Sakurada Reset Final Episode (24): Surprisingly interesting

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While I’m not disappointed with this ending, it still nags at me as a bit of a distraction from the grand ending we got last week. That being said, I can still appreciate starting and ending the story with Sumire. In a way, this entire story is her orchestration. As far as endings go, I don’t really have any major complaints.

I quite like this line from Sumire, showing just how much pain she feels right now.

I think using the “trapped in stone” exercise in the final episode like this worked pretty well to reference the first Witch. Much as the first Witch did when she was proposing the exercise, Sumire demonstrates how she used her foresight ability to benefit the man she loved. The two are linked not only by their ability alone, but also by how they ultimately use it.

I was definitely worried that the series would try to end with one final piece of drama, but this episode ended up being pretty mellow overall. The love triangle is resolved in a pretty reasonable way too, as Sumire and Misora acknowledge each other as a rival with the abilities each lacks in herself.

This episode even resolved a point of confusion I had in a recent episode by acknowledging that Sumire was always the “real” Sumire. I wonder if that big scene as this Sumire was about to kill herself was supposed to be a hint.

I guess I have to thank Tsuki ga Kirei for giving me the background to understand the significance of this scene. I suppose it’s a nice gesture from Kei to show that he cares even if he didn’t choose Sumire in the end.

Final Score: 7/10 I really liked this ending, but I’m unwilling to give a higher score because of how long it took to get here.

Sakurada Reset Episode 23: Controlling all of the abilities

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I think this series managed to give a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to Urachi’s plan. I’m not really too zealous about animal rights, though, so I’m a bit curious how others might react to Kei’s solution. I do, however, really appreciate how this series uses its characters.

It really does feel like each of the abilities is weaved together into this series. It feels like a reference to the very first episode, when the Kei makes it a point to say that the abilities in Sakurada are generally useless.

And I guess since Kei is the one bringing these powers together, the MacGuffin is supposed to be symbolic of human relationship or something. It’s pretty generic, but it’s not enough to detract from this episode.

The concept of Urachi’s mental strength is an interesting one for me. It’s something I’ve had to think about in myself as well, as I tend to be more tolerant. Urachi’s mentality is one I’ve tried to escape, one that expects others to be able to live up to his own standard.

As Kei states, others may not be equipped to show the same “strength”, so Urachi is effectively hiding behind his natural strength while attempting to suppress the analogous strength of those who do not have his strength. Not sure if I made this more confusing…

Part of me feels like Urachi is meant to somewhat represent us living in our mundane world, or maybe it’s more appropriate to say he represents the world outside of Sakurada. To everyone else, the existence of abilities seems “extra” or “unnatural”. However, Kei’s point is pretty much that the very existence of these abilities proves that they are natural, and therefore a valid part of reality that we must deal with.

Next week is finally the conclusion. I’m curious to see how it turns out. The end of this week’s episode seems to indicate that Sumire will be throwing another wrench into the story. The preview suggests that it may have been her plan all along. At the end of the day, I guess the final conflict in this series is the love triangle…

Sakurada Reset Episode 22: I think this counts as power of friendship

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While it’s interesting to watch Kei’s plan play out in this week’s episode, the severity of the situation gets a bit downplayed by the precognition ability. Free will is a topic that interests me, and I’ve always believed that perfect precognition is incompatible with true free will.

This show has even demonstrated that its world is very deterministic to further back that idea. But that might be a topic for another time.

As such, we’re pretty much just watching Kei plan work. There’s no real tension because Sumire has lost her power, meaning nothing can interfere with Kei’s plan anymore. Normally, I would be suspicious of the possibilities of other powers, but Sumire explicitly stated that only a precognition ability can interfere with a foreseen future. The preview for next week looks promising, though, since it suggests that Sumire will be dragged back into the picture.

Kei’s proposal in this episode seems very suspiciously similar to the discussion with the first Witch. Kei’s effectively proposing that he would become the system directing the Bureau as she was. The way he describes multiple people watching over him reminds me about the Witch’s question to Misora about loving a stone that can’t communicate back. He may be forced to trap himself as the “dictator” and cut himself off from her.

