Recursion – 1
Island, now re-named Never Island, has evidently had another timeskip. A much, much larger jump forward than the last one; so far forward in fact that the mainland (where the time capsule was located in Karen’s mother’s laboratory) has turned into a desolate wasteland, and Urashima is now an underground colony called “Island”. All of the main cast has been reincarnated into similar versions of their original selves.
What do we know about this new colony? It’s comprised of many levels, and it’s designed to be self-sustaining (although supplies are running low). Each level has a different designation. For example, the top level is a public district. The shelter’s church is located here too, head up by a now well-endowed Sara.
Setsuna appears to be new to this Island shelter, but Rinne’s a local. She’s some kind of researcher by the sound of it. As mentioned Sara is the head of the church, and Karen’s an “untagged” child. Actually Karen is depicted as being perhaps a little younger than in the first half of the series, although I don’t know if her actual age is that young. In contrast Sara looks to be older than in the earlier half of the series, but again I don’t know if she’s actually older now or not.
We also get some hints about the social structure of Island. Shelter residents are “tagged”, meaning that someone is tracking how many people are in the city. Furthermore children who are born without permission are the “untagged”, and they live faaaar below the other residents on an abandoned floor of the city. These people steal food and electricity from the upper levels in order to survive.
Why are Rinne and the other residents living in this underground colony? The outside world is supposedly devastated and uninhabitable, though rumors of a paradise called Avalon exists. If these rumors are true, what happened to the world that people are now forced to live underground? How far into the future did we jump?
Anyways, this episode kicks off with Setsuna and Rinne waiting in line for food rations, while Sara preaches to the public from the church steps nearby. Suddenly a group of untagged kids, including Karen, attacks the church and its armed guards. The guards open fire on the kids, who are stealing the rations under the cover of gas bombs, and in the scuffle Sara falls unconscious when she’s accidentally knocked to the ground.
Setsuna lifts Sara onto his back and together he and Rinne bring her into the church until she recuperates. She wakes up and is intrigued at their names matching those of the Setsuna and Rinne in the ancient legends. However Karen and one of the other untagged children show up, and Karen gets into a knife fight with Setsuna. Karen attacks him straight on and the fight only ends when Setsuna “accidentally” grabs Karen’s chest and she kicks him in the groin. He gets no sympathy from either Rinne or Sara. Sara sees how Rinne and Setsuna act around each other after Karen and the unnamed child leave, and she decides to ask them for a favor.
We see that Setsuna is living with an old man he calls “Gramps”, and Setsuna appears to have a role similar to the maid role he had in the Ohara mansion at the start of the series. The old man talks about the mysterious rumored paradise called Avalon. Setsuna asks why people still live in Island if Avalon exists, and Gramps explains that a few years ago some people had left Island in search of Avalon and no one returned. This mystery only feeds the rumors that exist of the world being a barren place.
But of course, where is this information coming from? Who started these rumors? I’m calling it now – these rumors came from the church. If the people of Island are told over many years that the outside world is uninhabitable, and over several generations the public learns to accept it without question, then yeah people are going to stop trying to leave Island. Chances are the people who left Island to search for Avalon learned that there’s nothing wrong with the rest of the world and they’re leaving happy, peaceful lives.
Gramps leaves to go to work at Island’s power plant, and Setsuna leaves to see Rinne (who is this old man’s granddaughter). Rinne is working on fixing a strange device – Setsuna’s time capsule! Rinne’s trying to fix it so she can save the world. Time is running out for Island’s residents, what with a reduced population and decreasing supplies.
There’s a cute moment between Setsuna and Rinne, and then Rinne convinces Setsuna to step inside the capsule. Rinne is following blueprints passed down through her family for many years, so you know, hopefully she hasn’t screwed anything up. Anything could happen.
Setsuna stands inside and once Rinne turns the capsule on, Setsuna sees a mysterious blow glow. Also to him, Rinne appears to be frozen in place for many moments. The capsule quickly overheats and Setsuna is returned to the present. For Rinne just a moment passed; the switch blew as soon as she pressed it. However for Setsuna, time passed much more slowly inside the capsule. He doesn’t say a word to Rinne though.
Rinne and Setsuna leave the capsule to meet with Sara for the favor she asked them for earlier in the episode. They are helping her bring stolen supplies to the untagged people living on a lower level of Island. Sara shares with Rinne and Setsuna that the technology which powers Island has been long forgotten, meaning that parts can’t be replaced or repaired. Eventually Isl
and will just stop working, and then what will happen to Island’s citizens…?
Setsuna helps to hand out food to these hidden residents. The child accompanying Karen earlier in the episode beckons Setsuna over, then knocks Setsuna out cold for some stupid reason. :/ Poor Setsuna.
While he’s passed out Setsuna dreams about how Rinne found him in the capsule. We don’t know how much time has passed; all we can see is that the outside world is cold and snowy. The laboratory is gone.
When Setsuna wakes up, he’s in Karen’s bed and she’s wearing… nearly nothing. She’s the head of the anti-church revolutionary organization Neo Avalon, and now Setsuna is their prisoner. Karen’s goal is to recruit Setsuna for Neo Avalon because she’s under the impression that Setsuna is Sara’s bodyguard. If Karen can flip Setsuna’s loyalties, Neo Avalon could potentially learn through Setsuna how to bring down the church.
Karen is very different from her original character at the beginning of the series. She looks younger, and she’s super sexual in this scene. It makes me a little uncomfortable, to be honest. ^^;;
Just then the untagged residents are attacked by some of the church’s armed guards. Karen, Rinne, Sara and Setsuna manage to escape the fight but are followed by some of the guards. Oh, and Island is suffering from a blackout too. Sara takes Rinne, Setsuna and Karen to her “secret room” where they can all hide safely until the fight is over.
While they’re hiding, the four of them discuss the church’s motivations and the Avalon myth. We learn that some of the people who’d left Island in search of Avalon had actually returned safely! However the church had them killed so they could continue to brainwash the public to think that Avalon didn’t exist. Because technically, Avalon wasn’t found to exist. All the explorers had found was that the world was covered in snow and ice. If the people of Island found out that the world was barren, the church worried that they would lose hope.
Setsuna starts to have flashbacks of his past life with the original Rinne. He remembers that he’s supposed to save someone. He becomes convinced that he must save Island and its residents. But can he?
What did I think about this episode? Honestly I wasn’t in love with the huge timeskip. But it’s only the first episode of “Never Island”, so I’m sure more details will be revealed that will link this new Island to Urashima from the past. So I’m hopeful!