Sagrada ResetArisa NakajimaYuri TsunematsuYuina Kuroshima
Sagrada Reset Part 1
Medium: film
Year: 2017
Writer/director: Yoshihiro Fukagawa
Original creator: Yutaka Kono
Keywords: Sagrada Reset, SF, superhero
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Shuhei Nomura, Yuina Kuroshima, Yuna Taira, Kentaro Ito, Tina Tamashiro, Yuri Tsunematsu, Kenshiro Iwai, Mariko Kaga, Tomomi Maruyama, Arisa Nakajima, Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Goro Oishi, Rei Okamoto, Makoto Okunaka, Akiko Yagi, Yuka Yano, Hisashi Yoshizawa
Format: 103 minutes
Website category: Japanese SF
Review date: 24 January 2019
Sagurada Reset
I think I preferred it to the anime series. Having real actors on-screen makes the story feel more human and engaging, which is a definite issue with this material.
The premise and cast are unchanged. Sakurada is a town where most people have superpowers. Leave it and you'll forget everything and just be normal. Stay there and you'll live under surveillance by the Bureau. Our heroes are an emotionally distant bunch of high school students with powers that are often pretty useless unless you choose your friends with great care and start getting clever with power-chaining. Tomoki Nakano, for instance, can send telepathic messages to people. Seika Nono (who's not in this film) can fall asleep and see through the eyes of any cat in the town.
The two key characters, though, are Haruki Misora (can wind back time) and Asai Kei (infallible memory). Misora will even wipe her own memory when she winds back time, but Kei can then fill her in on what happened.
The anime's problem, for me, was that the characters felt a bit like plot robots. I didn't care. Misora and Kei in particular could probably get diagnosed with something, mildly-ish in Kei's case and severely in Misora's. Here, though, that's been flipped. The film never goes into the pair's philosophies, self-imposed rules and power-related reasons for being so messed up. Misora won't use her reset ability unless Kei tells her to, but otherwise we have no idea what's going on inside their heads. We just see them. They are how they behave and that's it.
Based on that, Yuina Kuroshima's Misora is actually a quiet but perfectly relatable girl who clearly has internal life. (Anime-Misora didn't. She was completely opaque, like a tape recorder running inside a dummy.) Kuroshima creates a timid, mouse-like deference, always looking to Kei to take the lead. She depends on his permission. Eventually it becomes clear that she loves him, so we understand her fear when she asks if losing her abilities would change their relationship.
She's reasonably good, I think, in a role that could easily have been constrictive. The character works.
Shuuhei Nomura, on the other hand, is giving us very little as Kei. Here he's the robotic one. That's fine, though. He's the story's possibly-autistic pivot, around which everything else revolves. We also have Tina Tamashiro as a thoroughly convincing Murase, Yuri Tsunematsu as a thuggish-looking "Oka Eri" and (best of all) two veterans in older roles to add class. (The casting director did well.) Goro Oishi is good as Sasano, but it's Mariko Kaga who really lifts the film when she's on-screen.
The only character I preferred in anime form was Souma Sumire, here played by Yuna Taira. (I wasn't wild about her in ReLIFE the same year either.) Taira's okay and there's nothing wrong with her choices, but anime-Souma was more distinctive. Well, I'll see how things go in Part Two.
The pacing's interesting for a live-action anime/manga adaptation, because there's nothing wrong with it. It doesn't feel rushed or crammed. Everything unfolds at the right pace, which some people might even call "slow". This has been achieved by picking and choosing from the source material. It's not one of those stories where everything's one big storyline, you see, but instead it's made of standalone cases for Kei and Misora. Of course there's an underlying story arc too, but this film is in the happy position of being able to pick a couple of big stories and do them properly. I think it's the rough equivalent of episodes 6-10 of the anime, going at a similar-ish speed.
The film's less ostentatiously clever than the anime. It still has philosophical speculations, but fewer of them and it's going into much less detail in its exploration of people's abilities and mentalities. It's still the same story, though. Distant, possibly autistic protagonists explore a world where anyone might be able to break the laws of physics if they're prepared to be fiddly about the details. (You might have to get your victim to look into your eyes, or hold a conversation with you.) The solutions that are found are so specific to the rules of this universe that they'd mean nothing to us in the real world, but it's still mildly interesting to watch them happen.
Is it good? Well, I'll watch Part 2. I wasn't sure if I'd bother after watching the anime, so that's a step forward. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it, though.