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Review: Toki o Kakeru Shojo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)

“Toki o Kakeru Shojo” is a story that has apparently had a very long and varied history which includes multiple adaptations, both live action and animated. I have never seen these prior adaptations, and I watched this film from a completely fresh perspective. In some ways, that can be a problem, as there are a few things that are questionable to a new viewer, but overall, the film can be viewed standalone and enjoyed without many problems.

The film can be categorized a few different ways, but it has the slice-of-life atmosphere first and foremost, so that is probably what I would characterize it as. The main character is a slightly tomboyish girl who has two male friends. Before you ask – no, there is no dramatic soap-opera love triangle where she is forced to choose one over the other. However, romance is involved in the film. As I watched the first half of this film, I couldn’t help but think that this was on track to being quite an exceptional little film. The writing was superb – the dialogue between the characters felt very natural and realistic. The animation and artwork were a delight, and the sound and music were fitting to the film, though they weren’t given the significance of, say, some of Hisashi Joe’s scores. And I loved where the story seemed to be headed.

Unfortunately, the film falters in the final act. There is a very poignant scene at the climax where Makoto, after having used and abused her new-found time-traveling powers many times, is finally confronted with a horrible situation that is about to occur due to the unforeseen consequences of her actions. Up until this point, I thought I had pinpointed exactly what kind of film this was going to be.  However, there is a change of gears at this point because the time-traveling aspect of the show is extended to another character, resulting in a rather jarring deus ex machina. The film becomes slightly less about a personal journey and even has something of a sci-fi bent to it.  Essentially, the resolution to the nail-biting, powerful climax feels inadequate in resolving the tension that had been built, and this soured the experience greatly for me.

It’s a very well made film, and I have no problems with recommending it to anyone who wants a well-told and well-directed anime film. I probably would have preferred if the general tone of the first half had lasted throughout and the time-travel aspect had remained a personal journey of sorts for Makoto, but that is not an opinion that seems to be widely held, so take it with a grain of salt.


5 responses so far

All comments welcome. Don't mind the age of the post.

5 Responses to “Review: Toki o Kakeru Shojo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)”

  1. maxon Nov 27th 2008

    It’s one of the best anime movie ever!

  2. Setsukyieon Nov 28th 2008

    Yep, one of the best out there.
    Amazing movie.

  3. Ciceroon Nov 28th 2008

    Dan’s been telling me I ought to watch this one, I guess I’ll have too now.

  4. aluaon Jan 2nd 2012

    I actually liked the ‘change of gears’ – it took the film to a whole other level for me (never mind that I was fascinated by those 7.5 minutes that a ‘film’ essentially became a ‘photograph’). The ending initially left me unsatisfied, but I rewatched the film (quite a lot of times, by now) and eventually made peace with it, because I realised that I perhaps approaching it too much from a Western perspective, expecting a certain kind of narrative (and closure). Now, I rather appreciate the fact there a plenty of things in this film that aren’t certain at all.

    Don’t watch the live-action by the way (which came after I believe – the voice actress for Makoto also plays the main character in the live-action). It tells a different story, more closely related to the original novel I believe.

    I have skimmed the original novel as well but couldn’t appreciate it much either – but I’m a literature snob 🙂

  5. aluaon Jan 2nd 2012

    I just saw the date of your post…. I’m referring to the live-action film from 2010 (which obviously didn’t exist at the time you wrote this, so you must have referred to an earlier one). So let me rephrase: the 2010 live-action isn’t worth watching – I have no idea about any earlier adaptations as I have not seen them.

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