Island – Review & Summary (Visual Novel)

The name of the boy, Setsuna.
The name of the girl, Rinne.
They were in love, but were destined to never be tied together.
A witch has casted a spell on them, making them never be able to be together again.
Setsuna went to the witch and begged her to uncast the spell.
It will take many years for the spell to unbound.

Gameplay

In this game, you are playing the oblivious Setsuna who got strayed at the shore where Rinne is living at, in 1999.
Children find you asleep, naked, on Urashima. They poke you and wake you up. The only thing that you’ve got with you is a CD, シングルサイズ, and you use that to cover your lap.
At the police station, you tell the police officer that you don’t know your name, age, and where you come from. The mayor decides that you must be deported (back) to the mainland, because 5 years ago, there was another stranger on the island that brought a lot of misfortune and he does not want to repeat the same mistake again. Rinne saves you and says that you are 三千界 切那, the new servant of the Ohara resident.
After this, you meet many people on the Island and 三千界 切那’s journey begins.

ISLAND is a scientific all-ages visual novel, with some comedy and slice of (summer) life features. The music and the art is very beautiful and felt fitting in every setting they were used in, I can’t complain about that part at all. The game focuses a lot on quantum physics and time travelling, so if you’re not into science-fiction and/or understanding theories such as a time paradox, Schrödinger’s cat, prisoner’s dilemma and explaining how fast the speed of light can travel etc, you should probably skip this game, because otherwise you’ll be giving yourself a headache trying to understand everything that is said and happening in the game. Believe me, the game was full of unexplainable events and hard theories (in Japanese) which made me almost drop this game many times, but in the end, everything and more became very clear for me, so it was really worth it.

Karen’s route

Rating: ★★✩✩✩

Review: This was probably one of the worst routes that I have ever played.
Karen Kurutsu is the daughter of the island’s mayor. Karen needs tutoring from Setsuna to pass her exams, so during the time that he is teaching her, he gets feelings for her. At some point, she wants to go to the mainland to find her mom whom she hasn’t talked to or seen for 5 years. Her mom happened to be dead. Karen stays in the mainland and goes to college there. That’s it.
Nothing special happened contributing to the story imo, I did not feel that they went deep with her character, because the only thing I experienced while reading her route was a rebelling kid with study problems. However, I did feel she was a good fit for Setsuna, who is also simple minded like her, but besides one scene, I could not experience the chemistry of them to the fullest, unfortunately. I felt that their relationship was written very superficial, hence the low rating.

Sara’s route

Rating: ★★★★✩

Review: Sara’s route had a very big anti-climax, but it also had a twist and still saved the good end, fortunately.
She is the daughter of the shrine family, her father and mother passed away in a fire 5 years ago. Sara was so enthousiastic about Setsuna being able to time travel, since he said that he came from the future, Sara wanted to go back in time to save her parents. So she basically put the whole shrine on fire. Setsuna decided that they should hide in the Urashima casket which Sara could not open up since it was so precious according to her deceased parents, because apparantly, there was nothing inside. The next scene, they wake up in the hospital a few hours later, there was no time travel and Sara was covered in a lot of bandage. A few months later, Sara and Setsuna are working on the rebuilding of the shrine and they want to get married.
Sara is the smartest out of the 3 girls. She knows a lot about physics and theories, but she also has some funny jokes throughout the gameplay. In her route, Sara was explicitly told by Karen that her parents were plain murderers. They basically put everybody with Soot Crest Sickness on fire, killing them, and hereby decreasing the amount of people affected by the disease on the island. While the Kurutsu family knew about this all along, Sara was unaware of it. In the end, you meet a woman who looks exactly like Sara’s mother, but she denies everything and fools you around. It was so frustrating and I did not know what to believe at that time. I was hoping for time travel during her route, but I did find out about the existence of Maria, who says that she is Arima Uran, a nurse who come from the mainland.

“… I am Maria.”

Maria approaches Setsuna in the hospital after the fire, but Setsuna can’t remember her. Maria asks Setsuna to talk outside. Apparantly, Setsuna can’t remember what happened 5 years ago.

