Author’s Note: …. I’m alive. x_x I apologize for the delay in getting my reviews out. Everything in my life hit the fan a couple of weeks ago and I was left unable to blog. However I’ve got a new computer and am slowly adjusting to it. Thank you for your patience with me – I will work hard to get caught up on my shows. If there are typos in my entries I blame my new keyboard. >> <<
Episode #2 – I don’t want you to feel bad
Rinne reveals that the name of her disease is called “soot blight syndrome”, and by the sound of things she’s not the only person on the island to have the disease.
After Rinne goes to bed for the day, Setsuna finishes he maid work and tries to visit the town library. However it’s closed, so he decides to visit the Urashima shrine instead. There he finds Sara praying to the gods regarding a “honey trap” she set up for him. Well, the girl’s definitely persistent… ^^;;
The first act of this episode centers around Sara talking to Setsuna at the shrine. Karen’s father comes looking for Sara, but she and Setsuna hide from him. Sara explains that 5 years prior (the same year Rinne washed up on Urashima) her parents died in a fire at the shrine. With no one to look after her, Karen’s family took Sara in. Then, for reasons not yet explained, Sara eventually decided to leave the Kurutsu family and now lives her own at the shrine.
As Sara and Setsuna are talking, there’s a subplot going on involving Karen wanting to apply for the part-time maid position being offered by the Ohara family. However she doesn’t yet know that Setsuna’s already been given this position. Sounds like we’re going to get a showdown later in the episode.
Back at the shrine, Sara explains that a long time ago there were 3 daughters on Urashima Island. They were (as I imagine you can guess) named Rinne Ohara, Karen Kurutsu, and Sara Garando. Over the years many young women from these three families were given these names, sometimes at the same time.
In addition to this legend, Sara tells of another dating back to a time when the island was still connected to the mainland. Whether this means connected by means of transportation or physically connected some way is not clarified. In this second legend, Rinne had an older brother named Setsuna and the two siblings fell in love with each other. Karen became jealous because she was also in love with Setsuna, and she asked a black shrine maiden to break up their relationship. The shrine maiden turned Rinne into a monster, and Rinne became so upset that she killed herself. Sara advised Setsuna to go see this black shrine maiden, who lived on a “mysterious island” (I’m not sure whether this is Urashima or another island), and ask for her help. The black shrine maiden makes a deal with Setsuna: he will sleep in ice until an unknown day in the future when Rinne would be revived. If the two lovers met again, the curse would be lifted.
Sara then tries to spring her “honey trap” and seduce Setsuna but he turns her down. Sara says she has a theory about why Setsuna came into the past from the future, but Setsuna leaves the shrine before Sara can tell him what it is.
Back at the Ohara family mansion, Rinne “fires” Setsuna for being out after dark without permission. Karen is at the house too, having shown up for the maid job. Dejected at being beaten to the punch Karen tries to leave without accepting the job, but Setsuna forces her to at least try on the maid outfit. In the end Rinne agrees to keep both Setsuna and Karen as her family’s maids. After Karen leaves, Rinne and Setsuna go for another one of their nightly walks.
The next day is Karen’s first day as a maid, and together she and Setsuna go grocery shopping for the Ohara household. On the way home Karen shares her goal of saving up 1 million yen by her high school graduation in the spring. Her mother left Urashima Island 5 years ago and Karen has had no contact with her mother since. It’s pretty clear already that lots of important and puzzling things happened 5 years ago, and I imagine that point in time is going to continue to pop up in the plot again and again.
The two maids stop for shaved ice on the way back to the mansion because it’s so freaking hot out, but when the shopkeeper collapses from soot blight syndrome they take her to a doctor instead.
Later Setsuna and Karen both go to see Sara, and Setsuna theorizes that there’s a link between soot blight syndrome and Urashima isolating itself from the mainland. Sara explains that according to the old stories passed down on Urashima, the Kurutsu family split the island from the mainland, the Ohara family split the sea and brought its blessings to Urashima, and the Garando family split people’s bodies to rid them of all diseases. Is this why Sara’s family was not well-liked on Urashima, and could it be the motivation for the arson fire that took her parents’ lives?
