Island

January 12, 2019

It feels like a long time since I have watched a sci-fi mystery romance harem visual novel adapted into anime. Actually that was just about over a year ago when I watched Rewrite. Now it’s time to get back into that visual novel mood with Island. Main character with no memories of his own, basically a typical amnesiac, check. A small bevy of beauties for his harem, check. They have issues that need to be solved that could be related to the lore and legend of the setting, check. Deep dark secrets about the land, or in this case the island, check. Includes some sci-fi time travelling thingy, check. Oh well, this isn’t going to be your average Fantasy Island.

Episode 1
Karen Kurutsu is running along a beach until she trips. Her face lands in the crotch of a naked boy who is washed up ashore! DAMN! At the police box, he doesn’t remember anything else except for he is a time traveller and the need to kill someone. Not joking? A call from the mayor wants this boy to be expelled from the island immediately. The police is supposed to take him to the harbour where he will be sent to the mainland when the mayor calls again because his daughter is missing and to go look for her. As the boy hides in a yacht, he finds Karen hiding there. She is the mayor’s daughter and she is not pleased he found her because now she cannot get off this island. With the mayor finding her and she continues to run, I guess the boy is left to his own devices. As he wanders on the beach at night, he hears Rinne Ohara sing a beautiful melody. He seems to know her but not really. She also thinks she knows him but not really. Rinne makes up a story that he is Setsuna Sanzenkai and supposed to be the new maid she hired from the mainland. Rinne wonders if he is really a time traveller since she too doesn’t have memories prior to 5 years ago when she arrived here. Rinne introduces him to her mom, Kuon who holes up in her room and only ‘communicates’ via leaving notes. Setsuna sleeps and dreams of somebody promising to kill Setsuna. Next morning, Sara Garandou from the shrine takes Setsuna to her place. She believes he came from the future to change the past. Setsuna thinks he knows her too but not really. Maybe she is flat instead of busty? So he remembers her boobs? Anyway Sara believes his memories were intentionally sealed. His time travel and Rinne’s disappearance coincide. After all that mumbo-jumbo, Sara tries to kill him but fails spectacularly. As her job is to protect this island, she happily reveals her plan to kill him. Uhm, I don’t think that is how it’s supposed to work. He returns home to work but stumbles upon the book that tells the legend of this island, Urashima. Inside he finds a note that says Setsuna must die. That night at the beach, Setsuna has Rinne sing that song again. So beautiful he cried? Even Rinne too. Then a weird dream of Sara being burnt and her final words for him to take care of this world. Next morning as he wants to draw open the curtains, Rinne stops him. She fears the sunlight will kill her.

Episode 2
Rinne has soot blight syndrome. Sunlight kills her. This is why she wakes up and wanders at night. Setsuna continues his maid job and then finds Sara praying at the shrine. Praying for a successful kill? She hides him when the mayor is trying to find Karen. This is when she explains to him the legend of Urashima. All the 3 main girls are named after the legendary daughters of the island. It says Setsuna and Rinne are siblings but started loving each other more than that. At the same time Karen also loves Setsuna but got jealous. She asked a black shrine maiden to change Rinne into a monster and killed herself in despair. Setsuna went back to the maiden. At an unknown date in the future, Rinne will be revived and if they meet, the curse would be lifted. Setsuna slept, waiting for that day to come. Sara wants to sleep with him but thankfully he declines. She is glad too because she isn’t ready. When he returns, what is Karen doing here? Apparently there is an ad looking for a maid so she is here to try out for the job. Rinne wants to fire Setsuna after getting the wrong idea he slept with Sara (the incense in her room) so Karen tries to be considerate and leave. But Setsuna doesn’t want her to return to her father and have regrets and has her try it out. Rinne has the final say and hires her. Next day, Setsuna hears Karen’s reason to work even if she comes from a wealthy family. Her mom left the island 5 years ago and she is saving up to head to the mainland to find her. As they take a break, the old woman at the store collapses. They take her medicine and Setsuna is surprised to read it as soot blight syndrome. From the doctor’s explanation, it looks like in extreme cases your body will be inflamed if gets touched by the sunlight. There is no cure. As the island believes the syndrome comes from the legendary families, Karen believes it is just an excuse to maintain authority. Sara believes the island needs this legend or else it will be done for. Later Setsuna asks Kuon about the syndrome and she replies Rinne doesn’t have it but believes she does. She fears it as it might be related to why she disappeared 5 years ago and lost her memory and think of herself as the Rinne in the legend. So when Setsuna tells Rinne they are not the people in the legend, it makes her very sad. Is a slap justified? He wants to invite her to the beach. The morning one. But she is happy to stay as herself. And Setsuna will always remain her Setsuna.

