Island anime cover art featuring Rinne, Karen, and Sara
Island Cover Art


Island is a sci-fi, mystery, drama anime that doesn’t really make all that much sense. From the start it was never a good anime, but it did set up some potentially interesting ideas, and so I hoped it would at least follow through on those.

However, as you may have already guessed, that isn’t the case. The plot of Island gets more convoluted with every passing episode and the potentially unique and interesting ideas which had been set up at the start of the series are brushed aside or forgotten by the end.

The basic plot at the start of the anime is that Setsuna, our protagonist, wakes up naked on an island beach with almost no memory of how he ended up there. The only things he remembers are that he’s from the future, he needs to save someone, and he needs to kill someone.

Before I get into any more of the plot from the beginning of the series, let’s just take a look at that little bit I’ve mentioned so far. By the end of the series we learn that Setsuna isn’t actually from the future, he doesn’t really save anyone, and the part about killing someone seems to have been completely forgotten.

All of those potential plot devices were essentially brushed aside and we instead got a pretty lackluster romance anime with some random death, presumably because there has to be some sort of twist. But, there’s more that this anime sets up and then fails to deliver on.

The island, the titular island, is just an ordinary island. The series takes place on an island, but there’s another mysterious island that only appears during severe storms, and when it does appear, strange things happen such as people being washed ashore with no memories.

However, once again, this actually means nothing. The mysterious island actually isn’t mysterious at all. It’s a regular island. The whole premise that it only appears during storms is completely thrown away by the second half, and the characters can just take boats to it whenever they want.

Further, it doesn’t even seem like that mysterious island was the titular island. The other regular island the anime has been taking place on the whole time seems to be the titular island. So although I called this anime a mystery anime, there’s really no mystery after the first half because it was seemingly written out of the story.

The final thing I want to mention about the plot is something that comes late in the series; in the final episode if I’m not mistaken. We learn that Setsuna isn’t technically from the future. This is fine in and of itself, but the reasoning behind it makes absolutely no sense.

Setsuna’s theory is that he came to the past from the future, and then went back to the future, and then came back to the past again. This makes sense as far as time travel is concerned. However, another character points out that if he came back from the future, wouldn’t there be two of him?

This revelation that there’s only one of him seems to confirm to everyone that Setsuna isn’t actually from the future, but actually from a past cycle of the Earth. He’s been going so far forward in time that the Earth resets and history repeats itself.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the Universe resetting, it’s actually just the Earth/human civilization. Apparently there’s also physical evidence for this cycle which has been found in the fossil record which brings up an interesting question, why is the Earth resetting?

Well, as you might have guessed, this question is never answered or even explored further than the one-off comment about there being a fossil record of it. That’s right, the series set up yet another potentially interesting development, only to shoot it down once again.


Now, if the plot sounds bad to you, just wait until you read about the characters. There are five primary characters I’ll be going over here: Setsuna, Rinne, Karen, Sara, and Kuon.

Setsuna is the protagonist and he seems to be in his late 20s. Due to the circumstances he found himself in, he has no memories of his past for most of the anime. However, this works into his viewer-insert character trope. If he has no particular memories or history, he could be anyone.

He’s also a white knight which is another common feature of viewer-insert characters. However, unlike some other anime, Setsuna being a viewer insert character makes a bit of sense because this series is based on a visual novel in which I believe you play as Setsuna.

Rinne is the primary love interest in the series, but this in itself is an issue. You see, Rinne is actually Setsuna’s daughter, so the fact that she’s the primary love interest until the final episode is a bit unsettling to say the least.

Rinne also believes she has a condition known as Soot Blight Syndrome at the start of the series which prevents her from being in sunlight. While she doesn’t have this condition, some supporting characters do. However, it never actually ends up mattering, just like everything else in the series.

Rinne Ohara from the anime Island
Rinne Ohara

While the issue with Rinne being a love interest is that she’s Setsuna’s daughter, the issue with Karen is that she’s still a high school student. That wouldn’t be an issue if Setsuna was also a high school student, but as I mentioned, he seems to be in his late 20s which makes it not okay.

However, despite her age, Karen is probably the best of the three main girls (Rinne, Karen, and Sara). Though, while I say she’s the best of them, she’s still not a good character. She’s essentially the poster-child for the tsundere character trope.

Don’t get me wrong, I like tsunderes, but when a character’s entire identity is that they’re the tsundere character, it doesn’t make them very interesting.

Karen is also the mayor’s daughter and a member of one of the three legendary families of the island, along with Rinne. As a member of an important family, her father attempts to marry her off so that the bloodline will continue, but Karen has no interest in that.

Her mother left the island at some point when Karen was a small child and died before she ever had the chance to return. Because of this, Karen’s dream is to leave the island some day and find her mother.

If Karen is the best girl, then Sara is the worst girl. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to design her hair like that, but they should be fired. I don’t like her character design or her character in general; she’s just annoying.

Sara works as a shrine maiden and resident island doctor apparently even though there’s a hospital. She’s the final member of her family, which was originally one of the three main families. Her family killed themselves after it was discovered they were committing mass infanticide.

The final character I want to mention is Kuon. Kuon is Rinne’s mother who claims to have Soot Blight Syndrome, but that’s actually never confirmed and I’m pretty sure isn’t actually the case. Despite us knowing that she’s Rinne’s mother, we don’t actually learn that Setsuna is Rinne’s father until the final episode.

This means that Kuon is actually the Rinne from the “future” who Setsuna was with. However, because both she and Setsuna lost their memories when the world reset, the two of them never got back together until the very end.

I get that the whole deal with Kuon was supposed to be some kind of crazy twist, but it felt cheap. Kuon didn’t matter for the majority of the series, and suddenly she becomes the female lead for half of the final episode. Honestly, the anime wouldn’t have been any different without her character to begin with.


The Island anime is a 3/10. The characters aren’t the best, the plot makes very little sense, all of the interesting parts of the plot are thrown away, and every episode seems to have some sort of montage while Rinne sings in the background.

Really, the only thing Island had going for it was that it looked nice, but that’s pretty easy to do with the kinds of technology used to make anime these days. At least it wasn’t the worst anime of the season, that title belongs to The Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar.

The OP for Island is available here.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a like down below. And, while you’re down there, let me know your thoughts on the Island anime. Did you like it? Did you hate it? Did you play the visual novel it’s based on? I didn’t, but it’s rated higher than the anime so it must not be as bad.

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