The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

In 2006, Madhouse released the science-fiction work of pure art,The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, directed by Mamoru Hosoda, and a psuedo-sequel to the novel, Toki o Kakeru Shōjo, by Yasutaka Tsutsui, in 1976. It was surprising well-received in festivals and even won the first annual Animation of the Year award at the Thirtieth Japan Academy Prize. This movies is among one of my favorites of all time and was one of the first things I watched when I first got into anime. Along with Paprika, and Neon Genesis Evangelion, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is absolutely magnificent and a must watch for more than just the fan of anime.

Makoto Konno is having the worst day of her life; she woke up late for school, bombed a quiz, started a fire in her Home Ec class, and her sister ate her pudding. When delivering a basket of plums to her aunt, the brakes on her bike give out while she’s going downhill; the slope of the hill accelerates her bike, which is hastily approaching a crossing with an oncoming train. With perfect timing, she is hit dead on by the train. However, within an instant she finds herself at the top of the hill again, having crashed into a woman on the street. Makoto later realizes she has the ability to leap through time whenever she wishes, and begins using this ability to fix her bad day, make the good times with her best friends last hours, and redo mistakes she’s made. However, with this power comes a responsibility, and little does she know that these time leaps she makes to make herself happier are having a negative effect on those around her.

The story telling in this movie is beautiful. By the end of the movie you will probably find yourself caring about each of the characters and able to relate to them on a personal level. Just about every detail has significant relevance to something in the story, and often minor actions have a nasty butterfly effect on Makoto, or one of her friends, later on. The story is like a perfectly woven cloth, in that everything overlaps, crosses, and holds together everything else in the story, and leaves nothing without a purpose, a vital thing to keep in mind when jumping through time. And with a story like this, you’ll be surprised by the ending you get.

For the type of movie this is, the animation and audio portrays the atmosphere perfectly, and never gets in the way of the story. Character emotions can be seen easily; body language is natural and what you might actually expect from real people; and the scenery is what makes everything so breath taking, whether it’s Makoto running through the halls of her school, leaping off a hill, or watching the river, everything feels like a shot taken out of real life (except, of course, the time traveling).

Overall, this movie is a work of absolute perfection, and definitely one of those films that you can call art. It’s been a few years since I first watched it, and I just watched it again last night and I feel that it’s even more relevant to my life now, considering I’m in the same position as most of the characters thinking about what they want to do in college. If you like movies or shows that will make you think, or have characters you’ll be able to connect with, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is definitely the film for you. All wrapped up, I’d give this movie a 9.5/10 for amazing visuals, sounds, characters and an compelling story of a young girl growing up and learning the costs of power and responsibility.