Episode 3
Beach episode? Karen and Sara in their swimsuit. Basically this is part of Setsuna’s plan to lure Rinne out. But their lines sound so lame and ambiguous that Rinne might be thinking she is hearing things. Too bad Rinne overthinks that Setsuna is having his way with the girls so time to put on her sexy bikini and straighten them out? Well, she wore her full astronaut suit! Clumsy. Her helmet falls off. She looks okay. Not dead. So she knew she somewhat doesn’t have soot blight syndrome and they were just trying to get her out. He assures they can take things slowly one step at a time. Later they find a locked shack in the cave. Before they could break open, Rinne screams not to and then faints. She is okay but needs to rest. Setsuna shows the rest about the diary he keeps ever since he was stranded here. He hopes to learn something from his memories but has only recorded weird things like the syndrome and the legend while popping up more questions than answers. He feels it is all connected but unsure how. He even questions himself as Setsuna. Later Rinne talks to Setsuna that she remembers meeting a boy named Setsuna at the shack. Nobody knew about this and Rinne doesn’t remember how that boy looked like. After Setsuna tutors Karen, he walks her home as she reveals more about her weird mom. Often shutting herself in her room to do some experiment, Karen was never paid any attention to. Dad eventually kicked her out so she went to the mainland. At the doorstep, her father is waiting. Ranting about how her duty is to marry and carry on the family line. News to Setsuna. Later Setsuna meets Sara to ask why Karen’s dad is so adamant of her staying here. Her family can pass the line only through female descendants. As for Karen trying to leave the island, she thinks she is just rebelling and not serious as there are so many other ways to do so. Even if she leaves, will she be happy? She wonders if Karen has given enough thought to what happens if she leaves. One day, Karen didn’t come to school. He finds her in the mansion and before he could tell her off, suddenly she pushes him onto her bed and wants him to mess her up. You mean f*ck her? Wait. WHAT?!

Episode 4
Of course Setsuna declines but that’s not what she meant. She has a plan to leave this island and wants him to help mess up her wedding. Since her dad is always about appearances, she will get kicked out. So looks like almost everybody is in cohorts with her wedding including the groom. As the ceremony begins, Setsuna arrives in an alien mask! He is here to steal her. Dad of course opposes but that is when Karen has had it and decides to leave with him. Dad would have gone after her if not for her brother, Subaru telling him to let go. Karen is so happy with her newfound freedom and Setsuna celebrating with her that they keep their eyes ahead and crash the scooter into the sea. As they set sail, the captain explains how Subaru helped out because he felt Karen was always so mad at the world and couldn’t do anything about it. She blamed everything for it. So when she decided, he wanted to support her. Now on the mainland, Karen is like a typical country bumpkin. But how does Setsuna know how to work the trains if he is amnesiac? Anyway as they make their way to supposed Karen’s mom’s place, they see nothing but a grave. Oh dear. Karen breaks down and cannot accept this. But a girl, Momoka Yamabuki is thrilled to see Karen and starts molesting her because she looks like her professor. She was told by Subaru she would be coming today. Momoka is the assistant of Karen’s mom, Natsumi who went under the penname of Sueharu Nakamiya when she wrote her books. She was offered professorship 5 years ago as a geologist and used that penname. Unfortunately she died in an accident a year ago. Momoka hints about her research regarding ancient texts around the world but the rest is confidential. Before Karen leaves, she asks if mom was happy. All the time. Especially when the results of her research showed. But her only regret is Karen. She always worried about her. That’s why if something happened to her, she requested her grave to be put near the sea. Karen is satisfied that mom didn’t run away and always cared for her. Karen returns to the island. Subaru welcomes her back and vows to change the island. Not sure how long they have been gone because Sara is now hired as a maid at Rinne’s mansion. But Sara laments unlike the rest, she herself has not changed. Only if she had her powers back, she could do something about the illness. But time is not on her side.

Episode 5
Setsuna dreams of Sara sacrificing herself to save him to save the world. Too bad he only noted her boobs… He gets a shock when he wakes up because Sara is sleeping next to him! Rinne is not impressed with this shady business but luckily Sara explains herself. Something about learning about her family’s legend so she came here to tell Setsuna but since he is asleep, she waited and also fell asleep. She then takes them to the beach so as to harvest to venom of a sea snake to help find a cure for the soot blight syndrome. But she can’t swim. Don’t worry. Setsuna will do it! Oh, the sea snake’s venom can kill you… She is confident he won’t! Before Sara could explain to Rinne about her theory of Rinne crossing time to save her and how she must get something done before her 17th birthday in 2 days, Setsuna is in trouble because he got bitten! Oh no! Luckily the doctor diagnosed it as jellyfish sting. Phew. Sara so relieved. Later Setsuna and Rinne ponder about Sara because there seems to be sadness behind her smile. Next day, Sara gives Kuon her best massage. It’s to help ward off soot blight syndrome by pressing certain vital points. Then Setsuna gets a clinical test but it doesn’t end well… Now Setsuna has to cycle her to 20 over old folks’ houses so she could give her massage. At the end of the day, Sara reveals that she believes Setsuna is her destiny. She is destined to go back in time to give birth before her 17th birthday. She shows a picture of a mom nursing her. If mom looks like her it is because it is her! OMG! So Sara is her own mom from the future?! Sci-fi time paradox sh*t! To prove it, both have that same scar on the chest. Hence when she tried to ‘kill’ Rinne was to ascertain if he is from the time patrol trying to stop her from changing the past. Hence she gambled. If destiny picked her, she would be able to go back to the past. In her relief she explains she was called the Child of God. Every year, dozens of babies were born with soot blight syndrome. Ever since Sara was born, there hadn’t been any. But after a fire incident, the affliction came back. She lost that power and she wants to prevent that fire and save the people. Without it, she views herself as useless.

