More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.22%
Average: 11.11%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 3 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Executioner's Song, The by Jack Sommersby

Come Play by Peter Sobczynski

Blind Fury by Jack Sommersby

Craft, The: Legacy by Peter Sobczynski

Forbidden World by Jack Sommersby

Joysticks by Jack Sommersby

Exterminator/Exterminator 2, The by Jack Sommersby

Doorman, The (2020) by Jay Seaver

Postmortem by Jack Sommersby

Warrior and the Sorceress, The by Jack Sommersby

subscribe to this feed

Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"No need for a do-over here."
5 stars

Yasutaka Tsutsui's novel "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" has been made into a movie twice before, and I must admit that I'm curious to see at least one of them - there are apparently connections with the 1983 version that position this animated film from 2006 something in between new adaptation, remake, and sequel. Not that it's necessary at all; it's just nice to know that a movie as good as this version has something else connected to it.

We start with Makoto Konno, an average high-school girl who is having a bad day: She sleeps through her alarm, arrives at school to a pop quiz, somehow makes her tempura blow up in home ec, etc., etc. The worst is when the brakes on her bike fail, causing her to flip over a barricade, into the path of an oncoming train. Somehow, just before it hits her, she somehow finds that it's a couple minutes in the past. Her aunt Kazuko says she's "time leapt", and it's not uncommon. Makoto is skeptical, but that doesn't prevent her from trying to repeat the phenomenon. When she does, she finds she's able to undo much of her bad day, although doing so introduces many complications, especially in regards to her best friends - handsome Kousuke, baseball-loving Chiaki (whom everyone but Makoto realizes has a huge crush on her), and soft spoken Yuri (who is fond of Chiaki herself).

I'm sure there are people out there capable of disliking Makoto, even though I have a hard time imagining doing less than adoring her. She tends to extremes as much as any real teenager - brash at times, but with paralyzing self-doubts at others. She's kind of tomboyish (playing baseball with Kousuke and Chiaki is her favorite thing to do), scatterbrained and intimidated as heck at the idea of choosing her future academic track, which could determine the rest of her life. She's also brave enough to take the lead when she sees something that needs doing and generous enough to try and help her friends as well as herself. I love her character design, all awkward skinny legs and arms, and a short haircut that still seems to be out of her control, like she never has time to tend to it properly. She can go from gleeful cackling to frozen stunned silence in an instant and always look right, and Riisa Naka's voice is absolutely perfect for her.

Indeed, it's not often that an animated character comes together quite so perfectly as she does, considering that what is often the work of one performer in a live-action film must be accomplished by many people working months apart with just the director to tie them together. It probably works best this way, though: Some of the slapstick, like Makoto's uncanny knack for crashing into things when she leaps, would look too painful in live action. She's got a bit of Wile E. Coyote in her, as well as a bit of Charles Schulz - she cries in a big, open-mouthed way, just like Sally Brown, for instance. Director Mamoru Hosoda doesn't overdo it on the cartooniness or other visual overload - after Mokoto's first, mind-blasting encounter with non-linear time, he's rather restrained in terms of not using a lot of "effects"; we don't even ever actually see Mokoto disappear or reappear.

What I like most about this movie, perhaps, is that although it's about teenagers, it's about them in a way that maybe you have to be an adult to fully understand. There's a point in the middle of the movie where bits of the sci-fi plot device become clear, and we realize that even though her newfound ability allows her to double back, she's also allowing opportunities to fly by her in the way that people her age do but don't realize they're doing until much later. It's a clever little observation that the movie doesn't quite make explicit, but allows to stay somewhat hidden behind the more teen-friendly "go for it!" message. Also impressive is how screenwriter Satoko Okudera is able to wring clever time-travel plot twists from the same device afterward without undercutting the metaphor, as even the most gifted writers are wont to do.

It's not quite a perfect script - some of the bits about time travel and the future don't quite mesh as well as one might hope, or imply things that run counter to the movie's mood. Those bumps are more than countered by how fleshed-out all the characters are, how funny the action is and how poignant its thoughts on young love are - especially as it doesn't try to make the teen years some idealized thing they aren't. It's a story about time travel, sure, and even one that gets a bit caught up in its own mythology by the end, but in a world that is both hilariously and achingly familiar.

(Note: The print shown was subtitled, although there is apparently also a dubbed print making its way around. I'm sure the English-language version is perfectly nice, but I have a hard time imagining it improving on Riisa Naka's voice acting.)

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 08/23/08 23:27:45
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2007 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2007 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 2007 Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/23/11 Annie G Cute anime that won’t leave you thinking ‘huh?’ as often as most. 4 stars
3/14/11 bored mom As predictable as they come, but come on - you get a time-warping highschoolgirl bimbo. 3 stars
9/27/09 brian Story is not inventive but is very nicely told and the images are quite well drawn. 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  N/A (PG-13)
  DVD: 18-Nov-2008



Directed by
  Mamoru Hosoda

Written by
  Satoko Okudera

  Riisa Naka
  Takuya Ishida

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast