Layer:08 - Rumors
Episode 8
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Directed by Ryūtarō Nakamura
Written by Chiaki J. Konaka
Original air date August 24, 1998 (Japan)
Episode guide
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Layer:08 - Rumors is the eight episode of the anime series Serial Experiments Lain. The episode was written by Chiaki J. Konaka and directed by Ryūtarō Nakamura. It was broadcast in Japan on August 24, 1998.




Do you want to hurt yourself too? Do you want to feel your mind scraped by a rasp?
If you want that never turn your eyes away.


A sword slices across the screen. A digitized image of a boy is the user of the sword. He is Taro. He is disposing a digitized foe. The foe is defeated and the sword is sheathed. Taro is speaking to someone, “Nobody knows if there’s a God in the Wired or not. Whether there is a God here or not makes no difference to us. Lain, wait for a while. I’ll get him!” Taro summons the sword back to his hands. He is fighting a giant monster. A digitized Lain is watching him battle. She asks, “Why are you interested in killing other players so much?” Taro replies, “Nobody knows what is fun and why it is fun for me.” Digital Lain appears skeptical, “Hmmm..”

Lain is seated in front of her Navi. “Tachibana Lab was written on that door plate,” she comments to her Navi. Lain clicks on her mouse and her image on the battlefield with Taro disappears. A screen pops up with the English sentence “FREE: CUM ON IN”. A naked digitized female is gyrating on a stage. Digital Lain is watching. A male voice says, “Tachibana is a huge company. They shouldn’t do illegal work. But I’ve heard a rumor.” Digital Lain scowls, “A rumor.” The male voice says, “Do you know why we can communicate in the Wired?” Digital Lain counters, “Are you testing me? I believe you are arguing about ‘IP’.” The male voice is apologetic, “Sorry. Yes. We aren’t usually aware of the protocol. But the current protocol, the 6th generation, has already reached the limit at the throughput.” Digital Lain says, “The 7th protocol.” The male voice agrees, “Yes, the 7th protocol. Many companies are making it their own infrastructure. The reasoning is that if they rule the protocol, they will rule the whole economy in the Wired. I’ve heard they were sabotaged constantly. The people killing them are…” “…Tachibana Lab”, Digital Lain completes for him. She then turns to leave. The male voice softly chuckles.

Lain walks out of her room. Her sister Mika is slumped in the hallway. Lain says, “Sister.” Mika strains to respond but is only able to articulate guttural sounds. Lain walks downstairs and sees the television news is on. Her parents are sitting motionless at the kitchen table. Lain walks by them. She notes that they do not move or acknowledge her in any way. Lain opens the refrigerator and pours herself a drink. Lain addresses her parents, “Mom…dad…I…. A while ago somebody asked me, ‘Are you really Iwakura Lain? Are your parents really your parents?’. It’s strange. Strange.” Her parents remain still and do not respond. Lain continues, “They said strange things. Right?” No response. Lain washes her glass in the sink. She turns around and sees both of her parents are looking at her. Lain gasps in surprise. Not a word is spoken as Lain and her parents just stare at each other.

Morning light shines on the electrical wires. Lain is walking toward her school. A hand pats her on the shoulder. Lain turns around and acknowledges the owner of the hand, “Alice. Good morning.” Alice is standing with Juri and Reika. The three girls are staring at Lain. Lain asks, “What happened?” Alice says, “I don’t believe it.” Lain grows concerned, “What?” Alice replies with a question of her own. “Lain, it’s not true is it?” Lain again asks, “What?” Reika snaps, “She’s just pretending not to know.” Alice backs her down, “Reika, don’t jump to conclusions.” Juri pipes in, “Lain, you did it, didn’t you?” Lain is now thoroughly confused, “What are you…?” Alice interrupts her, “Lain, in the Wired, did you…?” Lain has a blank look on her face. Alice watches Lain’s reaction to detect if she is being honest. Relief spreads over Alice’s face as she concludes, “No. It must not have been Lain. I believe in you.” Juri interjects, “Alice”, and nods her head to steer Alice’s attention to the right. Alice looks over and gasps as she sees a red car checking in at the school gate. A handsome man is behind the wheel. Alice and the other girls stare as he drives into the school lot. Alice turns and runs towards the school. Reika yells after her then she and Juri follow her path. Lain is left standing alone. She looks in the direction of the red car but it has already passed out of sight. Lain casts her gaze downwards.

The teacher is writing on the blackboard. Lain is accessing the Wired on her pocket Navi. She clicks on the Tool Manager button and the screen changes. Lain is in the Wired as Digital Lain. She hears a male voice say, “That company is in danger. They must avoid being taken over.” Digital Lain sees rows of digital figures. The figures are made up of a variety of clothing styles, both for men and women. All that is visible of their faces is chattering mouths.

