ISLAND's Rule of 3

Girls and families take on different meanings this summer season

Far off from mainland Japan lies an island known as Urashima. On this island live three different families that have historically played important roles on the island and as it so happens, each of these three families had daughters. This season’s ISLAND is set here on Urashima and the show’s main character Setsuna has gotten to meet each of these girls and learn more about their families. However, each family and their daughters have a different outlook of life on the island and as such represent different aspects of life here. With that said, what outlooks do these three seperate groups have, and what are the ideas they represent? And more importantly, what could this all possibly mean for what fate lies in store for them and the island? 




The first girl Setsuna meets on the island is the temperamental and rebellious Karen Kurutsu. As the daughter of the town’s mayor, she has a certain expectation to meet that was set up by her father. Karen’s father, and by extension the Kurutsu family, is a strict follower of the island’s traditions and is the main force pushing the island to follow said traditions. These traditions include things like keeping outsiders off of the island and setting up an arranged marriage for Karen.


With this said, Karen isn’t too fond of the idea of following these traditions. Five years ago, her mother left the island and began living in the mainland; Karen’s goal is to cast aside the traditions her father is trying to force her into and make it to the mainland however she can. In contrast with what her family and name represents not only to the story but to the people of the island, Karen represents modern culture wanting to move to the island. Karen’s classmates talk about how they’d love to have a new product that just came out on the mainland since the island has been kept behind months if not years the mainland through tradition.



The next girl Setsuna meets is ISLAND’s poster girl, Rinne Ohara. Though little is known about her family, Rinne herself is quite an odd individual. She lives a secluded lifestyle, only coming out at night, and somehow knows Setsuna despite no one else on the island seeming to recognise him. There are strange buildings around the island that resurface unpleasant memories for her, she believes herself to be connected to the goddess that shares her given name, and she even claims to have a deadly case of the so-called soot blight syndrome, a deadly disease that harms people who come in contact with sunlight, that plagues the island.


Rinne represents the mystery surrounding the island. She seems to have a hand in several unexplained things as well holding back some kind of trauma. However, it’s uncertain which things she truly has some kind of connection to and which things she’s entirely made up. It’s eventually found out that Rinne doesn’t have soot blight syndrome at all and this brings up the possibility that everything else Rinne claims to have a connection to is just a farce. This nicely relates to the mystery of the island and even Setsuna, as this could just be a completely normal island and Setsuna could just have amnesia because of an accident, or there really could be something deeper going on.



The last of the three main girls that Setsuna meets is the small and adorable Sara Garandou. Being a kind of idol, Sara is the one and only shrine maiden on the island and has a deep fascination with the island’s mythology. Her birth supposedly temporarily cured the island of soot blight syndrome, with there being not a single child born with the disease for a whole decade after she was born. However, after a fire killed her family, the cases of soot blight syndrome rose back to what it was before her birth. For this reason, Sara feels like all she needs to do is regain the powers she had when she was born in order to cute soot blight syndrome for good.


Sara, and by extension the Garandou family, represent the legends of the island. Seeing as Sara is the only shrine maiden on the island, her fascination with the gods and curses that only apply to the island makes sense. She’s tasked herself with finding out how to lift the “curse” of soot blight syndrome and naturally that means sticking to supernatural remedies.



All three girls and families add to the mystery of ISLAND and do a great job of making each possible outlook of life Urashima feel represented. Whether it be tradition, legend, or something beyond those two, the island’s most important girls have it covered.


Tsuyuki Arumaya is a fiction author, editorial writer, and anime reviewer. You can find his editorials on the blog Anime Corps and follow him on Twitter @Dististik.

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