Image source: showgatetrailer on YouTube

As a story Sagrada Reset has it all: superpowers, mystery, conspiracy, and deep characters. The new live-action movie nails the first three… It’s working on that last one.

Back when I saw the premiere showing of the first two episodes of the upcoming anime, Sagrada Reset, I was blown away. The series hits all the right buttons for me. That’s why I was more than a little nervous going into the live-action movie adaptation. Japan has a rather spotty track record when it comes to live-action adaptations. The more fantastical, the worse it tends to be.

Still, I did my best to remain optimistic and after watching the first half of the two-part movie adaptation of the award-winning light novel series, I can say that most of my fears were safely laid to rest. Most of them.

Sagrada Reset takes place in the fictional town of Sakurada, a mysterious town where people develop superpowers. Leaving the town causes people to forget about their powers, making Sakurada its own little bubble. The story follows the protagonist, Kei Asai, a boy with the ability to retain and recall any memory he has ever had. His partner in crime is Misora Haruki, a girl with the ability to “reset” the universe to the state where she last “saved” it—including herself. Together, they work in a club that is overseen by the town’s administrative bureau to solve the problems of people seeking help.

Kei and Misora are both haunted by the death of their friend, Sumire Souma, and have been spending the last two years trying to find a way to resurrect her. However, no one in Sakurada has ever manifested the power to bring back the dead.

Things take a turn when a case comes to them from an old man who claims that his ability to use his power has been erased…

Right off the bat, the movie dives right into its world and does a good job of explaining most of the basic rules. Having already seen the first two episodes of the anime, I did my best to try to view the movie as though I didn’t already know all the basics to see if there were any gaps that would require outside explanation and was pleased to find it covered the bases well. The world is believable and very easy to get into.

The plot itself was well put together and grabbed me from very early on and pulled me right in. The mysteries and twists, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless entertaining to see play out. You are given characters with deus ex machina level abilities and the story successfully puts them in a situation where they feel powerless and barely hanging on by their fingernails.

Image source: showgatetrailer on YouTube

Unfortunately, it’s in the character department where the movie stumbles—particularly in the actors’ acting abilities. No one was overly “bad” per se. Everyone showed convincing emotion, but there were definite differences in presence from character to character.

Both the main character and heroine lacked true distinctiveness that comes with carrying a movie. The way the actors portrayed them, it felt like the characters could have been played by anybody with a pretty face and had taken an introductory acting class. Instead of carrying the story, they ended up being carried by the story instead.

The same could be said for the plot antagonists as well. While their characters had more distinction to them, they lacked weight, which was a shame. Both were threatening, but they just weren’t scary—which, considering what both of them were capable of, should not have been the case.

I didn’t want to bring in any baggage from the anime series, but with the character of Misora Haruki I just couldn’t help it. The Misora in the live action movie is criminally underdeveloped. We are shown scenes of her first meeting with Kei and, sadly, none of the depth and change that makes her into the person she is at the start of the movie is present. Knowing her backstory, I can honestly say the Misora is an amazing character, and to see her in the movie reduced to basically your standard cute shy girl was extremely disappointing.

Overall, the first live-action Sagrada Reset was and entertaining ride, but felt very tame and normal—or as tame and normal as stories about super-powered teens can get.

For the most part, all the plot threads that needed concluding were concluded in a satisfying manner—save for one character I’m hoping will get their conclusion in the sequel. The weakness of the primary actors and the time constraints of being a movie made what should be a rich engrossing story into essentially the diet version of what it could be: It’s a tasty meal, but after dinner’s over, you don’t feel as full as you think you should.

The first live-action Sagrada Reset movie premiered in Japan on March 25, 2017. The sequel will open in Japanese theaters on May 13, 2017. The has been no word on a Western release.

The Sagrada Reset anime series will begin airing in Japan on April 5th. No streaming info at this point.

Comments (2)
  1. Your criticisums are harsh because you are disappointed the live-action didn’t match your memories of the anime. You are unrealistic that such a layered performance by any character can be achieved for a production of this length. It would have been better if you provided your thoughts on the psycology behing the narative. It is weird and disturbing. I suspect idividuals watch movies for reasons different to reading manga and producers/directors and actors understand that.

  2. So having viewed both parts of the live-action I took a look at the manga. It has all the awkwardness and the feeling of disjointedness. The subtitles are a little better, though in fairness the LA does warn it is beta rushed out for fans, but this is hugely dependant on dense dialogue and the lines come stacato so to get any proper idea of what is happening and why multiple replays are necessary. Plot development is very thin and so is character development. I watched this as I like the main actors and have seen them in other doramas which have been thoroughly absorbing. Yuina Kuroshima’s Mare is magical and shows her acting ability. All the cast members did well but their characters are very hard to get drawn into. Why should we care about the love triangle there is very little justification or grounds to make an emotional contact. I think the producer and director made a faithful portrayal of the manga but that was a mistake. The manga has all the failings responsible for the viewer’s disappointment. The locations and cinematography were great and sustained me. There is an underlaying sence of bleakness and dispair in many of the episodes. The few moments of joy like the introduction of new plot direction seemed ephemeral and random with no real effort to draw us in and capture our heart.

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