Serial Experiments Lain
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the upcoming release of Serial Experiments Lain on Blu-ray. As I wrote that post I was filled with joy for knowing Lain will soon be available in Blu-ray form in the U.S. At the same time I was also worried of the pos?ibility that FUNimation will just slap the very old Geneon Entertainment DVDs onto a Blu-ray disc. I tried to contact FUNimation in various ways to ask for an honest to god answer but they didn’t even bother to respond. However this all changed today when I stumbled upon a blog post originally posted during August 22 on Robert’s Anime Corner Blog. Some of you might be fimiliar with this post already but for those of you who aren’t, and were painstakingly waiting for an official statement like I was, here is what Robert had to say:
“A lot of people have been asking if the upcoming Lain BD from Funimation is going to be a native master or an upscale. I asked the product manager in Houston, and he gave us some good news this morning:
“We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Lain Blu-ray, it’s not an up-res, it is native HD. They actually went back and
remastered the whole series, we even have a 24 page restoration booklet (along with a 320 page artbook) included with our
So the upcoming Lain set will indeed be Native HD. Sweetness! Bet you’re glad you didn’t pay $400 for the Japanese BD box… :-)”
Yes, we are glad indeed. The product manager’s talks of a 320 page art book explains why FUNimation has prices the upcoming release at a premium price (the retail price is $89.98) unlike any other DVD&BD bundle it has formerly released. However the 24 page restoration booklet might not be a part of the regular release – Right Stuf! have announced some time ago that they will be bundling a free gift with the Lain set while supplies lasts. This free gift might end up being that separate 24 booklet. Of course this is a pure speculation on my behalf and time might prove me wrong but there have been such instances in the past.
Lastly the abovementioned post also revealed the box art for the upcoming release (which you can see above). Although other retailers have yet to attach a box art to their listings of Lain this picture, coming from an official online retailer, seems valid.
Those who would like to preorder the Serial Experiments Lain DVD and Blu-ray combo and secure their free gift right now (whether it proves to be a booklet or not) can do so here.
FUNimation Entertainment will be releasing a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of Serial Experiments Lain comes November. These are good news to all the old anime fans out there who have missed the series, and even better news for those who have yet to watch this masterpiece. Although this is yet to be cofirmed if this version of Lain is a budget release of the Japanese Serial Experiments Lain|RESTORE Blu-ray box than it’s only fair to assume that those who already have the (old) DVDs and would be willing to double dip will be able to watch a much higher quality of Lain than they already own. As mentioned in a previous post about the Japanese Blu-ray version (aka Lain|RESTORE) “the production studio took the original 35mm film and telecined it specifically for HD. Yoshitoshi ABe personally recolored part of the scenes and added details to others. The opening and ending themes were resampled.”
Truth be told Serial Experiments Lain was original released on DVD only shortly after the technology had been introduced to the worldwide markets. As a result both the Japanese and U.S. releases looked a little blurry, even on CRT TVs. Of course at the time this still was a great series to own on DVD, as it did look better than the VHS release and had nice things such as the ability to switch between subtitles and dub, skipping chapters, looking at extras and so on.
On the same day of the Serial Experiments combo pack FUNimation will also be releasing a Black Lagoon BD/DVD combo pack that will contain both seasons of this (not so old!) anime classic. While the original Black Lagoon DVDs Looked pretty good the series has since ran out of stock at most retailers and copies of it have been selling for bloated prices on e-commerce websites. This new release will give anime viewers with a tighter budget the opportunity to watch both seasons of the series. You can expect to see reviews of both the Serial Experiments Lain and Black Lagoon Blu-rays here on animereviews.co when the series are released later on in November.
As a side note the prophetic Top 10 Forgotten Anime List continues to correctly guess the future. half of the titles from the list have already been rescued and will be forgotten no more.
Update: Haibane Renmei will also be seeing a rerelease (albeit on DVD only) in September. This means 6 titles from the list have been rescued!
