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Visual Novel / Island

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Let me tell you the legend of this island: it's a story of tragic love.
Urashima is an island far from the mainland. The people who live there lead carefree lives. But five years ago, the island's three great families suffered a series of misfortunes, and succumbed to suspicion. The people of the island cut off all contact with the mainland, and began a slow decline. One day, a young man named Setsuna washes ashore claiming to be a time-traveler and suffering from amnesia. He meets three local girls: Sara, Rinne, and Karen. Their meeting will change the course of the island's fate.

An animated adaptation aired in July 1, 2018 as part of the Summer lineup. Funimation's Simuldub of the anime series premiered on July 21st, 2018. Watch it here.

SPOILER ALERT: Almost all the hidden text below contains enormous spoilers regarding the nature of the time-traveling mystery. You have been warned.

This visual novel and its animated adaptation contain examples of:

  • 12-Episode Anime
  • Abusive Parents: With the exception of Kuon, almost every parental figure in the story has either, neglected, abandoned or used their offspring to further their goals. Moritsugu (Karen's father) is a perfect example of this trope. Norimasa is a close second, as he used to abuse his own son, just because he wasn't born a girl.
  • Accidental Pervert: Karen stumbles upon a naked Setsuna during their first encounter.
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  • A-Cup Angst: Sara. Despite being 16 years old, she has quite a childish figure. Averted with her distant descendant, who mentions she had a growth spurt at 18 years of age. It is implied Sara will go through this as well.
  • After the End: The ISLAND subterranean cities are humanity's last refuge against the ice age that rages for several thousand years. It is implied that the one Setsuna travels to, might very well be the last one standing.
  • Afraid of Blood: When Sara tries to attack Setsuna, she trips and gets a nosebleed. When she notices she screams in panic.
  • Alternate Self: Setsuna and Rinne have met their many future reincarnations vía cryogenic sleep time travel.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Momoka and Subaru. While Momoka never denies her homosexuality, she doesn't actually confirms it. Subaru never drops the hint but considering Taro knows, it might not be much of a secret, although the Kurutsus are entirely unaware. Until Setsuna hilariously and unintentionally blows his cover during Karen's route, that is.
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  • Amnesiac Hero: Setsuna remembers nothing when he wakes up at Urashima, and even his name seems to belong to someone else.
  • Amnesia Loop: Setsuna rides this trope so hard.
  • Apocalypse How: The entire Winter chapter takes place inside the ISLAND city, an underground refuge for the last remnants of humanity 20,000 years into the future, where an ice age is ravaging the planet.
  • Arc Words: "I'm not your Setsuna."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Sara asks Karen whether going to the mainland would really allow her to easily find her dreams.
  • Big Fancy House: Rinne's house. So much that even Karen, who comes from another of the three families, envies it a lot.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The RE: ending. Although it's implied Setsuna and Rinne eventually got together for good.
  • Break the Cutie: Sara. She goes through a lot.
  • Breast Expansion: Both Karen and Rinne have noticeably larger chests in the anime adaptation. (In the Visual Novel, All the heroines sans Sarah are quite flat.)
  • Broken Bird: Sara is a textbook example.
  • But Now I Must Go: Setsuna resolves to help Rinne finish her time machine during the RE: Ending. And after doing all he can he then decides to cryo-sleep into the future once more so he can test the machine once it's completed. It's unclear how far into the future he goes but one secret CGI at the Gallery implies that he eventually stays with Rinne; for good.
  • Canon Foreigner: Emiri, An and Mei are characters exclusive to the Anime adaptation. They don't appear at all in the Visual Novel.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The data CD that Setsuna has with him at the beginning of the game, turns out to be blueprints for a time machine. The actual origin of it is never revealed.
  • Chekhov's Skill: after endless leaps into the future trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, Setsuna manages to retain his memories, allowing him to fix one of the many futures he's traveled into.
  • Chick Magnet: Setsuna. Either it's his carefree and amicable nature or how easy he is to trust and approach, but Setsuna has little trouble winning the heroine's hearts. Sadly, he doesn't seem to be particularly interested in any of them Except for Rinne.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Setsuna, though the chivalrous part doesn't show up very often. When he claims to be allergic to tatami, Karen offers to let Setsuna enter her room. Setsuna then quickly claims that he loves tatami to death,
  • Chuunibyou: After waking up on the island, Setsuna claims to everyone that he is a time traveller from the future whose objective is to save the world. It is this trope.