Setsuna draws a really complicated time flow chart on Sara’s situation. Rinne understands it?! As she has read the family’s dark secret journal, she realizes this is nothing more than a horrific practice that was sealed away. It all started with Sara’s grandpa claiming Sara as the Child of God and will save the island. The people believed him when the syndrome stopped appearing. But this is actual the doing of grandpa. When babies were born, they will be exposed to sunlight to see of any lustre in their eyes that would assure the symptoms by age three. Such babies are told they died in stillborn and then locked and abandoned in a secret place. All this is just a scheme to restore the family’s authority. With Sara overhearing that, she becomes sad knowing the truth and runs back to the shrine. Oh look. It’s on fire! Who set it?! And was it set long ago because it’s so big. Luckily Setsuna saves her who is so willing to die to end her family lineage. Sara wakes up in hospital and it has been 2 days since her birthday. Sara can’t believe everything so it means all her theories are wrong. As for the scar, it is like branding. All in the family got one burnt after being one. Her parents rather die than continue this cruel tradition but couldn’t kill Sara. But she still feels useless and have of no use. Setsuna tells her to look around. A thousand crane origami folded by the old people in hopes she regains consciousness. Thanks for the massage. Now she has a reason to live. Happy belated birthday. Cue to cry all out now.

Episode 6
Disregard Sara’s naughty advice to have sex as part of the measure to regain lost memories. Setsuna ponders of ways to retrieve his lost memories when Rinne lies beside him. Is the atmosphere getting good? Well, good enough for them to go out on a date (they term it as going out somewhere). What else can you do on this island? Bowling. Sara and Karen eventually get so worried if the duo end up having sex that they try to barge into the mansion. Good timing. They’re back from their date. Sara asks straight up if they had sex (among all the other synonyms and slangs she thrown in). They deny. Phew. Sara explains how it is wrong for a guy from the future to impregnate a girl in the past. Yeah, that time paradox confusing sh*t thingy. Rinne challenges Setsuna to a game where the loser must do as the winner says. And her wish is for him to kiss her. Why, don’t want to kiss a cute girl? Thank goodness she is only joking, right? When Setsuna and Karen visit the police guy, they are told that there are different versions of the legend as the families have their different version. A version involves Setsuna and Rinne getting married but she later learnt of his existence and fell into despair. She killed herself by jumping into the sea. It is possible Rinne knows this story as it was her father who tried to gather the legends. Setsuna rushes back to find Rinne. Not a home cliché. Oh, she’s standing at the beach, near the water cliché. What’s with the long face? Need to tell the truth? At the shack, she tells him she lied about it. When she fainted, she knew he wasn’t the real Setsuna. She still can’t remember how the real one looks but sensed a different Setsuna at this shack. After breaking open the door, a bed and some books all over the floor. Pretty tidy place assuming it has been abandoned for a long time. Rinne explains she used to come here to meet Setsuna but one night the tide blocked her path home. Suddenly her father found her. He blamed Setsuna for this and threw him into the ocean. With sunrise, her father writhed in pain as he had soot blight syndrome. Rinne dived in to save Setsuna but only found herself alone in hospital. Since then she has shut herself to the night world but this Setsuna saved her and gave her a place to be. So for now all that matters is she is Rinne and he is Setsuna. That’s all.

