Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Toki wo kakeru shoujo; Animated fantasy comedy, Japan, 2006; D: Mamoru Hosoda, S: Riisa Naka, Takuya Ishida, Mitsutaka Itakura, Ayami Kakiuchi, Mitsuki Tanimura

Makoto Konno is a teenage girl who is good friends with guys Chiaki and Kousuke. One day she flunks at a test and causes a cooking accident in school. But when she crashes with her bike into a train at a crossing, she accidentally discovers she can leap back through time a few hours, just by jumping. Having the knowledge of the previous day, she passes the test with flying colors and avoids the accident. She constantly jumps and thus goes back in time. But when she uses her powers to matchmake Kousuke with a girl, they crash with her bike into the train. Having used up all her time leaps, Makoto is shocked she can't prevent it, but then Chiaki shows up and admits he is actually a time traveler from future, using his powers to save Kousuke and the girl.

"The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" is a sympathetic little anime fantasy film from director Mamoru Hosoda that resembles a little bit like a mix between "Groundhog Day" and "Quantum Leap", displaying a cute mood and humane understanding for the imperfect teenage girl Makoto who gets in the middle of a sweet enviable situation where she gets the chance to control her destiny, even though the premise has been done before. The anime charm works in full intensity already in the opening shots where Makoto is trying to play baseball but is distracted because she thought she heard something, and there are also many other little humorous touches, like when she calls her aunt "Auntie Witch" or uses her knowledge of the future to place Kousuke right on the spot where he gets hit by some student that was thrown from another student and makes him fall on the girl to start a matchmaking, and the amazingly fluent animation is so good it almost works as a virtue for itself. Still, despite a cute and sweet tone, the story feels light while the resolution and explanation of the time leap are disappointing and useless, trying to add a logical dimension to the "unreachable" plot that should have stayed open to interpretation. Despite some limitations, "Girl" remains a quality made anime that smoothly and patiently displays it's virtues and doesn't hesitate to show it's gentle side.


No comments: