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MapleRose's The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Tv Review

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time tv Review

Makoto Konno is just your average energetic high school student. She likes to sleep in, arriving at school at the last possible moment, gets average grades in school, likes to play baseball with her two best friends Chiaki Mamiya and Kousuke Tsuda, complains about her little sister, and has no idea what she wants to do with her future. Everything about her life is pretty ordinary. Until one day, she discovered she can leap through time...

Story & Characters

According to wikipedia, this animated film is a sort of sequel adaptation to a quite famous novel called "Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo" written by Yasutaka Tsutsui in 1965, which has many live-action adaptations over the years (including movies and TV dramas). I've never read the novel or seen any of the adaptations, so this review will not compare the plots with the original.

Makoto Konno is just your average energetic high school student. She likes to sleep in, arriving at school at the last possible moment, gets average grades in school, likes to play baseball (well, just catching the ball really) with her two best friends Chiaki Mamiya and Kousuke Tsuda, complains about her little sister, and has no idea what she wants to do with her future. Really, everything about her life is pretty ordinary. Until one day...

No, she doesn't fall into a magic well that takes her back to the Feudal Era with demons and stuff. And no, she doesn't get taken to some weird place that looks like China but isn't and finds out she's a priestess or the empress of the country. (cookies if you can pick up the 3 references I made XD)

But she does get a kind of special power one day. On that day, after a strange encounter in the science room, on her way to the museum, as she is about to get into a fatal accident, she suddenly finds herself somehow unharmed. Bewildered, she tells her Aunt, who restores art in the local museum, about what she went though. Her aunt tells her that she did a "time leap". ie, she went back in time.

At first Makoto doesn't believe her aunt, but after some experimentation, she discovers that she somehow really can go back in time. Soon, she discovers all the perks of being able to undo and redo anything she wants. And she's always so happy that she "can't stop laughing", as she tells her aunt with an almost maniacal-sounding laughter. However, her aunt asks her if she's having so much fun redoing everything, doesn't that mean someone else is suffering as a consequence?

Makoto doesn't seem to see this as a problem, until she discovers that some things still go wrong even if she tries to redo them, and that other people really do suffer when she gets herself out of trouble through her time leaping, and she even gets her closest friends in trouble as a result...

The plot itself isn't all that special or original: average high school girl discovers special power, she has fun with it, she discovers power can't solve all problems, something goes wrong, and.. conclusion. It seems pretty ordinary; been there, done that. But there's still something about the story that draws you in.

Perhaps it's the way the story is played out through Makoto's eyes. You see things unfold with her, you know what she feels and sympathize with her. When she's happy, you can feel her joy, and when her friends are in trouble, you can feel her despair and guilt. Or perhaps it's the interaction of the characters; the relationship between Makoto and Chiaki and Kousuke, you can tell they're close friends, and you want the best for them. Or maybe it's the little plot twists and turns, like all the things Makoto tries to do to solve her problems, or where Makoto's powers come from, that makes it interesting, and not just an ordinary "girl goes back in time" or "girl abuses special power" story.

Characters

Makoto - As I said, you see the story through her eyes, so you get to know her and how she feels, and sympathize with her. As a character, she's energetic and tomboyish (her 2 best friends are both guys, and she likes playing baseball with them). She's a kind and determined person, and wants the best for her friends; but she's not unrealistically selfless either, at the beginning, she is rather selfish, using her power for herself, until she realised it was causing problems for others, and then guilt kicked in. Ultimately, like the rest of us, she's a good person who wants to live her life to the fullest while dealing with uncertainties and her own problems. I think she's likable because she's quite human (realistic). She doesn't have anything out of the ordinary, she isn't purely good or purely evil, and she's not angsty/emo/tragic nor overly sweet and cute. The viewer is able to relate to her, which makes the story more real as well.

Chiaki - He's one of Makoto's best friends. He transferred to Makoto's school not long ago, and became close friends with her and Kousuke. He's usually laid-back, and is a nice guy, as he stands up for one of the guys getting bullied.

Kousuke - He is Makoto's good friend. They've known each other since they were little, and Kousuke is somewhat of a big brother to Makoto and keeps an eye out for her. She in turn, wants the best for him as well, including trying to set him up with a girl who has a crush on him.

The story and the characters aren't spectacular or anything, yet I found myself attracted to the plot and getting attached to the characters. They're ordinary, but not mundane, and there seems something extraordinary about the story and characters when everything is put together.

