Review: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

aka 時をかける少女

Konno Makoto, a teenage girl leading an ordinary life, suddenly finds herself able to leapt through time after a small accident at school. Excited, she starts exploring the possibilities, from ‘cheating’ on tests to trying to matchmake one of her close friends. She soons finds, however, that playing around with time can have some disconcerting consequences.

時をかける少女I first heard about this film from my cousin, who noted in passing that it was meant to be an interesting story. That was over two years ago…and I finally sat down to watch it late last year. I now wish I’d seen it earlier, although I can’t point out why exactly – I really liked just about everything.

Let’s start with the visuals. Character Design is by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki, who is well known not only for Evangelion, but also the .hack series. His simple, clean designs, combined with sequences of drifting backgrounds, flashes of daily life and the winding clock that takes Makoto back in time, help give the story a sense of gravity without losing the lightheartedness that comes with youth.

Moving on to the story, 時をかける少女 is inspired by the short story/novel of the same name by Yasutaka Tsutsui. Published in 1967, the novel has been adapted into several other forms of media, including two films, a short drama series, and a manga. The current film is actually a continuation of the original, set 20 years later, with Makoto’s aunt hinted at being the first girl who leapt through time. Wikipedia does not reveal much about the themes of the novel, so I’m not sure if the complications and possible consequences of playing with time are also a major point of consideration – it’s a book I’m going to want to read. However, I love the possibilities that Yasutaka-sensei created with this world, especially since the characters aren’t brilliant or eccentric scientists seeking to understand the world, but rather ordinary people who act, react and develop as we ourselves might have.

These character developments make “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” a tale where growing up is one of the main themes. Makoto is introduced to us as a typical high school student, far more interested in playing catch with her two best friends than in getting good grades and setting goals for the future. By the end, her experiences have taught her that life can only be lived once, because even if you could turn back time, it won’t necessarily proceed in exactly the same way. The important thing is to keep looking and moving forward, and with her “I’ll come running”, it seems like Makoto will be doing just that from now one.

Highly recommended. 10/10

p.s. I don’t really remember the music or the seiyuu, as I saw this about 5 months ago, so I may have to watch it again.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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