Posts with the “serial experiments lain” tag

Technology in an accelerated world

Accel World owes a lot to Serial Experiments Lain. The script may not be penned by Chiaki J. Konaka and has yet to deal with digital deities but a great many of this new series' ideas can be traced back to it.

there is a fundamental stumbling block to the kind of time-stoppage seen in Accel World: biology
Lain itself is of course based on volumes of, what was then considered fringe, research on the unstoppable onset of the Internet and digital devices - Project Xanadu and Memex are just a couple of its mentioned inspirations. When Lain was released mobile phones weren't remotely close to the technological marvels they are today and the concept of wireless access to the Internet (ne. The Wired) was still far fetched. The beating heart of the series though was the eponymous Lain's attempts to be subsumed into the digital world by pursuing a "deviceless" way to access the network.

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Aural pleasure

A few years ago I almost lost the hearing in my left ear. The gory details are best omitted, but I was left with (what the doctors claimed) was 20-30% hearing and only two thirds of the bones I should. For all intents and purposes I was deaf in that ear, a lopsided and mono world where car alarms didn't exist (a boon at 3am) but wearing headphones was painful.

Two years and two operations on I have most of my hearing back. All of this is just context for me to say: my hearing is precious to me and I am precious about it. It is a cliché to say that you don't know what you've got until you've lost it, but when it's personal it really brings it home.

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Recurring themes

Rewatching Code Geass R2 set my mind working on something that has been gnawing at me for a while, and it's only recently that the semblance of an answer began to take form. The part in question takes place towards the end of the season and is when the Emperor's plan is revealed to Lelouch concerning the Mental Elevator, C's world and the Sword of Akasha: that of unifying the world into a single, super consciousness. Depending upon the anime one has watched this will likely be a familiar concept and one that has underpinned many influential and subversive series.

everybody ends up all warm and fuzzy and with a greater understanding of Mayan philosophy
The most obvious proponent of this concept is of course Evangelion which constructed elaborate systems based upon Jungian psychology, theology and science and implying that the next evolution of humanity isn't as discrete individuals but as an amalgam. Without delving too deeply into the labyrinthine plot of the series and movies, End of Evangelion demonstrates this with everyone melting into a fluid, whereas the final episodes of the series give a fractured glimpse at the emotional montage Shinji suffers during this. Released in 1995-96, this was mostly the result of Hideaki Anno who it is anecdotally said spiralled into neuroses around the half-way point of the series which is coincidentally when it shed all pretences of being a fluffy children's show and went full bore for dark and symbolic.

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Anime of the decade: #10


Bringing back the creative forces behind the 1998 series Serial Experiments Lain came Texhnolyze in 2003: a thoroughly peculiar name and the decade's best example of mind-bending anime. Scenario creator Chikai J. Konaka was riding high after 'Lain and the well received Hellsing TV series, around the same time Texhnolyze was released he had already lent his hand to the RahXephon movie (Pluralitas Concentio) and would go on to do the Air Gear TV series as well as Masamune Shirow's Ghost Hound. Character designer Yoshitoshi ABe meanwhile had leant his hand to a number of series previously including Haibane Renmei and Nie Under 7, however this would remain his last character work for anime for the foreseeable future.

a meditative look at the effect machines have on humanity when all barriers between them are removed

The setting could not be more verdant for exploration: an underground society - the only place on earth where the component for artificial limbs can be harvested - carved up by ceaseless gang fighting. The company-sponsored Organo tussle with the anti-prosthetic Union while in the middle is a religious sect who worship prognosticators born only once in a generation. Ichise, a bare-knuckle brawler, is mutilated by his employer and only saved after being taken in by an arrogant and capricious doctor, eager to experiment. He is fitted with the latest prosthetic limbs, texhnolyzed in the series' parlance, and eventually joins the Organo in their ongoing fight. However those who control the city, the Class, begin to move and the streets of the decaying city, Lux, become a warzone.

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