“You gave me the name Maria”
Was the time travel succesful?
Did we return to the past?
“We decided to live on this Island.”
“It was hard at first, but the people of the island accepted us without asking anything, because of our hard work.”
“We were allowed to live in the Urashima shrine and claim the name Garandou.”
“It was a good day.”
“Eventually, my daughter was born.”
Sara..
“When you just said that name. Don’t you remember it?”
… but I only remember that name, I can’t forget that.
“We tried to repay the islanders.”
“However.. this island was sick.”
煤紋病 (Soot Crest Sickness)
“With all our power, we could not save them, so-”
“No way, it was you, (killing) the patients with Soot Crest Sickness….!?”
“Apparantly, you remembered.”
I can’t believe it, did we repeat the past?
“However, it was not me who said it.”
No way…
Certainly on that day, I’m positive.
In order to deny the act, I tried to stop Sara who wanted to commit suicide.
“It is five years ago from now.”
“You said that you wanted to take responsibility. You took young Sara who was standing in the main hall and released the fire.”
“But.. I did not think that you were the bad person.”
“Your justice may have been wrong, but you just made a mistake.”
“That’s why I jumped in to help you two.”
This happened five years ago?
I was the one that commited the crime,Sara and Maria were unrelated?
But in the case I know five years ago..
“Why were we saved, Maria?”
We.. are Sara’s parents who were destined to die in the fire.
“A strange thing happened.”
“Suddenly, a young man appeared in front of us and saves us.”
Who was that?
The police and the people on the island said that no such person existed on the island.
The old wound on my back starts to ache.
“But, he certainly did exist.”
I whisper to myself that there is no need to remember.
“I believe that God gave us a miracle.”
“We were forgiven by God.”
That’s good.
We’re alive, that’s satisfying enough.
“Although God forgave me, my child did not.”
Maria’s voice sinks.
“That child has now became aware of what we had done.”
“Sara tried to continue what was done five years ago.”
“Thank you very much. Please guide her.”
It’s needless to say that I shall be the one who does that, isn’t it?
“Yes, that’s right.”
But there are things I don’t understand, how did Sara and I get saved?”
“Because of Urashima’s casket.”
… Urashima’s casket?
But I used the casket a long time ago, then it should not be the case this time.
“After the fire was extinguished, Sara and Setsuna were found unconscious in Urashima’s casket.”
“The inside of the casket was like a sauna, you both were suffering of severe dehydration.”
“It seems that you could escape the fire by protecting yourself with the stone lid of the casket.”
That means.. I saved my life twice by using the casket?
Time is like a wave that returns.
The same thing repeats, but when you look carefully, it’s slightly different.
I thought it was out of my reach, but when I notice it, it’s right under my feet.
“Thank you, from now on.”
From now on?
“That girl is brilliant. There will definitely be hardships in the future.”
.. I guess so.
“That child is a lot like you, I can’t deny it.”
I heard that often.
“But.. it turned out to be natural now.”
Yeah.. it would have been funny if we did not resemble.
Because.. she is..
Sara… is my daughter.

……
………

After this, Maria bursts out laughing and says that she was just joking. Setsuna grabs her by her collar and sees the mark on Maria’s chest, the same as Sara’s. Setsuna confronts her about it, but she says she doesn’t know what he is talking about. Then something flashes to his mind.. When you read Arima from the other way around..
Arima’s denying everything and the protagonist stays confused behind.
A few months later, Sara is healing, they’re rebuilding the temple and planning on marrying.
Consider the sweet ending, the anti-climax really was a turn off for the story development and made me almost skip this game, because I had to experience yet another disappointment. Everytime I thought that I finally had a grisp on the story, I got as clueless as the main character.

NEVER ISLAND’s route

Rating: ★★★★★

This was one of the most heartwarming and heartbreaking routes that I’ve ever played in my life. Setsuna thinks that he is in the future during an ice age and is conscious of his past, and history repeats itself. He meets very young Rinne, young Karen and an older version of Sara. Karen survives on the street and is a prostitute. The shrine has stopped giving ID tags to people, because of the shortage of resources, so Karen has no ID. Rinne lives with her grandfather and Sara is part of the high reputated shrine. Rinne tries to make a time machine and is in search of batteries. She doesn’t remember Setsuna. The people are very dissatisfied with their way of life and shortage of food, so they plan to overthrow the shrine, because they control the population. The folk also thinks that the shrine lies to them about the ice age, but that is the truth. Karen and her other ID-less friends make a bomb and overthrow the shrine. The people wanted to burn Sara, but Setsuna came up with a fabrication that if Sara gets killed, the people will get punished and create the soot crest disease! They hide in the Urashima casket, because Setsuna already knew that there was nothing inside, Sara was in shock. Even though Setsuna did everything to make the damage minimal, he still got the blame and was punished to be exiled from the city together with grandfather.
They have to walk together through the never ending snow, sharing their final heartbreaking moments until grandfather dies from fatigue and cold, this was the first time this game made me cry. Setsuna keeps on walking until he falls asleep in the deep snow, later, he wakes up, ashore, in Urashima again.
This was the route in the visual novel that made everything clear, so I thought, but still, it was very heartwarming.

RE: route

Rating: ★★★★★

Setsuna wakes up and says that he came from the future and that he and Rinne are bound to be together. However, there is a plot twist, Rinne doesn’t remember anything about this Setsuna and he did not came from the future, he came from the past! Everything became more difficult again, everytime Setsuna thinks he finally got a grisp on the thing that he is trying to understand; his life. He talks with Rinne’s mother, but there are two options for two different endings. The first ending is the one where he marries Rinne and the other one, is where he confronts Rinne’s mother… who happens to be the Rinne he met in NEVER ISLAND’s route, her daughter Rinne, is their child. They repair the time capsule that they had been making in the past so Setsuna can go back in the past and set everything straight. He writes Setsuna & Rinne over a hundred times in the time capsule. We don’t know how much time went past. He wakes up later in the same way at the ice age, again, with young Rinne over him, again. The end.

From what I understood from this game is, that it is a never ending time overlapsing universe that they live in and everytime they go back in time or to the future, something changes, but it’s never the same and they seem that they can’t get to the conclusion of Rinne and Setsuna being together, because of the curse. Sara, Karen and even Rinne are all children of Setsuna in another universe which makes the universe intertwined and difficult to dissect and get back to the base. Because of this, the open ending did frustrate me, because it gave me the idea that this is a never ending non-concluding story. However, in my opinion, the concept of this game is very unique and the open ending gives the impression of a continuation of the visual novel, which I really want to read, now I finally understand the core of the story and wonder how the curse is going to get resolved.

Recommended: Yes

Cross Days [0verflow] – 姉 BAD ENDING

Summary:

Chie asks if there’s something wrong with Roka. Roka says that she thinks that Yuuki is cheating on her with Katsura and/or Yuu. Later on, Chie scolds Yuuki that he should try harder, make up with Roka and that he should not cause any problems. In school, Katsura finds out about Yuu and Makoto and she turns into Yandere. Katsura starts searching for Yuu through school. Chie is looking for her brother in the library, but she finds Yuu clothes ánd her little brother’s clothes instead. She realizes that Yuuki dresses up as Yuu, because they wear the exact same size and she found Yuu in Yuuki’s room. Kotonoha finds Chie and asks if she is “Yuu” and if she has been hanging around Makoto lately. In order to protect Yuuki, she doesn’t tell the truth. Chie answers: “… What if?” and Kotonoha attacks her.

Cross Days [0verflow] – 自滅 BAD ENDING

Summary:

Kotonoha overhears Yuu and Makoto having sex in the boys bathroom. She turnes into Yandere mode. Her classmates are gossiping that she has been absent a quite lot lately and that she has a creepy void look in her eyes, when she walks down the hall, you hear school boys saying: “Damn… so creepy”. Kotonoha finds a crowbar and kills Yuu with it.

Cross Days [0verflow] – 恋破れて ENDING

Summary:

Yuu ends the contact with Makoto, but Makoto comes back and says that he loves her. Yuu saves him from the coming train, her wig falls off and Makoto realizes that Yuu is in fact Yuuki. Makoto is extremely shocked and he can’t believe that everything was a lie. Yuuki runs off. In the next scene, Yuuki and Roka are dating, while Makoto is seen exhausted and soulless and Kotonoha is still following him around.

