This was a movie I saw before I liked anime and I wasn’t too impressed the first time. However, I decided to rewatch it several months ago to see if I would like it more. And I did! The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is actually an exceptional film, being smart, funny, and relatable.
This film was made by one of my favorite directors, Mamoru Hosoda, who also directed Wolf Children and Summer Wars, both of which I also highly recommend. I’m excited for his next film which is to be released soon: The Boy and the Beast. This director has a great knack for communicating emotional depth along with fun adventure/drama, and each of his films are memorable in their own right. Today I’ll talk about what makes Leapt Through Time special.
Toki o Kakeru Shôjo
Time Travel | Drama | Romance | Slice-of-Life
2006 | 98 minutes | NR
Makoto is a high school tomboy who’s often tardy, with no plans for her future. She’s happy to hang with her two guy friends and play catch together. One day she discovers she can travel through time and begins using the ability for silly reasons in her everyday life, like finishing a pop quiz in time or avoiding an awkward situation that she knows is coming. However Mokoto realizes her time leaps affect others outside of herself and the little changes she makes have unforeseen consequences…
Leapt Through Time’s story is both fun and light-hearted yet also somber and thought-provoking. We follow this girl who uses a power for frivolous and silly reasons, like any average teenager might do, and the results are funny…at first. Makoto’s choices have consequences which begin to hurt the people around her. She realizes that even small things can drastically change her future in ways she neither conceived or wishes.
Makoto is a great lead character in that she’s just like a teenager. She lives in the present, with very little thought to her future. She sees herself with her guy friends forever, thinking nothing will ever change. I can relate to her thinking in this sense. She’s a dimensional character who’s very likable, yet her thoughtlessness actually catches up with her as the film moves forward, which helps her mature as a character.
I love time travel stories (I desperately need to watch Stiens;Gate) and the use of time travel is really fun in this film. Since Makoto time leaps for silly reasons–sometimes without good accuracy, and multiple times for a single incident–it’s engaging to see how one small event can be changed, effecting the entire story. Thankfully, the film is not hard to follow, so one shouldn’t get confused or lost.
Speaking of which, the pacing of the plot is nicely done. Things never get dull. Little events are meaningful and necessary to the whole story. Not a moment of the film is a waste. I especially like the plot twist at the end, which gives the first half the film some extra depth at the end.
The animation for this film is beautiful. While the character designs are more simple, they are fluid, clean, and they move realistically, which sells the slice-of-life feel of the story. The backgrounds and settings are nicely rendered too. While it’s not anything out of this world, the animation works. There’s a charm to it that I like–part of that charm also comes from the wonderful musical score, which is very beautiful and fitting for the story and art style.
I watched this both times with the English dub, which I like so much that I don’t think I’ll ever watch this any other way. I love the voice actress for Makoto, as she gives the character lots of pep and energy, but also sells the serious moments too. The voice actors for her guy friends are also great. To me, this is the type of film that can work with an English dub, so I recommend it if you enjoy dubs.
It’s a wonder that I didn’t love this film the first time I watched it. I highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t yet seen it! If you enjoyed films like Wolf Children or Whisper of the Heart, or just time travel in general, then you should especially like this film. The adventure is fun, the drama well-executed, the characters enjoyable, and the cause-and-effect engaging to watch. If you haven’t seen The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, then treat yourself to a fun, heartwarming adventure sometime soon!
Star Rating: 4.5/5 | Rewatchability: High | Definition: Time Waits For No One