I have a backlog of Anime movies that I have picked up over the past year or so and I am slowly catching up with watching them. Last night I decided to watch Mamoru Hosoda’s The Girl Who Lept Through Time. I am a big fan of time travel movies, and I know that this one seems to bring up arguments (and people’s forgivingness) when it comes down to the confusing “if this happened how could this happen” scenarios, so I was eager to see it.
I loved Hosoda’s Summer Wars but even just looking at the cover of this one you feel it is going to be a lot different and more of a Ghibli style story. The movie is based on the book of the same name from Yasutaka Tsutsui (who also wrote the book Paprika is based on) and follows a teenage girl, Makoto, who discovers in the nick of time that she has acquired the ability to move back in time.
I want this to be a spoiler-free review (as much as a general review as possible) so I won’t get into the specifics about why I liked about 80% of the movie and the other 20% just kinda sat “ok” with me. One thing I enjoyed about the film is how quickly it gives you the context to the story. It introduces all the main characters, faults and all, very fast and gets the viewer up to speed with the character’s lives in an astoundingly short time. It is pretty amazing and very well done and something that is not done well in most films (not just anime). The entire film is only 99 mins which is slightly shorter than some full-length anime movies, but with this movie, the backgrounds and art are stunning, and I personally would rather see shorter movies and more detailed background art like this movie.
There is a bit of CGI in the movie, but it isn’t forced and adds to the story. The music selection is top knotch, especially during the CGI portion - parts of which are Van Gogh-esque in a Starry Night style. Also, I have to add that this movie has fantastic ambient sound in a lot of scenes. When the main characters are all around playing baseball, you can hear the same bugs one would hear on a summer afternoon or evening here in Georiga.
Since this is spoiler free I won’t talk about the ending to the film, I love things I don’t expect - but this just kind of fell slightly flat for me — overall a good movie though and one I recommend seeing.
Other random (spoilers - don’t read if you don’t want know) thoughts:
There is a scene in the movie with just a balloon in a sky that is probably one of my favorite frames in the recent anime I have watched. Just quite bothersome seeing it not move.
Aunty is a Witch or something. We need to know more about her character. I know she is there to move stuff along (muse?), but I don’t see how Makoto isn’t freaked out by her. Was she referring to a time-traveling love? Was it Chiaki and he actually doesn’t want to see the painting, but instead Auntie?