Image source: TVアニメ「サクラダリセット」公式‏ on Twitter

Sagrada Reset is the story of how teenagers with superpowers set about solving problems. It’s a noble goal. But look a little deeper and you realize that the main character isn’t exactly a golden boy.

[Note: This article contains major spoilers for Sagrada Reset.]

The story of Sagrada Reset centers around its main character, Kei Asai. Kei possesses the superpower that grants him eidetic memory—for those unfamiliar with the term, it’s also known as “photographic memory.” Kei is part of his school’s Service Club. The purpose of the club is essentially to act as an all-rounder problem solving group. They solve any problem that is brought to their doorstep.

For the purposes of the Service Club, Kei’s abilities seem rather passive in nature. However, Kei’s ability to remember anything with pristine clarity allow him to retain his knowledge of events even after his fellow Service Club member—and series heroine—Misora Haruki uses her superpower to reset the state of the world. This magical cheat ability to know how events are supposed to play out gives Kei a huge advantage in preventing disasters before they happen—or rather, preventing disasters that happened from happening again the first time.

At his heart, Kei seems to be a kind, well-intentioned, young man, but over the course of the series, it slowly becomes clear that while his heart may be in the right place, his methods of solving problems can be quite brutal in nature. Almost every solution seems to have the side-effect of traumatizing or emotionally manipulating those involved. Here’s a brief summary of some of Kei’s exploits through the series.

  • In Junior High, Kei blackmailed a local government employee into giving an illegal order by slashing his own wrists.
  • In between the series prologue and main story, Kei “helped” a character with family issues by giving her evidence to use against her own father, forcing him out of her family.
  • In a showdown with Youka Murase, Kei “won” by letting her kill him. Youka can no longer use her ability against other people due to the psychological trauma from the incident.
  • In order to get Honoka Katagiri (a girl who can create a world that can be shared by others in her dreams) to stop living in denial, he basically dated her and then let a monster that was created by her subconscious eat him.
  • During the incident in Honoka’s dream, Kei has Misora use her Reset power after she has undergone deep self-analysis and come to understand what she wants as a person (though he doesn’t realize this at the time). As a result, any psychological progress she may have had to possibly becoming an independent human being is lost.
  • After all knowledge of superpowers is erased from Sakurada, Kei manages to Reset the world to a state when people still retain their knowledge of superpowers by exploiting Misora’s own instinctive rule to do a Reset when she sees anyone crying.
  • After successfully resurrecting Sumire Souma from a photograph—and knowing that the knowledge that she was resurrected from a photograph has instilled the resurrected Sumire with a deep-seated complex as to her own identity as a human being—he goes back into the photograph with for the sole purpose of exploiting Sumire’s power of clairvoyance.

Despite the rather brutal nature of what Kei does, it is all with the intent of doing good. That said, Kei’s ability of memory retention makes him extremely intellectual and calculating, giving even the kindest of his deeds a cynical edge. When the knowledge of superpowers is erased from Sakurada, he appeals to Misora’s empathic nature that makes her use her Reset ability when she sees someone cry. From the outset, it seems like a heartfelt moment, but we see that Kei went out of his way to see the family that he left as a child to put himself in the emotional state that he could cry. Even then it could be argued that it was something that he needed to do in order to bring superpowers back to Sakurada, but we later learn that while the knowledge of superpowers was erased, Kei took the time to meet with the series antagonist, Masamune Urachi in the de-powered world for two hours to, quote, “get to know him.” Suddenly, the whole crying to Misora feels much less a climactic, emotional moment, and more a cynical, emotionally manipulative scheme.

Image source: TVアニメ「サクラダリセット」公式 on Twitter

During the initial two prologue episodes, a young Sumire presents a young Kei with an anecdote.

“God places a curse on a young man. Every time the young man sees someone crying or suffering, he feels pain. To escape his pain, the young man offers help to anyone he sees who is suffering. God then creates a fake copy of the young man. The copy has no will of its own and does exactly what the young man does. Like the young man, the copy offers help to anyone it sees suffering. God gives the young man and the copy names. One is named ‘Good,’ and one is named ‘Hypocrisy.’ Which is which?”

Kei states that because the young man is acting out of a sense of personal gain, the young man is Hypocrisy and the copy is Good. Sumire uses the anecdote to show Kei’s fastidious nature and his values of what goodness is. Through the prologue episodes, we learn that Misora is the closest thing to Kei’s ideal of goodness. However, what the conversation involving the anecdote also implies is that if Misora is Good, then Kei is Hypocrisy. This is something we can see in how Kei’s methods to solve problems often involve the callous manipulation and, in some cases, the psychological damaging of people. While some of his crueler actions—like letting Misora see him die right in front of her—are subsequently Reset, they still happened. And Kei, thanks to his memory, knows it.

Kei is a rare and rather fascinating character. He’s not an evildoer who wants to do good but can’t, he’s someone who does some rather cruel things in order to do good. However, what he believes is “good” is subject to his own ego and sense of values. He’s a character who could just as easily be the villain of a story. More interestingly, he’s a character who could easily be a villain and knows it. He’s not a good guy. He’s a hypocrite.

Image source: TVアニメ「サクラダリセット」公式 on Twitter

Sagrada Reset can be viewed with English subtitles on Amazon Anime Strike and on AnimeLab in Australia.

Comments (1)
  1. It’s such a shame so many people dropped this anime. It really was a great watch :/

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