Lain and Dr. Magata: (g)oddesses Reflecting (G)od

My favorite series of the season, and one of my favorites of the year, is Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider. As I told Japes in our last podcast, the show is what I like: it’s really smart and is a little pretentious, but not so pretentious that it loses me. I love it.

sohei saikawa
art by レゴ | reprinted with permission

But though it’s stylish and fun and intelligent, The Perfect Insider doesn’t necessarily break new ground. It continues with a theme that’s so very present in anime (and all sorts of media, actually) – the idea that a higher level of thinking, a higher level of being is found outside of the physical limitations of the human body (and of the human mind belonging to someone of less-than-super-genious level  intelligence). Because of this, right from the beginning I was reminded of another favorite, Serial Experiments Lain. The two are stylistically different, but both express that same theme. And both have a goddess at the center – one who has transcended humanity.

Lain goes further in this direction than I think The Perfect Insider will, since the latter, I think, is less about exploring this idea than just telling a compelling story. In Lain (spoiler!), the main character ends up becoming a goddess and basically vanquishes the previous god from “The Wired” as she exits physical existence. Unlike that god, Lain is kind and compassionate. She makes choices that benefit others (perhaps at personal expense).

Lain is quite unlike Shiki Magata.

serial experiments lain
art by Gorilla | reprinted w/permission

Shiki’s brilliance enters a space where human life has little meaning (at least in the typical sense) – whether that has to do with the way she raises her child, her lack of emotion when it comes to her family, or killing those that are most intimate with her. Entering a higher plane means dismissing those beneath her. They are nothing.

God is often pictured as such. Many refuse to believe because they don’t want to worship a God they see as hating mankind, as letting cruel things happen to humans. There are many, too, that propose an intellectual barrier as interfering with their belief in the Father, when it really has to do with this idea that they don’t want to worship God – they don’t want to submit to one who doesn’t value them.

But an intimate look at the Christian God, and a look at the story presented through 66 books and thousands of years in the Bible, shows something quite opposite. Our God is far more Lain than Shiki. With the ability and choice and power to do anything at all, He chooses to focus on a people that are like infants to him, in physical and intellectual power. And yet, as a loving parent, he lavishes love upon us, nudging us toward life and life abundant. He even does so at painful cost, something only hinted at through Christlike characters like Lain and Madoka.

But that is part of why he is worthy of worship. God’s love is a part of his character that might have been unanticipated, but it’s as holy as all else about him is.

Truly, everything about Him is perfect.

featured art by レゴ | reprinted w/permission

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