Image source: TVアニメ「サクラダリセット」公式 on Twitter
Sagrada Reset is a fantastical story of the strange city of Sagrada where nearly half the population has law-of-physics-defying superpowers. The series gets its name from the name of the city and the superpower of the series’ heroine, Misora Haruki. Haruki’s ability, “Reset,” allows her to forcefully reset the status of the universe to the point where she last saved it. Essentially, it’s like using the load function in a video game. This power, coupled with the series protagonist, Kei Asai’s ability to retain his memories even after a Reset, allow Kei to pull what is similar to a time loop to alter the events that happened before the Reset.
It sounds like time travel, but it isn’t. And the fact that it’s not plays a very important role within the series.
[Note: This article contains spoilers for Sagrada Reset.]
In the very first episode, when Misora and Kei are introduced by their mutual friend, Sumire Souma, Misora explains the details of her ability to Kei:
- Misora can “Save” the state of the universe.
- At any time, up to 72 hours after she has last Saved, Misora can Reset, causing the universe to revert to the state where she last Saved it. Once she Resets, the Save is nullified.
- Misora cannot Save within 24 hours after her last Save.
- When she does a Reset, everything is reset, including her own memories. This means she retains no memories of a Reset. Her only way of knowing that she has done a Reset is the fact that nothing will happen the second time she tries to Reset.
When Kei asks her if her ability turns back time, Misora states that it doesn’t. It merely reverts everything to the state it was. To most people, this is a pointless distinction. Turning back the clock and reverting the entire universe to a former state are essentially the same thing. Nobody is aware of it, including the person who did it, so it’s basically a tree falling in the forest situation. If the universe is Reset and nobody knows it was, does it make a difference?
Well, Kei’s ability to remember the events before a Reset make him the one who hears the falling tree. With his knowledge of how things play out, Kei is able to avert disaster and right wrongs. His unhealthy level of control over Misora is a great asset towards this end.
Similarly, the character Youka Murase has shown that her nullifying ability can allow her to circumvent a Reset, so long as she is aware that one will happen. We have seen that unlike Kei who is only mentally unaffected by a Reset, Youka is physically unaffected, allowing her to keep her brain in its present state and remain in her current location even after a Reset.
Image source: TVアニメ「サクラダリセット」公式 on Twitter
But even these special cases don’t offer a clear reason why the story has specifically stated that a Reset is not time travel. That reason is in the recently introduced character of the Witch.
The Witch is a person with the power of clairvoyance. By placing her hands on an individual, she can see their future. What makes the fact that a Reset is not time travel important is that because it isn’t, the Witch can see the events both before and after a Reset.
Let’s make this easier to understand with some images, because visual aids are cool. If a Reset was time travel, the flow of time would be as follows:
Misora Saves at point A in the original timeline. At point B she Resets back to point A and Kei uses his knowledge to move the timeline towards point C instead of B. Thus, in such a world, the Witch would see B happening the original timeline’s future. However, after Kei’s time traveling, she would see C instead.
However, because a Reset is not time travel, there is a slight difference:
Misora Saves at point A. At point B she Resets the universe to the state of point A. However, she is not returning to A but is instead creating a new point: A’. Kei then uses his knowledge of B to change the course of events to point C. So while after the Reset, the Witch will only see A → C (as she can only see the future), before the Reset she will see everything in a single line of progression: A → B → A’ → C.
The Witch has stated that time can be changed; that is what her ability is used for. Since a Reset is not time travel, Kei isn’t actually changing time through his actions. He is merely using memories of his past and acting accordingly under identical circumstances for a different outcome. So the Witch can look at Kei’s future (which she already has) and know the results of every upcoming Reset. Someone with similar abilities could use their knowledge to exploit a Reset or even prevent it.
The Witch is now out of the picture. With only a week left to live, she has escaped Sagrada. However, in parting, she has told Kei that her successor is still out there. Should the successor prove to be adversarial towards Kei, the ability to already know what will happen before and after a Reset could be most problematic.