Serial Experiments Lain Character Profiles

Lain Iwakura
Lain is a painfully shy young girl. She attends middle school and lives with her parents and sister. At first she seems rather immature compared to her friends and clings to childish rituals refusing to move with the times. That may be why she has always shown so little interest towards the Wired. She has few if any friends at school and generally does not participate in group activities despite all of Alice’s efforts.

As the series progresses her personality undergoes a series of drastic changes. At first subtle cracks begin to appear. As she gains confidence she becomes increasingly impatient. Soon, it becomes apparent that her contact with other people is not limited because of her shyness but rather because she has little interest in them and who could blame her. Generally ignored by her family and unnoticed at school, Lain has learned to be by herself and has become comfortable alone.

Deep down, she is a kind and caring girl who just wants to find her place in the world, if others will let her.

Chisa Yomoda
We know very little about Chisa, which is to be expected since she kills herself in the first scene.

What we do know is that in life, Chisa was a little like Lain. Unsure, shy, lost. She also didn’t quite feel like she belonged. The major difference between the two is that Chisa was very interested in computers, or should I say Navis, and the virtual world. Before her death she had become very involved in the wired. She’s basically the catalyst of this whole story, we might not see her much but without her none of this would have happened.

Alice Mizuki
If you saw Serial Experiments Lain in the subtitled version, you might be familiar with Alice under the name Arisu. I’m not sure why but this is the only name that has been changed in the dubbed version.

Alice is Lain’s best and probably only friend. They are in the same class. Despite Lain’s total lack of interest and enthusiasm, Alice has made it her mission to wrest the shy girl from her shell. Alice herself is a little more popular than Lain and is good friends with Reika and Juri. Outgoing and friendly, Alice is out to make sure everybody has a good time; to that end she always protects Lain from others. For some reason, she cares about Lain and wants to get to know her better.

Even after Lain starts to change and becomes much less pleasant to be around, Alice remains true and faithful. She’s a generally happy girl, with a calm and endearing personality.

Juri Kato and Reika Yamamoto
Juri and Reika are also both in Lain’s class. Since they are friends with Alice, they get to know Lain a little when Alice befriends her.

Juri is the emotional one. She’s also the worrier of the three. She had some sort of relationship with Chisa before her death and was very troubled by it. She also received an e-mail from Chisa a little before Lain but quickly forgot about it, thinking it was nothing but a cruel joke.

Reika on the other hand is anything but emotional. She is more or less a shrew. As the dominant one, she’s used to Juri following her lead and gets rather unhappy when Alice reprimands her for teasing Lain. She’s a typical high school snob and is quick to find fault with everything and everyone. Aside from this she relishes in gossip, a flaw that will cause much trouble.

Mika Iwakura
Mika is Lain’s older sister. She’s probably the only sane member of the Iwakura family. Imagine everything a stereotypical big sister should be and you have Mika. She’s fairly popular but she never invites her friends to visit her at home. She’s pretty, fashionable and generally smart.

She regards her little sister incomprehensible and weird. She knows it’s more or less impossible to talk to her mother but she still tries and she has a generally estranged relationship with her dad. Like quite a few teenagers, Mika is constantly on a diet. Towards the middle of the series, Mika is drawn into the main storyline through the interim of the “Prophecy”. This slowly starts to eat at her mind and we see her spiral towards insanity. Unfortunately, she Mika more or less disappears after this incident.

Yasuo Iwakura
He is Lain’s father and possibly the only member of her family that actually loves her. He is some kind of Navi specialist and has a tendency of bringing his work home where he spends most of his time on his own personal system.

He is also the one who originally encourages Lain’s budding interest in Navis. He gives her all the advice and information she needs to get her started and eventually buys her a top of the line system. His daughter’s sudden interest in Navis is a sort of father-daughter bonding ritual for him and his more than happy to assist her in any way.

He knows more than he is willing to say about the mysteries that surround Lain but genuinely cares for her.

At home he’s distracted and distant, preferring to spend his time with Navis than his wife.

Miho Iwakura
Lain’s mother has got to be the stranger character you’ll ever see. I personally thought she was on way too much medication or something along those lines but the series never mentions anything of the kind.

Miho is a space case; she’s simply not there. Her favorite and pretty much only activities consists of staring out into space and eating rice. She either doesn’t hear her children when they talk to her or doesn’t listen. You get absolutely no sense of motherly affection or caring from Miho, in fact even when her daughters come to her with a problem, she brushes them off or tunes them out.

She can at times be animated enough to be blunt and even a little mean but it’s rare.