Okay. Let me see if I’ve got this right, because I was really bored and didn’t care enough about any of this to concentrate as much as this show thinks it deserves.
What’s it about? In the town of Sakurada almost everyone has some kind of power, but if they ever leave Sakurada (why is the show title romanised as ‘Sagrada’ when the katakana is right there??) they will forget all about it. Kei Asai is just a regular high school boy who has an exceptionally good memory – so good he can remember the old timeline after Misora Haruki, also at his school, resets it. Her power comes with rules: she can only reset time to a point when she actively saved it, within the previous 72 hours; once time is reset, she cannot save again for another 24 hours; and once time is reset she herself will find her memory erased along with everyone else. Everyone but Kei, that is, as they learn when classmate Sumire Soma brings the two together and suggests they combine their abilities to use Misora’s reset ability more strategically to right wrongs in the world. But Misora has her own self-imposed rules, and first Kei must earn her trust.
I promise you, the end result is much less interesting than I’m making it sound here.
That’s the most exasperating part of Sagrada Reset: this premise is actually really intriguing. The themes it raises, like what makes a person good and when it’s right to change people’s lives without their knowledge, are a solid foundation for a substantial and rewarding viewing experience.
But the monologues. The monologues. And I include in that definition the many conversations in which one teenager is clearly present only to ask the right questions or feed the right answers to support what is to all intents and purposes a monologue from the other teen.
These teenagers don’t act like teenagers. They are completely self-assured and confident in their speeches and communicate in part through the medium of riddle. HOWEVER. I will say that they have set up the world to suggest that there may be a good in-universe reason for this. Sakurada is a bubble environment, an otherwordly town full of supernaturally-powered people. If they intend to lean into that and explain that these teenagers are wooden and vacant because something has legitimately made it impossible for them to experience human emotions and a natural life, then I may pick this back up later in the season.
(If this is just their intended characterisation though, then they seriously missed a trick by putting these characters in high school instead of university. Self-absorbed monologuing is a pretty standard feature of the university experience.)
So I like the premise, I have misgivings about the execution and I’m sceptical about its future merits. What else? Well, I should probably mention the scene in which Kei tells the particularly expressionless Misora that she should cut her hair because it’s too pretty and he thinks she needs to look more girl-next-door. I’m paraphrasing because I don’t speak philosophising teenager, but some guy telling a girl to change the way she looks in order to seem more appealing or accessible to him is hardly a new sentiment for women out there. If her inevitable descent into human facial expressions comes with a haircut, I’ll be pretty unimpressed.
Something about their interactions in general is raising red flags for me, from Kei explaining to Misora that seeing her own childhood memories could be traumatic to insisting he would only help her solve the problems of a crying child if she really, really wanted him to help her… To which she simply replied that she doesn’t have the power to convince him to do anything. Which would be a positive sign, if it didn’t suggest that learning to beg Kei for his help will be a sign of Misora’s character development as she lets down her guard with him. Obviously, this is just speculation at this stage, but I don’t think we’re going to get the most balanced power dynamic out of these two.
Let’s end this on a positive note. There is no sexualisation, and third wheel cast member Sumire seems to know a lot more than she’s letting on. Apart from making her a more dynamic and interesting character than the equally clueless and bland Kei and Misora, this gives me hope that there is actually a lot more going on and this premiere has just chosen a terrible way to communicate that to us.
The more seasons I watch every premiere for, the more I realise how bad anime is at first impressions. Feminism-wise, this show is fine. I look forward to hearing what other people think of it later in the season, but I’m not sure I’d stay awake through a second episode.