10 TV Shows/Anime Like Serial Experiments Lain | TheReviewGeek Recommends

10 More Mind-Numbing Shows To Dive Into!

Serial Experiments Lain is one of those gems that’s not discussed enough in modern anime community circles. This is a well-written work that may require several viewings for specific audiences. It maintains a mature tone throughout and offers incredible twists that’ll keep you guessing. If you’re searching for an anime with a complex plot, a well-rounded protagonist, and excellent commentary on technology’s impact on society, this anime will satisfy you.

Fear not if you’re having trouble finding anime similar to Serial Experiments Lain! We’ve discovered 10 alternate shows that’ll give you a similar experience as Serial Experiments Lain.

Additionally, for each anime we’ve reviewed, we’ve included a link that allows you to view our full thoughts about the series to see if it’s worth your time.

So without further ado, we present 10 TV shows that should whet your appetite when you’ve finished streaming Serial Experiments Lain!

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Similarities – Psychological & Setting

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a phenomenal anime and one that offers incredible thought-provoking elements. This series serves as a deconstruction of the mecha genre. While it offers incredible robot battles, the series spends time delving into our characters’ minds. The issues they endure are relatable and nerve-wracking.

From child neglect to social anxiety, this series isn’t afraid to delve into real issues. While Shinji may annoy some folks, it’s his broken-down persona that allows the show to stand apart from other series like Mobile Suit Gundam and Gurren Lagann. The animation is on par with what you’d find in Serial Experiments Lain too.

Therefore, it’s best to go into this show expecting a character-driven work.

Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy

Similarities – Psychological & Sci-Fi

Ergo Proxy is a slow-paced anime. While it can feel like a chore to sit through, the anime introduces many intruiging concepts worth tearing into and discussing. This show can come across as confusing for many viewers. Like Serial Experiments Lain, it entices viewers to view it multiple times to understand what it conveys.

Ergo Proxy is highly philosophical. It tackles themes concerning human life and technologically-advanced societies. Ergo Proxy’s futuristic setting plays a key role in the show’s mysteries and twists. That said, this show evokes a gloomy presence throughout its runtime. It’s a giant puzzle that gives you just enough pieces to help you fill in the blanks.

If you’re looking for another mind-numbing series to watch that’s set in a glorious sci-fi world, check this one out.

Perfect Blue

Similarities – Psychological

Perfect Blue is an incredible work from the late Satoshi Kon. This mind-numbing thriller shares excellent commentary on the horrors of fame. In it, we follow an idol named Mima. She tosses her music job and friends aside for an acting career. As time flies by, strange things start happening around Mima as she struggles to pinpoint what is and isn’t real.

This anime contains nightmarish imagery and chilling sequences. Viewers will find themselves entranced by the scenarios Mima gets involved in with this film. From stalking to being chased by her own reflection, Mima will endure endless mental suffering. Despite being an older work, the movie’s animation holds up well and should delight many fans looking for anime with a mature tone.

If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be placed in a celebrity’s shoes, check out Perfect Blue.


Haibane Renmei

Similarities – Characters & Psychological

Haibanei Renmei follows Rakka, a girl with wings. She finds herself in a world filled with puzzling concepts and disturbing imagery. A few locals tell Rakka that she can’t leave this world. Having no memories of her past life, we examine Rakka’s newfound life in this mysterious world where people share similar issues like her.

This anime gives an intriguing take on purgatory and the afterlife. It contains several twists and turns to keep you guessing. Viewers will be puzzled by the character’s decisions in this show. Instead of escaping, they just succumb to the world’s laws. That said, Haibanei Renmei evokes strong feelings of dread and sorrow.

There aren’t any witty jokes or lighthearted scenarios in this show. It’s a thought-provoking piece with a consistent melancholic atmosphere. With 13 mind-boggling episodes to its name, this is a series that’ll leave you with a new outlook on life.

Paranoia Agent

Similarities – Mystery, Psychological, Thriller

Paranoia, suspense, and drama. These are three things you feel while watching Paranoia Agent. Unlike Paprika, Perfect Blue, and Millenium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers, Paranoia Agent isn’t discussed as much. It’s a great show with intruiging twists and turns but doesn’t harbor as strong of a following as his films.

Not to mention the show offers some chilling imagery. While it’s the antagonist isn’t too threatening from a visual perspective, the concept surrounding the character will make people’s skin crawl. In this show, a delinquent named Lil’ Slugger goes around beating up people with his signature baseball bat.

