ISLAND 🏝 (Visual Novel Book Club) [ongoing]

THANK YOU!!! Wow, this is just what I have been looking for! I have been going crazy switching between full screen and window. This looks so much easier!

2 Likes

I see, but then in total, it’s about the same size as ISLAND! And you did plan Flowers to run for a year :grin: (but are going much faster!)

Yeah I was expecting Route C to be as long as the Prologue, Route A and Route B, that’s why one day I read 50k, I was so sure I would get to the end that day :o got really surprised, hopefully even though you know the length there will still be some surprises in for you!

True! Nice to see where you are :smiley:

Reply

You wrote Sara but I’m guessing you mean Rinne? That’s Route C. If you want to know the character count now yep Rinne’s route is about exactly 110.000 char too, like the other parts (Prologue, Karen’s route, Sara’s route). But the difference is that at the end of her path (that you will see coming by the flowchart reaching the bottom of the page), her ending is not unlocked yet, something else happens! It takes then 280.000 more of adventure to get to her ending :slight_smile:

Reply

You have completely Sara’s route so not a spoiler for you, but in case someone else hasn’t:

It’s a bit like during Sara’s route where Sara’s says she’s Maria, no she’s not, yes she is, no she is not. Then the nurse says she is Sara’s mom, no she is not, yes she is… Well in ISLAND as you have maybe noticed, there are “yellow” dots on the flowchart for the main endings. There are 4 of those to unlock: Karen, Sara, Rinne, and a number 4. That’s the one that took some time for me to unlock. Basically if you stop at Rinne’s ending you have some idea of what the mystery were, not a lot is unanswered so you can leave it here, but if you go the fourth ending, they kind of twist it around AGAIN, like I described with Sara’s route :sweat_smile: so I can see why people didn’t want that to happen and would have preferred to leave it where it was. I didn’t mind it but now I’m definitely a bit confused on some things, I think I need to read a bit about it.

Curious to see the anime’s take on everything, will probably try and watch it!

Wow cool tips! Never knew for JL, looks really cool. Will include those in the first post.

2 Likes

Ah, I had forgotten to answer that one, sorry :slight_smile:
So in August 23 when I started ISLAND I was Wanikani level 37 (I started WK in July 2022 and was very much speed running the beginning). I had just finished Genki 1 and Genki 2.
Reading wise, I had read a few manga (the beginner series ハピネス and よつばと! ), and 3 other volumes of different series, so 26 volumes in total. I had played 5 VNs in English (with Japanese voice), and never read a novel or visual novel.
So ISLAND really helped me grow a lot in terms of reading speed, stamina, and of course vocabulary :slight_smile: It was very funny when I started to read my first novel in October 23, I was so nervous that it would be hard, but it really wasn’t, thanks to all the training from ISLAND (note that I use Yomichan for novel reading too)
It was really a great experience to read a VN in Japanese thanks to Textractor, to improve on the reading skills that way. And honestly, I picked ISLAND because I have some VNs I want to play that I have heard are very good (STEIN:GATE, Fata Morgana), so I didn’t want to read those yet and wanted to keep them for when my Japanese will be better. I had zero expectation for ISLAND and just wanted to use it as a learning tool. But I must say that I have enjoyed playing it a lot :smiley:
Now, I think my next read will be something shorter, but at least I know that I can complete such a big project! It’s a great feeling!

3 Likes

I’m sure it is! And very inspiring too! You really have come a long way in a year then, both in terms of Wanikani levels and in terms of Japanese reading abilities. Congratulations again!

I’m close to where you were back then I guess, but at a lower level WK wise. It will be fun to see where I can be in a year!

2 Likes

Thank you!! :heart_eyes: I’m super happy that some of you have chosen to join me on that journey! Really makes my day when I read that you enjoy it too :grin:

Totally! If you can read ISLAND, and you can, you’re quite fast, then you can read anything :grin:

3 Likes

More thoughts on Route C. Chapter: いいんだよ無理して思い出さなくても

Thoughts

I wasn’t sure whether to call this Route C or not since its kind of its separate thing. The flowchart lists it as 冬編 and the title screen as “Never Island” but marking a post like that would probably be a big spoiler.

Anyways, this part is definitely long. I think I’ve read around 120k~ characters since last week but it feels like I’m only halfway through this.

I think this part of the game has been nice so far. Kind of reminds me of a Key game since some of those follow the formula of doing all the routes then a title screen change with a new scenario, new music etc like this. Speaking of, the new music has been really good so far. These new songs are probably my favorite in the game.

