Sunday, April 24, 2005

lainspotting v2

Welcome to the new version of lainspotting, home of my ongoing commentaries on otaku culture, science, technology, and culture in general, with an emphasis on subculture. Those are pretty broad categories, I know, but what you won't find here are daily accounts of my everyday life, political commentary, fiction, etc. (I'll save those things for other venues). I'll try to keep things on-topic, and even then, I should have plenty to talk about. That said, I probably won't post something new every day, especially since I want my writings to be fairly long on average. The best way to keep up with lainspotting, therefore, is to subscribe to its newsfeed.

[New to newsfeeds? If you use Opera, click on the "RSS" button that appeared inside your address bar right next to this website's address. If you use Firefox, click on the orange button at the bottom right of your browser window. If you use Internet Explorer, you probably want to switch to a different browser.]

The history of lainspotting

work.jpg What is "lainspotting", anyway? One of my websites is called thought experiments lain, which is an information site about serial experiments lain, a 13-episode television anime from 1998. As part of that website, I ran a blog-like column called lainspotting, where I discussed lain-related news and other topics that interested me. It was all made with old-fashioned hand-coded HTML, so updates were tedious, and I always have 4 or 5 projects going on at once, which made updating even more infrequent.

With new and easy-to-use blogging tools, however, and wanting to write more about issues surrounding culture and technoscience, it finally made sense for me to start this new version of lainspotting.

Here's the original description from lainspotting (version 1):

lainspotter: One whose hobby is watching and compiling information about lain.
Hence lainspotting; lainspot.
See also: trainspotter, anorak, hacker, otaku

The philosophy of lainspotting

lain.jpg Since I won't be writing about lain so much anymore, why keep the old name? Like all terms or phrases worth anything, "lainspotting" can have more than one meaning. Before, it used to be about finding lain on the Wired (what they call the internet in serial experiments lain). Now, perhaps, "lainspotting" means seeing the world from Lain's point of view.

Lain is the main character of the series (which, like this journal, also deals with technology, culture, science, belief systems, human evolution, and alternate realities) and she is essentially the Goddess of the Wired--omnipresent, and the collective intelligence of all nodes of the network (or humanity) combined. Her perspective and knowledge is inherently multiple and situated at the same time, and that's what I'm trying to achieve with lainspotting.

Through this public space, conducive to linking and commentary, I hope to negotiate and engage with multiple perspectives and realities, while presenting my own particular (ever-shifting as they are) viewpoints. I think it's only fitting that Lain should serve as the patron saint of this journal. Welcome aboard, leave comments if you like, and see you on the Wired!


  1. Oh My GOD!!! A proffesor doing work on Lain? Incredible. My name's Jakob. I'm kinda from all over the country (originaly from WI, moved to New Orleans, evicted by Katrina, and now reside in the hell hole that is Tulsa, OK), and I'm only 16.
    Lain came out when I was eight, so at the time I wasn't old enough to really understand it. I came across Lain at a Walmart a few years back (I was 13, I think), actually. We were searching for DVD's to watch with our new portable DVD player (we take a lot of road trips), and I thought it looked interesting. I got lost head over heels in it. Since then, we lost the first volume, I ended up finding the last one (episodes 11 -13) at a used video store, and watched all the other episodes off of Youtube. Iv'e been telling people here (and back in New Orleans) how mind blowingly deep and awsome Lain is, but I seem to go right over their heads.
    I posted a link on my school's anime club site to your original "Lain theory" site, which I found in a google search on Lain. I then read it for a few hours and added it to my favorites for further reading.

  2. Thanks for writing! I hope you and your anime club friends find my site useful.

  3. Hi, my name is Tomas (I'm 24), I'm from Lithuania. (sorry for the grammar, my english is not perfect :) )
    I have just finished watching serial experiments lain. I am realy intrested in this kind of stuf.. looks like this anime are created on the real scientists hypothesis.. thats very interesting.. I wish were were more that kind of anime.. It definately rises thoughts while watchig and encouraging to look for moor info about this stuf...

  4. Right after I finished the 13th episode of Lain back in 2000 or 2001, I looked on the internet for ANY information on Lain. The first site I found was Thought Experiments Lain. Every couple years I look at it again and watch Lain to re-kindle that state of mind. That was a really special time for me, as the internet was essentially new to me, and Lain really embodied everything I felt at the time. Good to see that you are still keeping at it.

  5. Thanks for writing, Paul. I appreciate your thoughts. It's been a long time since I updated TEL, but who knows, maybe the new anime ("Despera") by ABe, Konaka, and Nakamura will inspire me all over again.

  6. Replies
    1. Her perspective and knowledge is inherently multiple and situated at the same time, and that's what I'm trying to achieve with lainspotting.
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  7. Since you have spent quite some time on Lain i want to ask:Are there any other anime series that revolve around those themes,or if not at least share a similar atmosphere and "feel" with Lain.I feel so connected to Lain even though i watched it just a few months ago,it feels like i've known it since i was a kid.Thanks in advance

    1. It's a few years too late, but for anyone who cares, try Texhnolyze. Anything that Yoshitoshi ABe worked on is also amazing too.

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  9. Hello Lawrence. I'm Minh and I'm working in academia. It's so delightful to see another academic with such ardent passion for anime, especially for a deep, complex, multi-layered (no pun intended) anime like Serial Experiment Lain. If you are seeing this, I wish you the best of luck in your quest for intellectual expansion on the cultural, societal and scientific aspects of otaku culture, and whatever else project that you are currently working on!

  10. anyone up here ? hello world!

  11. оно почти живое, вау

  12. The best way to keep up with lainspotting, therefore, is to subscribe to its newsfeed. -

  13. Because it was all created using outdated hand-coded HTML, updates were laborious, and because I usually have four or five projects going on at once, they happened even less frequently. See: