes 25 and 26 of that series), although both ask important questions about human evolution, reality and consciousness.

C'mon, if an anime series can ask such hard questions, isn't it worth watching? I haven't even touched on the aliens or the secret of the seventh generation internet protocol. Ouch, my head hurts and it feels so good.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.71)
394 Votes
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