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YMMV / Serial Experiments Lain

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: There's a popular theory that the PS1 game isn't in an Alternate Universe. It's a prequel that stars Lain of the Wired.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Bizarrely enough, producer Yasuyuki Ueda wanted this to happen, hoping to create, in his own words, a "culture war" between American and Japanese values that would provoke discussion on the differences between their cultures. It seems to have failed, as American fans interpreted (and appreciated) the plot in much the same way as Japanese fans did.
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  • Awesome Music: The opening theme, "Duvet" by boa, as well as the long psychedelic jam that plays over the Info Dump in "Infornography".
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Given the show's Mind Screw nature, there's a ton of these, though some do get Call Backs, which prevent them being "true" BLAMs. However, there are several completely inexplicable scenes that happen throughout the show, including:
    • The scene in which ectoplasm starts emanating from Lain's fingers in Layer 01.
    • Pretty much all the scenes involving PHANTOMa in Layer 04.
    • The alien in Lain's doorway in Layer 09.
    • The Men in Black suddenly dying horribly, which is never even referred to again.
  • Creepy Awesome: Lain, herself. A particularly memorable example is the scene where she apropos of nothing approaches and talks to the shooter at Cyberia, which leads to him killing himself. It's creepy, messed-up, and badass.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Certain ideas about the users of the Wired are eerily similar to the users of a very popular real-life imageboard.
  • Genius Bonus: As mentioned on the main page, the series gets easier to understand if you're familiar with some of the more esoteric concepts it talks about.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Layer 06, "Kids," it looks like the titular kids are praising the sun.
  • Les Yay: The only two people Lain ever has any real connection to are Alice and, to a much lesser extent, Mika. Alice and Lain, however, are not related and occasionally have... shall we say, moments of intimacy that go far beyond mere friendship. Hell, Lain even tells Alice she loves her towards the end, though the circumstances imply it's agape, not eros, then hits the Reset Button and enacts and self-imposed Ret-Gone, largely for Alice's benefit.
  • Memetic Mutation: Let's all love Lain.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Producer Yasuyuki Ueda said he wanted to be interpreted differently by American and Japanese audiences. He was disappointed to find this didn't happen. Apparently confusion is a universal phenomenon.
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  • Moe: Lain has a number of the physical characteristics and early on is often presented in a "cute" way (with her bear outfit or hanging out in just her nightgown). She absolutely does not have a matching personality, though, and as the series goes on it feels far more like a Deconstruction or even an attack on the trope.
  • Narm:
    • "Present day...present time! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
    • "Protocol 7 is expected to allow the seamless sharing of information, information that will be shared between the Wired and the real world. And now, the following message. Let's all love Lain. [Slasher Smile] Let's all love Lain, let's all love Lain, let's all love Lain, LainLainLainLainLainLainLainLainL-l-l-l-l-l!"
    • "What's dying like?" "It really hurts! :)" Clearly meant to be nightmarish in its naivety, it instead falls a bit flat.
  • Older Than They Think: Many people have noticed the show is essentially a cyberpunk predecessor to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, featuring some characters with similar roles and a borderline identical ending. There is some fanart dedicated to this.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • During the title sequence, we see Lain being watched on television by people. She's staring back at them. Those people are you. She can see you.
    • But then it crosses into Tear Jerker territory when you realize the people may not actually be paying attention to her, so she is just there staring with this sad look in her eyes.
  • Stoic Woobie: Lain, being an at-first Emotionless Girl and all.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: So much so, that even the creators couldn't agree on what Lain is supposed to be about.
  • Unconventional Learning Experience: It can be one for the history of computers, the Roswell Crash, and hacking culture, among other things.
  • Values Resonance: The story, while highly symbolic and thematic, makes a lot more sense in The New '10s. Much of thus has to do with the fact that the internet and social media have become fundamental to a lot of people's lives, so the story's themes of the connection between online and offline realities and the construction of identity on the internet resonate a lot harder than they did in the early 90's.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Just for starters, it's a severe Mind Screw, there are references to Timothy Leary, it has Fantastic Drugs...
  • The Woobie: Lain herself. Whether viewed through the lens of a young girl experiencing severe mental illness, an Amnesiac God who is made to live up to enormous expectations, or anything in-between, one thing can be agreed on: she has a really bad time.
  • Woolseyism: In the Argentinian (Latin American) dub:
    • The word "Wired" was translated as "Nexus", partly because "Cableado" sounds kinda silly, partly because "Nexus" is more descriptive and fits the context much better. (The European Spanish did the same by translating it as "Net".)
    • Several parts were changed from vaguely prophetical nonsense to ominous prophetic awesome, such as the line that Lain says when confronting the drugged-up clubber in the second chapter.
    • Also, the distorted voice that says the title of the chapters was made creepier and scarier by a very large run.
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