The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) ***** - Mamoru Hosada, Riisa Naka, Takuya Ishida, Mitsutaka Itakura, Emily Hirst, Andrew Francis, Alex Sahara
This was a completely spontaneous buy. For a few years I have heard my Mum talk about it when she’s mentioned new anime’s we need to purchase. I am so, so glad that I have seen this film. It is completely amazing. A favourite in Japan after being adapted from the 1964 novel, this film has fans all over the world and it’s just gained another one.
Tom-boy Makoto is an average student with a tendency to trip over, forget and completely lack the ability to pick up on boy signals. When she gains the ability to ‘time leap’ what began as harmless fun has serious implications on her life and the lives of her friends. This is a sad film, or at least it has sad moments, but it is also filled with some of the funniest dialogue ever. Aimed at teenagers, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time honestly portrays how friends talk to each other and its great!
Once again Japanese film has managed to do so well what Disney and the like fail too, highlight completely normal teenager behaviour. Makoto rolls across her bed to reach her phone, she gets super irritated when her sister eats her pudding, so irritated in fact that the first thing she does with her new power is go back to eat it before her sister can. She’s cute; she tries to fix things to make everyone happy and in the end has to learn that that’s not always possible.
I’m always in awe of the character development that takes place in these films. In many ways I come away with a more in-depth understanding of an anime character than the majority of live action characters I see portrayed on my screen. This is most likely due to the meticulous detail that goes into the animation; from varying facial expressions that you wouldn’t catch in a live action film, to the elaborate room decoration that gives a clear insight into the head of our lead character. Rivalling Miyazaki in its animation, this is up there as one of my favourite animes.
As I watch more and more of these films I am beginning to notice that the main underlying themes are extremely similar. In films like ‘Ocean Waves’, ‘Summer Wars’, ‘Whisper of the Heart’ and ‘The Cat Returns’, that all focus on a teenage girls/boys at high school, the emphasis is always there to show the viewer how to make their decisions regarding education and their friends. In many ways I feel like these films are educational as well as pure entertainment. The moral messages ring clear to me and I don’t even understand or work within the Japanese schooling system.
Another fantastic film by the Mad House animation company who brought us the similarly fantabulous film Summer Wars. I loved watching this film and I can’t wait to get home from Uni and watch it with my dear mother, who is most likely reading this review horrifically jealous that I’ve seen it before her. Well she should be, and so should you. Even if you aren’t an anime fan, I think you’ll enjoy The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. With its grown up humour and fantastic plot this will appeal to a range of ages and will not get old.