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I have yet to find a clear answer to this question. From what I've read, it may be an art-house series about dangers of remote communication, phobia of technological advancement and feeling of insecurity. The last point I can agree with because of how easily information can be accessed with the use if internet these days, but the rest… I think there's a more concrete meaning to this series.

SEL is a series with very unusual direction and a peculiar artistic style. These traits are commonly seen in art-house works that may not bear any specific message.

Throughout the series we learn about the difficult reality surrounding Lain: her relatives are troubled, some of her friends have psychological problems, there are suicides happening in mystical circumstances, and then there are some secret agents following around.

Later in the series, things become rather surreal and Lain turns into some kind of god of the Net. I've never understood this portion of the anime and what it could possibly suggest. Does it warn us about dangers of becoming too self-important? Does it mean it's possible to lose the sense of reality when using internet? Or maybe Lain's character is a metaphor for a person new to technological advancements of today?

What is the message the authors of SEL are trying to communicate?

7

At first, I flagged this as opinion based. However I remembered seeing an interview with the producer, director and writer a long time ago and was able to find it.

There are a few pages of interview on that site, but I have quoted the most relevant material here.

[Writer] Konaka: There's not a particular message about technology. Technology advances anyway. [...]

[Producer] Ueda: [...] This work itself is a sort of cultural war against American culture and the American sense of values we adopted after WW II. [...]

[Interviewer] Q: Does the series have a "message"?
Ueda: The message is, Things are simple.

This is probably the only English language interview. I definitely wouldn't take what they say at face value.

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  • Why not? Are they the kinda guys to say one thing but mean another? Or is it a joke? – Hakase Apr 29 '14 at 1:48
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    Well, I find it a little had to believe that "there isn't a message about technology" considering that Lain is all about technology. I think they were intentionally leaving things ambiguous by answers like "there's not a particular message about technology" when Lain is the most technology focused a series can get. Thats just my opinion though, I could be overthinking it. – Lawton May 1 '14 at 20:18

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