This is the translation page for the Q&A section of the guide to the Serial Experiments Lain game. It doesn't make any earth-shattering revelations, but it might be useful to a Lain fan who is trying to play through the game. The same can be said for the entire guide, to be honest.
This is a free translation by fans, for fans. If you notice errors, feel free to edit it. Please don't use it in a scanlation or for making money somehow.
I'll add sub headers as I get each answer translated. Italicized text indicates a tl note.
Q's are all done, A's coming soon, maybe.
Everything from here on is translation, unless it is italicized.
A guide to the mysteries of "lain" for the especially inquisitive player
This Q&A, divided into "game system part" and "game story part," attempts to explain things you might be unclear about once you've played the game. Though the "game story part" does not offer solutions to the mysteries interspersed throughout the story, the utmost has been done to provide something that can be taken as an interpretive example. In addition, there are supplementary notes on relevant data that may be beneficial to refer to.
Game system part
Q: Why can't I play back this data block?
As you play through the game, there will be occasions when you won't be able to open a file that you want to play. The reason for this is that your current version of Saisei-kun is not supported. A second possible reason is that you have not seen the ending enough times. For details, please refer to page 16 and page 53 of this manual.
Collect "Saisei-kun" and Version Up!
Caption: "Saisei-kun" are the data blocks labeled "SSkn." The game contains 6 of them.
Q: Why won't the number of data blocks increase?
By playing back a data block, new blocks related to it will appear, so repeating this process should cause the blocks to increase. If the blocks still will not increase, the cause is that you have not completely played back all of the data. Observe the indicator the upper right of the playback window to ensure that you play the data to the very end.
Cancelling data playback before the end is prohibited!
Caption: Blocks that have been completely played back change to a blackish color. Be sure to check the color to tell them apart.
Q: I saw the ending but I don't really understand the story.
There should not be anyone who plays back all of the data and reaches the ending without quite understanding the story. The story is a bit difficult, but if you want a system to help you understand a little better than try using the "keyword links" to gather information. If you use it effectively to progress through the story by each keyword, the information will become easier to manage.
Caption: Don't recklessly collect data at random. You could also take notes to help keep track of information.
Game story part
Q: Why did Kyouko grow apart from Lain?
Lain's primary school friend, Kyouko. After a certain time, their relationship became cold and distant, and the direct cause was likely Tomo-kun's letter. After Lain's classmate, Tomo-kun, transferred away, he wrote a letter to Lain only. When Kyouko found out, their relationship turned sour. Considering this, it's not unreasonable to think that Kyouko may have harbored feelings for Tomo-kun. It's like they say; women value love more than friendship.
Caption: A mere slip of paper was enough to destroy their friendship.
Refer to data blocks: Lda019, Lda024, Ld027, Lda028, Ekm006
In the game, there is a scene where Lain gives voice to doubts concerning her biological relation to her parents. Her face doesn't much resemble her mother's, and her hair is a different color. However, it's hard to base a theory of biological relation on those point alone. Still, it's also true that not enough of Lain's past was revealed. The least we can say at this point is that it's very suspicious.
Caption: Could it be that Lain's father, who looks after her so kindly, is living a lie?
Refer to data blocks Lda160, Lda163, Lda180, Lda188
Q: Where did Lain's father go?
The father supposedly got divorced and left, breaking off contact, but one prominent theory is that he was killed by his wife. Things that support it are Lain's remark, "the room reeked of fresh blood," the fact that he doesn't try to contact even Lain whom he adored so much, and the reaction of Lain's mother when she sees the "father" Lain made. Taking all this into account, the theory is plausible.
caption: Lain's grief when her father left is not unjustified.
Refer to data blocks Lda153
Q: How good is Lain's visual acuity?
When Lain's vision was tested, her visual acuity came in at 3.0, which was the highest that could be measured. (With visual acuity of 3.0, you can see stars during the daytime.) In addition, when Lain looked out Touko's window she said, "It looks purple beyond the mountains." Which probably means she was seeing into the stratosphere. At any rate, her visual acuity is abnormally high. In addition, she can see electromagnetic waves in the air, which well surpasses the limits of human ability. Maybe Lain really isn't a normal human being?
Caption: It seems Lain is thinking she doesn't want any special abilities.
Refer to data blocks: Cou019, Dc1039
Q: What triggered Lain's internal transformation?
When Lain entered junior high school, her personality suddenly became cheerful, and she became slightly more active than before. Her visual and auditory hallucinations stopped almost completely, to the extent that Touko began to feel she no longer needed counseling. This change may have been due to her meeting Misato at school. Her presence allowed Lain to re-learn the joy of human fellowship, and provided her with the motivation to have confidence in herself. To Lain, with her strong desire for "connection" with others, Misato was undoubtedly an important presence.