A female mouth reports, “Can you believe he has such vulgar taste even though he looks quite good.” A male mouth says, “There is a serious bug in Protocol 6. It will cause an enormous loss to the Wired.” Another female mouth adds, “Every night, a man in a red and green striped shirt appears in her room.”. Digital Lain has moved to the middle of the digital mouths. A male mouth tattles, “When she was in high school, that idol singer knocked down someone and ran away with her boyfriend’s car.” Digital Lain starts to walk. A female mouth confirms something, “That’s true. I heard it directly.” A different male mouth warns, “that building is famous for ghosts. When you look at the terminal at midnight…” A female mouth states, “Knights doesn’t exist. It’s just a joke by an American student.” This reference to the Knights catches Digital Lain’s attention and she growls, “Why do you find them interesting?” The female mouth does not respond. A new male voice enters the discussion.

The new male voice does not seem to have a corresponding mouth. He answers Digital Lain, “Don’t you think them interesting?” Digital Lain looks around. “Who’s there?”, she asks. The male voice continues, “Aren’t you looking for me?” Digital Lain sarcastically asks, “Is it an appearance of God?” He responds with another question, “What is the definition of God? If you mean the creator of the world, it’s not me. If you mean the almighty of the world, it’s not me.” Digital Lain asks, “Where are you?” He does not answer her question. Instead he continues with his own line of thinking, “If you mean the common existence of the world, yes, you may call me that. I’m only affecting the world a little.” Digital Lain is angered, “Who are you?” He replies, “I am you. I believe you noticed that there has been another ‘You’ in the Wired.” Digital Lain glances downwards. He continues, “You’re a hologram of it. You are only flesh.” Digital Lain utters, “I can’t…believe that. It’s crazy.” The male voice says, “Even you can’t believe that the Lain in the real world is the same person as the current Lain in the Wired ?” Digital Lain falls to her knees, “But I am myself.”

Lain has fully returned to real world and is sweating in her classroom seat. She clicks off her Navi. Lain looks up and sees all of her classmates are staring at her. Her teacher is standing directly in front of her desk. The pocket Navi beeps. Lain looks down at the screen and sees the message, “Lain is a peeper.”

Lain practically runs through the hallway. Her pocket Navi is clutched to her chest. Several groups of her classmates are standing in the hall. They all stare as she goes by. Lain becomes afraid. She accesses her pocket Navi and asks, “Alice? Alice where are you?’ She keeps repeating and repeating the question aloud, and on her Navi. Lain drops to her knees in the hallway. A large window over her head cracks. Lain in the Wired hears Lain looking for Alice. She grins an evil grin.

Unable to find Alice, Lain has gone outside. She is sitting against the door to the gym equipment room. She is resting her head on her knees. Lain sobs, “What did I do in the Wired? What is the ‘I’ doing, whom I don’t know?” Lain looks down at her pocket Navi. She reads a message from Alice, “Don’t mind the rumors- Alice” Lain sniffles and picks up her Navi. She holds it near her chest. A strange energy orb appears and passes over Lain. It goes through the door. The force of it causes the equipment to be strewn about the room, almost like an explosion. Lain groggily follows the path through the room created by the energy orb.

A computer screen scrolls the word SEARCHING. It is nighttime. A light can be seen through the window of an apartment building. The silhouette of two figures embracing can be seen through the window shade. A man runs his hand over a young female’s face. She is moaning with pleasure. It is the man from the red car. He is a teacher at Lain’s school. The young female is Alice. The teacher says, “Didn’t you think you shouldn’t do that with your teacher?” Alice gasps, “Not really.” The teacher continues, “Why are you doing it if you shouldn’t?” Alice replies, “Because I wanted to…”

Alice’s eyes snap open. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Lain sitting cross legged on her bed. Alice does not know that this is really Lain in the Wired and not her friend Lain.

Lain in the Wired has interrupted Alice in the middle of a fantasy. The teacher is not really in the room. Alice is sitting in front of her vanity mirror. Lain in the Wired giggles in an evil manner. Alice is stunned. Sweat drips down her face. She guiltily moves her hand away from her groin. Lain in the Wired taunts her, “Do you know? Do you know whom Mizuki Alice loves?” Alice gasps. Lain in the Wired’s grin broadens as she continues, “Do you know who Alice is thinking of when she is playing with herself?” Alice is incensed at this breech of her privacy. She turns to face the being she believes to be Lain and asks, “Did you spread it? Was that rumor true?”. Lain in the Wired laughs. Alice stands up. “Lain! Have you always been watching me like you are now? That was my secret, and something I never wanted to be known…I…” Lain in the Wired just laughs at her. Alice’s jaw drops open. “Tell me it’s not true Lain!” Tears stream down Alice’s face. Lain in the Wired continues to laugh at Alice’s pain. Alice cries, “Lain…you…” Her face registers total betrayal.

