Urashima, 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. The key to saving the island lies in three girls who belong to the three families. But they are bound by old traditions, and are conflicted. On that island, a lone man washes ashore. The man claims to be from the future, and he begins a solitary struggle to change the island's fate.
There's a term me and my friends usually joke around when talking about anime. It's the "Feel. Syndrome".
As the name suggests, it's an illness that affects a plethora of shows, and it's "feel." related because almost every adaptation from Studio feel.'s suffer from it.
It's when a show has the most beautiful, mesmerizing, breathtaking visuals and animation and atmosphere you'll ever encounter in your anime-watcher career, but only in order to carry the weight of an overall terribly average show, if not borderline bad, even.
Island is basically Feel. Syndrome's patient 0.
The visuals and the sound design are masterfully executed from start to finish. Great soundtrack, great
use of both SFXs and ambient noises, really gives the right atmosphere to the exotic, summery, sometimes dreamy-like scenarios. The concept and the whole idea of Island are also really nice, it's such a shame everything else kind of waste these good points.
Let me clarify.
Every character except the trio of main girls is as flat as they come, and the series doesn't seem to want to take not even a second to explain their reasoning, motives or personality traits, just relegating them as mere plot devices. Worst of all, the main character is included in this category. Talking about the devil, most of the times so far he hasn't done anything, really. He just seems to appear in places of interest and spectate what's happening, with minimal to no input from him if it isn't just him asking for lore and details.
"Plot, plot, plot, lore." "Oh, is that so?" "Yes." and there you have it, that was the interaction, now the plot goes on ... Or does it? Because sometimes it gets hilariously aching how much the main character is the one who SLOWS DOWN the plot, with the other characters progressing through their individual struggles and "destinies" while the main character just chooses to stay silent or to generally avoid conflict. And I get this, there are twelve episodes, it would be stupid to waste a lot of plot in the first two or three of them while the world-building is still at its very basics, but then don't tease it, don't make it looks like you're going to till the last second when you pull all out. At this point it just feels like bad writing when the mc is offered multiple situations for him to progress the plot and he just blandly refuses to avoid speeding up things.
In fact, after watching three episodes of Island I still can't grasp almost anything of his personality. Except for a few moments where he showed signs of impatience and easy excitement he just acts as a hollow shell for the watcher to fill in. Which isn't a problem for him, since he doesn't need a distinct personality or charisma of any kind. I mean, all three of the main girls right off the bat are completely infatuated with him, with one of them immediately willing to have intercourse with him just after the second time they talk to each other. Again, hollow shell for the viewer to fill in. Again, bad writing.
And here's the last problem with Island: I get it it's a visual novel adaptation, but with all the visuals, with all the masterful audio and SFXs, and the original interesting plot and everything else, the anime fails to deliver plot and situations in a clear manner: it gets pretty tedious when 90% of what the mc says are just sad excuses for a constant "tell, don't show", where character traits and what's happening at any given moment are explained verbally by other characters instead of being implied or visually represented. Almost never something is hinted or is left up for the viewers reasoning, it's always a plain and bland telling.
Island is a mess, but a mess with the potential to get good in the second half of its runtime. As of now, however, it's an easily droppable show if your main interest isn't pretending to have a cute harem of rural island waifus. I suggest the people interested in the actual plot to just play the game because this really feels like one of those anime where you have to endure the first seven to ten episodes before it gets to the good part.