Welcome back to Let’s Get Through The Side Heroines’ Routes AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE the Anime.
Pardon me if I sound salty there but Island‘s pacing has annoyed the hell out of me. I get the impression that it’s to give Rinne’s route as much time as possible and if you ask me, that’s some lousy favoritism right there. Even if it turns out that there is more to Karen and Sara’s arcs, I still wouldn’t excuse just how rushed things have felt for this episode and the one before it.
I would argue that Sara’s episode suffered from the botched pacing even more than Karen’s. At least with Karen, her route was still a digestible and down-to-earth tale of rebellion and discovery in spite of its pacing. The only thing I still ponder over is whether or not her mother’s research will amount to anything later but that’s really the only head scratcher. Sara’s route meanwhile just throws you on a loop. Time traveling, fictional disease, reincarnation, dead children, and burning houses are all things that get brought up or happen during this episode. It’s a lot to take in, especially in your initial viewing. Consider pausing the episode when it shows Setsuna’s flow chart because it kind of helps you comprehend the lore. Kind of.
To be somewhat fair, some of these points aren’t worth harping on since they end up being a part of Sara’s crackpot theories. Personally, I didn’t hold much stake to her claim that she’s her own mother and daughter through some time traveling reincarnation shenanigans. I didn’t major in science in college but I’m pretty sure that’s not how time travel work. Even paradoxes make more sense than that. Also confusing is Sara’s belief that Setsuna is her husband/dad. The upside to that is seeing Sara put Setsuna in situations to see if fate would spare his life (since he’s got to be alive to procreate). That stuff was admittedly funny though you have to wonder what Sara’s back up plan if her future spouse/parent died before they could make love (incest?). That and, you know, how does any of this make sense?
Still, Island remains on and off over whether or not time travel is actually a thing in its story. Sara is originally convinced she’ll go back in time during her 17th birthday to become her own mother with Setsuna but just by letting time pass (shocking, I know), that doesn’t become the case. But earlier in the episode, Setsuna has a flashback of him and Sara that has never happened during present time so where does that fit in? I could chalk it off as a dream but then what about the other visions Setsuna has? Are those just dreams too? Is time travel a thing or not, Island? It’s a simple yes or no question!
One thing I did really like was seeing Sara contribute to the island’s community. Mind you, it’s not perfect. Sara living under a old lie that, as a child of the Garandos, she’s a “child of God” and has a prestige to uphold was fine. Involving dead babies her ancestors continually discarded though was needlessly dark. Sara trying to repent by burning herself alive was also absurd. But all that aside, watching Sara visist the elder and massage their aching joints was great. It’s brief but it highlights how mature and considerate the girl is underneath her eccentricities. Even better was seeing all the cranes the elders made while she was resting in the clinic. It’s a much stronger (and less dark) reason for her to keep doing what she does than the legacy she was raised to uphold. I just wish the show paced itself better to let this scene play out more strongly.
Between this and Karen’s newfound resolve, I’m noticing a theme where the girls of the three head families are finding a reason to help their home for the better. Karen was obsessed on leaving the island but now that she’s returned, she seems to be taking her studies more seriously, presumably so she can become a good mayor. Sara, meanwhile, has always felt she had a duty to perform but now she has a better reason for what she’s doing. The only one I’m uncertain of is Rinne who, so far, has largely been a recluse. She could very well be the one character to destroy my hunch but I’ll leave it up to Island over what it has in store for her.
If there is one thing I am 100% sure of, it’s that Setsuna should stay the hell away from bikes and mopeds. Great running gag but you’d think this man would learn his lesson after two accidents.
Thanks for reading!