After this informative meeting Setsuna goes to talk to Rinne’s mother, Kuon. Kuon explains that Rinne doesn’t actually have soot blight syndrome, she just thinks she does. Furthermore Kuon explains that Rinne is scared of the disease (so that’s why she thinks she has it??), and that Rinne may actually become trapped by the ancient curse if she doesn’t realize that she’s not really Rinne from the island’s legend. Just before shutting the door, Kuon asks Setsuna to please save Rinne. If we think back to the first episode Setsuna said he had the faint impression that he came to Urashima to “save someone”, so maybe Rinne’s the person he’s supposed to save.
That night Setsuna visualizes telling Rinne everything her mother told him, and Rinne slapping him as a result. When he snaps back to the present he tries to persuade Rinne to come outside during the daytime but she gets upset with him for suggesting it.
Episode #3 – the right way to spin dreams
Well I’m a little surprised the obligatory beach episode showed up this early in the series. There was… definitely a lot of fanservice. ^^;; You know how if you take the clothes off a Barbie/Ken doll, there’s a smooth bump where their crotch is? That’s how Sara and Karen are drawn in their bathing suits. It’s a little… offputting. O.o Then again they could’ve been drawn with cameltoe so I guess it could be worse.
Anyways, Setsuna, Karen and Sara come up with a plan to try to get Rinne to join them on the beach. Their big idea is to act out a “play” full of innuendo, and say their lines loud enough that Rinne can hear them from her house. Rinne does hear the trio but keeps falling asleep and dreaming of scenarios using what she’s subconsciously hearing. Finally Rinne gets annoyed and comes down to the beach in a spacesuit with an umbrella, but her helmet falls off. This is the final nudge that Rinne needed; she acknowledges she doesn’t have soot blight syndrome, but is still hesitant about being outside during daylight hours. Setsuna is understanding and says she doesn’t have to push herself to be in the sun right away.
While Setsuna and Rinne talk under the shade of an umbrella, Karen and Sara and having fun together in the waves and on the sand. When the two leave the beach and head towards a cave, Setsuna follows them. He sees that the girls have found an abandoned shack hidden in a large open cave. They are about to knock the locked door down when Rinne catches up to them and tells them to stop. She then passes out.
Later that night Rinne and Setsuna are in the hot springs together (with a divider, so don’t go thinking any naughty thoughts) and Rinne tells him about a boy named Setsuna she used to meet up with in secret in that shack. Setsuna wonders if he was that boy. Rinne says the truth doesn’t matter; to her, Setsuna is that boy.
Rinne sings her song again, and several scenes flash by: everyone playing a watermelon pinata game on the beach together, Setsuna and Sara helping Karen study, and everyone together at a local festival. The song sequence ends with Rinne and Setsuna on a beach together, holding hands while watching fireworks explode in the night sky.
Later in the evening Setsuna walks Karen home. Her father knows about her part-time maid job and is unhappy she was out so late. He wants her to carry on the family line, despite her young age. Karen gets angry at her father and tells him she has things of her own that she wants to do.
On the way back to the Ohara mansion Setsuna bumps into Sara, who explains Karen’s situation in a little more detail. Sara doubts that Karen really wants to leave the island and thinks that Karen is just rebelling against her father because that’s what teenagers do. Sara also feels that Karen is not properly prepared to leave the island and that she hasn’t thought far enough ahead as to know how to achieve her objective. In the last episode, when Karen and Setsuna were walking home with groceries together, Karen said that if she saved up enough money she’d be ok until she found her mother. And in this episode, Setsuna says that he thinks that if Karen is motivated enough to achieve her goal, then that’s enough. But Sara disagrees, pointing out that Karen has already had opportunities to leave the island and yet here she still is.
The next day Karen blows off summer school, which irritates Setsuna because he and Sara took the time to help her study. He confronts her about her decision but he ends up pinned under her on his bed. Karen asks him to “mess her up”. Is she going to follow her father’s wishes after all??
So I’m 3 episodes in now, and what do I think of Island? I’m really enjoying it! I love psychology and puzzles, and this show has lots of both. Every episode raises more questions and the answers are doled out at a pace that’s not too slow and yet everything’s not just dumped on the viewer all at once. At the end of each episode I’m left wanting to watch more, so I’d say Island is definitely doing something right. ^_^v
I didn’t mention it earlier, but I’m also really impressed with some of the CG used in this title, especially the water effects! They’re so pretty~