Wow, I completely misread what Karen had in mind. “Mess Me Up”…she needs to word her requests better!
This episode felt like one entire visual novel route crammed into a single episode. You got Karen’s “wedding”, her plan to sabotage it, the adventure in the mainland, the truth about Karen’s mother, and then the return to the Island. Because of how much ground that needs to be covered, this episode moves at a brisk pace and that ends up messing with the impact and tone of scenes. Like, finding out that Karen’s mother is dead should be a shock but it’s immediately followed up by Karen getting harassed by her mother’s protegee for laughs. It would’ve been better if the gravestone was the end of one episode and then the humorous follow-up was the start of the next one.
It’s a shame that Karen’s arc isn’t stretched out to two or three episodes because of a lot of the scenes presented here do highlight her character development. I am a bit stunned at how many people got in cahoots with sabotaging the arranged wedding. For crying out loud, Karen’s fiancee was completely on board with this. But the whole event was kind of fun to watch and it did show Karen maturing from her impulsiveness. Another sign of growth is Karen accepting her mother’s death for what it is and feeling that she has at least reached closure with a big part of her life. On paper, all these moments seem fine but it would’ve been nice if Island just took its time. If Air can get through three routes in a single cour, why can’t this one?
Then again, is this the end of Karen’s arc? There’s a couple of loose threads left here. Karen’s brother, Subaru (who’s introduction is weirdly timed if you ask me), tells Karen that the two of them need to help lead the island in a new direction. You also have all the research Karen’s mother did which has to be relevant in some way given all the sci-fi stuff that Island has hinted at. It’d be so strange if none of this didn’t come into effect later in the story.
I guess I’ll have to wait and find out since Island is already moving onto Sara. I admittedly do want to learn more about that character. It’s becoming clear that she’s shouldering an awful lot of responsibilities onto herself. This episode, she neglects celebrating her own birthday just so that she can help Karen sabotage the wedding. Still, it feels way too soon to jump to the next story arc.
Simuldub First Impressions
Here’s something new I’m trying. I’m more of a sub guy but I do like a good dub so this season, I decided to try all the new dubs for the Summer 2018 shows I’m currently watching. Island just so happens to be the first of Funimation’s new Simuldubs so hence this little addendum. Bear in mind that this is a First Impressions of sorts so nothing that I say here is a finalized opinion. Anyway, I enjoyed the dub of the first episode. It might even be easier to follow than the sub since I am a English speaker though head scratchers will still be head scratchers to me.
I have no problems with the cast though I must say, everyone in Island sounds younger in the dub. The one exception I can think of is Dani Chambers as Sara; sometimes character sounds older though given her maturity, that doesn’t bother in the slightest. Alexis Tipton as Karen (still pronounced “Ka-rin” apparently) particularly took some getting used to. I slightly prefer Kana Asumi’s deeper, more tomboyish voice but Karen’s rebellious and rowdy personality is still conveyed in both versions. It actually took me a longer time to get used to Austin Tindle as Setsuna though. Tatsuhisa Suzuki has a pretty distinct voice so it felt a little weird to a hear someone else as Setsuna. That doesn’t mean Tindle is miscast though; I think he sounds fine as Setsuna.
My favorite performance so far is Jad Saxton as Rinne. That character sounding younger didn’t threw me off all that much and Saxton seems to capture the character’s somewhat eccentric personality in a way different from Yukari Tamura. The only time I’m put off from Saxton’s performance is when the episode plays Rinne’s insert song. Neither actress sounds that similar to one another. I can let that slide though since dubbing insert songs is such a tricky endeavor that I can get why it’s left alone during dubbing.
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