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Many descriptions of SEL says that it is avant garde. but what makes it avant garde and how does it compare to other avant garde works? is it only called so because of the relative low standard among anime fans?


The reason many people call it "Avant garde" is the first layer narrative the SEL gave us. Identity in the "wired". You can observe it with the different persona of Lain developing themself during the show.

The imagerie is also pretty special for is time the wave of "kawaii" and "moe" we're starting to be more and more popular and i believe that SEL play the aesthetic of these genre with really dark theme. The same way Madoka Magic did by example.

These are my observation and might not be true at all.


To me it is because of it's thematics.
It envisioned the role of technology in human relationships in a way that, as far as i know, wasn't discussed; how you are a different person when your identity is not connected to your physical body, how we can adore something we don't even know if it's really true -on the internet nobody knows you are a dog but everybody adores you as a meme cat- and the object of adoration might not even know it. Plus the atmosphere is very unique both visually and sonorously (the shadows being the most noticeable), it makes you try to decipher what is going on and reflect.

I feel like this text is very poorly written and shallow but it is the best i can do at the moment, hope it is helpful.


Apart from the mid-1960s condensed novels of J. G. Ballard, Serial Experiments Lain was the only work of 20th Century art that truly understood and predicted the 21st.


*that you are aware of


well, what really means avant garde?

the sense I have had is that it is supposedly reffering to the start of some new wave, heralding a new genre or what naught. The advanced gaurd of an army is usually not followed by a whole lot of,…emptyness.

>The avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm


seems to relate to >>1511; sel has strong scifi aspects where the story grows from something pure and simple technologic and exploring it in a way that is new to many in the audience. I am not super well versed in all of the cyber* fiction of the last couple decades, but most scifi, and even most cyberpunk stuff seems to address things differently than this. sel questions reality and sort of looses itself in the wired, to the point where you arent sure what is real any more, and furthermore you arent sure if matters, anyway.



Agreed. Much of SEL's world building stems from the question "What if everyone had pocket computers with 24/7 internet access? What would people do with it?" And lo and behold, the world that unfolded in reality is pretty much exactly the world as depicted on the show. The writers really understood people. They knew that the first thing people would use instant global pseudonymous communications for is gossip.

I think the real reason that cyberpunk (especially the highbrow SEL style) basically died off is because even the craziest fictional cyberpunk plotlines have become the domain of journalists, not novelists.

Why bother writing a spiritual sequel to Cryptonomicon, when cryptocurrency has gone from a Neal Stephenson plot device to daily news in business newspapers and topics of conversation among central bankers? Why bother writing about nefarious plots to steal personal data of hundreds of millions of people from corporate servers for financial gain, when the Equifax hack got a great big "meh" from the average US citizen? Why bother writing about big brotherish totalitarian surveillance in the UK when the GCHQ is actually spying on everyone, and there's surveillance cameras everywhere?

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