  • Crapsack World: The ISLAND city system as a whole. People can't go outside lest they be killed by the blizzard, there's barely any food and the power plant that controls the climate inside the city is on its last legs. To top it all off, the Church distributes rations and jobs selectively and riots and crime are punished swiftly and severely. Those without access to rations or employment have to steal to survive and girls as young as 9 are forced to do sexual favors just to eat.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sara and Setsuna. Big time. At first, anyway. While Sara is clearly a fan of the occult and crafts a ton of theories, she's always off the mark. Setsuna's ramblings, however, end up being true in the end.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Right after washing up at Urashima, Setsuna infers he comes from the future and his mission is to save the world.
  • Cute and Psycho: Sara is bent on killing Setsuna at first, her reasoning behind it is rather fuzzy too. Despite almost always being played for laughs, She actually kills him in 2 bad endings. The first one is right when Setsuna meets her. She stabs Setsuna in cold blood and all she does is laugh creepily. The second one is even worse, as an arbitrary set of choices triggers a psychotic episode and she repeatedly stabs Setsuna to death during her route.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Setsuna and Rinne. Setsuna impersonates both Ohara Setsuna (although unintentionally) and O'hara Setsuna. Both are long dead when this happens, naturally. And Rinne impersonates the deceased Ohara Kuon in order to keep the family's Matriarchal system intact.
  • Destructive Savior: Setsuna. No matter what future he's in or how good his intentions are, everything goes to hell once he gets involved. He manages to save one of the many futures he visits, but that's just one of countless. Oddly, no one ever mentions this, not even Setsuna himself.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Played for laughs after Setsuna and Rinne do the deed. He even tells to himself how size doesn't matter much in the end.
  • Disaster Scavengers: "The collarless" who live in the slums of the ISLAND city. They are not given rations or a job due to shortages so they have to make do however they can.
  • Does Not Like Men: Momoka. She spares no time making this clear right after you meet her.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Rinne's voice actress Yukari Tamura sings the anime's opening song.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In order to get the RE: ending (which is the true ending of the game), you need to see all the good endings in order, replay a story segment and then clear a set of choices to trigger it.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: When Sara jokingly suggests that the mainland may not exist, Karen buys into the scepticism immediately.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: When Setsuna contemplates suicide for breaking an expensive vase, the game screen displays an ending screen in the same format as any other ending.
  • Fanservice: Aside from a few cleavage and posterior shots, the visual novel is pretty lacking in the service department. the Anime adaptation on the other hand...
  • Faux Shadow: The game has a hefty amount of info-dumping on quantum mechanics and relativity theory, yet outside of world-building it has little influence in the plot. In the end, the cryo-tube is the Deus ex Machina which is used for time traveling and has little to no scientific basis on the aforementioned concepts.
  • Feuding Families: The three ruling families of Urashima. Moritsugu is particularly hostile towards the Oharas.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Setsuna is this trope incarnate. He's a time traveler always stranded on a distant future which makes quite difficult to confirm his actual origin. The RE: Ending heavily implies that the original Setsuna might have lived in Urashima hundreds of thousands of years ago.
  • First Kiss: Setsuna claims to have had his first kiss with Karen in a dark room. (Which, while misleading out of context, is true.)
  • Gratuitous English: For laughs.
    Setsuna: What's your name?
    Karen: (In Japanese) Do you think I'm an idiot? Doesn't that mean 'What's your name?'?
    Setsuna: Nooooooo!! Answer in English!!!!!
    Karen: Oh, oh... My name is Karen.
    Setsuna: Oh shit! What a fuckin pronunciation! Again!!
  • Genre Savvy: One of the time travelling methods Setsuna is familiar with and repeatedly refers to is exactly the choice system in visual novels.
  • Golden Ending: The RE: ending.
  • Good with Numbers: Sara and Setsuna.
  • Grandfather Paradox: Sara during her route. Half this and half a causality paradox. She somehow infers that she is destined to give birth to herself by going back in time and marrying her father. She's totally wrong.
  • G-Rated Sex: Characters make a suggestive remark and the screen fades to black, naturally. (It's an "all ages" game after all.)
    • Averted in Episode 10 of the anime, when Setsuna and Winter Rinne have sex before Setsuna enters the time machine.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: On a large scale. In the story's world, humanity is doomed to repeat an endless time cycle spanning 20,000 years, where civilization thrives for a time, becomes advanced enough to create time travel and then ultimately perishes when an ice age hits the planet. This happens again every 20 thousand years ad nauseam. (It is implied by Momoka that this loop could have happened due to misuse of time travel, but there's no way to confirm it.)
  • Happily Ever After: Karen, Sara and Rinne's routes end like this. With either the prospect of marriage or an actual wedding taking place.
  • Have We Met?: The lady at Ryuuguu to Setsuna.
  • Hikikomori: Kuon Ohara locks herself in her room and prefers to communicate with visitors with written notes. Because she has contracted a serious skin disease, and does not want anyone to see her in broad daylight.
