Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Another anime based on older source material; in this case, Yasutaka Tsutui's 1967 novel of the same name.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an undeniably charming piece of animation, with a deceptively simplistic visual style. Deceptive because your first impression is of how clean and uncluttered it feels, almost minimalistic, but then you gradually become aware of subtle layers of detail, which never compete for your eye's attention but are there if you allow your gaze to drift around the frame.

The plot, concerning a high school girl, Makoto, who discovers the ability to leap backwards through time, is quirkily entertaining, if slight. It's got a kind of 80s feel to it - the sort of movie you could easily imagine getting made back then, when literally everyone was leaping around time in Air Jordans and drainpipe jeans - sort of like Quantum Leap meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Temporal back flips and metaphysical wizardry aside, it does basically boil down to a teen romance played out across time, space, death and reality (to lift a phrase). But that's no bad thing - even though it verges on schmaltzy when I might have preferred it to verge on edgy, and suffers from the same gaping plot holes that beleaguer any film concerning time travel, it's still a thoroughly entertaining watch.

From the point of view of someone who appreciates great artwork in anime, the story is a distant second to the enchantment of the hand-drawn animation; a triumph of understatement.


Dir. Mamoru Hosoda, 2006


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