The Philosophy of Sagrada Reset: Real or Fake?

Note: This post will have MAJOR SPOILERS for Sagrada Reset (also known as Sakurada Reset) up to and including episode 10.

sakuradareset_17.jpgIn episode 10 of Sagrada Reset, the culmination of the entire first half of the series, Sumire was “revived” by using a combination of abilities to pull her out of Sasano’s photograph. A question raised by the show is whether this Sumire is the same person as Sumire from two years ago. In other words, is the revived Sumire real or fake? This was empirically tested by Sumire in the show using Nakano’s delayed-message-sending ability. However, she refuses to reveal the result, so we, the audience, have to figure out the answer ourselves.

The show has mentioned a hypothetical situation of the Swampman (which is an actual thought experiment in philosophy) that examines a related question. This thought experiment posits a person getting killed by a lightning bolt in a swamp, except that some molecules, against all odds, got struck by another lightning bolt and just happened to arrange themselves into exactly the identical arrangement as the person. An argument could be made that there’s no causal connection between the original person and the resurrected person, so they must be different people. In Sumire’s case, however, there is a causal connection. For instance, if Sumire were wounded before her picture got taken, then that will cause the revived Sumire to also have that wound. Thus, this thought experiment might not be very useful for understanding Sumire’s case.

Another method one might get a better understanding of Sumire’s case is by examining Asano’s photograph power. In episode 6, Asano used his ability to enter a photograph and talk with a version of the Witch from decades ago. At that time, there’s the older version of the Witch also alive who is undisputably the true Witch. The issue is whether the Witch in the photo is the real Witch, and the answer seems to be that she’s not. She’s merely an echo from the past, not experiencing the long time that has passed since the photo was taken, and Asano treats her that way. He is not satisfied with meeting with her, preferring to meet with the real her to reaffirm their love. Compared to Sumire’s case, the only difference is that Sumire was already dead. However, her death shouldn’t affect whether the revived Sumire is fake, since “reviving” her would still be possible even if she was alive, except that she would have been copied instead of revived. Thus, this line of thought leads us to conclude that the revived Sumire is fake.Sagrada Reset - 01 - Large Preview 03.jpgThere is another issue, though, and it is related to how Haruki’s reset ability works. In episode 4, Kei used Murase’s powers to kill himself before having Haruki reset, bringing him back to life. This is essentially the same as Sumire’s case, except that Haruki’s save point was used instead of Asano’s photo to revive a person. In Kei’s case, it would seem like both the pre-reset Kei and the post-reset Kei are both real. Similarly, the revived Sumire should also be as real as the original Sumire. However, resetting raises another issue. If both the pre-reset and post-reset Kei are real, then every time a reset is made, one Kei is killed and another Kei is created to replace him. I am unsure if Kei’s ability of having perfect memory makes any difference, but even if it does, everyone else is still killed and replaced with new people. In any case, it seems rather absurd to insist that resetting is, in fact, killing people, especially since there seems to be nothing morally wrong with resetting in itself. Unfortunately, I do not know how to resolve this paradox.

With all this pondering on whether the revived Sumire is real or not, one might ask whether it really matters if she is a fake. To answer this question, we have to go back to episode 2, which showed that a Mari’s mother can love a fake Mari as if she were real. Thus, perhaps whether the revived Sumire is fake should not affect how anybody treats her, and thus making this whole question meaningless. However, Sumire’s case seems to be rather different from the fake daughter case. For instance, there was interaction between the original Sumire and others, while the original Mari died before she was even properly born. Therefore, perhaps whether Sumire is fake is important. I will leave it to you to decide whether the revived Sumire is real, and whether it matters at all.

If you liked this post, you might also want to check out BlackDragonHunt’s blog posts on this show.