Cross Days [0verflow] – 菊を愛でて ENDING

Summary:

Kotonoha overhears Makoto and “Yuu” in the bathroom and hears the word “Anal”. She searches the word in the dictionary and decides to surprise Makoto at his home to have sex for the first time. Makoto doesn’t seem that happy after doing it, but in the end, they are happily dating and Kotonoha suggests Yuuki that he should contact Roka, because Roka told her that she was waiting for him.

Cross Days [0verflow] – マッシブ・ラブ BAD ENDING

Summary:

Youka and Ion kidnapped Yuuki and use him as a sex slave. Youka lets Yuuki lick her for the whole night, while Ion is into bondage and ties Yuuki up everytime they do it. Yuuki is very tired and wants to escape. The girls keep fighting about Yuuki. Ion accuses Youka of making Yuuki tired, because she let him lick her for the whole night. Youka says that it’s because of Ion’s bandage games that Yuuki is sick off. They start fighting in the class and Shibukawa overhears them. Later on, in the changing room, the fight about Yuuki while Shibukawa hears everything about their sexual experiences with Yuuki and she can’t believe her ears. Yuuki and Roka see each other in the hallway and decide to go to the girls’ basketball club together. Roka asks how Yuuki has been doing, because he has been absent a lot lately and Chie told her that he barely visits home nowadays. Yuuki is tired and seems absent minded. Roka says that she forgives him about the time during the school festival, that they did not meet up. Roka asks if Yuuki lately has been playing games at his friends home a lot. She also says that they had no contact, no messages or phone calls and that she’s glad that she met Yuuki in the hallway. Yuuki thinks so too. Roka proceeds telling him that because Ion, Youka etc are in the room, it’s too awkward to tell there, so she will tell him now. She asks if Yuuki still has that school festival romantic feeling inside of him… romantic feelings for her. Yuuki says he does. Roka says: “Well then” and proceeds to open the door and says: “Excuse us.” Ion, Youka and Shibukawa are naked and tell Yuuki to “PICK ME!” Shibukawa says in a shy way that she wishes that Yuuki picks her if he would like. Roka gets mad and yells “BAKA!” and proceeds to slap Yuuki.

Cross Days [0verflow] – 淫獄 ENDING

Summary:

Taisuke starts to sell Yuu to other guys for 1000 yen at school and one of Taisuke’s friends proposes to bring Yuu to his home, because his parents don’t live there and it’s easier and safer. Taisuke agrees. One their way out, they see Makoto and Yuuki wants to say something to Makoto, but he hesitates and says: “No.. nothing.”
In the next scene, Yuu is laying on bed and Taisuke and his friends are arguing about school, attendance and such. Somebody has to check up on Yuu while the others go to school. Yuu looks outside and sees Makoto and Yamagata walking together, while Kotonoha changed to yandere. He ends with saying: “I don’t care anymore anyway.” and he performs fellatio on himself.

Cross Days [0verflow] – 想い重ねて TRUE ENDING

Summary:

Taisuke tries to rape Kotonoha. Kotonoha screams for help. Taisuke says that Makoto is with Sekai now. Yuuki comes to rescue and says: “Just stop it.” and kicks Taisuke. Yuuki asks Kotonoha if she’s alright and why Taisuke is in the room. Kotonoha says that she also doesn’t understand. Yuuki said (summarized): “You take care of other people their problems, instead of your own, you brought me and Roka together so now I’m helping you. Also, Roka and Kuroda are outside, even Makoto, they’re waiting. So, shall we dance all together?”
Kotonoha happily agrees. Yuuki says that he almost forgot that he had to bring Taisuke with him, because Makoto asked him to.
They all meet up in the court yard and Makoto pairs with Kotonoha, Yuuki goes to Roka and Taisuke pairs with Kuroda. Kuroda thanks them. Sekai is seen depressed in a class room with Kiyoura.

