Sakurada Reset Episode 20: Closing the loop

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

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

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

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

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

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

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

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

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

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

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

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?

Sakurada Reset Episode 14: Facing reality

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

There was definitely a strange element to this episode. It had some interesting revelations about the dream world, but the conversation between Kei and Chiruchiru felt strangely uninteresting. I felt like it was hammering home too much the fact that Honoka was a lonely girl. I don’t really have much to say about this week’s episode, but I have to admit that I’m quite interested in what will happen next week. It looks like Misora will confront Sumire, which sounds promising.

Hmm, I guess the old man is giving a version of the free will argument against heaven as a paradise. I typically think of it differently. I focus more on how you can get rid of suffering without revoking free will, but the idea of trapping a human in a cage is valid too. In Chiruchiru’s defense, you could make a parenting argument about protecting a child from conversations like that. I can’t remember how old Michiru is supposed to be.

Eh, I guess I kinda get Ukawa’s argument. I was more interested in what she said about not allowing Honoka Katagiri to escape into her own world because of the way it disconnects her from the other humans in reality. This argument makes sense when you project it on to other situations, like a drug addict who chooses to live in a narcotic haze or a hermit/hikikomori living in seclusion. I don’t necessarily agree with that stance, but I can accept the argument.

However, Ukawa goes on to assert that she hates the fact that Chiruchiru and Michiru exist in this world, which suggests that her true problem with this world is that Honoka is using it to hide her true feelings, which is why she goes on to state that the monster is proof that Honoka truly hates this world as well. It feels…strange, but I guess it makes sense.

Ukawa has power over everything inanimate and chooses to erase every building in this dream world, but she decides that she wants to leave this door. Just…why? Because we need some comedic effect?

Also, didn’t she just casually delete The Script?

I swear the reset ability looks less and less impressive with each episode.

This statement reeks of someone trying really hard to sound deep. If I had to guess, the point is probably that it’s better if you hate your ability enough to not use it frivolously. That being said, an ability in Sakurada is akin to a natural talent. I don’t think it’s correct to say that you should hate your own natural abilities. But then again, this guy is probably the bad guy, so maybe they’re just continuing to clue us in.

Okay, I really have no idea how Kei figured out that there was a “real” Sakurada on the other side of the wall surrounding the mirror Sakurada. It’s an interesting revelation, but it came out of nowhere.

I thought this conversation was a bit strange and contradictory, but I guess it’s supposed to be demonstrating the limits of Chiruchiru’s godhood in this world. Maybe it’s a bad translation, but it probably could have been presented better.

Yes, other Misora. Convince Misora that she should try to make Kei happy with her own strength, not by just following his instructions. Make Misora change as a person and think for herself.

I guess Kei is basically saying that the world is wrong because Honoka is creating artificial people to interact with to fix her loneliness, and these interactions are superficial because she’s ultimately interacting with herself. Ultimately, this ended up being pretty generic.

Kei offers to be Honoka’s friend in exchange for Chiruchiru’s assistance. I guess that works, but part of me wonders whether that’s okay.

This manuscript has the origin story of Sakurada? Yeah, that sounds important. I don’t understand why Kei hides it from Misora, though.

Sigh…we’re still on this?

Sakurada Reset Episode 13: Everything according to the script

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

While I still think the setup in this episode was okay, I found the episode to be blander than last week’s episode. Even though Sumire is vital for moving events forward, she doesn’t feel like she’s contributing much in her dialogue scenes. Her conversation with Kei was fair, but didn’t seem relevant. Her conversation with Chiruchiru didn’t feel like it was giving any extra information. Maybe I’m just biased against her.

Other than that, this episode confirms something that I really should have know about the reset ability and introduces The Script. I think it’s still a bit early to judge The Script because we don’t know enough about how the ability works. It’s impossible to record perfect detail, but I’m guessing the reason it’s important is that it captures objective events, rather than personal experience like Kei’s memory ability or Sumire’s foresight ability. It gets into this weird grey area of subjective perception of the world. It might be interesting…

I wonder if this is somehow a reference to how dreams are often forgotten after the dreamer wakes up. It would make things more interesting. Also, I’m kinda curious. I’ve always found that I tend to be “sleepy” in my dreams or unable to keep my eyes open. Anyone else ever get that feeling?

I’m not exactly sure why we’re getting this view of the town here. The only thing I’m thinking is “boy, Kei’s sleep schedule is not going to be fun today”. That aside, the new opening song’s pretty good. Because of how much work our brain does to

Wow, this is crazy. I was just listening to someone else make this same statement. This concept is something I’ve always found fascinating. While we’re conditioned to trust our memories and experiences, studies have shown that we can get even the most basic details wrong, regardless of how confident we are in our memory. Here’s a random example. That’s why first-hand accounts are often unreliable.

More to the point, I guess the point of this comment is that Kei is pretty much asserting that the Sumire that he saved is an imposter.

This flashback was actually helpful. I believe this line came when they were talking about a school play, so there’s no way I’d remember this reference. It seemed like a pretty innocuous line at the time. Well played.

Nono sure knows a lot about this house given her claim that it was a parking lot the last time she was here. Does the house correspond to one she knows in the real world?

Oh crap…we might be getting into the realm of objective truth. That’s a sketchy subject that I tend to avoid.

I’ve asked the question of whether the people who can see the future can see the resets. I’m realizing now that this was a dumb question. Of course they can. The reset ability doesn’t rewrite an event. It destroys the world and rebuilds it. That means the timeline isn’t going on branches or doing weird loops…you could think of it as being a “straight” timeline for lack of a better word. In a similar vein, it would make sense that The Script would also record resets. In a weird “cosmic” sense, those events still happened. This world is really doubling down on the idea of determinism. I like it!

