Sagrada / Sakurada Reset is a light novel series. It is adapted as a 24-episode anime series and a two-part live action movies (Blu-ray release 2017-10-27). This story is about a town in which many people have supernatural abilities. In particular, the combination of the abilities of the two protagonists allow them to reset time to 1-3 days earlier and give them a chance to make things happen in a different way. While supernatural abilities are not new in fiction, this anime is unique in that the protagonists use their abilities to combat sadness, such as making a mother remembering her love for her daughter instead of deciding to abandon her, or saving a cat from a traffic accident. However, through these resets a friend died mysteriously, and they are led into life threatening situations, which gradually reveal a great conspiracy.
Another unique aspect of the anime is that it spends a lot of time discussing philosophy, such as what is right, justice, god, evil, friend, happiness, whether one still loves one’s romantic partner if he is turned into a stone, whether a newly appeared person who duplicates a dead person is the same person, whether it is worthwhile to sacrifice a few people to save a lot of people, etc. Normally I do not like talky drama. Incredibly it does not only discuss philosophy, these topics go beyond discussion and manifest in various aspects of the various plot lines. What makes it great is also its weakness. Talky philosophy and monotonic voicing will make a lot of audience find it boring and give it up in the first few episodes. Only those who appreciate the value of sci-fi combined with philosophy has the potential to truly appreciate it, and they will be rewarded with a conspiracy that takes complicated turns to solve, and a great love story. Even then, various things in the story are difficult to understand, because they depend on inventive logic of arbitrary rules of the combination of various super powers. To make things worse, the narrative jumps forward and backward in time.
The live action movies do a reasonable job of telling the complex conspiracy in two movies, with most of the characters retained. Most of the plot changes seem essential to trim the time required to tell the story. Just as it is unreasonable to expect a live action Ghost in the Shell to discuss the philosophy of what differentiates an android from human, here it is unreasonable to expect the live action movies to retain the philosophical emphasis of this story. I commend the movies for trying to make it less difficult to understand, with more explanations and a more streamlined flow.
My concern with the movies are not with the necessary plot changes, but the reduced screen time for the love story, especially from the point of view from the dead girl. It is no longer apparent how much sacrifice she did, and how much pain she went through, to make things happen. The other change is to villainize the antagonist. In the anime it is clear that he is not fundamentally a bad guy – he chooses his path for his own valid reasons. In the movie he really acts like a bad guy – I think this is more unfaithful to the story than the plot changes. This becomes a bigger problem when the bad guy does not receive an ending appropriate for a bad guy – because the original ending is about two smart guys trying to outwit each other, not a good vs evil thing.
[Note: Although I tagged this as time travel, there is a crucial difference between it and reset: someone is able to nullify the reset.]