Though I had already seen Pokemon and Spirited Away, I would consider serial experiments lain my ‘first’ anime, because it was the first show I sought out because it was anime. In October 2004, I worked my first job as a one-week temporary employee, for which I received the seemingly massive sum of around $350. I don’t remember what else I purchased with that bounty, but one of my first priorities was lain, which I think I ordered from Half.com (and which, I learned a couple years later, was bootleg!).
Now, I cannot for the life of me recall what piqued my interest in this stuff. I know I first heard of lain specifically from some online quiz that gave you anime recommendations. How did I come across that quiz? Hell if I know, but I can guess. At the time, I had started following several webcomics, among them Megatokyo, which of course draws heavily from anime. So, I’ll guess that prompted me to look into this stuff more closely.
As for lain itself, I loved it then and still love it now. It remains my favourite anime, and that position has never been seriously challenged, except briefly after I first saw FLCL a year or so back. I loved the dark, eery atmosphere; I loved the surreal imagery; I loved that plot that only told its viewers the bare minimum needed to keep up; I loved Lain the character. At sixteen years old, I was just starting to think seriously about art, and just old enough to appreciate much of what I saw, and I scoured the internet looking for information on the series, though the best site by far was thought experiments lain. Like Spirited Away, I had never seen anything quite like it; years later, I still haven’t seen much like it. For the first time, I saw what animation can do, and that there existed cartoons aimed primarily at an adult audience, and that’s what plunged me into this hobby.
Lain has provided me with several fond memories. Sometime in 2006, I found lain illustrations by Yoshitoshi ABe,the series’ character designer, which was my first art book. Later that year, Dallas anime convention AnimeFest invited ABe and lain producer Ueda Yasuyuki as guests, and both signed that book for me. Also at AnimeFest, I bought my first figurines, Saki from Genshiken and, of course, Lain.
My favourite lain memory, though, is a bit difficult to describe. In Fall 2006, my freshman year at university, I lived on-campus. One night, while alone in my room and in a slightly gloomy mood, I decided to watch some lain. The combination was perfect, with the darkness of the series perfectly matching my mood and surroundings, and that remains one of the most potent experiences I’ve ever had with media.
Introduced now to this whole new medium, I knew I wanted more. Though anime would not become my primary hobby for some time, I had begun to close one world, and open the next.
Next: Anime Autobiography – A Rental Hobby –>