Notes: If you like this, you may like .Hack/Sign
Lain is a shy, quiet 13 year old girl. One day a girl from her class commits suicide. Then Lain and her classmates receive email messages from the dead girl. Things get stranger from then on, with the virtual world spilling over to the real world. Lain is at first a computer novice, but finds she has hidden talents that surprise even herself, though not her father. Then she finds out there is another Lain with an antithetical persona. Are they the same person? Who or what is real? What is happening to the people who are dying or are they escaping to a virtual world? As we follow Lain in her journey of self-discovery, we are pulled into her world where nothing or everything is real.
Overall, the animation is very simple, stark and high contrast, with several scenes used repeatedly. Sometimes it almost hurts the eyes to watch it, but there are a few scenes of some nice computer generated graphics. The character designs are also very simple, and a few characters look too much alike. Beginning and ending songs are quite good. Overall score is adequate. The voices in both the sub and dub are fine.
The series is not episodic and should be watched in order. Whether or not that helps make the plot clearer is another question. This is one of those brain twisting, what's going on type anime, with a plot interweaving reality and virtual reality (be ready for a lot of techno-babble). It's not really interesting enough to keep you engrossed and by the end there are still a number of loose threads, although the ending itself is satisfactory. It makes sense if you think about it, but if you think about it too much, it stops making sense. The only main character is Lain, everyone else is just a minor character there to help her realize herself. She does have a best friend, Alice, who is pivotal in developing Lain's character. Lain develops from a shy reserved girl, to someone of great power, and it is her ultimate judgement of mankind that will determine its future.
Recommended for ages 13 and up. Not recommended for younger children as it would make no sense to them and would be quite boring.