Episode 7
Setsuna and Rinne spend more time together. Probably it got Karen jealous enough to rush over to kick Setsuna. What’s that all about?! When they decided to go have some shaved ice, the old woman closes the store as she is out of medicine. Setsuna offers to get it so please make some. The old woman remembers seeing Setsuna and Rinne many years ago although they come out only at night. This is when Rinne starts to feel uneasy a she remembers. At the clinic, the policeman shows Setsuna an old newspaper article when Rinne went missing 5 years ago. Oddly she was 23 then but now she is 17?! Rumours flew that she was a hidden child and Rinne’s sister but further investigations showed she was the real deal. But the biggest mystery was Rinne when found was wearing the same clothes the day she went missing. This has Setsuna really start questioning if she came from the past and himself from the future. He rushes back to the store but Rinne has left. Old woman says she turned pale after talking about him. Setsuna believes that was not him back then. He finds Rinne at the pier. She rejects him but he holds on to her. She elaborates about her returned memories. That night when she and the original Setsuna fell into the sea, both washed up on the deserted island, Boryujima. Setsuna was bleeding so Rinne offered to help as they survive on the island by themselves. Pretty decent. But Setsuna became restless as he wanted to bring Rinne back. One night, he said he found a boat but it has only room for one. He wanted her to go. The next thing Rinne knew, she is back on Urashima and 5 years have passed. She regrets leaving him behind to die. So she wants to go to him? Setsuna tries to be realistic about living in fear but Rinne won’t listen and wants to be left alone. Tension interrupted with Sara asking what they’re doing getting wet together. WTF???!!! Rinne collapses. I think it wasn’t the sexual innuendo. Back at her shrine she theorizes that with many different timelines, Setsuna may be searching for the right one and redoing it over and over again. His visions and memories might be its side effect. The storm that will soon arrive on Urashima may be some sort of singularity cause that opens a rift between the islands. It could explain why Rinne didn’t age when she got back here. Rinne heard this and now has weird ideas to return to the original Setsuna. Gee, Rinne is sure fast in running away in the storm and stealing a boat into the choppy waters.

Episode 8
Just in time. Setsuna saves Rinne after she falls off her boat. She is adamant of going back to her original Setsuna. He agrees with her and will help but they need to plan. Plan quickly because here comes the tsunami! Next thing they know, they’re on Boryujima and it’s such a fine weather. Exploring the land further, no sign of her original beloved. Until Setsuna explores a deeper cave and sees his bones. Gee, the skeleton is too clean, if I should say. He reads his diary. It seems he found a strange coffin. More spamming of wanting to save Rinne. As he failed to make a raft, his desperation tells him that that this coffin is a boat to save her. So when she is sleeping, he put her in it. Setsuna shows Rinne this. Sad at first but he tells her he looks happy. Really? I thought all skeletons are naturally ‘smiling’. They decide to live on this island for a while and what a swell time they have together. Until suddenly Setsuna wakes up back in Rinne’s mansion. What’s this?! A wake is held for Rinne?! OMG! Rinne’s dead?! So that was all just a dream?! As Kuon explains, it seems the people found Setsuna body washed ashore but 5 days later a very unrecognizable corpse of Rinne. Setsuna cannot believe this. He remembers holding on tightly to her hand. But remember further. It was Rinne who let go. She wants him to live because once she reincarnates, she will be waiting for her. He falls into despair thinking she saved him. But no time to waste on that as Momoka and Kuon bring him to the mainland to Natsumi’s lab. There is that ancient coffin. Flashback shows Natsumi and Momoka often travelled the world to find so called ancient but hi-tech artefacts. Evidence shows they all originated from Urashima. After her death, Momoka went to see Kuon who took her to Boryujima to show that coffin where Rinne was sleeping. That was how she was actually found and contrary to the official story she was found on a beach. You see, they believe this is a time travelling device and anybody who sleeps in it doesn’t age as time stops. This explains Rinne’s age. Also, this matches up to Urashima’s legend of Setsuna sleeping eternally. They believe this coffin was brought from the future trying to intervene in the past. Setsuna lights up upon hearing the idea they can save Rinne. Yes, he is going to sleep in this coffin to go back in time and doesn’t care how long as it takes even if the chances of succeeding are low.

Episode 9
Hey! Wait a minute! Am I watching a new series?! A futuristic European dystopia of the series?! We even got a new opening theme and the series even changed its name to Never Island! We see Setsuna and Rinne together. Not sure if they are siblings or lovers but they are close. As they line up to get food while being preached by Sara the priestess, suddenly Karen and her minions throw a smokescreen to steal the food. Damn the guards are so adamant in eliminating them that they fire indiscriminately and run over Sara. Setsuna rescues Sara and takes cover inside the church. But there is Karen and co escaping too. She attacks him but his hand accidentally touch her boobs. Kick in the crotch! That’s that. It is narrated that people like Karen are called untagged. Kids who are born without permission and hence abandoned. They’re supposed to be killed and that is why they are in hiding. Back home, it seems Rinne loves tinkering with some sort of time capsule. She has blueprints from her ancestors so, uhm, don’t worry? When she has Setsuna test it, inside he suddenly felt strange as though time has stopped. When he exists, Rinne said the moment she flipped the switch, the fuse broke. It definitely felt longer inside. When they go see Sara, it seems she has them help out to deliver food to the untagged taking refuge underneath the island’s stratum. Yeah, lots of abandoned kids. Setsuna tries to feed one but gets knocked out. He dreams of arriving in this winter place in a capsule and Rinne found him. So I guess they become family. When he comes to, Karen is trying to seduce him for info on Sara, thinking he is her bodyguard. Why not ask her herself? She hates the church even if she feeds her. Trust no one. You see, Karen is the leader of the anti-church and she believes the church is trying to kill all untagged. Speaking of the church, the guards have found them. But soon the entire island faces a blackout. Elevator not working. There’s the stairs… Hiding in Rinne’s place, Sara talks about the expedition 5 years ago in which a group set to find Avalon, a utopia. The official story is that they never came back but the dark truth is that some did and were killed by the church so as to give people a false hope there is somewhere else habitable on this snowy island. Suddenly Setsuna remembers about the other Rinne and her death. He realizes he is here to save something and is going to do it.