  • Identity Impersonator: Rinne so much. After waking up at Urashima she's found by the Oharas who hire her as their servant. After Norimasa's wife Kuon passes away in some accident, she is instructed to assume her identity which she readily accepts. She never drops the act. At least not till the RE: Ending.
    • Setsuna does this at every future he travels to. During the Urashima timeline, he assumes the identity of Ohara Setsuna, his daughter Rinne's dead sweetheart, although he doesn't know at first. And during the Winter chapter he passes himself off as Rinne's older brother O'hara Setsuna. Both the Setsunas he impersonates have absolutely nothing to do with him, not in looks, personality or genetics.
  • Idiot Hair: Funnily enough, Mei grows a cowlick when a storm is approaching.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Setsuna says that if Karen insults him, it's okay.
  • Ill Girl: Kuon is a rare example where the ill girl is the heroine's mother.
  • Manchild: Kuon wears childrens' clothes, including a hood with animal horns, draws a heart at the end of each line in her notes, and talks in an immature manner.
  • Killing Your Alternate Self: Early in the game Setsuna has memory flashes of someone saying he's going to kill "Setsuna". In other words, himself. Later during the Winter chapter, we learn that in fact it was Setsuna who said this after traveling to the future and plans to use Rinne's time machine to fix everything by killing his past self, so that both of them never meet each other and Rinne can live relatively peacefully. He drops the idea later though.
    • During Rinne's route, thanks to Sara's ridiculous theories, Setsuna thinks he traveled to the past at some point to kill himself. This is entirely false.
  • Lost Technology: The time machine and the ruins of the ISLAND city.
  • Love Hurts: Just ask Setsuna and Rinne.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Sara. This doesn't help the fact that she's already quite mentally disturbed.
  • Meaningful Name: Rinne and Setsuna.
  • Meaningful Rename: Rinne and Rinne (As well as Karin Kurz, Karen Kurutsu and Sara Garando, Sarah Garland.)
  • Messy Hair: Sara's hair is relatively short but unkempt.
  • Multiple Endings: 17 of them. Many are bad ones.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Kuon, naturally.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Setsuna every time you trip a bad ending flag.
  • Mysterious Note: Setsuna finds one in Rinne's father's book, published ten year prior: Setsuna must die.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Setsuna being beaten up by kids on the beach, then getting questioned by Harisu. Then meeting Kuon naked for the first time and taking her to Harisu. Then stripping on the beach in front of Sara and Karen, after Karen stripped off her maid suit to reveal her bikini.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Any of the bad endings.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The Urashima timeline. Everything indicates it happens during the summer of 1999 A.D., but in truth the actual year might be 250,000 A.D. or more. See "Groundhog Day" Loop entry.
  • No Sense of Direction: Setsuna.
  • Not a Morning Person: Setsuna, to the point that Karen has to wake him up.
  • Nice Hat: Rinne almost always wears a sailor's cap.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: From past to the future only. The cryogenic tube the marine researchers find near Urashima allows the occupant to freeze him/herself and wake up in the distant future.
  • Parental Incest: Setsuna and his daughter Rinne develop a romantic relationship, sleep together and during Rinne's route even get married. To be fair, Setsuna wasn't aware of this fact. Chillingly, during the RE: Ending, Rinne heavily implies that she figured this out at some point. Considering her ending, she doesn't seem to mind.
  • Oblivious to Love: Setsuna. Justified since he has no memory and doesn't remember how much he's head over heels with Rinne. He subconsciously shoots down other prospects due to this however.
  • Plot Hole: Rife with them. In the end it sort of works itself out, but many loose ends have to be settled with educated speculation.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: Setsuna breaks one and thinks that he gets fired by Rinne.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Rinne and Karen have waist-length hair.
  • Red Herring: Ohara Setsuna, the actual heir of the Ohara family was neglected and hidden from public eye due to Urashima's matriarchal model. His role in the story seems important as he is regarded as the "original" Setsuna and was Rinne's first crush, but as clarified in the Mid-summer chapter, he is not related at all to the Setsuna we know and play as. He's there to throw clever speculators off.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Averted. Setsuna invariably loses all his memories after each cryogenic trip. The trope is played straight after many, many trips, though.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The premise that drives a good chunk of the plot. The first half of Rinne's route concludes in tragedy due to the time travel shenanigans of her parents. So both of them concoct a plan to fix the mess with even more time traveling.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Whenever Sara attempts to assassinate Setsuna and it backfires.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The skin disease is said to be a punishment on the island's citizens for the ancient Setsuna and Rinne's incestuous relationship.
  • Sweet Tooth: Mentioning desserts to Karen is an instant mood improver.
  • Take a Third Option: Deconstructed with a vengeance in the Winter chapter. Trying to appease both neo-Avalon and the church is hard enough, but Setsuna neither has the knowledge of those organization's history or actual ability to make a change. This only leads to hurting both sides and the eventual destruction of the ISLAND.