The part I didn’t fully understand in the episode was Urachi’s response to Kei’s plan. Why exactly was Kei obligated to shake Kagaya’s hand? Urachi concludes that Kei would have used the memory manipulation power on him (Urachi) if not for Kagaya, but it seems like Kei could have easily done so anyway. There doesn’t seem to be a clear reason why the handshake forced Kei’s…hand.

Maybe I’m just warming up to this show, but the scene where Kei taunts Urachi is just gold.

Sakurada Reset Episode 21: The plan comes together

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A decent amount of stuff happened this week, but I think my main comment on the episode is that it’s way too hard to keep track of all of the Sumires. In the end, Kei talks about creating a perfect ending for Sumire and saving Sumire, but I’m not sure whether he’s talking about the dead Sumire or the fake Sumire he created.

While I don’t have a problem with Urachi being a formidable opponent, I felt like Sumire’s description might have been a bit excessive. I wonder if it’s meant to show the limitations of her mind. The photograph Sumire mentions that she lost her sense of self early, so perhaps that’s why she needs Kei to see the future in her place.

I’d say the big plus side for me in this episode was this particular scene, where Sumire refuses to use her ability because of the potential risk of destroying the future that Kei sees. This is something I feel like time travel series tend to get wrong. Because of how events cascade, even the tiniest changes can cause the future to vary drastically. It seems like this series is willing to respect that fact, which made me happy to see.

I was also surprised to see Kei save the fake Sumire. It makes sense that he wouldn’t want to see another Sumire kill herself to save him after he figured out the original Sumire’s plan, but I didn’t really consider that while I was watching. I just figured that it would be fitting for Sumire to die again.

I do have a gripe with this scene, though. We’ve spent quite a lot of time establishing that this Sumire is actually a fake Sumire. So why was Kei able to send a message to her by name? Given everything we’ve been told up to this point, shouldn’t the message have failed? Plus, there didn’t seem to be any other reason for the message-sending guy to be in the photograph, so it’s almost like Kei planned for that.

Taking a step back, I had another question. Didn’t Kei promise to let his classmates speak with Sumire as much as they wanted in the photograph? Did the fake Sumire just screw up that plan? It seems like a dick move that was pretty quickly forgotten.

Also, I thought it was weird at first that Kei was taking everyone into the photograph to use Sumire’s precognition. But I guess the reason was that they hadn’t met the fake Sumire, so he probably didn’t want to let the guy who copies abilities find out about her.

Anyway, I’m curious to see what Kei’s plan is now that he’s seen the future. I’m also curious how Misora factors into everything. Kei’s been pretty fixated on Sumire for a while despite what he said to Misora about being with her.

Sakurada Reset Episode 20: Closing the loop

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This episode really came full circle. Even after everything this series has given us, we getting right back to the MacGuffin, the very first case. I will say, though, that I found the beginning of the episode to be pretty jarring. I know that last week’s episode showed Urachi uncovering his mother, but I didn’t expect the episode to start with the abilities erased.

I think the strangest point for this episode has to be Sumire (which is probably becoming a recurring theme in this show). The episode makes it a point to emphasize that she has a very different attitude without her ability. However, her conversation with Kei is pretty much the same as an earlier conversation they had in that exact spot.

Also, the scene by the water makes it seem like she still has some awareness of what has happened. Maybe it was just a mundane Sumire grieving over being rejected by Kei, but I have a hard time not thinking there’s more than that.

Kei’s reunion with his family was something I definitely didn’t expect in this episode. It makes sense that he would want to see them again after finally being freed from the town, but I wasn’t even thinking of the possibility. I think it’s mostly because he’s never really expressed much regret. I think this episode really made it clear how much he’s been holding himself back throughout this entire series, especially when he makes his apology.

I also liked how the scene played out in general. There was no grand gesture explaining everything to us. Kei acts appropriately by acting like a stranger, allowing us as the audience to put the pieces together. I always appreciate stuff like that.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of that final flashback before Misora resets, I can understand why it’s there. We have seen Misora reset as a reaction to someone crying since the very beginning of the series, so it’s probably worth the reminder. I must say that I really appreciate that the series was willing to use something from so long ago to make Kei’s plan work.