Episode 10
There are wanted posters of Karen. Also, it states all her comrades are captured and will be executed. Time for a rescue mission. Minus Rinne, they sneak into the church but what awaits them are all corpses of the untagged. It was like the guards were waiting for them. Yup, clearly a trap. When a priestess tries to tell the guards not to use violence, they shoot her! They won’t shoot the rest yet as they have a role for them. They are brought to the church where Sara’s father the cardinal is giving a sermon. Suddenly he is shot. Sara and co rush to his side only for the archbishop to suddenly blame them as the terrorists for killing the cardinal. Everyone with mob mentality calls for their deaths. They are burnt at the stake like witches but thankfully here comes Rinne giving a fake warning that more of their comrades are coming and have brought bombs. Yeah, nice fireworks. With the people running away (where the f*ck are the guards?), Rinne is able to save them. The gang then trek outside the island, supposedly to a place where a lost technology lies. Unfortunately Sara dies from her wounds. Inside this cave is one heck of a computer system. Yeah, it’s working. Rinne tinkers with it while the rest bum around. Until Karen starts getting sick. Immediately Setsuna could identify this is soot blight syndrome (too much exposure to the sun) so by the time he brings her to the doctor, she is already dead. Woah! Rinne’s harem dropping like flies! As he rues he cannot save them, Rinne believes he can. Based on everything she has done and researched, this capsule is actually a time machine. This is what her ancestors have passed down. To save the world. He can go back in time to save them. Suddenly Setsuna remembers everything. He came to the future to go back to the past and save it. Sounds a bit confusing… Rinne hears about the other Rinne he wanted to save. She looks worried if they are lovers. Setsuna says she is also a special girl to him. I hope he doesn’t say that to all the girls named Rinne. With that, they believe Setsuna coming here is part of destiny to change history. Because Setsuna is going back alone, so they pretend to have a mock marriage and then have sex???!!! Oh well, one for the road! I’m sure that will be the best memories ever.

Episode 11
We’re back on Urashima. Because Setsuna has retained all his memories, don’t worry if this episode is going to replay everything in exact order again. Because thankfully it would be just weird if Karen falls and plants her face on his dick again. This time she just sees him naked. Thanks to his retained memories, Setsuna proudly boasts what is going to happen and knows about Karen’s background. Later he talks to her friends about the time she tried to hide in the yacht. Thus before Karen could stowaway, her friends are already waiting and want to hear out her reasons. Setsuna then waits for Rinne at the beach. He tries to be friendly with her but his failed pickup lines make her laugh a lot. He becomes her maid and surprisingly Kuon knows who he is. Next day, Setsuna knows all about Sara trying to kill him, her scar and her past. Woah. So true! Now she worships him? When Setsuna hangs out the laundry, he messes with her pantsu just to get her to run out into the sun. See? No soot blight syndrome. At this point, Karen and her friends leave the mainland to discover the truth about Natsumi. When she returns, all of them celebrates Sara’s birthday. Now that Rinne is ready, Setsuna brings her to the shack and then Boryujima to put a rest to her original Setsuna issues. They return to Urashima just in time for the fireworks festival. The usual best fun ever until time for the cliché moment when the rain hits. Perhaps there is some sexiness and romance for getting it on in the rain. It is clear that Rinne has totally fallen for him. If not for the stupid thunder and lightning to ruin the mood. I guess this isn’t so sexy after all. Setsuna visits Sara who shows her an old album. A photo shows a young Kuon who looks a lot like Rinne (shouldn’t be a surprise because we did see how she looked like at the funeral) as she holds baby Rinne in her arms. He starts feeling uneasy. Meanwhile Kuon tinkers with a time capsule in her room.

