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The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Posted by martinteller on March 22, 2013

Makoto is your typical high school girl… trying to keep up in class, annoyed with her little sister, wondering what career path to take, hanging out with her friends Chiaki and Kosuke.  Typical, that is, until she has an accident that gives her the ability to leap into the past.  At first she uses her power for selfish gain, until she realizes that her actions have repercussions.  She also learns something unusual about someone close to her.

I watched Obayashi’s live-action version of this oft-adapted novel some years ago.  Or… not exactly.  You see, apparently this is something of a sequel, with the heroine of the original appearing as the aunt of the heroine in this one.  I didn’t realize that at the time — thanks as usual to the internet for filling me in — which is why I was wondering why only a few of the basic plot points felt familiar (it also explains something that I thought of as a plot hole).

The gist of it is the same, though.  It’s an adolescent (literally, I mean, not in a condescending way) coming-of-age tale wrapped around a fun sci-fi premise.  It’s a wonderful fantasy, the thought of being able to go back and correct all your blunders… especially at an age when every blunder feels like catastrophe.  The film maybe spends a little too much time on this, though, and the early parts start to get repetitive.  And actually the middle gets a bit draggy, too.  The plot takes a really interesting turn in the last part, and I kind of wish the revelation had come earlier to give it more time to develop.

I wasn’t entirely thrilled with Makoto as a character, but for the most part I enjoyed spending time with her and watching her learn some life lessons.  The voice acting seemed good to me (except when she cries, which is grating and sounds more like a fake orgasm than sobbing).  The animation is pretty good, too.  I was really impressed with the gorgeous backgrounds and trippy effects in the time travel scenes, a little less impressed with the character animation which seemed a little stiff at times.

All in all, it’s enjoyable and has a few delightful moments… but I didn’t warm up to it as much as many anime fans seem to.  I’m surprised at myself for saying this, but I actually wanted more sci-fi and less drama.  I think I just didn’t love the character enough.  Still, a fine bit of entertainment except for a couple of speed bumps.  Rating: Good (76)

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