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Serial Experiments - Lain: Navi (Layers 1-4)

4.4 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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(Jul 13, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

We're all Connected... There is the world around us, a world of people, tactile sensation, and culture. There is the wired world, inside the computer, of images, personalities, virtual experiences, and a culture all of its own. The day after a classmate commits suicide, lain, a thirteen year-old girl, discovers how closely the two worlds are linked when she receives an e-mail from the dead girl: "I just abandoned my body. I still live here..." Has the line between the real world and the wired world begun to blur?

In serial experiments lain, things get very weird very quickly, and they stay that way. A schoolgirl commits suicide, but several days later her classmates receive e-mail from the dead girl. One--an introverted 13-year-old called Lain--replies, and her correspondent claims not to be dead, but to have passed into the "wired world." Eventually, Lain must join her. What follows is a story that combines virtual-reality, nanotechnology, a host of other science fiction concepts, and a healthy dose of postmodern paranoia. It would be unfair to reveal much more about the plot, but the phrase "nothing is what it seems" applies to just about everything in this compelling anime.

The beauty of serial experiments lain is the deliberate pace at which the story unfolds. Director Ryutaro Nakamura eschews the hyperkinetic style of many anime, allowing the plot to develop in slow motion and making every single image count. The first episode (a total of four are included) is a masterpiece of shifting moods and slowly building tension. Every detail--from the strange blotchy shadows to the ever-present hum of power lines to the slow tracking shots across the dazed face of Lain herself--helps create an atmosphere of unease, and as the truth is gradually revealed, that unease is amply justified. The art direction is superb, mixing computer graphics with traditional animation and making frequent use of high-contrast images that set deep shadows against a blinding white sky. The first four episodes of serial experiments lain combine the millennial dread of Neon Genesis Evangelion with the subtle menace of The X-Files to create a uniquely disturbing beginning to an imaginative and intelligent story. Stay tuned. --Simon Leake

Special Features

  • Includes: layer 01 Weird, layer 02 Girls, layer 03 Psyche, layer 04 Religion
  • Extra stuff

Product Details

  • Actors: Kaori Shimizu, Bridget Hoffman, Randy McPherson, Ari Moriizumi, Ayako Kawasumi
  • Producers: Yasuyuki Ueda
  • Format: Animated, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Geneon [Pioneer]
  • DVD Release Date: July 13, 1999
  • Run Time: 24 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305460116
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,360 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Serial Experiments - Lain: Navi (Layers 1-4)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
At the time of this writing, I've viewed the first three of four "layers" of the first "Serial Experiment Lain, 'NAVI'". I find it gripping in that is the most innovative of Japanese anime I've thus far seen. The style reminds me of underground comics of the 60's and 70's but has a freshness of color and motion. The series clearly shows the conditions of the characters; social disconection, benign neglect in a dysfunctional family, social seperation as it is found in both American as well as Japanese schools, etc. The underlying story is of a young girl, alienated from others because of her shyness, finding a connection to what is called the "Wired". It is not yet clear as to the mechanations of her being made aware of the wired other than the E-mail she gets from a dead classmate telling her about how she only left this world for the one she's in now.
I greatly anticipate the next video release where we can continue to see the merging of "The Wired" and "The real World" unfold...
Warning! This series will be very disturbing to individuals who suffer from dysfunctional social skills. There is a risk I can see the ease of identifying with these characters could lead to emotional distress.
The best viewing is Sub-tittled for the simple fact that you get to hear the actual originally intended voice characterization.
John Sanford
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Format: VHS Tape
Watching Lain is like conducting a siege: you have to commit to it to be successful. My wife and I watched Volumes 1 and 2 and, despite the ethereal beauty, were really considering shelving the whole thing because of the pacing. Then Volume 3 came and -- *click* -- parts started falling into place; we couldn't wait to get Volume 4 into the VCR. Yes, the story slowly unfolds, but you don't just watch Lain, you immerse yourself in it. By the end, the journey you thought you had started out on leads you to a completely unexpected destination. Surreal, thought-provoking... but requires discipline and patience.
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Format: DVD
This disc begins what is perhaps the most intriguing, creepy, and wonderfully strange television series ever created. Show an episode of Lain to five hundred different people and you'll get five hundred different interpretations of what's going on. I've talked to people who think that the character Lain is a modern Jesus, and others who think that she's the Goddess described in various pagan religions. That's how wide open this particular anime is for personal interpretation and meaning. The writers never explain anything outright, with intelligence-insulting dialogue; the significance of each bizarre little moment is entirely up to the viewer to figure out. Spend the money and get the whole series, because you'll come back to it again and again and again. Every single time I watch an episode (oops, I mean a "layer") I find out something new about the storyline, and also about myself. This is absolutely essential viewing for anyone who likes anime or just good (albeit extremely strange) sci-fi.
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Format: DVD
Lain Iwakura is a singularly unassuming 14 year old. The classic waif, surrounded by stuffed pets, and a habit of wearing bear pajamas. Suddenly inexplicable things are happening around her, culminating in her receiving an e-mail from a classmate several days after the girl committed suicide. This triggers a set of changes in Lain's life, many of them small, but ominous when taken as a whole.
Soon Lain is surfing the net with her powerful new Navi (which she barely understands) and eerie connections multiply. Lain is invited to a nightclub where another guest goes berserk and commits suicide right in front of her. Gradually, she discovers there is another Lain - her opposite - who is a master participant in the Wired, an online world where the stakes may be as high as death and transformation.
The primary plot of the series is the gradual diffusion of the boundaries between realities, and the building identity crisis with Lain at its epicenter. The story is very carefully paced, steadily turning up the sense of impending doom. As other participants in the Wired begin to die in some way related to the net. This isn't done with blazing animation, or even an excess of dialog or action. Instead, an almost minimalist style makes symbols out of everyday objects like teddy bears and telephone lines. For example, the use of space in Lain's home is almost reminiscent of Woody Allen's 'Interiors,' and depicts the same sense of distance and isolation.
Lain's world is dystopian, marked by a culture lacking even the motivation necessary to communicate effectively. In this first DVD, the viewer will often feel as baffled as Lain does, desperately reading an instruction manual that never stops to explain anything.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
One day while at the video store I noticed a picture of a sad little girl with a single strand of long hair. The picture was the cover of the first volume of Serial Experiments Lain (known by fans as SEL). Intrigued, I bought the Navi DVD. Those first two hours of spectacular visual art and music left me spellbound and yearning for more. Eventually, I bought the second volume and I now own all four DVDs. SEL is the story of Lain Iwakura, a quiet girl who gets sucked into the computer world known as the wired. As Lain explores her new world, she discovers more about people, the world she lives in, the meaning of life, and herself. Though the begining is somewhat slow, the SEL series is a must for any hardcore anime fan. A real treasure!
Note: SEL is rated 16 and up (though is probably appropriate for most teenagers). There are some disturbing images involving suicide and a fairly subtle masturbation scene. Some people may also be offened by the view on God and religion.
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