This portion of the game really highlights the difference in how the MC acts around certain characters. Seems like the amount of ecchi jokes goes way up during Karen/Sara scenes and then a lot less for Rinne scenes (although there are still some there, they just feel a lot less frequent). I was hoping we’d be done with those jokes at this point :stuck_out_tongue:

Rinne singing a random theme song for them was cute

I also thought it was funny when they brought up Schrödinger’s cat. Don’t know why but it’s like a huge meme in VNs to always include it somewhere

2 Likes
Route C, at the point that AzusaChan mentions

Exactly! When I found out I was super surprised and of course a lot of things from the first post are not fitting, but don’t want to change it and spoil it. Also it was very hard to not tell you “Don’t worry, you’ll be playing Winter soon enough” :grimacing:

Me tooo!!! I love them!

Haha that’s very funny, I had no idea.

Honestly I was a bit mad at the beginning. I really wanted to have Rinne’s resolution, and not play a whole new game? but after a couple of days of playing I accepted the situation and started to enjoy it anyway. Loved the “new” characters, I prefer the 3 girls from Winter over their Summer version!

1 Like
Route B Scene 1-3

I read a bit beyond the first choice over the last couple of days (was hoping to get an interesting bad ending but choose the right path by accident). The scenes are pretty long again, and I feel like I’ve hardly made any progress but the pacing seems better than in Route A. So far, the story didn’t get bogged down in bantering so much and instead felt semi-relevant to the main plot the entire time.

Most important question of the entire story:

3 Likes

Another Route C update. Chapter: 冬編 completed

Thoughts

I’m not too sure how I feel about the winter section overall. There were some things I liked (especially the new music) but it feels like that section was unnecessary long. Maybe I’m just getting impatient wanting to know how everything gets resolved at this point but it felt like an extended version of the prologue where we had to re-“learn” about all the characters. Their personalities are very identical in summer vs winter version which made it less interesting this time around for me.

I did enjoy some of the world building to see how the future was but at the same time, I think they could have cut a lot of stuff out while having the same impact. For example, when they had that entire monologue about the prisoner’s dilemma and then immediately followed it up with the bread example. I think they could have cut the monologue and only used the bread scene to explain it. It would have helped the pacing while keeping the character development for everyone in there. The monologue that preceded that felt like unnecessary padding to me.

That’s just one example but overall, I think I would have liked this section more if it was more concise I guess.

Outside of that, some interesting scenes was with the 煤紋病 and Karen. Halfway through this route I was wondering if that was going to be an important plot point or not but it made sense that most people in that timeline wouldn’t even be aware of it since the Island is isolated from the world.

I’m looking forward to seeing how everything resolves itself since it seems like we will be back at the beginning of the game but with Setsuna’s memory intact this time? Hoping I can finish the game before the end of next week.

1 Like

I’m in the middle of Rinne’s route that is, the middle of the first part. I know that there’s more!

It all feels so … I don’t know what to say, maybe disconnected? Rinne was washed out at sea and woke up at another island where she was together with Setsuna, and then 5 years later, she wakes up in a boat back on the original island. What really happened during those 5 years?

The story has had a slow build-up for a while, but it feels like it’s about to get going now. I can’t wait to read more!

2 Likes

Loving to read all your thoughts about the game :slight_smile:
Just updated the index table.

As for me, I’m still in the middle of catching up on the others Clubs that I neglected while playing ISLAND furiously (Quartet and the ABC) but almost caught up now, just in time to start Flowers Hiver!
It’s been a week without playing ISLAND, it does feel a bit weird :grimacing:
Will have a look at my notes today and try to post my thoughts!

4 Likes

And here come my review and my thoughts! I tried to sort it so you can read some of it now, and the rest is in spoiler tags for later :grin:

General review

I found the writing quite beautiful in general. I also thought that it had a nice rhythm, even when I was reading at a slow pace of 1.000k per day I wasn’t getting bored as enough was happening (only towards the end, I was getting so impatient to have answers, that I had a hard time enjoying the slice of life scenes). I found it well balanced between lore building, slice of life so you can get attached to the characters, and plot reveals and twists. At some point you kind of get the mechanisms of the jokes or of the plot reveals, but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying them when they happened or of still being surprised.

Also liked how they made the “special effects”, the sounds and the cuts and so on.
Spoiler if you haven’t unlocked Rinne’s ending:When Setsuna got the CD back and played it, I was so excited and holding my breath so bad. Also liked for example how they rendered the time passing when Setsuna is in the time capsule.

When I started this VN, I didn’t like so much the fact that the MC talks so much to himself. I found it harder to read than dialog and prefered when it was voiced. But by the end I realized that I really grew to like it. And it really built up my reading skills, before starting this VN I had never read a novel, and now they are not a problem (as long as I can still do lookups with Yomichan haha).
Was also a big plus for me that it had a premade deck on JPDB.