  • Teeny Weenie: Harisu mentions to Setsuna that the CD he used to cover up his private parts was a single. Later, he claims that other people on the island have begun to call him Single-kun.
  • The Power of Love: Of the transcending time and space variety.
  • Title Drop: Every 5 minutes.
  • Temporal Mutability: Played with. Setsuna doesn't actually travel to the past. He simply freezes himself in a cryogenic tube and wakes up thousands of years later. It's always a one-way trip, however, so any changes he makes in the future are carried over to the next future he travels to. The RE: ending reveals that he has traveled to the future countless times and by extension, has introduced many changes into the timeline. So this is one of the most flexible examples of the trope.
  • Temporal Paradox: The entire game is this. A rather complicated example but here we go. Rinne is the daughter of Rinne and S.Setsuna who came from the post apocalyptic past/future in a cryo-tube to Set Right What Once Went Wrong . Rinne lost her memories due to the cryo-sleep (although she remembers eventually) and later on assumed the identity of the late Ohara Kuon and gave her daughter Rinne the same surname. This Rinne met O.Setsuna (the original Setsuna and neglected Ohara's family son) and became friends with him. They later became stranded on a desert island. They find a boat but it only has room for one person. O.Setsuna finds the cryogenic tube, infers it can be used as a boat and puts Rinne in it. She makes it to Urashima and is found and woken up 4 years later, not having aged a day. O.Setsuna however, tries to use the boat to get back but dies from a head wound before he can. (the game tells you later that he is not related at all with the Setsuna you play with.) Instead, S.Setsuna who comes from the same period as Rinne washes up at Urashima with no memories and meets his daughter Rinne and Kuon. (Rinne in disguise) The game starts here and the events that unfold afterwards will be the catalyst to S.Setsuna's trip to the post apocalyptic past/future where he meets Rinne. As for S.Setsuna's origin, a good guess is that he is an alternate timeline Setsuna. Yes. Take a few minutes to let all that sink in.
    • Played with during Sara's route. She believes to have traveled to the past to save Urashima from disaster, changed her name to Maria (her mother's name), married a younger Setsuna and gave birth to her current 16 year old self. This is entirely off the mark though. In reality, Maria, her mother, left Urashima and staged her death to protect Sara. The family has issues.
    • Setsuna and Rinne become the paradox by brute force as the cryogenic tubes they both use allow them to meet again after several thousand years. The paradox is fittingly illustrated at the RE: Ending, where Setsuna realises there has been many Setsunas and Rinnes who have traveled through time to meet again.
  • Time Machine: Of sorts. The cryo-tube (called "cold sleep machine" because why not?) is a one-way trip into the distant future. The actual time machine is a blueprint. We're left to wonder if it ever gets completed.
  • The Ditz: Karen will believe whatever you tell her, no matter how silly, as long as it doesn't sound supernatural.
  • The Klutz: Setsuna. Seriously, how can he manage to mess up so many chores?
  • The Plague: Soot-blight Syndrome, A mysterious disease endemic to Urashima has afflicted its citizens and befuddled scientists for generations and is the reason why the island is cut-off from Japan's mainland.
    • The origin of the disease is later explained during the Winter chapter and is revealed to have been spawned by humanity's lack of exposure to the sun during the many ice ages that devastate the planet every 20,000 years. Sudden and extended exposure to sunlight after generations of underground life is effectively fatal for those susceptible to it. To make matters worse, the disease is hereditary and still affects people in the future, even when the ice age is long over.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Karen to Sara, because she resents Sara for rejecting Moritsugu's adoption offer, forcing her to inherit the family title.
  • The Runaway: Karen, at the beginning of the game. Until Setsuna spoils her plan, anyway. She applies to be a maid at Rinne's house to fund her runaway.
  • Sneeze Cut: When Karen is talking to Tarou about her friends An, Emiri and Mei, all three of them sneeze right after the other while at some hot springs. They quickly deduce who's talking about them and Karen sneezes in return.
  • Those Three Girls: Emiri, An and Mei are always seen together.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Sara and corn. So much that Karen gives her bags of corn as presents, and she still wants more at Ryuuguu.
  • Useless Protagonist: Inverted. Setsuna has a massive inferiority complex and indulges in it right to the end. Uran echoes him from time to time, but this never really cements itself. Setsuna is not useless at all. He's educated, intelligent, has social skills, manages to land well paid jobs and is well loved by those he involves himself with. Yet several characters demean and undermine him. His monologues are quite pessimistic and this doesn't really change until very late in the game.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Setsuna. He lacks common sense, confidence and productivity. Most of the time his meddling is ill-timed or pointless. Worse is, that he is always well aware of his shortcomings, yet he never works to correct them.

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