The BEST episodes of Serial Experiments Lain

Every episode of Serial Experiments Lain ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Serial Experiments Lain!

Lain Iwakura, an awkward and introverted fourteen-year-old, is one of the many girls from her school to receive a disturbing email from her classmate Chisa Yomoda—the very same Chisa who recently committed suicide. Lain has neither the desire nor the experience to handle even basic technology; yet, when the technophobe opens the email, it leads her straight into the Wired, a virtual world of communication networks similar to what we know as the internet. Lain's life is turned upside down as she begins to encounter cryptic mysteries one after another. Strange men called the Men in Black begin to appear wherever she goes, asking her questions and somehow knowing more about her than even she herself knows. With the boundaries between reality and cyberspace rapidly blurring, Lain is plunged into more surreal and bizarre events where identity, consciousness, and perception are concepts that take on new meanings.

Last Updated: 8/13/2023Network: TV TokyoStatus: Ended
Layer:12 – LANDSCAPE
145 votes

#1 - Layer:12 – LANDSCAPE

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired 9/21/1998

Troubled by what she saw, Alice decides to visit Lain at home and find out what is going on. Meanwhile, the two MIB agents receive a terrible shock and Eiri reveals his real motive for removing the barrier between the real world and the WIRED.

Directors: Ryutaro Nakamura
Layer:09 – PROTOCOL
142 votes

#2 - Layer:09 – PROTOCOL

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired 8/31/1998

A documentary about Roswell gives Lain some valuable information about the pioneers of the WIRED. Later, at the Cyberia, J.J. tells Lain that she left something the day before and hands her an envelop with the Knight's logo on it. The envelop contains a chip. Believing this was the other 'Lain's' doing again, she decides to call Taro's bluff and go on a 'date'. Taking him to her room, Lain demands that he tell her what he knows. Together, with Taro's information and the mysterious chip, Lain finds out more then she expected.

156 votes

#3 - Layer:05 – DISTORTION

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 8/3/1998

Lain receives cryptic messages about existence, God, and a coming prophecy. While she ponders the meaning of this, Mika is about to start a very strange day. While on her way to school, she sees Lain in the middle of traffic. Then, she sees the message "Fulfill the Prophecy" everywhere she turns. As reality distorts around her, Mika rapidly descends into a nightmare that she may not be able to get out of.

Directors: Yuichi Tanaka
Layer:08 – RUMORS
148 votes

#4 - Layer:08 – RUMORS

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired 8/24/1998

Still shaken by the information she received from the Men In Black, Lain discovers that she is being blamed for spreading an ugly rumor in the WIRED. Is what the MIB said is true; is she another person in the WIRED? Or is she doing it herself? Lain must find out or risk losing the one true friend she has.

Directors: Yuichi Tanaka
Layer:10 – LOVE
144 votes

#5 - Layer:10 – LOVE

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired 9/7/1998

Lain struggles with her identity. Is she a human being, or just a hologram? And are the Knights responsible for the Evil Lain? Lain decides to deal with the Knights once and for all.

Directors: Yoshihiro Sugai
Watch Now:Amazon
Layer:04 – RELIGION
156 votes

#6 - Layer:04 – RELIGION

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 7/27/1998

A disturbing net game called PHANTOMa has deadly consequences for its players. As Lain investigates the deaths, her growing interest in the WIRED has her Father, Mika and Alice concerned.

Directors: Yuji Takahashi
Layer:07 – SOCIETY
150 votes

#7 - Layer:07 – SOCIETY

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired 8/17/1998

As the Knights activities make the evening news, a strange man named Nazumi wanders the city with machines strapped to his body. People on the WIRED are asking: "Who is Lain?" Meanwhile, the two MIB agents take Lain to the Techibana offices where Lain's identity is challenged by a man; how well does she know her parents, her sister, herself? Can Lain answer him?

Watch Now:Amazon
Layer:06 – KIDS
155 votes

#8 - Layer:06 – KIDS

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 8/10/1998

Young children are acting strangely, arms outstretched and silently staring at the sky. A shocking vision suddenly appears in the skies; it looks like Lain! Determined to get to the bottom of this, Lain's investigations finally bring her to the creator of KIDS – but what she discovers is not what she hoped for.

Directors: Yuji Takahashi
Watch Now:Amazon
143 votes

#9 - Layer:11 – INFORNOGRAPHY

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired 9/14/1998

Alone and frightened, Lain immerses herself in the WIRED, processing the events of the past few weeks and searching for the truth of who she is.

Layer:02 – GIRLS
213 votes

#10 - Layer:02 – GIRLS

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 7/13/1998

While out at The Cyberia, Alice, Julie and Reika are surprised to see a girl that looks remarkably like Lain toss a man. However, this girl's personality is exactly opposite from the Lain they know. Curious, Alice decides to invite Lain to come with them the next time they go to the club. Lain declines at first, but after some gentle prodding from Alice she reluctantly agrees. Once there a man high on Accela goes on a rampage, shooting people. What Lain does surprises everyone.

Directors: Ryutaro Nakamura
Watch Now:Amazon
Layer:03 – PSYCHE
194 votes

#11 - Layer:03 – PSYCHE

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 7/20/1998

The events from Cyberia make the girls minor celebrities in their class. But for Lain, more mysterious events continue to occur. She receives a Psyche chip from a mysterious benefactor, strange Men In Black are following her, and it appears there is another 'Lain' on the WIRED.

Directors: Yuichi Tanaka
Layer:13 – EGO
148 votes

#12 - Layer:13 – EGO

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired 9/28/1998

The world is crumbling, people are dying and Alice's sanity is threatened. To save humanity, there is only one thing Lain can do; she must make the ultimate personal sacrifice.

Directors: Ryutaro Nakamura
Layer:01 – WEIRD
286 votes

#13 - Layer:01 – WEIRD

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 7/6/1998

13-year-old Lain Iwakura is a shy, quiet schoolgirl who pretty much kept to herself. Then one day, she receives an email from a schoolmate who just committed suicide. Instead of being horrified, she is curious. Soon, she is seeing visions and her life begins to change.

Directors: Ryutaro Nakamura