Island – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

And so Summer 2018 begins!

If you had told me that Island is based on a visual novel made by Key, I probably would’ve believed you. I don’t mean that in an unfavorable way. It’s just that it was the first vibe that came in mind as I sat through Island’s first episode. The idea of an amnesiac time traveler living on a suburban island secluded from the Japanese mainland just seems like something Jun Maeda would come up with. One look at the trailer just has me thinking that Island aims to deliver feels along the likes of Clannad and Kanon. I also just can’t help but think that Island‘s main female lead, Rinne, looks an awful lot like Tenshi from Angel Beats!. Surely, I’m not the only one who saw the resemblance.

Island begins on an odd note as its main character, Setsuna (Tatsuhisa Suzuki), finds himself ashore on the show’s titular yet unnamed island with no clothes and only faint recollections of his past and identity. Setsuna claims he is a time traveler and there are brief flashbacks and hints that back him up, though it seems as though Island has started after he’s already time traveled at least once. In a way, this anime begins in medias res which is an interesting angle to take, albeit a consequential one. Not knowing how Setsuna’s abilities work, let alone what his goal is can feel a little frustrating. I find myself scratching my head over what the grand scheme is. In Island‘s defense, this reaction is perhaps what it wants you to have. Hopefully, later episodes will provide some much-needed clarity.

There appears to be three main heroines in Island: Karen (Kana Asumi), the mayor’s daughter; Sara (Hibiku Yamamura), a shrine maiden; and Rinne (Yuklari Tamura), a girl who takes Setsuna in as a house servant. Karen seems to be the most normal out of three which is concerning since that could lead her arc becoming the most uninteresting. A character wanting to be free of their parents’ presence has been done many times before so it remains to be seen if lsland can make its own take compelling. Sara, on the other hand, makes a decent first impression. She fully believes that Setsuna is a time traveler purely because she believes supernatural happenings in the island must be eliminated to keep the place safe. Not going to lie, I am curious if she’ll try and fail to murder Setsuna again.

Rinne arguably gets most of the spotlight in this premiere and frankly, she seems to be the most interesting character so far. Forcing Setsuna to do housework is humorous in of itself though the revelation that Rinne is also a time traveler makes her a more legitimate reason to help him. Having the prior knowledge also makes her chemistry with Setsuna develop a lot faster. At the end of episode, Rinne sings a song and despite only knowing Setsuna for a day, both characters find themselves driven to tears after the performance. The implication is that Rinne can also vaguely recall the previous timeline and this allows for a very emotional way to hint at what kind of relationship she might’ve had with Setsuna. The only thing I’m currently mixed about this character is the mystery surrounding her aversion to sunlight. Like, is she a vampire or something? This anime already has time traveling so adding more supernatural elements is a bit risky.

I don’t know if I’m necessarily sold on Island after one episode but it does have me interested. This premiere picked an odd approach to introduce its setting and cast to the viewer but so long as things clear up in due time, I’m not currently worried for the show. There’s still some potential here so I’ll give the anime the usual three episode rule and see it how goes.

OP: “Eien no Hitotsu” by Yukari Tamura

Decent enough OP. Judging by this and the premiere, it seems that Rinne is the main heroine.

Thanks for reading!

Island is officially available on Crunchyroll.

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