The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Review
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an anime adapted of the Japanese novel of the same name. It was directed by Mamoru Hosoda who has done work on DBZ, Sailor Moon, and was the director of Howl’s Moving Castle before Miyazaki took over. This is his breakout film though, and he has gone on to direct two films since.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a charming story in the vain of Groundhogs Day, in that the movie takes place over a few days, that are repeated again and again with different results.
Our hero Makato, who is effortlessly cute and charming, wakes up late on “nice day” and the rest of her day things go horribly wrong for her. Her day ends with her crashing headlong into a train as the breaks on her bike were dysfunctional. Luckily for her, she somehow gained the ability to “time leap”. She wakes up that morning again and is able to avoid all of the problems of her previous day.
The film goes on like that. Makato starts using her ability to time leap for pleasure and convenience. But as the film goes on she learns that her actions have consequences on those around her. Sounds like Groundhogs Day doesn’t it? Well it differs in that Makato is not “stuck”; all the time travel is from her own free will, and in that the primary setting is Makato’s high school. But like Groundhogs Day there are a lot of funny moments because of the time travel.
Time travel is the gimmick, but it is not the heart of this movie. The film is about Makato growing up. She must learn about others feelings, and her own. Makato’s two best friends are her constant companions, and the film spends a large amount of time exploring the ups and downs of their relationships. At its core you have a high school movie. But it is full of awesome moments, and relatable characters. In other words there aren’t wacky Japan-isms like jaws flung open or bloody noses. This is a good film for people who don’t usually watch anime.
Visually the film is very impressive. The animation is top notch, and the characters have clean memorable designs. The film is mostly traditional, but the time travel scenes are digitally animated.
The english version is great. It is one of the best dub’s I have seen(although not an expert), and the translation from what I could gather was the same for subtitles. Therefor I would recommend watching the english version.
The music deserves a special mention. It has a great score. It is mainly piano, although there are strings and another few instruments occasionally. The music is jaunty when it needs to be, and haunting when it needs to be. Pitch perfect.
The Bottom Line: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is more than the sum of its parts. It has wonderful style. The characters are all great. It is just a fun movie. Personally I think it is a better film than Groundhogs Day and that it is a much watch if you are a fan of a fun time. And again if you are not an anime fan I think this would be a great place to get your feet wet. It’s very western in sensibility and the production values are great.