Episode 12
Setsuna thinks of asking Rinne but backs out after thinking he needs to be sure of things first. Later as he talks to Rinne, he learns Kuon used to wear an engagement ring from her father but stopped wearing it after Setsuna arrived. Feeling suspicious, he calls Momoka to confirm something about Kuon that she is different than what others would think of her. Like as though she is a different person and younger than she looks. Then it hit him. Kuon is that future Rinne!!! OMG! Is that a time capsule in Kuon’s bedroom?! Setsuna goes to the mansion’s library to do more investigation. Oh, keen eye observation that a diary of Rinne’s father is missing. The year she was born. Oh, convenient this locked drawer means some secret is hiding in here. Break open. There’s the lost diary. The year Rinne was born, Kuon died. And as also narrated by Kuon, it seems she woke up on Urashima 24 years ago and met the master of this mansion. Conveniently she had no memories then and only remembered her name: Rinne. She was hired as a maid. Soon she realized she was pregnant. At first the master disallowed it but after the doctor diagnosing his wife unable to bear a child, he thought of this idea to use the maid’s child as the successor. She also liked the idea but after the daughter was born, she was taken away. However the baby pinned for the maid instead of the mistress. Later the mistress died and the maid assumed Kuon’s name. The baby was named Rinne as she didn’t need that name anymore. Hence here is Setsuna’s revelation to Rinne: I am your father!!! Holy sh*t!!! So all those instances why he can’t get any further being romantic with her, yup, this is the reason. And you thought he was just a dense main character. Oh poor Rinne, so confused and sad. Can’t blame her for not accepting all this crap.

Setsuna then explains it to the other girls about how he is from the future and hence knew how to solve their problems. But conveniently Momoka is here to point out a hole in his theory. Oh yeah, something she conveniently FORGOT TO TELL HIM! That time capsule doesn’t travel through time. It just stops time. So how did Setsuna go back in time? Like now? Actually the world seems to be repeating itself and the events happening again. Like the rise and fall in civilization? Hence the same past is repeating in the future. HOLY SH*T!!! I’M SO F*CKING CONFUSED!!! Momoka has proof with that carbon dating thing. Whatever. Flashback shows Never Land Rinne regretted and didn’t want to die alone. So she went back to that cave and slept in the other capsule. Rinne now confronts Kuon. She explains she regained her memories slowly over time and felt sad she would not be able to meet the person she loved and would be content in just raising his child. Then he popped up. So she blamed him for not recognizing her at first? You kidding me?! YOU WERE HIDING IN YOUR ROOM AND COMMUNICATING VIA NOTES!!!!!! Time for the plot to move forward as Rinne who heard most of their talk, thanks mom for raising her. She is happy to have received their happiness. So by returning her name means she returns mom to him? Geez, this is confusing if I keep now refer to Kuon as Rinne so I’ll remain. Setsuna and Rinne are now free to reassure their love again. Oh yeah. Let the old flame and tears flow. But no sex this time. Soon, both get married and live the happiest family life. Oh yeah, they even have a honeymoon trip. After aeons, I think they deserve it.

Total Drama Mystery Island
You could literally say that their legendary love continues to live on and that their love has actually lasted for ages and survived the rise and fall of mankind and civilization! Woah! That’s the power of love transcending time for you! Just the mind boggling factor that the time capsule didn’t deteriorate or anything and remained in working condition. Yeah, even if Armageddon happened, the time capsule seemingly stayed in perfect condition. So well hidden that I guess nobody actually found it because they might have done something if they see a sleeping human inside and tried to pry hi/her out. No siree. Nobody knows how to even operate this damn thing and I wonder how it lets one out. Was there a timer to say when the freezing stops? Yeah, after 10 cycles of the fall of civilization. Thank goodness the great universe is still intact.

One of the many problems that adapted visual novels suffer is that it loses a lot of material when being translated to the TV series medium. People who played the game would have had hours and hours of experience, thus giving them a better grasp and understand of the entirety of the story as well as the characters. As I did not play the game itself, it is hard for me to do comparisons but based on my ‘experience’ of watching so many adapted visual novels, adapting to a different media format means losing a lot. Especially when you don’t get to choose a certain route or go back to choose another one. Therefore this adapted series’ plot suffers a lot and there are moments when it feels rushed. After all, they have to fit like 50 hours of gameplay into just a dozen episodes. It is bad enough this is only a single cour unlike some like Little Busters got more episodes (hence fleshing things out better) and even Rewrite got those little extra episodes. But with the anime series ended like that, do you really want to redo it all again for another route? I don’t think I want to stay for that even if it takes another million years!

But for Island, the story does start off fascinating and interesting only because we are new and unfamiliar with the premise. That novelty soon wears off and I have to admit that it sometimes was a drag to watch because I don’t really fully understand what is going on and with the dragging out of Setsuna’s mysterious amnesia thingy, I was more inclined to feel that I want to get over this anime as soon as possible. But I’ll give them credit for that ‘shocking’ Never Island arc because they did it in a fashion like as though it was another new series but just reusing the characters and it actually caught me off guard. I never expected it. Even if the plot of this arc was still ‘not that interesting’, suddenly jumping to a different setting and era was something I would never guessed. But with only 2 episodes on this arc, yeah it feels a bit rushed here. Even that sex scene… Like as though they don’t want to put it in but need to because what are visual novels without the sex part, right?

