Nothing has really gelled for me yet. Its like a collection of random vignettes. In some ways it’s more fragmented than Kino’s Journey. The only thing I think I understand is what happened to Mika, Lain’s sister. Spoilers below the fold.
I suspect that Mika was the sole casualty of the car accident in Shibuya. Lain’s Wired-avatar grabbed Mika into the Wired at the time of her death, and then created a simulacrum of Mika for the “real” world. When Mika saw herself at home, she basically lost her grip and either completely died/dissolved into nothingness, or became conscious of her new state of being and lost the need for the fiction of her old appearance/human character. At any rate, the sparkling avatar that Lain sees on the doorstep was the old Mika vanishing for good. The simulacrum is a robotic shell, drooling in front of the TV, inhuman.
And the Knights are the bad guys – who want to kill Lain, even though they’ve been “so nice” to her? OK, fair enough – Lain is starting to find out too much about their goals, so she is a liability. I really think that my demons and good/evil interpretation of the series makes much more sense than any alternate reality type of metaphor.
I have disc three but wont get to it for some time yet. I would appreciate any spoilerific hints on how to get more from this series, in terms of grokking what I’ve seen so far or understanding context for what is to come, since it’s been pretty difficult to watch so far.
UPDATE: I gave in to temptation and read Steven’s TMW about SE:L. I don’t see the same analogy to Christian dogma, I still think the basic metaphor is analogous to the summoners of demons and pandora’s box. Thus far I see no gods, just demons and angels. I guess I’m spoiled now for some of the events that happen later but I will still see it through.
One thing that struck me though is Steven’s comment,
There are subtle hints in the series that the city in which Lain lives is the only place that actually exists. At one point we see it from a distance. Everything which “happens elsewhere” is edge effects, simulations created by God to maintain the fiction of a larger world. Not only is the world actually young, it is also very small.
Shades of Haibane Renmei! Hmm. I’ll comment on this, maybe, after I finish Lain.