I was under the assumption that seaplane-faring deliveryperson Mikuru Amelia’s quest for the titular island would prove to be as elusive as the next volume in this series. So it’s only fitting that she discovers it shortly into this second volume. Now that she’s finally found it, everything’s great. Right? Well, not only is she greeted by cannonfire from the island on her approach, which manages to damage her seaplane, but the island’s inhabitants are a grouchy, secretive bunch that would rather she leave as soon as she can. Mikuru has invested too much in her search to do that, except that there’s only so much she can do in the face of near-united indifference from these people.
If I was being generous, I’d say that this volume of “Wandering Island” is a fine illustration of how sometimes a great journey can end in a very disappointing way. Even though Mikuru invested so much in finding the island, there was no guarantee that she’d get any satisfaction once she found it. The thing is, that’s about all of the plot that can be scraped from this volume which is mostly made up of wordless stretches detailing Mikuru’s exploration of the island. It all looks great thanks to mangaka Kenji Tsuruta’s art and he gives his protagonist enough personality to allow the reader to empathize with her plight. If only there was more going on than a final-page cliffhanger to allow the reader to become invested in the story itself.
Anyone who does get to that final page is not advised to hold their breath for vol. 3. As editor Carl Horn mentions in his afterword, the installments in this volume were published over a five-year span in Japan. So I wouldn’t expect vol. 3 before sometime in 2024. Given a potential wait like that, along with the thin content of this volume, it’s hard for me to recommend you invest in this series at all. Where a title like “Die Wergelder” can sustain my interest due to its omnibus release and a storyline crammed with plot, we don’t get those things here. I can only justify supporting a title like “Wandering Island” because I’d like to see more titles like it -- ones that target an older audience that’s interested in adventure stories that don’t revolve around schoolchildren -- as opposed to more volumes of the series itself.