|Age||14 (anime), 11-14 (game)|
|Family||Iwakura Yasuo, Iwakura Miho, Iwakura Mika (anime); Father, Mother (game and manga)|
|Affiliation||Knights of the Eastern Calculus, Tachibana General Laboratories|
|NAVI||Children's NAVI, Handheld NAVI, Lain's NAVI|
|Featured in||Anime, game, manga|
|Location||Lain's house, Shibuya|
|Voice Actor(s)||Kaori Shimizu (Japanese), Ruby Marlowe (English)|
Iwakura Lain (岩倉 玲音 Iwakura Rein, also rendered as レイン, ｌａｉｎ or れいん) is the main protagonist of the series. She is female, 14 in the anime, 11-14 in the game, and of an unknown age in other works. Visually, she is characterized by her short, brown, asymmetrical hair, one lock of which is secured by a hairclip. Masami Eiri, in his desire to conquer reality, uses her as a pawn.
Across all the works in the Serial Experiments Lain series, Lain is portrayed as introverted, shy and quiet. Her preferences are also quite childish, and she possesses a large number of toys and other child-themed objects. She often derives comfort from these objects when she is afraid, akin to a security blanket.
When it comes to interacting with others, she often has trouble making eye contact and having fluent conversation, many exchanges with her fellow classmates involving long pauses in her speech, and often looks visibly uncomfortable when asked questions. She usually does not speak unless spoken to and appears to find both talking to strangers and being the center of attention to be intimidating. Because of this, she has very few friends. However, on the Internet, Lain feels much more comfortable around people and is able to talk to them more easily, although she does not feel close to online acquaintances.
Generally, Lain appears to be indifferent to her surroundings, but she is actually very sensitive and worried about how others perceive her. As a result, Lain appears to be very concerned with her actions and how they affect other people, being terrified of being by herself or being universally rejected by everyone.
Due to her lack of close family or friends, Lain is often very lonely and can become unhealthily attached to anyone she feels treats her nicely, to the point of obsession. As a result, she often worries even more how people who know her perceive her and is quick to doubt herself and her friends; however, when she interacts with them, she feels elated and far more optimistic. If anyone she is close to leaves her life, Lain becomes heartbroken and worries about the others that remain. She is fiercely loyal to those she cares about and tries her best to care for them, although she often worries that she is not doing a good job of doing so. Terrible things happening to people, regardless of whether they are close to her or not, seem to deeply emotionally disturb Lain, often causing her to cry.
If Lain is completely alone, she becomes desperate and afraid of her own inner faults. In order to distract herself, Lain often throws herself into a specialization that interests her, such as programming or psychology and further isolated herself. However, extended periods of solitude cause Lain to begin to lose her mind, and she eventually neglects herself and becomes extremely depressed. It is possible that being left alone too long could result in her suicide.
When Lain is afraid, she will often want comfort from others, despite rarely approaching them directly, not wanting to burden them. If she cannot get comfort from other people, she will hide behind objects she designates as security blankets, like her bear pajamas, NAVI, Bike-chan, or Progenitis. If she is truly terrified or overwhelmed she will have what appears to be a panic attack of some kind, curling into a ball and shaking, apparently completely immobilized.
When it comes to Lain's specialization skills, she is extremely curious and hungry for information, avidly consuming information at astonishing speeds and learning very quickly. It does not take her long to become an expert on a subject, and she shows extreme prowess in both hardware and software, as well as aspects of philosophy, psychology and sociology. She appears to be able to analyze, recall and process data very quickly, working at high speeds and often doing several things at once. Many tasks that are difficult for experts are easy for her. Despite appearing to be highly intelligent, Lain is an extremely poor student, having a difficult time paying attention in class.
Lain seems to consider herself to be abnormal and often blames herself for bad things that happen around her or the troubles of loved ones, becoming easily depressed. She also often feels isolated from society and alone, and seems to want to fit in more than anything, but her shyness and social anxiety often gets in the way. Lain is also very easily embarrassed, which further worsens her low self-esteem and shyness. She often struggles with her identity due to the circumstances around her, a struggle that often confuses and frightens her.
When Lain finally feels that she has discovered her identity, she is at peace and seems to be quietly content with herself, her previous self-doubts becoming minimal.
Lain's personality becomes another matter entirely when her alter-ego, the so-called "Lain of the Wired", steps into Lain's flesh body to act directly in the real world. In times of extreme stress, Lain's disembodied self might briefly inhabit her flesh body, suddenly causing a surge of confidence and brashness backed up by superhuman power. This personality appears fearless and ruthless, but not cruel (not to be confused with Evil Lain, the spinoff identity created by the Knights' hacking). She is also much more socially comfortable in this state, although this social comfort level seems to come and go coincident with Lain's visits to Cyberia, where unusual mind-altering technology exists. This "Lain of the Wired" personality also exists independent of Lain Iwakura the human; they seem to only share experiences part-time.
Yet a third personality also exists, apparently resulting from outside tampering upon both of the others. This third personality, is a cruel, inhuman prankster, and is apparently comfortable committing both mischief and murder. Like Lain of the Wired, it exists primarily in the Wired but is also capable of inhabiting and controlling Lain Iwakura's human body on occasion.
At the beginning of the anime, Lain is technologically illiterate and extremely shy. She hardly even checks her email and is visibly uncomfortable when doing so. While operating her old children's NAVI, she puts on a bear hat. This, like her bear suit, provides comfort to her and helps her face situations that she is intimidated by.
Lain's behaviour changes when she gets a proper NAVI. When online, she behaves much more confidently and assertively. Another Lain, commonly referred to by the fandom as "evil Lain", already exists in the Wired and, according to Lain in Layer 08, acts like the part of Lain that she hates.
Lain appears to be highly intelligent and has a range of skills. The anime shows her learning extremely quickly how a NAVI functions and can even help the boss of the Men in Black repair his extremely old NAVI. Also, the manga shows some of Lain's skills in programming, as she modifies her plush dog, Bike-chan, to be able to bark. In the game, Lain becomes interested in psychology and is able to use that knowledge on Yonera Touko, her therapist, when she becomes unstable.
She is quite distant from her family and rarely speaks at home. At school, she is similarly quiet, although she begins to hang out with Alice, Reika and Juri. Of the three, only Alice seems to have any real emotional connection with her.
Lain is revealed to be the product of the human collective unconscious that took form in the Wired. This means that there is a different image of Lain in each person's mind, represented by the chattering Lain mannequins in Layer 08. This led to Lain's identity crisis that forms a major plot point in the anime.
Lain considers herself to be a being that exists only in the memories of others, so when she edits herself out during the reset, it is almost a form of suicide - although the Wired itself still retains her data, there are no people who truly remember her.