I’ve watched so many anime in the last 6 years alone that it’s hard for me to be impressed by anything. I know you may not get that impression based on my previous reviews that I’ve been spitting out rapid fire, but it’s true. Anime films, which are what I’ve been reviewing, tend to be more unique then their television counterparts. And there’s no denying that The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is certainly unique.
Living in Tokyo is a girl named Makoto Konno. She arrives at school late one day, has a very large amount of bad stuff happen to her over the course of the day, plays catch with her friends afterward, and then heads home and is killed by a train after the brakes on her bike fail. However, she wakes up moments before that event. She’s alive, her bike is fine, and the train passes by harmlessly. She later figures out that she has the ability to, quite literally, leap through time itself both forwards and backwards.
The concept of literally leaping to time travel is new to me. I’m used to time machines of all different kinds like cell phones, wristbands, and microwaves, but leaping? I never would have thought of that. It’s an interesting concept and one that really gets a lot of laughs because the end result is usually something painful.
That being said, I felt like the story took its a time a little too much. For the first hour it just sort of walked along not really caring about its runtime and doing its own thing. Nothing eventful honestly happens. The obvious happens, of course, with Makoto screwing around with her newfound ability, but that’s about it and from time to time it produces something interesting. But it isn’t until the final 45 minutes that the film really picks up and flies down the hill, and that was the most enjoyable part of the film. Before that I had contemplated turning it off out of boredom.
The art and animation in this movie is par for the course with director Mamoru Hosoda, though made dated by his more recent films. The Girl Who Leapt Through time is the film that brought him to the forefont in the anime industry, though it was Summer Wars three years later that cemented his place as one of the best directors in the industry. Just like his later movies, the characters are drawn with some detail up close, but next to none the farther away you get. The backgrounds are still beautiful though.
I have really mixed feelings about this soundtrack. Sometimes it’s really beautiful, and sometimes I can’t really hear it. Not because the volume is low, but just because it doesn’t stick out. The above track is probably the best in the whole movie and its the one that caught my attention the most and was party why I enjoyed the latter portion of the movie far more than the first. I also can’t really say that I took notice of the sound design all that much either. The sounds were just kind of there and didn’t really stick out to me. I heard them, but it was standard fair, nothing spectacular.
This is probably one of those movies that’s beloved for a reason, but it’s a reason that I have a hard time seeing. I watched this movie partly because it was a Hosoda work, but also because I had seen enough people talk it up as if nothing he’s made since could compare. And the MyAnimeList rating is .14 points higher than Summer Wars(Yeah, I know, not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but it was still rated higher.). So I figured that I should give it a watch. And I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed, but it was still an enjoyable film all things considered. I may watch it again in the future, but it won’t be any time soon.
If I had to give it a rating, it’d be an 8 out of 10 simply because the ending redeems the whole film, otherwise it would have been 7/10.