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Headscratchers / Serial Experiments Lain

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  • What on earth is the whole "Present day, Present time" thing all about? I honestly don't know what bugs me more - the fact that this makes little in the way of sense, or the fact that the voice sounds weirdly familiar.
    • It's actually a double meaning. It takes place in present day and time... however, it is also like an include statement on many high level programing languages, like a call to bring forth time and space into reality. present_day(); present_time(); //hahahahahaha!
    • I interpreted it as trying to set the scene, and then mocking it's own attempts to. Serial Experiments Lain obviously does not take place in the present day and present time, it takes place in some sort of weird alternate sci-fi variant, so it was saying "this show takes place in your completely normal world. hahahahaha!"
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    • I read it as a reference to the last episode, which doesn't use it at all. The entire anime takes place in the present time and day but in a world where the Wired exists. Lain, in the final episode, removes herself and the major connections to the Wired and leaves the world we live in currently. Namely, we live in the Retcon universe where Lain doesn't exist.
  • So what happend to KIDS and that drug, I think it was called exselsior or something?
    • KIDS happened in the past and was the inspiration for what the Knights are doing during the series, to some degree. As for Accela, it was used by the guy who did the shooting, which was responsible for a few more plot points and foreshadowing being brought up.
  • Why did Lain overreact by eliminating all memories of her? Why did she not simply eliminate just all the bad memories Arisu had. Or why didn't Lain do stuff like introducing herself as a transfer student after the reset and try over? She was, by all means, omnipotent.
    • Well that's what Lain of the Wired was trying to get her to do. Normal Lain's argument was that such manipulation of reality for her own benefit was a fundamentally wrong action, and that someone of her power had no place in the world.
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    • She's affecting people's memories throughout the series, often without even intending. It doesn't seem to work out so well, and beyond that, her very existence seems to screw with people/the world itself, so even if she could successfully reset the world, it's quite likely it'd all just go to hell again. There's also the issue of multiple lains, which seem linked to how people perceive her and may be impossible to remove as long as people remember her. Alternatively, depending on your interpretation of the final scenes of her in the empty world, it may be that nothing else exists in the first place, and the whole series is taking place in her own delusion/creation/model of reality, either because there never was one, or it was destroyed with her the only one left.
      • This is essentially correct. As Eiri explained, he created (or at least usurped) Lain to break down the barrier between the real world and the Wired. A lot of the weirdness in the series — the PHANTO Ma game suicides/killings, Mika's zombie state — is the result of Lain's presence eroding the barrier. As long as she was around, reality as we know it was in jeopardy.
      • Why you guys keep using Spoiler-tags? Shouldn't it be given that this is a spoiler-filled area? [yip, that's why I removed the tags] Anyway, there's no way that the world could be destroyed after Lain leaves it. We clearly see events taking place after she has left. Also, I find it improbable that Lain would be the creator of the world. It'd cheapen the conclusion where she is given the chance to become the God of the Wired like Eiri had been, but refuses because she doesn't want to be a god.
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    • What Bugs Be is that Lain never even considered the possibility of good old-fashioned THERAPY for Alice. And she gave up so quickly - who's to say that another minute or two wouldn't have calmed her down enough to function? Sure, there'd be nightmares, but she'd get over it eventually.
    • She's omnipotent but not omniscient: not a good combination. Being able to make arbitrary changes to the nature of reality is not a good thing if you can't see what those changes will do.
      • Omnipotence is the power to do anything, which by definition includes giving oneself omniscience. That's the problem with that superpower: if the author doesn't write the character with it as fatally unimaginative, there's no conflict left for the character, not even with that character itself about what to do with such power, as was the series finale.
      • Not necessarily. In order to gain omniscience you need to know how to gain omniscience. Omnipotence doesn't necessarily mean that you will something to happen and it happens. Sometimes it just means functional magic without any of the limits that get put into it.
      • That's simply not true. Omnipotence is the ability to do anything, while omniscience is the ability to know anything. Is not learning a "doing" action? Omnipotence would therefore allow you to learn any detail, and as a side effect, any sub-details (such as what that detail would imply), all the way down the line. There is a mathematical inductive proof that the ability to learn anything computable merely depends on your ability to store that information, and the ability to induct from the base knowledge you have; this implies omniscience is part of omnipotence.
