Image source: showgatetrailer on YouTube
The first live-action Sagrada Reset movie felt merely “okay.” Not bad, but not necessarily world-shattering. My greatest hope going in to the second movie was that it would be better. It was.
Sagrada Reset is one of my favorite series of the season. As a staunch anti-spoiler zealot—Richard will attest to this—it’s hard to believe I would subject myself to a situation where I am potentially spoiling the entirety of the story’s plot. Nevertheless, here I am.
[Note: This article contains major spoilers for the first live-action Sagrada Reset movie and the Sagrada Reset anime series.]
The story of Sagrada Reset takes place in the town of Sakurada, a fictional place where nearly half the population possesses superpowers. Leaving the town’s boundaries causes people to lose memory of their powers, resulting in Sakurada being its own isolated magical bubble.
The two protagonists are Kei Asai, a boy able to retain and recall all of his memories with perfect clarity, and Misora Haruki, a developmentally damaged girl with the ability to “reset” the universe to the state when she last “saved” it. By using their powers together, the two have the ability to solve problems before they happen.
That’s the basic non-spoilery set up. From here on, there be potential massive spoilers. Final warning.
The first live-action movie ends with the entity at the heart of Sakurada’s administrative bureau—a clairvoyant known only as “the Witch”—escaping from Sakurada, and Sumire Souma—a girl whose death two years ago Kei and Misora were unable to prevent—being resurrected through the combined powers of various characters.
Kei, who has always had a somewhat shaky relationship with the administrative bureau faces a new adversary in Masamune Urachi, the head of the administrative bureau prevention office and a man with a radical plot for the future of Sakurada.
From the get-go, the second Sagrada Reset movie feels much more active and lively than the first one. With the characters’ initial objective of resurrecting Sumire completed, we get to see the fallout and dive deeper into the mysteries of Sakurada itself. As such, the whole thing felt like leaving the tutorial section and getting into the main plot of a video game.
One thing I really have appreciated from Sagrada Reset is how it will set up its rules and then find ways to subvert them without breaking them. My favorite has been the various ways in which the story manages to counter Misora’s reset ability. The second movie introduces new method through the character of Masamune Urachi which, when you think of the implications, is absolutely mesmerizing.
That leads me to another area Sagrada Reset excels at. Throughout the movie, various interesting facts and elements are laid in an almost offhand manner. But, if you take a moment to really think them over, you realize what fascinating concepts they are. This extra layer made the movie much more engaging.
The original Sagrada Reset novel series spans seven volumes and the anime series is scheduled for two cours. That’s a fairly dense amount of story and information to pack into two movies. However, while the live-action Sagrada Reset movies—the second one in particular—do feel rather dense and long, nothing feels overly rushed or truncated. Even though some events take place in different order or others are fused together, it all feels rather natural and plays out organically.
While, in the previous movie, the character of Misora Haruki felt criminally underdeveloped, in the second movie, actress Yuina Kuroshima brings in her A game. With the introduction of the new element that is Sumire Souma into the mix, Misora’s character becomes much more interesting to watch than she was in the first movie.
Image source: showgatetrailer on YouTube
While the second move was more enjoyable, it wasn’t without its problems. There was a definite learning curve in the various powers and how they work. While the powers of some characters you become almost intimately familiar with throughout the story—like Misora and Kei—other characters’ powers were left very vague in their specifics. Very often I found myself backtracking in my mind trying to figure out if what a character was doing was possible given what had been revealed about their specific powers. In particular, Sumire’s power had me constantly thinking, “but if this is the case, shouldn’t she…?”
I mentioned that there were differences in acting level of various actors in the first movie. This is also the case in the second movie. While Misora definitely improved, the actor playing Kei, Shūhei Nomura, still felt like he was being carried by the plot instead of vice versa. This led to moments where I found myself still invested in the story but not emotionally drawn into the movie.
At the end of the day, the second live-action Sagrada Reset movie was definitely better than the first. Most of the weaknesses of the previous movie were still present, but to a much lesser degree. Still, the movies complement each other to make a full story that successfully answers most if not all of the questions one might have going into it. That said, there were definitely areas that needed more information—though, at two hours in length, I’m not sure they could have fit in much more. All in all, it felt like a base set that requires a nonexistent expansion pack for the full experience. Thank goodness there’s an anime series.
Now I have to deal with the fact that I know how the anime series is probably going to end… *sigh*
The second live-action Sagrada Reset movie premiered in Japan on May 13, 2017. The previous movie premiered in Japan on March 25, 2017. There has been no word on a Western release.