Reviewby Michelle Yu, Feb 20th 2011
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Something strange has happened to Makoto Konno. Time has suddenly stopped and moved her backwards.
With her newly discovered ability to literally leap backwards in time Makoto finds that tests become a piece of cake, embarrassing situations are corrected, and she can have her favourite food any time she wants. Unfortunately her carefree time travelling has adverse effects on the people she cares for.
With every successful leap Makoto somehow alters the fate of those around her. This wasn't supposed to happen and as she races back in time to fix everything, she notices that her abilities are not limitless but with every successful jump she's one step closer to discovering the most wonderful secret in year young adult life.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a rare gem in the haystack that is made up of modern Japanese animation, and I am... certainly not the only one who thinks this way either. Having won multiple awards including “Animation of the Year” in 2007 from both the Tokyo Anime Fair and the Japan Academy Prize, there surely must be something special about this movie.
It could be the writing. Our main protagonist Makoto is a typical teenager who is clumsy to a fault, lazy, and self-indulgent. At first she does not appear to be a likable character, abusing her ability to travel backwards in time for personal (and often petty) gain. But as she begins to learn that her powers are not infinite and that her actions have consequences, there comes a beautiful epiphany. The most admirable thing though was the way the writers were able to have Makoto's character develop and change seamlessly. It was both believable and heartwarming in the way it mirrors the emotional development of so many young people.
The feature encompasses multiple genres from romance to comedy, drama to fantasy. But none of it is forced and everything feels as though it belongs and is there for a reason. As the viewer, the portrayal of time travel seemed completely feasible in the context of the feature. There is no ingenious piece of equipment or lengthy transformation sequence. Aside from a little embellishment, it just happens.
It could also be the music. The soundtrack features beautiful piano melodies and even a bit of Bach. The soundtrack provides an understated accompaniment to what is nothing less than an engaging story which unfolds like a flower blooming. The majority of the soundtrack comes from the composition genius of one person, Kiyoshi Yoshida, which explains how one piece flows into another so seamlessly. It is after all much easier when one person writes a story from start to finish than when multiple people try to write different chapters and piece them together.
The understated charm continues into the art. There is no fancy detail in the clothing and no pink, lavender, or mint-colored hair on any characters' heads. Although human eyes (particularly that of people of Asian heritage) are not typically very round and do not occupy one-quarter of a person's face. The way the characters have been drawn and the way the world has been constructed in this feature has been one of the most true-to-life that I have so far had the opportunity to see. It could be this aspect of the feature which makes it so easy to watch and the characters so easy to relate to. High definition Blu-ray does not hurt either.
The Blu-ray release of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time includes an extra disc loaded with bonus content including behind the scenes content, a music video of the theme song “Garnet” and a talk with the director of the feature Mamoru Hosoda to name a few. This means it is both value-for-money as well as a great collector's item for fans.
Overall, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a must-see feature for anime fans. It is also a great introduction to the world of anime for the skeptics or uninitiated, and family-friendly too. I personally had the opportunity to see this feature before at Madman's Reel Anime event in 2008 but found it even more enjoyable the second time around. This is truly a great addition to any anime collection.
© 2006 TOKIKAKE Film Partners
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : A
Animation : B+
Art : B
Music : B+
+ One of the best examples of storytelling in anime lately.
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