Putting cats in a hypothetical box? I see what you’re doing here…

I guess the message here is it’s important to recognize the flaws in the things you like regardless of how much you like them because everything is inherently flawed. Eh…I supposed that works. It doesn’t seem too interesting, though.

Woohoo! Misora is finally at friend status!

I think it’s because this guy looked sinister in the opening animation, but these lines seem really suspicious.

I can understand why the Bureau doesn’t like Kei reading The Script with his insane memory, but I don’t really see why its existence is supposed to be his despair. Is it because it’s a more complete record of events? Kei only remembers things he experiences, after all. That being said, The Script seems to have a fairly vulnerable writer. Maybe this is a reference to the earlier flashback with Nono and the writer of The Script. The Script and Kei’s ability both have their respective flaws.

Sakurada Reset Episode 12: We need to go deeper

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

I guess the next step is to question reality itself in this series. I think my general impression of the episode is that I liked the ideas that were introduced, but I found the events themselves to be questionable. A lot of what happens in the dream world seems fairly standard for a setup like that and didn’t really surprise me. I will admit that it reminded me a lot of Inception, but that’s probably not too surprising. It’s still just the beginning of this arc, though, so we’ll have to see how it progresses.

I wanted to make a quick note about Sumire’s reintroduction into the series. It’s a bit strange to see her immediately return to controlling events from the sideline. But if you really think about it, she’s kinda been doing that the whole time.

This feels like an innocent statement at first, but it’s loaded with questions about agency. If someone can see the future and uses that knowledge to bring a “known” event into being, are the people involved exercising free will? I’m not sure if we’ve seen enough information about the ability yet to pass judgment for the world of this series, as we don’t know how changeable the foreseen future is. If time is too sensitive to change, then Sumire took a massive risk to let herself die.

There’s an annoying aspect to the way that Sumire talks, but I’m going to assume it has to do with her ability to see the future. She probably has to choose her words very carefully because of the events that are yet to come. It doesn’t change how I see her conversations overall, but it makes sense.

This statement feels so consistent with Kei’s personality that I can’t decide whether he’s joking or not. He explains his true plan shortly after this conversation, but I stand by my statement.

I see Sumire wasted no time getting back to her meddling ways. I would have preferred if Kei didn’t ask for a description of the “random girl” to confirm Sumire’s identity, but I’m guessing it’s a reference to the description he gave the Witch a few episodes ago.

This sounds like it could bring up a fun discussion on reality. If you boil everything down, reality is technically a construct built within our minds. We only call a dream “fake” because it’s fleeting and incomplete. When the dream world becomes more persistent, who’s to say which world is the real one?

I see Misora managed to get out of the acquaintance zone.

Am I the only person wondering whether the real Honoka is the bird? Maybe I’m thinking too much into it. Based on the scene that follows, the easier assumption is that Honoka is projecting her god-like status in this world onto a fake Chiruchiru so she can live as a normal girl in the dream world.

I guess it would make sense that the dream world power is restricted to the town of Sakurada given the fact that every power only exists within the town. It could also be indicative of the mentality of the people in the town. Maybe they all see Sakurada as a world of its own.

Also, what happened to Nono?

I knew there was something off about that bird…

Is this just some generic negative aspect of the dream world or does it have to do with the fact that nighttime is when people are typically dreaming. The dream world has aspects that are the reverse of the real world, so maybe there’s a connection somewhere.

Yeah, I figured as much.

This monster in the night isn’t too shocking either.

Sakurada Reset Episode 11: Making friends

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

While this episode posed an idea that I found interesting, it was largely nothing. I get that this was the point, but I guess I don’t like Misora’s character enough to follow an episode like this. I’m not really saying it’s a waste of time because it showed how Misora thinks, but there really isn’t much to say about it overall.

I really should put more effort into keeping track of the timeline for this series, but I was completely lost in this episode. I remember the scene that triggered this episode, but I can’t remember where it is in relation to the other episodes. I think we’ll have to see how everything turns out in the end, but I think the jumpy timeline is the most frustrating part of this series. I still haven’t seen a major benefit to it yet.

This line is brutal.

She’s learning!

In Misora’s defense, I feel this way about most people. But getting away from the scene itself, I’m not a fan of this translation. I don’t understand how you can “have like” for something.

It took me a second to understand this conversation. It’s a bit distracting to use cats in an example meant to illustrate the power of words, but the person proposing the scenario is someone who is most accustomed to conversing with cats. I think it says something about the way I think that my first reaction is “words have no effect on a cat because it wouldn’t understand them”.

I admit I don’t know enough about people to fully evaluate this conversation. My understanding is that Misora’s solution is targeted towards providing immediate comfort that could backfire without follow-up. That’s why she mentions that the cat could be facing the same hardships the next day without similar “hope”. Nono attempts to give a persistent form of comfort by providing empathy instead of hope. The idea is that the cat could take comfort in knowing that someone out there is going through the same thing if it suffers the same hardships the next day.

I’m not sure I totally agree, but it’s something I don’t normally consider. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I wonder if it’s similar to the “give a man fish/teach a man to fish” adage. It falls apart a bit in the second part, but you could argue that teaching is a manifestation of empathizing with a person enough to understand the root problem instead of the immediate need.

Misora went through that entire conversation just to be stuck in the acquaintance zone…

If the plan has a fancy name, then it has to succeed!

Just…no.

Are you trying to make me empathize with Misora? Well, it’s working. I can think of countless conversations that I’ve had that were similar to this one.

I see the internet research that Misora’s been doing is paying off.

That’s an unhealthy level of worship for Kei’s abilities.

I’m surprised that Misora never noticed that she was being followed, but I guess it makes sense given how much she was overthinking her home visit at Kei’s place. I still don’t understand how Minami sent the fake text, though.