The Serial Experiments Lain explained

The Serial Experiments Lain explained (2)

Serial Experiments Lain was an anime mini-series that first aired on TV Tokyo in 1998. It was written by Chiaki J Konaka and directed by Ryutaro Nakamura. It is famously known for its inclusion and propagation of conspiracy theories as it navigates through the life of Lain Iwakura. The show has remained a classic ever since and is considered one of the best mind-bending psychological anime shows to have ever been created.

A basic synopsis of Serial Experiments Lain

Lain Iwakura is a girl who learns to connect to people through the means of the internet. She creates a personality out of these connections and conclusions and projects this into the real world. Lain is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, which makes her live different personalities with a singular mind.

As the series progresses, Lain discovers that she is a sentient program that has been sent to bridge the gap between the Wired and the real world.

The Serial Experiments Lain explained (2)
A scene from Serial Experiments Lain (Image credit goes to Triangle Staff)
  • Lain delves deeper into the network and as she does, we find a series of psychological, metaphysical, and surreal narratives unfold.
  • These narratives question the basis of reality, existence, and identity, while at the same time interrogating the nature of various conspiracies and fears associated with the internet.

What is ‘The Wired’ in Serial Experiments Lain?

The Wired is a virtual dimension that controls and commands all forms of human communication ranging from televisions and telephones to the internet and cyberspace. It is assumed that the Wired is capable of creating an atmosphere of communication between humans and machines without any physical interface.

The Serial Experiments Lain explained (2)
Lain (Image credit goes to Triangle Staff)

The Wired is a metamorphosis of the virtual into the real. There is only a little difference between what is real and what is virtual, or what has been acquired and what has been programmed. The Wired is an interface that is the brainchild of Masami Eiri, and he desires to take control over the entirety of human consciousness.

How does Lain stop The Wired and its social experiments?

The Serial Experiments Lain explained (2)
Lain (Image credit goes to Triangle Staff)

Lain realizes that she has the power to access all of humanity’s thoughts. She has the power to control and alter reality itself. Seeing this as a threat, Lain engages in dialogues with her different selves and talks about how she has been shunned from society and is afraid to take control in The Wired.

She is also afraid that her abilities might be put to foul use. Therefore, Social Experiments Lain ends with Lain meeting her oldest and closest friend Alice and promising her that they would meet again. This is a statement that emphasizes the omnipresent and omniscient nature of Lain and her eternal existence.


Social Experiments Lain is an anime that questions a lot of human beliefs and faith of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It seriously rejects all forms of traditional belief and questions the conventions and dogmas of the time. This anime mini-series is a representation of the fear which lurked about the internet and the hostility which enveloped the entire conversation. Social Experiments Lain would therefore always remain a classical piece of psychological anime mini-series.

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