Would definitely say that the musics are a plus for this VN, they were always great at setting the mood.
Favorite musics (not in a particular order):

  • In the Cycle of Seasons (probably the most iconic since it plays on the start screen, sometimes I launched the game and started doing something else while it loaded, and then heard the music for a while)
  • For Always
  • Empty Words
  • The Unfortunate Truth
  • Power Out of Pain
  • My feelings, My mission
  • Scornful Gazes
  • Silent Gears
  • A Charcoal Sky
  • Your Cold Hands On My Face

I really enjoyed this VN, from the beginning to the end, I would probably give it 4/5 stars if I was rating it. I don’t think it’s for everybody, I know some of the parts and the “humour” can be off puting, but for me it was a great relaxing and fun experience, plus entertaining and great for my learning. I felt like what was only going to be only a learning tool grew into something much greater and really fun.

Random things that I liked in this VN:

Things specific to the Japanese language:

Spoiler if you haven't finished Route A and Route B
  • For people from the same family you can reuse the same kanji (凛音 and 玖音, 紗羅 and 末羅, 夏美 and 夏蓮)
  • You can even use the sounds in reverse for character names that are the same person (有馬 ありま and 万里愛 まりあ)
Spoiler if you haven't unlocked Rinne's ending
  • In the Winter route, when リンネ asks セツナ what’s his new job, he starts to say サラ… but then changes his mind and says 皿洗い. I thought that that was very funny.
  • You can mean different things / people if you write 輪廻 凛音 りんね リンネ

Things specific to the story:

Spoiler if you haven't finished Route A

* How I was sure that they were going to go to the station and then it just exploded.

Spoiler if you haven't unlocked Rinne's ending
  • When we were casually having a slice-of-life moment in Rinne’s route, chatting with Karen and Sarah, and the bomb is dropped that she disappeared for a whole 5 years and reappeared not a day older. W.h.a.t. That was the big moment of “wow, it’s on, time travelling is a thing and now we’re going to talk about it!!!”
  • At the end of Rinne’s route (the first one), when Setsuna wants Sara’s mom to help him, he threatens her jokingly “I will tell the truth about your boobs”. I thought that this was amazing. The writers have dedicated so much energy to painting Setsuna as a perv, that it feels normal to anybody that he says stuff like that, and they can’t suspect what it really means, that he knows who she is because of the birth mark.
  • Hey we went to the station anyway :smiley: hehehe :smiley:
  • I thought it was 3 routes and that’s it. Wow how was I wrong! So much content! Had fun trying to find all the routes blind, appreciated that it was possible in this VN.
  • The resolution in the Winter route. Would have expected something like he works together with the 3 girls and is sent back to the past. Wasn’t expecting that the whole world would be thrown off balance from one of his stupid joke and that two of the girls would die!
  • I liked that knowing that and all we learned from Rinne’s route (and the other routes) we get to replay the prologue, that was really fun. Interesting to see how he reflects about how not to mess it up this time. And how all sentences are the same than the first time around but now they feel completely different. Even the blurred images in the background, now we know them (リンネ, and the drawing of the triangle with their two names).
  • While it’s not the main story, I think it was interesting how the whole thing made me reflect on daughter-mother relationship.
  1. I thought Rinne’s mother to be quite distant, she isn’t shown to use that much time with Rinne. Well never mind, she is not her mother after all. This is also not discussed a lot by the way.
  2. Karen’s mother leaving the Island to pursue her career, leaving her daughter behind, was interesting. I have two daughters and have a hard time seeing myself do that. But at the same time I can kind of see it.
  3. Sara’s mother faking her death and leaving her daughter thinking that she is an orphan, now that one was special :o and interesting how in the end she tried hard to come back into Sara’s life.
  • Nice how you can help everybody at once. In some other VNs I’ve played, if you go to route A, you help person A fulfill their dream. If you replay and go route B, person B fulfills their dream, but not A then. While here, when we finish Rinne’s route, Sara’s wish is fulfilled: the Island is saved from the disease thanks to her mom, and Karen’s wish is fulfilled, she can move to the mainland.
Spoiler if you haven't unlocked every ending
  • Loved the “quiz” in the end to get the last ending. Basically the VN challenging you to see if you understood the game. Well of course I had a few things wrong :joy: the first question I had no idea, and I had answered セツナ instead of 刹那. The rest, I was pretty sure, but replayed the scene with trial and error until I got all right.
  • How does this game keep blowing my mind, everytime you think you know everything, you really don’t. I liked that reveal. I never quite felt that リンネ and 凛音 where the same person, I thought that they had very different personalities. リンネ is very sweet, 凛音 is very demanding and bossy. And I always liked 玖音, so I’m actually very happy! Also it explains a lot about why 玖音 is almost flirty with 切那 at the beginning. Maybe I should replay the prologue to see NOOOOOOOOOO :joy:
  • Well so many things that we learn in the end. I read a bit online, found this discussion and pretty much agree with this analysis: Sanzenkai Setsuna - Google Docs
3 Likes
Route B Scene 7 / Save 11

I passed two more choices on the way and failed to run into bad endings again, so my ending completion score is still stuck at 17%.

