Genre: Drama / Slice Of Life / Sci-Fi
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 19 Jan 2009
revised 09 Jan 2010
An excellent film which shows that high quality anime films are not produced solely by Studio Ghibli.
High school student Makoto Konno is having a bad day. A very bad day. And she doesn’t usually have bad days. She’s not an unlucky person, but things usually go pretty well for her. Makoto is an otherwise normal girl. Except for this day, where everything that could possibly go wrong seems to. And then, just as things take the worst possible turn, she finds herself transported back in time. Soon, Makoto learns that she has the ability to “time leap”, and once she learns to control it, when things don’t go as planned (or she just wants to do something again), she simply goes back and does them over. Everything seems to be going just fine for her until she goes back and changes one fateful incident…
Hopefully destined to become a classic, here is a film that is worthy of all of the praise that it has received. For me personally, there were several things going into it which indicated that I was probably going to enjoy it. First, it’s a blending of science fiction and slice of life drama, a combination which I have taken to in the past. The sci-fi is a bit more in the background here, but given that part of the story involves time travel, it’s kind of hard to forget about while watching. In this movie though, it’s handled in a more casual way than as a hard science. Still, it works well in the context of the story, since at its heart, it really is a drama.
I also am very much fan of character dramas, so having a lead character I could really invest in worked in the film’s favor as well. Makoto is a bit of a tomboy, but she’s also endearing and cute, so I was quickly drawn into her story and was able to sympathize with her. Makoto goes through the entire spectrum of emotions during the movie, and I found it easy to care about her and what she was going through.
Aside from the drama of day to day life, there is also a bit of quirky humor that finds its way into the story, notably in some scenes where Makoto is reliving a moment that she wants to do over. These lighthearted scenes help to keep things feeling authentic, and offset some of the more dramatic ones. Neither aspect is overplayed though, so the drama isn’t over the top and the comedy is relaxed.
So if you want to see an excellent movie with great writing and direction that has well rounded characters and emotion, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is something you’ll want to watch as soon as you can. Kadokawa Shoten and Madhouse confidently clear the bar of high standards that “The Big G” has set for Japanese animated film, and draw the viewer into the film’s world in the way that any great movie does.