So now that we’ve gotten a taste of how the world without abilities looks, I guess it’s time for Kei to fix everything by beating Urachi. Did the preview suggest that Kei might get Sumire’s foresight ability? I mean, he’s going after the MacGuffin, after all. That seems crazy.

Sakurada Reset Episode 19: Putting things together

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This week’s episode seemed to finally go into Sumire’s plan. A lot of the explanation went the way I expected, like the fact that the original Sumire died so that the fake Sumire could beat the lie detector and the fact that Sumire’s entire motivation was to allow Kei to be with Misora. And I liked the part about how the original Sumire pushed all of the hardship and suffering on the fake Sumire.

I guess the part that bugged me was how Sumire’s power factored into all of this. In order to die for this plan, she had to know enough about the future to put a lot of her plan into action. But if the Sumire we see now is a fake, the original Sumire couldn’t have seen her future, so how much information did she really have? The fake acknowledges that it was a gamble in this episode, but it seems more astronomical the more I think about it. How did she even know the story of Urachi’s past?

Speaking of which, I also didn’t quite understand the story about Urachi’s past. Urachi’s father states that he likes abilities because he likes the idea of giving the weak miracles to overcome their weakness. However, he still erased abilities in most of the world. I guess he’s saying it would be nice if everyone in the world could use abilities without killing each other, but it feels so empty. Was he working towards that? Was that what he wanted Urachi to do?

There’s also something vaguely suspicious about the fact that Misora has been reversed to her state two years ago. I mean, reverting any character progress in Misora is par for the course, but it seems suspicious that Misora and the fake Sumire are both at around the same age. It’s almost like Kei is meant to join them…

Sakurada Reset Episode 18: Secret plans – Urachi side

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While a couple of details are still missing, we pretty much found out Urachi’s plan this week. Force the Bureau to hit the panic button and wipe out all abilities by making it look like all abilities, especially the dangerous ones, are starting to go out of control. I really need to stop mixing up the manifestation of an ability with its actual function. I pretty much convinced myself that Urachi wasn’t the person from Kei’s first day in Sakurada because I thought his power was different.

Kei’s kind of an interesting existence in this world. The whole concept around abilities in this series revolves around this idea that a talent that you don’t realize is effectively a talent you don’t have. As such, Kei pretty much acts as a perfect embodiment of the idea that knowledge is power because he can never not know.

I think my main concern with this episode was some of the stuff surrounding Ukawa. I don’t understand why Kei would say to look for Ukawa in “child form” if he knew Urachi’s plan. Even if he hadn’t fully figured out Urachi’s power yet, it doesn’t make sense for Urachi to use Ukawa’s child form. The Bureau is already aware of her power, so wouldn’t they notice that Ukawa looked drastically different?

Also, I don’t care about the etymology of the name. It’s still just a reference to the Spanish word, so I’m sticking with “Sakurada”.

Anyway, I guess the next step in this series is to find out what Sumire’s plan was. I’m curious about whether she really intends to obstruct Urachi’s plan. Her motivation could be as simple as wanting to save Kei from being alone as an ability user.

Sakurada Reset Episode 17: Answers and more questions

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Okay, I definitely had to go through a few scenes more than once, but this episode certainly explained a lot. I actually like the way that the flashback in this episode was handled. I was very confused while I was watching it because I wasn’t sure if I had just forgotten too much about this series. However, it felt like everyone I needed to know from that flashback was mentioned through the course of this episode, so it didn’t end up being a problem.

Let’s start with the obvious. The reveal that everyone in the world has an ability is pretty big. Sakurada is not some special zone of the world with strange natural properties. Instead, it’s a factory for creating the minimum number of ability users needed to keep the rest of the world from being overrun by abilities. Urachi is also apparently the son of two of the founders of this town, whose abilities are keeping the town going.

The only thing I don’t understand is Kei’s power. He has overridden every power thrown at him so far, so why didn’t he have his memory power before he reached Sakurada? Did he have it without realizing it? That seems like an awkward thing to not notice.

Now let’s get to the speculation. Urachi has expressed his disdain for abilities and a goal of eradicating all abilities. The Witch in the flashback states that Urachi’s father can only keep his ability active while he’s alive. She further states that he only needs to live for twenty years before the time locking ability appears. So, Kagaya has likely locked Urachi’s parents in time to keep them alive. Urachi’s resentment probably comes from having his parents taken from him in order to keep the world safe from abilities, so he seeks a more permanent solution.