Electric currents can be viewed sparking outside of the power lines. Lain is lying in her bed. She sees the electricity and gasps in fear. Different locations float by. First an apartment building, then the Cyberia Café. The electricity continues to pulse through the lines. A person is standing in the middle of the power lines. A mass of energy leaves the person’s body. The person appears to be Lain. Lain is wearing her bear suit and is floating around the high tension lines. Her bear suit disappears. Lain appears to be a pure energy form.

Lain in the Wired is laughing. She is sitting cross legged on a bed. It is pitch black all around her. Digital Lain is standing in front of her nemesis for the first time. Digital Lain asks, “Who are you? You are not me. I won’t be like you.” Lain in the Wired starts to answer, “I,”, but Digital Lain cuts her off, “Stop it! Why do you mimic the part of me I hate?” Lain in the Wired just laughs at her. Digital Lain leaps and pounces on Lain in the Wired. She grabs the still laughing Lain around the throat and begins to choke her. Digital Lain says, “You…” Lain in the Wired taunts her, “I’m going to commit suicide?” Energy balls pop around them. Digital Lain asks, “Why? Why is your body so warm? Why do I feel your body temperature?” Lain in the Wired responds, “Because I am Lain.” Digital Lain cries, “No…No!”

Shift of scenes. In the Wired, the rows of digital mouths/clothed beings all now bear Lain’s face. Their heads bob in unison and their mouths’ chatter nonstop. Digital Lain is again standing in the middle of the row of these images. She asks aloud, “What are these?” A silver energy orb appears before her. It almost looks like liquid metal. It possesses the same male voice that was questioning Digital Lain on her last trip to the Wired. The orb again waxes philosophical with her, “Everything is you. I said that you have existed in the Wired.” Digital Lain is perplexed, “Huh?” The orb says, “You are my equal. You were dispersed in the Wired. Therefore you were always by everyone’s side, everywhere. You saw everything that everyone never wanted to be known. You just spread this in the Wired. You were right. Information in the Wired would be shared with everybody.”

Digital Lain considers what the orb has told her. “Everything you said must be a lie”, she retorts. The orb asks, “Why.” Digital Lain says, “Alice said she saw me in the Wired when I wasn’t there. As I recognize myself, my absolute ego is inside of me.” Digital Lain angrily runs over to the chattering Lain dummies and knocks several over. “Are you saying that these poorly made up dupes are me? Nonsense! Even if you are right…” The orb interjects, “Then what Lain?” Digital Lain finishes, “I can delete the memories of those I spied on. I can delete the information.” The orb is agreeable, perhaps too much so. “Sure. Try it. You were born to be able to do it.” Digital Lain grimaces as she considers his statement.

A computer screen shows the word DELETING.

It is morning. Lain’s classmates stream into the school yard. Lain is walking alone. Her shadow seems to be made up of moving energy. A muffled voice yells, “Lain!” Lain’s eyes open wide. She turns and sees Alice, Reika, and Juri excitedly running towards her and all are calling her name. Lain asks herself, “Did you forget?” She is hoping that her deletion of the rumors has been effective. Alice looks happy. Lain is guarded and still hoping, “Is it true?” The three girls continue to run towards Lain. Lain concludes, “It is true!” She turns and says, “Alice!” As Lain completes her turn, an exact image of herself propels from her body and runs towards her three friends. Lain thinks to herself, “What?” and watches as Alice, Reika and Juri embrace the duplicate of herself. The duplicate Lain is very physically affectionate. She group hugs the girls and grabs onto Alice. Duplicate Lain says, “I want to go to Cyberia tonight, please.” Juri says, “I agree.” Reika notes, “It’s unusual for you.” Alice says, “Okay. Change clothes at my place again.” Duplicate Lain says, “Yippee!!” Then she jumps up and down with Alice. Lain watches as the four girls make their plans. Duplicated Lain rubs her head against Alice and asks, “How should I dress?” Lain yells, “Stop it! I am myself.” Duplicate Lain leads Alice by the hand. Juri and Reika follow. All four girls are giggling. Lain yells after them, “I’m right here!” The girls hurry to Alice’s. Lain in the Wired pops up in front of Lain and says, “Yes,. Lain is Lain. I am myself,” Then she laughs her wicked laugh. Lain is stunned once more. Lain in the Wired disappears. Lain is left alone.

Lain says, “Hello Navi.” The female Navi voice responds, “Hello Lain.” Lain places her hand on the screen. She says aloud, “I am myself. There is no ‘I’ other than myself, is there?”

Characters Introduced

  • Alice's Teacher
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