Cross Days [0verflow] – 君だけを TRUE ENDING

Summary:

Taisuke lets Yuu to be raped by his friends in the school bathroom. Yuu sends “Save me” as a text message to Makoto. He rescues her. In the train, Yuu realizes that she fell in love with Makoto. She quickly exits the train and sends Makoto a message that this is the end and that he has to focus on Katsura. Makoto says that he rather wants Yuu, because he is in love with her. While Yuu stands outside, she calls Katsura and Katsura immediately starts about a girl called “Yuu” that Makoto is interested in. Yuu says that she should not worry anymore, because Yuu no longer exists anymore and that Makoto from now on only will have an eye on Katsura. A train arrives and Yuu sees that Makoto came back. Makoto starts screaming that he is in love with Yuu and that he loves Yuu more than he loves Katsura. The train of Yuu is coming, but Makoto doesn’t want to lose Yuu anymore, so he runs on the tracks, but Yuu has to save him from the coming train. While Yuu does that, her wig falls off and she became Yuuki again. Yuuki says: “I think you knew it already, everything was an illusion. Go already, Katsura is waiting for you.” Yuuki tries to walk away, but Makoto grabs his dress. Yuuki says: “No way.. I’m a boy! You understand that already, right?! So just-” Makoto hugs him from behind and says: “Still I love you.” In the next scene, Makoto and Yuuki are laying in bed together. They talk about what happened at the station and that Yuuki actually fell in love with Makoto. Yuuki starts shaking his head and says: “What the hell should we say to Katsura.” Makoto said: “No worries, I got this.” Yuuki said: “What do you mean?-” And Makoto kisses him.
In the final scene, Chie en Yuuki go to school together. Kotonoha Katsura sees Yuuki and walks up to him and gladly tells him that she’s very happy about the outcome and thanks Yuuki for his phone call. According to Makoto, she is now his favorite girl and he keeps emphasizing that. Yuuki says that she should keep this conversation for when they meet in the library again, and Kotonoha agrees and walks back to Makoto. When Yuuki walks past Makoto, he whispers: “I wish you both the best of luck.” Makoto grabs him by his neck and whispers in his ear: “You are my favorite boy.” Yuuki is left blushing.

Cross Days [0verflow] – 蜻蛉 BAD ENDING

 

Summary:

Whenever Yuuki dresses like a girl, nobody recognizes him and his name changes to “Yuu”. Yuuki told Kotonoha that she doesn’t want to intervene between her and Makoto anymore, and that she should do that by herself. Yuuki walks away from her and Kotonoha hears Makoto saying that to Taisuke that he doesn’t care about Kotonoha and that they broke up. Kotonoha was sad, but she didn’t change to yandere modus.The rumor about “Yuu” goes around the school and everybody is in search of her, because she has caused misunderstandings. Roka confronts Kuroda about her dating Yuuki, and she laughingly disagreed and said that Yuuki likes Roka and Kuroda herself is in love with Taisuke since Middle School. Later on, Roka finds Yuu and confronts her about everything. She says that she’s in love with Yuuki and that Yuu should not come in between them. Roka tries to turn Yuu around and she sees that the girl looks a lot like Yuuki, so she said: “Yuu..ki? Is Yuu actually Yuuki dressed up? This doesn’t make any sense.” So she made herself believe that Yuu is not in fact Yuuki. Later on, Yuu is waiting for Makoto in the classroom to “reveal herself”. They meet up and they tell each other that they are in love, Makoto with words and Yuu through text, because she doesn’t want to reveal her manly voice. Makoto falls asleep and Yuu says: “I realized that I love you.. and because of that… we can’t be together anymore.” “I have to go back to Roka and you have to go back to Katsura. We have to get back to real life.” She writes “Goodbye” on the chalk board and leaves the room, leaving Makoto there asleep and shocked when he woke up and realized that Yuu was gone and the writing on the chalk board.
The next scene, Yuuki and Chie are walking to school, Chie is very tired, because she wants to get a nomination to get into a college through her basketball skills. Yuuki sees that Makoto is worn out, soulless, and Kotonoha is still by his side. Yuuki is shocked and says: “All the things that he has done to her, she is still by his side.” Roka walks up and Yuuki says that he loves her, this ending confirms that they’re finally dating.