He vanishes each scene before the police arrive. This causes the police and detectives on the case mass anxiety. Faced with their internal issues, these crime stoppers must thwart Slugger’s tirade before the whole city gets engulfed in paranoia. With is satisfying mysteries, spooky visuals, and eery atmosphere, Paranoia Agent is a wonderful anime for those looking to get spooked.


Similarities – Setting & Themes

In Texhnolyzea prizefighter named Ichise lives in an underground city called Lux. Ichise loses some limbs after a brutal encounter with a fight promoter, but a scientist named Eriko Kamata uses Ichise to test her Texhnolyze prosthetics project. Having gained access to Texhnolyze, Ichise meets a girl named Ran, who can see Lux’s possible end.

He joins forces with her to prevent terrible outcomes from occurring in the city. This anime features some intense violence and gruesome imagery. Although the show is extremely violent, the anime’s pacing is rather slow. However, it uses its pacing to help viewers understand the world Ichise inhabits. 

This anime engulfs viewers with its gloomy atmosphere and dark setting. You’ll walk away from it experiencing intense chills and thrills. If you’re looking for something with more violence, check out Texhnolyze.

Ghost In The Shell (1995)

Similarities – Setting, Characters, Themes

Ghost in the Shell (1995) is an excellent anime. It offers mature storytelling, incredible themes, and great action scenes. Viewers will adore its futuristic setting and mind-numbing twists and turns. The anime offers steady pacing, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in its narrative and beautiful imagery.

This anime tackles ideas like human ideology and existence well. Both series feature strong lead protagonists with enough depth and personality to keep your attention. They unravel dark mysteries in their world and get roped into dilemmas that will leave you speechless and worried for their safety. Give this one a watch if you’re looking for another nerve-wracking work of art.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Similarities – Atmosphere, Psychological, Characters

Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Madoka Magica) is a great magic anime with dark undertones. It helped people grow attached to the magical girl formula with its dark takes and mature storytelling. Its female protagonists end up in a lot of dark scenarios. They’ll experience horrid things like death, betrayal, and loss.

The anime’s depressed storytelling will shatter many viewers’ hearts. However, the show’s not fully doom and gloom. Our characters sometimes participate in school-like activities that evoke lighthearted energy. This allows viewers to avoid feeling like a total mess while watching this show. Furthermore, the anime delves into action more than Serial Experiements Lain.

Its characters will fight to protect their loved ones and citizens from dangerous threats. These creatures have otherworldly designs that appear imaginative and strange. Some bouts won’t lead to happy conclusions, so it’s best to go into each fight expecting the worse. If you’re looking for a creepy magical girl anime with mature themes, check out Madoka Magica.

Angel’s Egg

Similarities – Themes & Symbolism

Angel’s Egg is the epitome of thought-provoking work. This anime offers a unique approach to storytelling and has little to no dialogue. Unlike most anime, this one forces the viewer to interpret the scenes that appear on the screen. It’s one you’ll need to rewatch numerous times to form your own premise for its narrative.

That said, it offers languid pacing. Although it has little dialogue, it’s not entirely silent. Characters will shout when they experience pain or scream when they see something that takes them by surprise. Angel’s Egg offers incredible symbolism and sequences that evoke feelings of war, conflict, and growth. It’s not an anime everyone will enjoy as it was purely made for a specific audience.

However, if you’re a fan of thought-provoking and experimental works, give it a shot.


Similarities – Themes

Paprika is one of Satoshi Kon’s bizarre creations. It’s discussed as heavily as his premiere work, Perfect Blue. It offers great themes, beautiful animation, and fun characters. In it, we follow Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita, two people who hope to develop tech capable of exploring patients’ minds and curing them of their disorders.

However, tampering with technology with this potential can lead to dire consequences. One day, this tech gets into the wrong hands and our protagonists start noticing strange things happening around them. They enlist the help of Officer Konakawa whose been receiving their experimental therapy. With his help, they must search inside the dream and real world for the perpetrator.

Paprika’s full of energy and isn’t as slow-paced as Serial Experiments Lain. However, the show dabbles into some complex topics that’ll leave your brain confuzzled several times. Both anime tackle technology from similar angles and show dark depictions of it. If you’re looking for an anime that will make you feel like you’re in a dream-like trance, check this out.

So there we have it, our 10 anime/TV show alternatives to watch when you’ve caught up with Serial Experiments Lain!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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