Serial Experiments Lain is an anime series that was first run in 1998. It is a twisting tale of reality and fantasy, and makes the viewer sit ready to replay it again to try to figure out what they missed the first viewing. It has been noted by fans of the series that in order to thoroughly enjoy the show, the viewer needs to let go of reality and use their imagination.
Serial Experiments Lain stars Lain Iwakura, a shy junior high school student who mostly keeps to herself. One day, after school, she receives an e-mail from Chisa Yomoda, a classmate of hers who had recently committed suicide. At first, Laine believes that the e-mail was sent before she died, but after close examination she realizes that the e-mail was sent after Chisa died. In the e-mail, Chisa tells Lain that she is not dead, that she has merely “abandoned the flesh” and has gone into the Wired. The Wired is a form of communication, much like the internet. It links together every type of communication and even says that it can be linked into a system that can create communication between people without using any equipment, similar to telepathy.
A project known as Protocol 7 is the project that makes this possible. The director, Eiri Masami, puts a code into the system that will allow him to take complete control of everything, meaning that he can enter people’s thought streams. He places himself inside the Wired and dies shortly after. He comes to Lain and tells her that he needs her help. She is the only one who can make the virtual world and the material world become one. To do so, though, she needs to “abandon the flesh”, as Chisa did, and enter the Wired. Lain does not believe, at first, and Masami uses everything he can to try to convince Lain to do as he desires.