Written By: Tumour Baby
Toki o Kakeru Shoujo or The Girl Who Leapt Through time is a 2006 animated film produced by the animation studio Madhouse and directed by Mamoru Hosoda, famous for also directing the movies Wolf’s Children and Summer Wars. Its story is a loose sequel to a novel by Yasutaka Tsuitsui written in 1967. It revolves around a young girl named Makoto who seemingly is just having a bad day. Shortly after a strange encounter at her science lab, she gets in an accident where she is thrown off her bike towards a train. When she wakes, she finds herself in a scenario a few minutes before her accident.
Our main character Makoto is shown to be a simple happy-go-lucky girl. When she discovers her ‘ability’, she uses it without restraint for the simplest of things. As we go on, we see Makoto face the consequences of her actions and she comes to realize the effects of time leaping. She is effectively probed to reflect by her aunt Maho who appears as a mysterious character somehow linked to the time leaps. It is implied that Maho was the protagonist of the original novel, showing that what she imparts upon Makoto is from her experiences then.
All characters help in some way for Makoto to grow and understand her whole situation throughout the movie.
The plot early on presents the quote “Time waits for no one”. This effectively becomes important to Makoto, especially by the end of the film. The themes of the importance of time and how simple events trigger bigger ones are shown through the reflection of Makoto and how she deals with the outcomes of her actions. This is exemplified by the two turning points of the movies involving her friends Chiaki and Kousuke. Chiaki – presenting a situation that Makoto can’t accept easily, and Kousuke – presenting what you may call a ‘bad ending’.
The story also has a lot of fantastical elements. The nature of time travel is never really explained nor its purpose on why it had been created. However, in this film, as the scientific aspect is not the main focus, it does not derail the viewer from the point that the movie is trying to make nor the enjoyment of the overall plot. However, the history about a mentioned painting is glaringly unsolved and seems to only show that beauty can be seen even during hard times – which gives more depth to the revelations of a certain other character.
This also has a romantic subplot that was well laid-out. It leaves you wanting more for the characters but also satisfied with how it turned out.
The soundtrack of this movie is absolutely fantastic. The slow background music during the school scenes really helps increase the atmosphere of simplicity in Makoto’s normal life. The insert song Kawaranai Mono or “What Never Changes” by Hanako Oku adds so much feeling to the given scene and is definitely played at the right time.
The voice acting for both the English dubbed and the original Japanese audio were well matched. They effectively gave so much personality to the characters though I personally felt that the Japanese Vas were more expressive, save for Makoto, Chiaki, and Kousuke where they were evenly matched.
The animation of the movie is flawless. There are some scenes presented where it shows students around the school doing mundane things. This adds to the effect that even though you are living your life with your own time, at the same time, others are also living their lives. It amplifies the thought that “Time wait for no one” as no one is exempted from time flowing and moving on.
There are also multiple scenes of Makoto jumping and of baseball – both animated very smoothly. During Makoto’s time leaps, we are also given stunning visuals showing running numbers that represent time, as well as different scenes of different locations, adding to the aforementioned effect of how time is everywhere and affects everyone.
This is probably one of my favourite movies of all time and I have watched it repeatedly both in dubbed and subbed. I love everything about this movie and I ship the main ship so hard. Even though there are still so many unanswered questions about this movie, the movie itself gives this strange feeling of satisfaction and just makes me really happy. I think the relevance of time was nicely presented and it really sticks to you (and it has for the past 9 years).
Overall Rating: 9.7 / 10