Thanks to all this, the characters also suffer. Especially Karen and Sara. Guts and experience dictate that Rinne is the favourite girl whom Setsuna would end up with and it is understandable that a lot of scenes and moments are focused on her (technically Kuon is the original Rinne so I guess this technically counts). This would unfortunately mean reducing Karen and Sara to the most minimal of roles that sometimes I feel that they are only here just to fill in the harem requirements. You see, Karen and Sara do have their moments but they happen so early on in the series and only had an episode of focus since their issues are solved very quickly! It is as though they want to get these 2 out of the way and focus solely on Rinne. Remember, we only have a dozen episodes to get it all out. I believe that Karen and Sara could have been written off entirely and be done without and the story would still carry on as usual. Just with much shorter episodes. On a curious note, I wonder if they were teasing something because during the snippets of Setsuna and Kuon’s marriage scene, if you are sharp enough, you can spot Sara’s busty mom hiding behind a tree watching everything. So did Sara’s mom did not really die and also found another time capsule? Yikes. Don’t want to open up another can of worms. At least the girls fare better. I don’t even know why the heck Subaru even exists… After Karen’s case is solved, he is never heard of again. Convenient plot tool. Maybe his character doesn’t exist anymore in the future…

Talking about Setsuna and Rinne as the main characters, they try to keep us intrigued with Setsuna’s real identity. Because of his convenient amnesia, it adds to the mystery factor as you would want to know if he is the real deal or an imposter. The legend of Urashima is also a ‘partner in crime’ because you will keep wondering if the characters who suspiciously share the same names with the legend are actually coincidences or reincarnations. But all that fizzled out with the supposed twist of time travelling thingy. I believe this is where my interest quickly waned since it got a little confusing too. Going to the future and then back to the past to save Rinne? Oh. How so unoriginal. How bland. And it irks me that when Setsuna returns to Urashima for the second time, why does he not lose his memories? Sara’s theory could be wrong that the side effects of time travelling could mess with his memories but why is this time so different? Is it because he made love to Rinne? Wow. The power of boners help retain your memories! And if that is the case, what about the first time Setsuna arrive on Urashima at the start of the series? Assuming he has been jumping back and forth a lot, how many times and how long has he been doing this? Did he not make love to Rinne all the while? Man, it would be just mind blowing to think each time he time travels, either Rinne dies or he bones her. Oh Setsuna, theoretically you could have boned Rinne from all time eras!

Conveniently this is all somewhat solved with just a single timeline. No time paradox confusion. Just one big heck of a coincidence of everything repeating again exactly. Wow. It’s like God was really fascinated to play around with this, huh? But I have to admit this single timeline thingy and that Kuon is the original Rinne was something I did not foresee and was my shock factor. Yeah, they did a good job trolling me into thinking they were actually going back and forth in time. But it got me to think that if Setsuna arrived in a timeline in the same manner all the time, how many times have he slept in the time capsule? Because from the first episode, it at least proves it wasn’t the first time he tried this trick. Hence the very unfortunate game of lovers trying to sleep and wake up in the closest timeline together as possible and hoping luck and coincidence would bring them together instead of missing each other again of ages. I guess God got tired of it already, huh?

I guess sleeping so long messed with your true love feelings and it might take some time to ‘defrost’. Otherwise it would have been so easy when Kuon saw Setsuna again but decided to play up some drama and mystery just to drag it all out for a dozen episodes and let everyone go on a wild goose chase. Yeah, nice piece of work there, Kuon. Somehow you started this mess. Even if you later came out from your room and spoke to Setsuna and he still didn’t recognize you, that’s because you didn’t say anything to override the obvious. Rinne, his daughter looked like a mirror image of his lover, therefore it’s not going to cross his mind that it is anybody else. All eyes are on this cutie Rinne other than a typical young mom that only anime can produce who shuts herself inside. Besides, how the heck did she drag the capsule into her room? She must have had a lot of time to dismantle and assemble it, I suppose.

