What’s the important information? ‘ISLAND’ is a Summer 2018 anime that aired for 12 episodes from July through September. It is based on a Visual Novel game developed by Front Wing.
What’s it about? A man washes up on a beach with no memories of his own other than his name, Setsuna, and the mission in his heart—that he has to save a girl. Quickly he encounters three very different girls, each with their own unique problems, Rinne, Karen and Sara. Romance, time-travel and shenanigans ensue as Setsuna attempts to help these girls, while figuring out his own identity and the mysteries of the exclusionary and superstitious Island they call home.
Why did you watch it? Aside from the obvious that the anime’s poster featured three distinctive and incredibly cute looking girls the series is based on a visual novel and for better or worse visual novel adaptations are a unique beast—more difficult to adapt and therefore more prone to artistic license but also less beholden to genre stereotypes than manga.
Did you enjoy the show? From the get-go the show intrigued, enthralled and entertained me and didn’t relent for a moment. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement as it was the series I looked forward to the most every week during the Summer 2018 season!
What was your favourite episode? While Episode 4 “This World Full Of Secrets” showed the series more than capable of offering a satisfying conclusion to Karen’s ‘problems’ and likewise Episode 5 “This Is Why I Trust You” with Sara’s. For sheer dramatic intensity it’s a toss-up between Episode 9’s “I Got To See You Again” and Episode 10’s “I Don’t Want To Grieve Anymore” that delivered the greatest shock as the series changed to a dystopian future setting and even changed the name of the show to ‘NEVER ISLAND’ for this two-episode arc. It was brave storytelling and delivered my most unexpected moment of the entire series.
What were your most favourite things about the show? Aside from our female cast of characters; who are all pretty much perfection, the effortless blend of mystery and romance consistently made the show alluring.
Wbat were your least favourite things about the show? It might seem like a cop-out to say so but the fact that there weren’t more episodes was a detriment. Never to the point where I felt like I was missing out anything essential but rather that the experience could have been enriched further with a longer overall running time.
Who was your favourite character? As mentioned in my list of 10 Best Summer 2018 Waifu’s, Rinne was my best girl, though it was a close race as both Sara and Karen have more than enough superb qualities to be just as eligible. Ultimately though, it was aesthetically Rinne who won out over the others.
What’s something unique about this show? This is absolutely a spoiler so consider yourself warned for this question, but Episode 10’s end credits delivered to us a sex scene between future Rinne and Setsuna that was both unexpected but inevitably essential to the plot—the fact that they showed it at all (albeit subtly and with ample shadows) was the thing that stuck out as utterly unique—even among visual novel adaptations.
What other anime are most like it for the sake of comparison? While I’m sure there are undoubtedly anime that at least tonally resemble ‘ISLAND’ I personally haven’t seen an anime series like it. However, with regard to live-action US television series’ I feel it at least shares a passing resemblance to shows like ‘Lost’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ at least with regard to an adherence to mystery and ~feeling~ rather than things like concrete narrative cohesion and a reliance on over-explaining the more fanciful elements of the series.
Who would you recommend it to? For those who don’t need everything spelled out in explicit detail and can just kinda ‘go with the flow’ and appreciate a story being told the way it needs to be told, ‘ISLAND’ is ideal. Also for people who aren’t deterred by loli character designs and intermittent but no less obvious fan-service moments too.
Sum up the season in one sentence: ‘This Island holds many mysteries but none greater than those of the heart.’
Final score? 93 out of 100.
Previous ISLAND Reviews:
The Island of Mysterious Loli’s – Episode 1 Review
A Loli A Day… – Episode 2 Review
Dreams Of Fan Service – Episode 3 Review
One Wedding and a Belated Funeral – Episode 4 Review
Is Giving Birth To Yourself Possible? – Episode 5 Review
The World Will End With A Bang – Episode 6 Review
A Storm In An A-Cup – Episode 7 Review
An Ocean Between Us – Episode 8 Review
Long Time No Sea – Episode 9 Review
Rinne and Repeat – Episode 10 Review
A Fling Of The Past – Episode 11 Review
His And Hers Story Repeats – Episode 12 (Finale) Review
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