|A Modern Day Classic, By Any Defintion||8 out of 8 users found this review helpful.|
Makoto Konno is your typical teenage girl attending high school in Tokyo until one day she discovers that she has gained the ability to "leap" through time and change past events. Though she initially uses this newfound power for trivial and selfish reasons, she soon discovers that not only are her time leaps limited but can cause unexpected and adverse effects on events of the future. Makoto soon realizes that leaping through time has not only changed the past but also her understanding of the world around her. The complexities of life are quickly revealed to her and upon learning the secret to her time-leaping ability Makoto learns that there are some things that should not be changed.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a deceptively simple, yet surprisingly profound film that touches the heart and enlightens the mind and soul. Though a blend of romance, slice-of-life storytelling, and sci-fi, it still manages to maintain a sense of innocence and simplicity that is not often seen in anime these days. Combining an adorably entertaining story with remarkably insightful themes, it is a rare achievement that is sure to become a classic of cinematic storytelling.
Straightforward in its storytelling, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time focuses on the events that befall Makoto and her friends as she finds herself leaping through time and changing the past. Makoto is a carefree, relatively lazy girl who is uncertain about her future. After a arriving late to school and bombing a surprise pop quiz, Makoto has a strange encounter inside a science lab in her high school. She relates the incident to her best friends Chiaki (who, like Makoto is a rather carefree soul who is surprisingly gifted in the sciences) and Kousuke (a diligent student who aspires to be a doctor like his father) who promptly suggest, that Makoto should get her brain checked. Later, as she is riding her bike home, she finds herself escaping a would-be fatal train accident by some sort of space-time phenomena. Bewildered by the event, she enlists the advice of her aunt, who suggests to her that what occurred was a "time leap" and that she had gained the ability to travel back in time to relive/alter past events. As Makoto begins to use (and abuse) her new found ability, the secrets behind her discovery is eventually revealed, as are the consequences of her actions .
What makes the film compelling is the way that Makoto is portrayed: an average, slightly absent-minded girl who seems to possess no extraordinary traits. Thus she is an incredibly relatable character, and we can easily put ourselves in her shoes as she experiences the extraordinary events occurring in her rather ordinary life. The way she casually approaches such an bewildering situation (one would think that time travel would be a rather bewildering experience) is both amusing and reflective of her carefree and innocent nature. So as Makoto begins to bear witness to the fruits of her labor and the complexities of real life, we watch her grow and mature in both mind and soul. The journey of self-discovery that Makoto undergoes is one that many of us have experienced. And by the end of the film, we can be satisfied that she has indeed undergone a profound and meaningful transformation.
Also impressive is the way that the film tackles the sci-fi elements of the story. Time travel in cinema has undoubtedly had a complex and messy history. Often we are barraged with a plethora of scientific jargon, paradoxical concepts, and metaphysical justifications that often undermine the storytelling itself. Fortunately, in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, time travel is not the focus, rather it is merely a tool used to tell the story. In other words, this is a film that contains time travel, not a film abouttime travel. So while we are presented with plenty of sci-fi elements, it would be short-sighted to call this a sci-fi film. Although an attentive critic may call the film's portrayal of time travel simplistic, I would say it was designed to be simple because the focus was on Makoto's journey, not on the specifics of how she is able to travel through time. In fact, even without it's sci-fi elements, the core tenets of the story would remain intact.
What struck me the most about the film however where its visuals, and not in the most obvious sense as the visuals themselves are not very complex or technically impressive. However, the vibrant colors, and simple, but lively animation jump off the screen with dazzling results. Moreover, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is infused with a deeply enthralling and entrancing soundtrack,
Whether it be the beautiful animation, wonderful music, or it's compelling storytelling, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a an impressive accomplishment that reminds us why we watch anime in the first place. This is a modern classic, by any definition, and required viewing for all anime fans or fans of cinema in general.