Serial Experiments Lain-Volume 1: Navi (1998)

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Released 15-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Trailer-CD
Trailer-PlayStation
Gallery-Concept Art
Trailer-X; Gasaraki; Neon Genesis Evangelion
Trailer-Martian Successor Nadesico; Blood-The Last Vampire; Akira
Featurette-Device #01: Eye; Device #02: Mouth
Featurette-Device #03: Hand; Device #04: Ear
DVD Credits
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 95:39 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ryutaro Nakamura
Johei Matsuura
Akihiko Nishiyama
Studio
Distributor
Pioneer LDC
Madman Entertainment
Starring Kaori Shimizu
Yoko Asada
Chiharu Tezuka
Manabi Mizuno
Ryunosuke Obayashi
Ayako Kawasumi
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Reiichi Nakaido


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Lain is a Japanese animated science fiction series examining the blurring of the lines between the traditional world and the Wired world.

    The series starts with the apparent suicide of a young schoolgirl. Shortly after this tragic event, her classmates receive a number of emails appearing to come from the dead girl. Lain is an eighth grade student who has little experience with computers and the online world, the Wired. After receiving the strange email, she decides to investigate further and quickly finds herself pulled into a world she knows little about. Young gamers are committing suicide at an increasing rate, a new drug hits the streets and a covert group of hackers all seem to be connected.

    This disc contains the first four episodes from the thirteen part series. This series is extremely entertaining but many viewers may find that it does not initially make much sense. As the series progresses, different parts of the story will begin to fall into place and by the end it will all become clear.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is an excellent quality transfer with very little artefacts present throughout.

    The full frame transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The transfer is exceptionally sharp throughout but a number of scenes are very soft. These same scenes are also very soft in the Region 1 transfer, so this would appear to be intentional. During the few dark scenes, an acceptable level of shadow detail may be seen and this appears to faithfully reproduce the original animation.

    The colour palette appears slightly muted and washed out during the majority of the transfer but some scenes, such as those at Club Cyberia, display bright vibrant colours. These colour choices work well with the animation and help to emphasize the blurring of the different worlds.

   No MPEG artefacts were detected during the transfer.

    A small number of aliasing artefacts were detected during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 2:24, 3:06, 6:21, 10:51 and 18:15. Each of these artefacts are quite small and are only minimally distracting.

    A tiny number of film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. One of the clearest examples of these artefacts may be seen at 52:48 but these are so small that most viewers will not even notice them.

    A small number of NTSC to PAL conversion artefacts may be seen during this transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 13:02, 16:39 and 46:15. As each of these artefacts are quite minor, they are not distracting to the viewer.

    A single set of yellow English subtitles is provided with this transfer. These subtitles are easy to read and appear to be consistently accurate. During the episodes there are a small number of instances where English subtitles are burned into the image. These subtitles appear in white and are used to translate Japanese characters that are also on the screen. The Region 1 version of this disc also has these same subtitles burned into the image. During the closing title sequence for each episode, the song lyrics appear as burned in English green subtitles. These subtitles are removable on the Region 1 release of this disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An English Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 track and a Japanese Dolby Digital 384 kbps 2.0 track are provided on this disc. I listened to both in full and, while I preferred the Japanese track, I found each to be of high quality.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times.

    As this is an animated feature, there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. At no stage during the transfer were any audio dropouts detected.

    The music for this series is by Reiichi Nakido and this works well with the on-screen action while never drawing attention to itself. The distinctive opening title music is provided by Boa and is quite enjoyable.

    The surround channels are not utilized during the transfer. Some low frequency information, such as the humming of power lines, is included in this soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The animated menus are presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Device 01-04

    This short collection of clips follows each episode and examines different human design influences for the character of Lain.

Australian Trailer (0:30)

    This short trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

TV Promotion (0:25)

    This short trailer for the Japanese release is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

CD Promotion (0:20)

    This short promotion for the opening title music from Boa is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Playstation Game Promotion (0:25)

    This short promotion for the related Sony Playstation game is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Concept Art

    This is a collection of 18 different character and location sketches.

Trailer: X (1:44)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Gasaraki (1:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Neon Genesis Evangelion (1:08)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Martian Successor Nadesico (1:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Blood The Last Vampire (1:02)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Akira (1:15)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Easter Egg (0:08)

    This is a short shot of Lain standing in a field and my be viewed by highlighting the word lain in the main menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    As both versions of this film are nearly identical I would have no preference for either version.

Summary

    Lain is an interesting series that should appeal to all anime fans.

    The video transfer is of excellent quality and displays very few artefacts.

    The Japanese and English audio tracks should appeal to fans of both dubs and subs.

    The unusual collection of extras is interesting and hopefully the remaining concept art sketches found on the Region 1 release will appear on future episodes.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Friday, November 23, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Tony L

Comments (Add)
R4 --IS-- better than R1 (applies to all Lain Volumes) - Peter Allen