Thinking about Serial Experiments Lain
Layer 02: Girls
In this episode Juri, Reika, and Arisu go to a club for the first time. The next time they go, they invite Lain to go with them. What is the significance of this outing? Is it a rite of passage? What clues do you have of this? What is significant for them about going to a club? Do you remember your first experience at a club? What was it like?
This episode opens with a boy swallowing a machine-like capsule called Accela which makes him feel "accelerated". What are some of the reasons people have for taking mind-altering substances in this culture and in other cultures? What do you think this character hoped to achieve? What did he achieve? What clues do you have to his experience or perception of the world and his reaction to Lain? What is your experience with this topic?
The Accela boy shoots people inside the club and then shoots himself. What causes this kind of random violence in real life? What do you think motivates this character? What is the purpose or effect of placing this act of violence in a club? How is Lain's reaction to the incident revelatory of her character?
Define the term "doppelganger": Gale's Literary Index
Does Lain have a doppelganger? What clues indicate or suggest this? What are some characteristics of the doppelganger motif in literature? How does the story use this motif or the suggestion of it? How does the way this motif is used in other stories compare to its usage in this series?
Other stories or films with a doppelganger motif: "William Wilson," Edgar Allan Poe; "The Secret Sharer," Joseph Conrad; "Fight Club," dir. David Fincher.
Things to look for:
Since this is the second episode, it is time to begin looking for things that signal movement or change for the main character. Think about how Lain is introduced to us. What are some constants for her? What changes do you notice from the first episode to the second? What is different for her now from episode one? What new things enter into her world?
What important cues do you notice that seem to be meaningful? What can you tell about the other characters? What clues do you have to the kind of person each is? What other important or intriguing things do you notice that might lead to, allude to, or foreshadow coming events?
©Angela Drummond-Mathews 2010