So, the big question I have is this: what exactly is Soma trying to accomplish? It doesn’t seem like the eradication of abilities is that bad for her. The only explanation that currently makes sense to me is that she has seen a future where Kei no longer interacts with Misora because her ability is gone.

I also think the scene with Kei on the phone was meant to confirm that the current Sumire is a fake, and that the past Sumire died to keep Urachi from figuring out what she’s doing. It would just be nice if I had an idea of what she’s doing…

Sakurada Reset Episode 16: Some serious future manipulation

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Was that progress I saw in this episode? It looked like Kei was finally willing to allow Misora to move forward despite resetting away every character change she’s had up to this point. I was worried that he’d explain it away by saying he was just trying to support the play by allowing her to smile, but it seems promising. As for Sumire, I’m still not sure how I feel about her. It’s interesting to watch her manipulate events in this series, but I can’t get over my initial impressions of her and the way she speaks. It’s also so hard to reconcile her ability sometimes.

I guess we also learn the big plan in this week’s episode. Urachi’s planning on erasing all abilities in the town. That doesn’t seem too crazy yet. Given that Sumire tells him “truthfully” that his plan will succeed, it’s possible that she’s planning on reviving the abilities after he wipes them out. It would explain why she asked Kei to read the manuscript about the founding of the town (which should be when the abilities came into being).

Sumire’s message to Kei seemed a bit strange to me, but I feel like the explanation is pretty simple. The conversation in the coffee shop later in the episode seemed to be highlighting the fact that resets can’t really undo ability activations (depending on the ability). Similar to how the lock on Urachi’s organizers can’t be undone by the reset, it seems pretty reasonable that Tomoki’s messages also aren’t undone.

It’s possible that a pre-reset Sumire sent the message with full knowledge of events after the reset and allowed the reset to wipe Tomoki’s memories. If the Sumire who sent the message was the Sumire who killed herself two years ago, then it’s also possible for the current Sumire to say that she didn’t send Kei to pick up trash without technically lying because she never send the message.

Who is Sumire talking to here? If it’s really as simple as I think it is, she must be talking to the dead Sumire. Something about that makes me wonder if it’s that simple, though. On a related note, Kei sends a message to Sumire in this episode, which never really gets addressed. It might be preparation for a future reveal that the current Sumire didn’t receive the message.

Sakurada Reset Episode 15: Making friends

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It’s always hard to say with this series, but I think this week’s episode addresses something that has bothered me for a while. In this episode, Kei once again resets away any progress that Misora had as a character in last week’s episode, when she decided to truly live for Kei rather than act as his puppet. When Sumire tells Kei that he has erased this feeling with the recent reset, she pretty much states that the Misora that Kei truly loves is being constantly erased by his resets.

I don’t really get why the flashback to events in last week’s episode are really necessary, especially when the next scene involves a reference to the fact that Kei takes longer to fall asleep than Misora and Nono when entering the dream world. I was very close to completely missing that reference.

Sumire’s ability is still a mystery to me. I’ve said it before, but it makes sense that she would be able to see events that occur after a reset since the reset isn’t rewriting history. This scene is particularly interesting because she’s demonstrating the hole in her ability, the fact that she still forgets events leading up to the reset, including her potential visions of the future. In that sense, the pre-reset Sumire knows more information than the post-reset Sumire, which makes it even harder to reconcile her suicide. On the flip side, though, it sets her up as Kei’s complement. He has full vision of the past and she has full vision of the future. That’s at least interesting.

When all is said and done in this episode, Honoka ended up being pretty much a backdrop. Kei’s plan to save her is to pretty much act as a replacement for Chiruchiru in order to shift her trust to someone who’s real. I guess that opened the door for her to befriend the Stray Cat House Man as well.

I also have a question about this arc that I didn’t really get to mention last week. Why the heck did the mirror Sakurada not count as “outside of Sakurada” in the dream world? The entire point of that town was that it was sitting right next to the real town. Why didn’t it act as an appropriate test for Sumire? Is it supposed to be a hint about the hidden truth of the town that Kei saw in the manuscript?