The film that is one of the must watch anime movies in the recent years is called The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. This film may have a slight amount of slice of life material, but it is also filled with a good amount of adventure, Science Fiction, comedy, and a bit of romance. I mean this is a shoujo story, so there is no way to avoid the romance. I was not aware of the film until today, so I did some research and found that this film was very well-received by critics. Since the film seemed promising enough, I decided to give the film a viewing without any hesitation. And I rather say, I came out liking the film even though I don’t usually watch shoujo stories, and shoujo stories are mostly targeted to the female audience and the stories are always filled with lots of romance. It’s quite obvious that I’m not so big on romance. I was clearly interested in the film for its Science Fiction aspects and I have to say it delivered on that side of the film. Most everything included in the film satisfied me down to the plot, the character’s, the art and animation, the music and voice acting, and especially a lot of the funny moments of the film. Hopefully, my detailed breakdown of this film that I present to you will help you decide whether you want to watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
The story is about an ordinary young girl, named Makoto, in high school who has an unusual day of bad luck. But after stumbling upon a walnut with time traveling warping properties, she is saved from sudden death by a train accident. Apparently, the special walnut granted her the ability to travel back at any point in time that she so chooses. Every time she travels to another point in time, she always ducks and rolls after coming out of a time portal which I am astonished how she doesn’t injure herself doing so. She then goes to visit her aunt at a museum to help her understand the phenomenon that has been happening to her. Her aunt doesn’t waste any time telling her that she has been leaping through time, but the young high school girl has a hard time believing she can travel through time. Makoto soon realizes that she has to build up a certain momentum of speed in order to perform a time leap, simply by running as fast as she can. Makoto does all sorts of Groundhog Day like things in order to change her fate or repeating fun activities with her friends. Even though Makoto uses her new abilities to make things work in her favor, it ends up hurting other people in the process. Ripple effects are created when ever she changes the past, which is your typical time travel story for you. But the creators of film do it in such a way that it is fun and comedic, and it helps you forgive that little plot thread that is always used in so many time travel stories. A few of the scenes involving romance also create certain comedic moments. But closer to the end of the film, the romance starts to get more serious and certain things are revealed about the origin of Makoto’s time traveling ability. There is a bittersweet ending, but it’s more sweet than bitter. I will give the plot of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time a score of 9 out of 10.
The MC (main character) of the film is a very awkward and quirky girl named Makoto who is always late for school, but still makes time to play baseball with her two best guy friends. She lives with her parents, and has a younger sister who always steals Makoto’s pudding. Actually, when you think about it the character Makoto seems like she was inspired by an actual person in real life. I want to mention that one of her guy friends is a total bookworm while the other is just as much as a slacker as her, but I can definitely say that they are the supporting character’s. Another character that could be a supporting character is her aunt Kazuko Yoshiyama who works at the Tokyo National Museum, but for some reason the MC always calls her Auntie Witch. Makoto does have one friend that is a girl who I honestly have to say is sometimes a supporting character’s and other times a background character, which I believe may be a slight flaw in the film because you never really notice the character that much. I mean, you’ll notice the gossiping girl character’s more than the MC’s only friend who is a girl, so I got to say that there should be more emphasis on that character. The parents of the MC are in the background cooking and paying the bills, but that’s okay because this is a coming of age story line, so this story is supposed to be focused more on the teenagers. The MC’s younger sister Miyuki has her moments here or there during the film, and she plays a role well as the bratty sister who gets away with things, but you forgive her because she’s so endearing. Since one of the character’s weren’t properly utilize, I would have to score the character’s a 7.5 out of 10.
Art and Animation
The animation was theatrically fluid in its movements, which was very similar to Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle animation style. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is nowhere near as grandiose and complex as those films, but the creators of this film made sure to give us a small taste of that animation style. I mean, just look at the plant life, the ground, grass, the landscapes, the reflections in see-through glass, and the sky looked almost realistic. I’m glad they didn’t use any of that phony Berserk CG animation, which is always a horrible animation style to bring to any anime series or anime movie. The imagery was very detailed in bedrooms and classrooms, especially in the science lab of a high school. I also love the art and animation of the time void the MC goes into whenever she travels through time. First it’s like this multicolored bright gate that the MC goes through, and then she’s like in this realm of light blue space with giant gears and these bright red numbers, that kind of reminded me of the coordinate pad they use in a DeLorean time machine from the movie Back to the Future. I don’t know what else to say about the art and animation. There is so much detail to the film that I can hardly retain all the information that I was receiving, but again it’s no Spirited Away because the creators only give us a taste of the art and animation style. But I will score the art and animation a 9 out of 10.
Music and Voice Acting
The music was very calming and inviting listening to. Although, the music was slightly bombastic when the MC went through the time portal may be the first and second times. Towards the end of the film when the MC is trying to save a character’s life, the music started to bring an atmosphere of “time waits for no one” feeling to it, but then it’s like silence when the clock stops ticking metaphorically speaking. All I can say is that the music did what it was supposed to do for this particular type of film. Also, even though I don’t understand Japanese and this is an animated film, I can still tell by the inflection in the voices of how a character is feeling or reacting to another character. What a character says or does is perfectly timed. The voice acting maybe slightly exaggerated, but they have to convey the right message to its audience of a character’s actions and emotional states, and I believe they succeeded. The music and voice acting flowed very well together with the overall product of the film. I’m going to have to give the music and voice acting an 8 out of 10.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Final Words
I will say that I had a lot of fun watching this film and is definitely one of the must watch anime movies from the past decade. I was more interested in the plot going into this movie, but everything else such as the character’s, the art and animation, the music, and voice acting help with the enjoyment of watching the film. I want to emphasize even further that this film is no Spirited Away. This film was produced by Madhouse, but it does seem like they were inspired by Studio Ghibli’s art and animation style. My total calculated score for this film is 8.4 out of 10. If you have anything to say or questions to ask please send them down in the comments section below.