Serial Experiments Lain-Volume 2: Knights (1998)

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Released 15-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Device #05: Tongue; Device #06: Foot; Device #07: Nose
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Featurette-CD
Featurette-Playstation Promo
Gallery-Concept Art
Trailer-Blood-The Last Vampire; Akira; X; Gasaraki
Trailer-Neon Genesis Evangelion; Martian Successor Nadesico
DVD Credits
Easter Egg
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 71:45 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ryutaro Nakamura
Studio
Distributor
Pioneer LDC
Madman Entertainment
Starring Kaori Shimizu
Ryunosuke Obayashi
Rei Igarashi
Ayako Kawasumi
Yoko Asada
Chiharu Tezuka
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Reiichi Nakido


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

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

    The series starts with the apparent suicide of a young school girl. 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 emails, 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 three 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.

    I have included a very short description for each episode but as these may contain some very minor spoilers you may wish to skip directly to the Transfer Quality section.

layer 05: DISTORTION
    The activity of the Knights is increasing and their message 'fulfil the prophecy' is appearing everywhere. The information bureau is hacked and Lain's friends think she is behind it, but Lain seems to have no knowledge of the incident.

layer 06: KIDS
    Lain's interaction with the Knights continues and kids are seen staring into the sky. A fifteen year old secret experiment seems to hold the key and Lain searches out the man behind it.

layer 07: SOCIETY
    The mysterious men in the car finally reveal themselves and a wannabe hacker tries to join the Knights.

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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, such as in Lain's bedroom, excellent levels of shadow detail may be seen and this faithfully reproduces the original animation.

    The colour palette appears slightly muted, washed out and subdued. 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 6:20, 36:45, 50:56, and 51:30. Each of these artefacts are very small and are only minimally distracting to the viewer.

    A number of minor film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these may be seen at 6:09, 12:47, 18:18, 19:04 and 27:27. These artefacts are all very small and are never distracting.

    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 occurrences where English subtitles are burned into the image. These subtitles appear in white and are used to translate Japanese characters also on screen. The Region 1 version of this disc also has these same subtitles burned into the image.

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 05-07

    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 (0:19)

    This short promotion for the cyberia mix soundtrack is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Playstation Game Promotion (0:19)

    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. The first 12 sketches are the drawings that were excluded from the first disc when compared with the Region 1 version.

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 (0:07)

    This is a pair of drawings with Lain holding an umbrella and may 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 the concept art that was left out from the first disc is included on this release I would assume that the sketches excluded from this release will appear on a future disc in the series. While it would have been nice to see the non-credits opening sequence on this disc, there is very little difference between both releases and I would have no preference for either version.

Summary

    Serial Experiments Lain is an interesting and unusual 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 shows how this anime was marketed in Japan.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Monday, December 24, 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

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