The scene where they spent a whole day fishing started to feel a bit drawn out and repetitive by the end, but all in all, I still really like this route with its constant dark undertones and the steady stream of revelations about the island’s history it provides. So we now know the purpose of the huts with the torii marks, and all signs point to Maya dying in the fire, and Maria was apparently on a quest to flash her boobs at Setsuna… erm I mean, face her family’s past and change the island with Rinne’s father just before they both died.

I feel like I’ll have to keep reading at a steady pace so that I won’t have forgotten all the clues by the time their solution comes around, but I got no idea how well this is work. Next week I’ll be travelling for half the week, I hope it won’t break my momentum.

3 Likes

I’ve finished the VN :partying_face: That was a lot of reading in order to finish it this month, read around 430k~ characters in the last 23 days.

Overall thoughts/spoilers for entire game

I don’t think this VN was really for me. If it wasn’t for the club, I think I probably would have dropped it before even making it to Rinne’s route. With that said, I think the winter route and everything that comes after it are the strongest parts of the VN and I enjoyed that part of the VN a lot more than the prologue & character routes.

The biggest issue for me is that I never really vibed with the comedy and that felt like a big focus. The game did have some good jokes sprinkled in but a lot of the jokes when Sestuna is talking to like Karen or Sara fell really flat for me. It also didn’t help that I never liked Setsuna that much either. I’m glad he wasn’t a self-insert MC but I couldn’t really empathize with him at all throughout the VN.

My other big complaint is the pacing. I don’t mind long VNs, some of my favorites are just as long or longer than this one but this one felt like it was padded with a lot of filler. Feels like not much was happening and then when it was getting closer to revelations, there would be a plot twist to extend things even further and it felt like the story wasn’t making progress. I normally like slice of life stuff a lot, so if I was more into the characters/humor then this probably wouldn’t have been an issue for me.

For things I liked, I thought the music was nice. The OST for the first half had some nice tracks but once it got to the winter part, that’s where it really shined. All of the new tracks there were so good it almost felt like someone else was composing that part of the VN. My favorite song is either 無言の歯車 or 黒に限りなく近い夜空. Those two had a really nice atmospheric quality to them.

For the most part, I liked the 凛音 and リンネ scenes. Although the first half of 凛音’s route was kind of weak since it was mainly a buildup into winter, I still thought it was the best of the 3 girls. The police officer guy was cool too, I think he probably had the best jokes in this VN.

As for the actual ending and the mystery stuff, it feels like they left a lot unanswered. I don’t think it was mentioned what they were trying to save the world from? In the beginning I thought they were trying to find a cure for 煤紋病 or something but Sara’s mom is already doing that.

There are a lot of red herrings in this VN too. MC Setsuna and the Ohara one aren’t the same people but MC still had the memories in that cabin for some reason. I didn’t understand how MC had memories of all the other routes either.

The “Re:” ending was kind of weird. It’s basically implied that Setsuna is actually 凛音’s father which ends up making her ending with the wedding a little awkward. I think in winter Setsuna was saying how he just wanted リンネ to have a normal life with a family so I honestly thought it was gonna end with those two together since they both retained their memories from that time. It felt like they were finally going to break the “curse” but then Setsuna ends up leaving them.

While this VN may not have been my thing, I still enjoyed discussing it and reading everyone’s thoughts. :grin:

3 Likes

Congrats on finishing! Impressive that you made it so fast and really nice timing!
It is quite far away from Flowers so I am not too surprised that it was really your thing :slight_smile: but nice to hear that you enjoyed some of the things anyway!

Reply on the spoilery things

Yeah that part was also a bit weird to me. Maybe the real true ending is to go for Karen’s route and forget all about the world saving and time traveling :joy:

2 Likes

I forgot to ask, do you have your final character count?
I wonder if it’s close to mine or close to JPDB’s.

1 Like

I’m not sure what my total final count was. I got a new computer in May so I had to start with a fresh page when I started reading this again. I started reading again until the middle of Sara’s route and my final count starting from then was 500,153 characters long. Can’t remember what my count was before that though.

1 Like

I love how this game makes fun of itself. Here’s today’s example:

「このゲームの登場人物は18歳以上です、とだけ言っておこう」

Just saying that this is a game … inside a game … breaking the illusion for a minute. I love it!

3 Likes