2011 marks the year when U.S. anime distributors finally began to distribute anime on Blu-ray as a norm (and not a special limited edition). Thankfully we do have a wider selection of anime titles on Blu-ray today, and fans are actively demanding them. We at Anime Reviews love Blu-rays. Why wouldn’t we? There are better, sharper and bluer than DVD ever was. But there are anime series that, despite being released in Japan on Blu-ray never quite made it to the U.S. on that format. Here are six series that needs to be released in the U.S. on Blu-ray. Continue reading
For the last post in the Remembering Love series we go back to the 90s to look at Serial Experiments Lain – a series that raised the intellectual bar to standards no other series quite ever managed to match. It made bold statements about religion, the way people interact with each other in postmodern society and the internet-based future we were headed to. In a way Serial Experiments Lain predicted the future with a frightening degree of accuracy. Continue reading
It’s time for round two of the forgotten anime list. Just though I’d clear something up – this list is all about physical copies, so even if a series is still available on some streaming service somewhere if the physical copy is unavailable it can fit this list. Most anime viewers are not using streaming services. Plus, streaming a series only gives you a temporary “right to watch” that series. At the end of the day, you don’t own anything you stream and physical copies are all about owning that precious little thing. So without further ado, here are three more forgotten titles:
A science fiction suspense anime with a post-apocalyptic gloomy setting, Ergo Proxy was a very intelligent take on the roles religion and technology plays in our lives and our future. Ergo proxy aired in Japan during the second half of 2006 and was quickly licensed by Geneon Entertainment, which managed to release its first volume at the end of the same year. The series was praised for its elaborate plot, futuristic character designs and atmospheric nature.
Geneon still holds the license for the series, but Ergo Proxy has long gone out of print in the U.S., with prices hiking to the hundreds.
Chance of revival:
Good. Ergo Proxy was a sleeper hit and can still hold its ground today. Since Geneon is out of business and thus will not be printing new editions it’s safe to say that the series will stay dormant until Geneon’s license ends. After which an acquisition and revival at the hands of another U.S. distributor is possible. As a side note, although Ergo Proxy is insanely priced in the U.S. right now, Madman Entertainment has released it in Australia and England at a very good price point. Consider getting this version if your DVD can play other regions (remember: buying an anime series from an Australian or European distributor still supports the Japanese artists and the global anime industry as a whole).
A prophetic cyberpunk anime that foresaw the irreplaceable place the internet will play in our lives long before all the modern social networks and MMORPGs existed. Serial Experiments Lain touched more taboos than any other (non-hentai) anime. It portrayed drug use, computer addiction, child abuse and rape. Yet it contains no obscene content. Everything it shows exists to give you food for though. To this day this series is highly regarded as one of the most famous anime masterpieces. Lain aired in Japan in late 1998 and was released in the U.S. by Geneon Entertainment starting 1999.
Geneon has lost the license to Serial Experiments Lain. Although the series is long out of print it can still be found for a reasonable price if bought as singles. This stems from the fact that Lain had received countless rereleases during its life cycle in the U.S. and thus many copies of it still linger on. Lain has been retouched and rereleased in Japan on DVD and Blu-ray during 2010. This retouched version not only contains new material and was redrawn for HD, but was also priced very competitively. If not for the lack of English subtitles and an English dub this could have become a great import item.
Chance of revival:
Very high. In contrast to common believe FUNimation doesn’t own the license to the current iteration of Serial Experiment Lain. FUNimation only has the license for the old-looking VHS quality master Geneon used. FUNimation has no intention of reviving this old version when a better one was so recently released in Japan. In a recent interview for ANN FUNimation Entertainment’s marketing manager Adam Sheehan admitted that the company is very interested in licensing the Blu-ray and has already started working on the paperwork for obtaining it. Serial Experiments Lain was one of the first anime series to be released on DVD, at a time when companies didn’t master DVD authoring yet. It suffered because of it, a fact that FUNimation took note of when deciding not to use the master they probably received from Geneon. When released, the new high-end Blu-ray version is sure to attract old time Lain fans as well as newcomers alike.
An action fantasy series with a Matrix flavor, Shakugan no Shana had an O.K. story that expended exponentially and became very rich as time passed. The series aired in Japan late 2005 and early 2006. It was hastily licensed by Geneon, which managed to release its first volume in late 2006. Shakugan no Shana was very popular in the U.S. and Japan, prompting a second season, an OVA, a movie (which is just a super-condensed version of the first few episodes of the first season) and a third season (which is currently airing in Japan).
The first and second seasons of Shakugan no Shana are out of print and out of reach. The prices are laughably high. Similar to Ergo Proxy, you can grab the first season of this series from the Australian based Madman Entertainment for a more reasonable price. Sadly, the second season is gone for good.
Chance of revival:
Good. FUNimation currently holds the license for Shakugan no Shana, and the third season is sure to be a good stimulus for a rerelease of the first two seasons in the U.S. That said, the series’ OVA and the movie, which were released in Japan over two years ago, remain untouched in the U.S. – a bad omen if there ever was one. Moreover, releasing two seasons just to get to the now-hyped third season seems a little bit unreasonable.