In the first episode of Serial Experiments Lain, right at the beginning, someone says:

Why? Why won't you come? I wish you would come here.

This person I assumed to be Chisa Yomoda, but I am not completely sure. Who is being addressed, and is the speaker Chisa or someone else? (Or is this perhaps simply something inserted for "atmosphere" that doesn't have an explicit answer?) Within the context of the story, it seems to make sense for the addressee to be Lain, but I'm really not sure.

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    I think the question is addressed to anyone who hears it. Lain, us viewers and anyone in the anime universe who sees this on the net. It's a great way to set the atmosphere, yes. – Hakase Apr 17 '14 at 23:21

Having progressed a lot further in my rewatch of Serial Experiments Lain, it seems that the "correct" answer is along the lines of the comment by user1306322. At the beginning of most episodes (with the exception of 10, 11, and 13), someone says a few short lines, such as the one above, or such as:

  • You've heard of a girl named Lain, right? Lain of the Wired. (Episode 3)

  • I don't need parents. Humans are all alone. They are not connected to anyone else at all. (Episode 4)

  • If you want to be free of suffering, you should believe in God. Whether or not you believe in Him, God is always by your side. (Episode 9)

An exception is in episode 12, where there seems to be an exchange instead between what seems to be Lain and possibly either her mother or the doll figure she was addressing a couple episodes earlier.

Given this and the fact that the question at the opening of the first episode is somewhat similar to those "opening lines" in later episodes, it seems most reasonable to conclude that the question in the beginning of the first episode is meant to set the atmosphere, and that the addressee of the question is, as pointed out by the comment, anyone who hears it (the viewer, people in the Wired, Lain, etc.).

I still can't quite identify the speaker of the question in the beginning of the first episode, but it seems worth noting that the speaker of the "opening lines" seems to vary by episode. (I'm not completely sure about this since this could well be the same voice actress/character speaking the lines, but with a different inflection).

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    I think the other person who speaks those lines might be the girl who committed suicide or someone from the Wired. I believe it signifies that a person can merge with the collective conscience of the people (the Wired in this case) and a certain opinion or point of view can spread to others. The lines at the beginning of the episodes may be the general thought conveyed by the original person, even if they're no longer alive. Something like that. – Hakase Apr 20 '14 at 20:44

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