Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Serial Experiments Lain

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV

Transmitted:July 1998 - September 1998
Country of origin:Japan
Genre:Avant-garde cyber mysteries
Starring:Kaori Shimizu, Sho Hayami, Ryūsuke Ōbayashi
No. of seasons:1

Impenetrable stuff, I reckon.

The plot:
Serial Experiments Lain describes "the Wired" as the sum of human communication networks, created with the telegraph and telephone services, and expanded with the Internet and subsequent networks. The anime assumes that the Wired could be linked to a system that enables unconscious communication between people and machines without physical interface.
The storyline introduces such a system with the Schumann resonance, a property of the Earth's magnetic field that theoretically allows for unhindered long distance communications. If such a link was created, the network would become equivalent to Reality as the general consensus of all perceptions and knowledge. The thin line between what is real and what is possible would then begin to blur.
(Synopsis taken from the relevant Wikipedia entry)

This was just baffling.
Ostensibly an anime series about the how the internet and general online connectivity could potentially change the world, this is more an exercise in artistry than in genuine story telling.
Individual episodes are ethereal, drifting thoughtscapes, loosely held together by a vague narrative structure, but this is all about atmospherics and ambience.
Lovely in theory.
Dull as Duncan’s dungarees in practice.
Beautiful to look at, this was a frustrating viewing experience to the point that, down here at Smell the Cult HQ, we only got 5 episodes into the 13.
Interesting if ultimately headache inducing, then.

Find an episode guide here:

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