Caption: In stark contrast to her former self, Lain became cheery.
Refer to data blocks: Lda064, Cou034, Cou047, Dia038
Q: Why does Lain wear only her left sidelock long?
Upon encountering Lain for the first time, the first thing that one is likely to notice is her distinctive hairstyle. Lain's hairstyle is mostly short, but for some reason she allows only her left sidelock to remain long. It's not especially popular at school, nor is it a manifestation of Lain's fashion sense. When Touko casually asked her about it during a counseling session, Lain responded saying that it was in order to prevent herself from hearing the mysterious voices. According to Lain, auditory hallucinations seem to enter the left ear and exit from the right ear. Whether or not this actually did anything to make the auditory hallucinations go away is questionable, but it's not so different from when you or I carry around a charm for traffic safety. The sense of security that can be derived from things like this is likely much more important than their effectiveness.
Caption: The hairstyle for defense against auditory hallucinations is part of Lain's charm.
Files to reference: Cou027, Dia021
Note: Lain's exact words in the file are much more vague than this Q&A's explanation, which never quotes her directly. She only says, "it goes in from the left, so maybe, it exits from the right," without specifying a subject (hallucinations) or an object (ears). This has been a source of confusion among the few western fans who are familiar with the game, and even some Japanese fans, as evidenced by this nico thread. Touko chooses not to take this peculiarity as evidence of mental illness, equating the hairstyle with a protective charm; see Wikipedia:Omamori.
Q: Who exactly is this "Mr Rabbit" character?
A networker Lain met on the net, Usagi-san. He (she?) is the one Lain consulted about something when she was troubled by a malicious networker (whom we'll call "A"). He has a lot of knowledge of the net, and seems to have some hacker-like abilities. But who is he really? A prominent theory is that he is the same person as A, creator of the "Friend Pyramid Scheme Game." He might have been switching between posing as A and posing as Usagi-san, enjoying Lain's discomfort. When Lain wanted to get revenge on A, Usagi-san asked her to let him do it. It's possible that this was done in an attempt to evade her attack.
Refer to: Lda044, Lda053, Lda060
Q: Did Misato not really exist after all?
Lain's best friend, Misato. Kyouko investigated her but couldn't confirm her existence. As a result, she concluded Misato was a figment of Lain's delusions. However, if concepts and imagined things can be said to have "existence," then you might say that to Lain, Misato really did exist.
Refer to data blocks: Lda064, Cou042, Cou043, Dia033, Ere005
Q: What is the reason for the extraordinary evolution speed of the "father" Lain made?
The "father" that Lain created very quickly evolved enough to able to recognize her. Perhaps it's due to the influence of some net invader. However, because there is so little information to serve as a clue, the identity and motivations of said invader remains a mystery.
Refer to data blocks: Lda208, Lda221
Q: What caused the malfunction of "RML"?
Q: What kind of facility is "Tachibana General Laboratories"?
Q: Why did Yoshida and Takeshi break up with Touko?
There were two men that Touko loved, and they each left her in turn. However, slightly unnatural elements can be observed in these events. First, that the timing at which the two left her was too convenient. Just when Touko was beginning to consider marriage in the near future, Takeshi suddenly got married to another woman, and then as if to compensate, Yoshida approached her. Then, as if gauging the exact time when Touko's feelings for him were developing, he also left her. It seems as if there's some hidden design behind these two events. Most likely, it was part of a plan to psychologically oppress Touko and draw out greater effectiveness from "RML." This is probably part of some scheme of Tachibana General Laboratories.
Refer to data blocks: Tda048, Tda060, Tda079
Q: Why did Professor Takashima have to commit suicide?
Touko's boss at the research lab, Takashima. His sudden suicide surprised everyone involved with him. Points of doubt remain surrounding his death; it's hard to find a motive for him to commit suicide. Rather, it might be more accurate to say that he was made to commit suicide. Possible reasons for this might be to further isolate Touko psychologically, or to attempt to discover the secrets of the research laboratory, et cetera.
Refer to data blocks: Tda054
Q: Why did the high school girl(s) attempt suicide?
Q: What was that "other me" that appeared in Lain's hallucinations?
Q: What is the meaning of the corpse that was discarded in the street?
Q: What is the secret of the man in the sub-audio insert cuts?
"Sub-audio insert cut" is the term used in the guide for the audio files that play automatically when the player idles without touching the controller for a while.