Blu-ray Review "Serial Experiments: Lain – Complete Series"

lain-bluActors: Bridget Hoffman, Wayne Akers, Stephen Apostolina, Heather Ashton, Michaline Babich
Directors: Ryutaro Nakamura
Number of discs: 4
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Funimation
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Run Time: 325 minutes

Series: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Close the World. Open the Next”

I have to admit, I am a bad anime fan.  I have not heard of “Serial Experiments: Lain” until recently. The series originally aired in 1998 from acclaimed artist Yoshitoshi ABe. This very existential series has been said to pave the way for films like “The Matrix”. The word “existential” barely even describes this show show since it is one hell of a trip.  If you are looking for a light watching material for an afternoon, this is definitely not it.  It is a slow, deep and very intense series. I enjoyed it as a whole because I was able to marathon the whole series in one sitting.  I think that if I had to watch this episode by episode over time, I wouldn’t be as optimistic. Overall, this isn’t my favorite anime series of all time but I did like the futuristic and almost sci-fi feel of it.

Official Premise: Follow along as fourteen year old Lain driven by the abrupt suicide of a classmate logs on to the Wired and promptly looses herself in a twisted mass of hallucinations, memories, and interconnected-psyches. The episodes are setup as “Layers”.  There are 13 layers to this series including “Weird”, “Girls”, “Psyche”, “Religion”, “Distortion”, “Kids”, “Society”, “Rumors”, “Protocol”, “Love”, “Infornography”, “Landscape” and “Ego”.

Serial Experiments: Lain is finally available on Blu-ray, thanks to Funimation. No need to  shell out major bucks anymore for the Japanese import. There have been some complaints of banding issues with this release but I thought that the 1080p transfers look fantastic. The colors are very sharp and the animation still holds up in high-def despite being 15 years old.  There are two audio tracks includes for “Serial Experiments: Lain”. There is an Dolby TrueHD 2.0 track for the original Japanese track and English dub as well. I have to say that the English track definitely impresses the most.  It is well-cast and sounds stronger than the Japanese track, which is a rare case for anime.

“Serial Experiments: Lain – Complete Series” is being released as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. This limited edition release comes in slipcase with a case for the Blu-ray discs and a case for the DVDs. In terms of watchable special features, they are disappointing but luckily there is additional readable extras included. The special features only include a brief Promo Video, Original Commercial, U.S. Trailer and Textless Opening and Closing Songs.  The reason why the extras are worth the purchase is due to the additional booklet included with episode commentaries between Saito and Ueda, as well as emails from Saito.  The star of the release though is easily the larger book called “Inside Serial Experiements: Lain Artbook.  This contains tons of sketches and animation details for the show.


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