Rating: 8

Art

The character designs for this movie was done by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, who designed the characters for Evangelion. Makoto has short hair, which fits her active style and tomboyish personality. Chiaki has orange hair, which sets him apart from the other boys in the movie (who have dark hair like most Japanese people do). The art of the characters is somewhat simple, and I find it often lacking shading and depth. I wouldn't have minded this too much, since it can be a stylistic choice, except the background is really detailed and more photo-realistic. The animators paid a lot of attention to the background and settings; the clouds, the houses, the plants, are all very intricate, and the rooms are filled with detail (the science room has all the equipment you'd find there, Auntie's office is filled with books, and each book is drawn in detail). This makes the foreground stand out I suppose, but it also makes it look like the characters don't quite belong in such detailed scenery.

The animation itself is fairly good, especially with facial expressions. However, sometimes the walking sequence looks quite awkward and wooden, especially at a distance, where the character lacks even more detail and proper movement.

The colours for the background are rich and vibrant, making it easy to tell it's summer time. However, the colours for the character are more muted and pastel compared to the background (natural-coloured hair and eyes, white and blue uniform), adding more to the simplicity of the characters.

Rating: 7

Sound

Music
The ending song "Garnet" by Oku Hanako and the insert song "Kawaranai Mono" (unchangeable things) by Oku Hanako both fit the theme and feel of the movie very well; from the romantic piano tunes to the youthful-sounding vocals (which sound pretty similar to Makoto actually, almost like Makoto is singing the songs), but especially in the meaning of the lyrics [I don't want to get into details because it's kind of spoiler-ish, but when the ending credits scroll up, and you read the translation of the lyrics, you'll know how well the ending song fits; similarly, the insert song lyrics fit really well to when the song is played]. The two songs sound a bit alike, which is expected because the style and singer is the same. But both are really pretty songs on their own.

Other than these two songs, the background music isn't too special. It fits, but doesn't really stand out in any way.

Voice
Most of the cast for this movie are voiced by actors who haven't been in a lot of other roles (ie, no seasoned actors) [In fact, Animenewsnetwork doesn't even have entries for the actors for Chiaki and Makoto]. But just because they're not experienced doesn't mean they don't do a good job.

The voice that stands out the most is Makoto's. Riisa Naka gave her a sort of scratchy voice, and I found it kind of out-of-breath at first, but after a while, you get used to it; and it does fit Makoto's tomboyish and can't-sit-still personality. However, I found that the voice acting really shone during the later scenes (particularly the climax), Makoto's emotions were very well-acted out and brought alive; you could really feel how she was feeling.

The voices of the other main characters Chiaki and Kousuke aren't bad. They sound like appropriately like normal teenagers, but they not particularily outstanding.

Rating: 8

Presentation

If you like sci-fi, fantasy or adventure, then this movie is probably not for you. While it has time travel, that's not really the main focus of the story; time leaping acts more as a plot-device to develop the characters and the story. Although some parts of the time leap are explained, it's best if you don't question how it works (like what happens to the current time line when Makoto goes back) and just take it as it is, else you'll end up going in circles and get a headache. The story focuses more on the relationships and the characters than the logics of time travel and how it works, and that's what you should focus on as well.

However, that's not to say the movie is all mellow and slice-of-life. There's action, humour, romance in it as well. And some scenes, like at the climax of the movie, made me hold my breath in anticipation.

I enjoyed this movie very much (it's one of my favourites now). And I would recommend it for those who like characters that you can relate to, and a realistic story sprinkled with romance, humour, and a touch of fantasy.

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

8.50 (very good)

Reviewed by MapleRose, Sep 24, 2008

Comments

  1. davidh01 Sep 24, 2008

    A nice review here Maplerose. Succinct, to the point and convincing. You've given enough detail and supporting arguments for me to think seriously about checking this one out. Its good to have you back.

  2. alexlamsl Oct 07, 2008

    *comments got eaten by new server* X-O

  3. tsuyoshi7171 Feb 21, 2009

    very good review

  4. FuturePerfect Feb 21, 2009

    This movie is very much like Tekkonkinkreet in the art department,
    Simple characters and detailed backgrounds work really well together in my opinion :)

    Fair review.

  5. narunarunarunaru Feb 28, 2009

    the movie .... it's a little bit sad...

  6. pandemonium4146 Mar 25, 2009

    Nice review. I enjoyed the film as well and even ended up crying at the near end.

    3 references are: Fushigi Yuugi, Inu-Yasha and Twelve Kingdoms(?). Not sure about the last one. Lol.

  7. pigmypuff Jun 05, 2009

    so sad this series tv..

  8. pmgbapm Jun 23, 2009

    the movie is quite well

  9. Fanatik007 Jul 30, 2009

    i like the character design

  10. yukirina Aug 06, 2009

    so sad...

  11. SchRita Aug 23, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

    merged: 10-31-2009 ~ 07:42pm
    Thanks for the review!

  12. cassia Feb 17, 2010

    I cried in the end!

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