      • Semantics. "Omnipotent" suffers linguistic drift just like every other word. Although it literally means all-powerful it's often used as an easy way to say Reality Warper or to say that a character is so powerful they might as well be omnipotent. Lain could be powerful beyond reason without being literally omnipotent and thus not be able to grant herself omniscience.
    • Right before Lain tries to erase herself she notes that every time she tries to use her powers to help Alice it goes wrong, and it's implied she's realized that her very existence has caused lots of harm to lots of people (herself included). As such, it seems reasonable for her to decide to just remove herself from all of it, rather than trying another post-hoc fix and having it blow up in her face.
  • Who the hell was the employer of the MIB's? He never gets any backstory and he doesn't appear in the ending, yet he recognizes Lain of the Wired on sight and destroys the Knights with disturbing ease.
    • They work for Tachibana General Labs, the computer company that developed the NAVI and the Copland OS, and Eiri's former employer. Sort of Apple and Microsoft in one, if that's even imaginable.
      • They seem kind of mercenaries hired to do this particular job for Tachibana, but no permanent ties to the company. Their boss presumably got a better offer from Eiri somewhere along the line, got brainwashed, or simply started to think that Eiri's scheme was wicked awesome, now that you think of it.
  • So apparently Lain/Eiri/The Wired's only power is read/write access to people's brains through some sort of wireless network involving the earth's magnetic field, with no control whatsoever over physical objects… Right. The end of the series has a number of dead people wandering around, which seems to imply that Lain has not only rewritten people's memories, but is actively running computerized simulations of them and continually transmitting shared hallucinations of them into the brains of everyone around them, and performing a massive coverup of The Wired's existence. This would mean that the happy ending is basically like all the nasty parts of Dark City put together, only on earth. Thanks a pantload, Lain.
    • Well, not quite. In Lain the real world is data, just as the Wired, and can be manipulated just as easily by those who recognize this; this is the origin of the psychic phenomenon discussed early in the series. What Lain did in the end wasn't hallucinations, but she literally rewinded the reality back to the point where the series started, and deleted herself from the program. She didn't cover up the Wired's existence (how do you hide Internet?), but simply prevented its more esoteric functions from "leaking" into reality.
      • This is correct. The problem was Eiri's version of Protocol 7, which tapped into the Schumann resonances of the Earth's EM field and used them as a wi-fi network to tap into humans' collective unconscious and thus blur the lines between perception and reality, or between the Wired and the physical world. Lain reset the world to the way it was before she arrived in it, before Protocol 7 and Eiri started screwing things up. Eiri never uploaded himself or his altered Protocol 7, but was just a disgruntled employee muttering to himself.
  • it just bugs me that after the rumors incident, Lain deleted the memories of everybody, it's implied because the next day, all the three friends were nice with her and smiling, if Alice's memories remained intact, she would have been uncomfortable around Lain, BUT, in the final episodes, it's implied that Alice retained her memories because she was Lain's only true friend so Lain didn't want to screw up with her mind. How can it be possible that Alice remembered the embarrassing stuff from the rumors incident if lain deleted the incident and the way Alice and the others behave confirmed this?.
    • I always assumed that she originally did mess with Alice's brain, but later put it back so Alice would remember what a great thing she did for her. When Alice freaked out because of this, Lain realized she couldn't even hold on to that bit of selfishness. Thus, when she fixes everything at the end, she has to make sure nobody remembers her sacrifice.
  • After episode 5, when Mika became a zombie, why didn't her off-screen friends and/or boyfriends notice or care about her? Surely her social life is better than Lain's, and if Lain can have a concerned friend like Alice around, why doesn't Mika?
    • Mika has become totally insane. Lain, on the other hand, remained in control.
    • Since Lain's family aren't real (the Mika who goes insane is just a copy of the original, anyway), their lives probably revolve around Lain in every way. See how indifferent Mika is about her boyfriend; she probably only agreed to be with him to avoid negative attention, and he doesn't really seem to be incredibly interested in her either
  • Is the 'KIDS' experiment really related to the Wired or is it just there for Mind Screw?
    • It does give a some kind of explanation to what is going on; it's implied that Eiri Masami and the Knights use data acquired from that experiment to do their supernatural antics.
    • It was explained in-series that Eiri planned to use the Earth's electromagnetic field to link all humans' innate psychic power, reassembling the dormant collective unconscious and recreating God with the side effects of this wiki and other cyberspace-materials coming into your face right now. The Kids experiment, which uses EM waves to harvest psychic energy, is what gave Eiri the insight to that happening. That's kinda like Neon Genesis Evangelion, but using EM waves, Internet, and cyberpunk instead of Angels, cyborgs, and other Freudian psychosexual horrors to link the Pieces of God that is Mankind. Although probably, what Eiri and the Knights really desire is to read, watch, search and edit interactive Wikipedia, Youtube, Google and TV Tropes instead of reawakening God himself.....
    • Adding to the answers above - the KIDS system was reverse-engineered by the Knights to create the technology for the Psyche chips, and probably also to blur the line between PHANTO Ma and the game for the younger kids. It's also possible that Lain got her power partly because children all over Japan were receiving subliminal messages to worship her, e.g., devote their psi energy to her.
  • What just bugs me is that apparently this series has an actual plot that some people understood enough to fill this very JBM page. Whereas all I remember of it is being heart-wreckingly dark (to the point that I can't bear to rewatch it) and making no sense to me at all, and that's after I made coherent plots out of other things that this wiki described as "incomprehensible".
    • The series isn't really incredibly dark - it's pretty hopeful when you get right down to it. It's just very wierd. Watching it a couple of times over helps considerably to understand how the plot works. If you want something really dark by the same creators, go check Texhnolyze. After that Lain is sunshine and puppies.
  • Was Alice actually in a relationship with that teacher, or was she just fantasizing about him?
    • She was in a relationship with him. Juri talks to her via webcam telling her she's sure the rumors about Alice and the teacher will blow over if they find Alice a boyfriend, only for Alice to say to herself after the chat that they aren't rumors. And it's heavily implied at the end of the series that she went on to marry him.
    • It's possible that it was just fantasy at the start, but that she eventually acted on it, and was positively reciprocated.
    • Her saying it's not a rumor doesn't mean it's true. She could simply have meant that it's true that she likes the teacher, which is basically what the really creepy Lain reiterates a few seconds later. Plus the guy she's seen with at the end doesn't look like he'd be significantly old enough to be her middle school teacher when she's a graduated teacher herself.
  • What the hell was with the alien wearing the sweater, and the entire Roswell That Ends Well storyline? As far as I can tell, it had no relevant to the rest of the plot, and it was never brought up again after that episode.
    • The implication is that alien technology was used to create the Wired.
      • Actually, no. The implication is that the Roswell incident was an example where a simple conjecture by some conspiracy theorists became subjective reality for thousands of people, and how Eiri Masami is exploiting similar power of memes to become God by using the Knights as his congregation. The gray alien is an example of an urban legend leaking into reality through the growing cracks between the Wired and the real world. Note that he's wearing Freddy Krueger's sweater.
  • Lain tells Taro that her other self can't physically appear outside of the Club and the Wired, yet we see her replace Lain in the episode prior. What does this mean?
    • Lain has a dissociative identity disorder. She is not really aware of her other personalities to a certain extent. She only began to realize about her other self, but can't control the switch and her memories.
  • I don't get the last part of the ending. Lain has erased herself from everyone's memories, is brooding in the darkness alone... and then her father greets her, and they are drinking tea in the sky? The mention of madeleines by her father makes me think of a possible Proustian interpretation - similarly to how the protagonist of the Search eventually found his "lost time" after being flooded by his old memories, perhaps Lain can continue existing because, though she may have been forgotten by everyone, she still exists within her own memories. However, I'm sure there must be other (more convincing) interpretations.
  • Why did Chisa jump off the building in the beginning? Did Eiri give her the idea? How did know to upload herself to the Wired beforehand?
  • Where is Lain getting all her equipment for her Hacker Cave?
  • If Lain is a software program how does she have a corporeal body? When Eiri tried to make a body it turned into a mess so why is Lain's relatively stable?


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