So if Setsuna boned Rinne in Never Island and hence the second return to the island Rinne is their daughter, then who the f*ck is Rinne in the first time around?! What about that other original Setsuna that was supposed to be Rinne’s first love? Please don’t tell me it is all a dream. Man, I’m so confused now. They tried to put up a great twist and even parody that iconic Star Wars moment, I take back what I said about this shock factor blowing my mind away. I’m so confused that I’m annoyed now. I can now understand how Rinne felt about Setsuna. Just when she just warmed up to him and getting all cosy, ready to truly fall in love, WTF is this I-am-your-father twist crap???!!! I’d rather accept you say I am not kawaii enough for you to be f*cked! Haha! Oops…

Sometimes I feel that some of the so called mysteries are just red herrings. In addition to that Urashima legend itself, even the soot blight syndrome feels like one. It doesn’t really play a major role anyhow and it is something that you would be keeping at the back of your head from time to time. Even when it is explained about something being exposed to sunlight or something, you’ll wonder what the heck it really is and how relevant it is to the story. So Rinne thinking she had this disease sometimes feels like she is just having a mini Munchausen’s syndrome. Because Sara loves coming up with outrageous theories that sound so grand and many of them fall flat or debunked, it is a reason why we are all so confused because at the end of the day, they don’t really amount to nothing. Remember the first episode whereby Setsuna muttered he needed to kill somebody? No? Me neither. Almost. Yeah, that felt like it was to throw us off. Like almost everything else.

The art and animation looks pretty decent. I did some lazy Google and find that the art style for the anime closely resembles the visual novel. I suppose at this day and age, technology and talent has progressed a lot so that there are no extensive gap between the art styles of the original and the adapted. As the setting takes place on an island, I like the backdrops and sceneries as they personally look nice. Especially the beach and the starry night sky.

As for the character designs, the first time I looked at Setsuna, I was wondering what the heck is the discount version of Cowboy Bebop’s Spike doing here. Like as though Spike has time travelled so much that he returned being a teenager. Heh. Just kidding. Sara is the most ‘eye catching’ one thanks to her fluffy afro-like hairstyle. It makes me think she came out from the old Monchichi cartoon. Seriously. Okay, sorry. Not meant to offend her that she is a monkey. Otherwise, Sara sometimes look like one of those characters from that mobile game, Hunie Pop. And Karen having twintails, looks like it is the stereotype for bratty girls to have this kind of hairstyle. This anime was produced by Feel who animated a number of visual novels such as Yosuga No Sora, Fortune Arterial, Ushinawareta Mirai Wo Motomete, Otome Wa Boku Ni Koishiteru and the Da Capo series.

It has been a long time since I have heard Yukari Tamura in a leading role. As Rinne, it’s nice to hear her trademark cute high pitched squeaky voice again. Also refreshing to hear is Kana Asumi as Karen as I haven’t been hearing her in a while and even more so in a leading supporting role. The other seiyuu I recognized was Rina Satou as Kuon. It was hard to identify her since she doesn’t speak much and even so only soft spoken. But I could not do the same for Eri Kitamura as Natsumi since her cameo was limited and she was always in a serious mode. The other casts are Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Setsuna (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai), Hibiku Yamamura as Sara (Eia in Dorei-ku The Animation), Ai Kakuma as Momoka Miyako in Imouto Sae Ireba Ii) and Kengo Kawanishi as Subaru (Rei in 3-gatsu No Lion).

Yukari Tamura sings the opening theme, Eien No Hitotsu. Lively and generic enough to be so suitable for an adapted visual novel. Same sentiments for the ending theme, Eternal Star by Asaka. For the Never Island arc, Yukari Tamura now sings a slow but lovely pop rock ballad of the opening theme, Closing Tears. Asaka also sings for the Never Island arc’s ending theme, Marine Snow, a slow rock. There are a few insert songs and they’re not bad. Like the one Rinne often hums during her night walk on the beach or alone, Lasting Memories sounds much better in its full original form. Karen’s Purest Summer feels a bit too fast but overall sounds like a generic song for a visual novel. Sara’s Tennen Kinen Girl Janai Yo in a way makes me feel this is a nice song for a beach outing. The weirdest song goes to the duet of Rinne and Setsuna, Quiet Sea. The song isn’t so bad and in fact the little retro feel of its beat reminds me of another song I liked, Kogarashi Sentiment from the Monogatari series. The weird thing is how Yukari Tamura sounds fine, cute and lovely as always but for Tatsuhisa Suzuki singing his part, I just feel that his voice isn’t suitable for singing. No offence but when they are both singing their lines, his voice stands out as a little weird.

Overall, it is unfortunate that this series did not impressed and was a let-down. What started out as intriguing quickly lost steam because of the rushed scenes. The nice visuals and personally the opening and ending themes are its good points but those alone cannot save the entire series that just feels bland and weak in the stories and characters, the 2 most important aspects for a visual novel. And like I have always said, if you want to truly appreciate this series, might as well go play the game. Even though I won’t be planning to even play it. The anime as most would agree with me is best left stranded and lost forever on an island off the map that no one will ever come close to ever. Not even a magical storm or the GPS coordinates of a time travel capsule will even bring you to this island. They can play Love Island for eternity for all we care.