The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Review

Funimation finally rereleased Hosoda’s first original film, so I got to take another look at one of my favorite movies. The film is still a bit awkward in its construction, rambling in the middle act and arriving at an awkwardly exposition-heavy conclusion, but it’s also full of so many charming scenes that it’s hard not to love. Makoto is just the best – her enthusiasm brings the whole film to life, and makes her adventures a joy to experience. How can you not like someone who expresses such genuine delight at learning she can use time travel to regain the pudding her sister stole? It may have some clear lows, but the energetic highs make The Girl Who Leapt Through Time a charming debut all the same.

You can check out my big review over at ANN, or my notes below!

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

A scifi story that is really just a personal story

The hectic ride down to the train stop. The movie has its own internal echoes

And the personalities and relationship of these central three come through as clear remarkably quickly. That’s important

Lots of good physical comedy beats early on, establishing the fundamentals of Makoto’s day

Great, great, character acting

And lots of great incidental conversations

“Why bring up Chiaki, anyway?” her other male friend. Makoto is clueless and clumsy in a very relatable way

“Time waits for no one”

More incidental noise than music

Really beautiful but grounded backgrounds. The science closet is particularly beautiful

And then we finally get this perky piano track when she’s looping back in time

Nice visual effects here

Soaring across a painting

“Let’s go somewhere, just the three of us!” Right, the plot here is partially reflective of Makoto not really wanting to grow up. Having trouble choosing which course to go into, wanting things to always stay the same with her two guy friends

Oh, Chiaki is the fluffy-haired one

The brakes don’t work. She’s speeding down in front of the train

So many of this film’s best sequences are about rhythm and momentum – the heavy rush of her rolling down the hill cut short by the slamming into the barricade

And she rewinds, and goes to see her aunt

“That was a time leap”

“That was a time leap.” “Really?” “That happens a lot to girls around your age”

Makoto’s looks of confusion and credulous responses to her deadpan aunt are wonderful. So much personality here

“I’m sure if you got the hang of it, you could do it again”

Great physical comedy again – we don’t see Makoto hit her lamp, we just see the leadup and aftermath

Her sister thinks she’s committing suicide. “Was it because I ate your pudding?”

This movie excels beyond reason in the tiny little beats. Moments with her sister, moments thinking to herself

Now we get some nice strings. The music is really understated, though

And again, the big scene is all about the rhythm – Makoto climbing back up the hill, a pause as the runners and biker pass by, the strings raise in urgency as she runs back down, the big splash

And the physical comedy of her very delayed landing

More lovely backgrounds

Makoto so excited about her pudding being returned

And then she lands in the water, and immediately searches for her pudding

Leaping again for her pudding, omg

The movie continues to be largely a solo act. Super bold

More great comedic timing – the delayed joke of Makoto’s dad realizing his daughter’s on time for once

The whole class turning to look at her when she finishes her quiz

Makoto just taking up a defensive posture in cooking class, lol

But Makoto’s way too confident already

She takes another time leap to get more time at karaoke

And she just gets progressively more petty in her time leaps. Great stuff

“It doesn’t sound like you’re using your skill for anything big”

“Maybe there’s someone out there who’s having a rough time because of your good times?”

“I can reset things as many times as I want”

Really great conversation between the three friends about the girl asking him out. Kousuke’s the other guy

Riding home on Koichi’s bike

“Somehow I thought the three of us would be together forever”

Koichi stressing about asking Makoto out

And she can’t even parse his asking her out

And she runs away through time

She keeps running away from the from this confrontation, from the future

“Sometimes you can fall in love with someone who says they love you”

Ah, this other girl is the “threat”

So Makoto starts avoiding him

“Why did you ask me to fry the tempura?” Yep. It comes back to her

And maybe just the third song at this point, light piano

God, Makoto’s actions are terrible. Painful watching her do this

“I just don’t get it.” Koichi doesn’t even get a chance to think over his “actions”

If you run away from the future, it’ll just pass you by

Ah, and Chiaki takes the hit, of course

And Koichi ends up going out with Chiaki

This middle segment is a bit dragged out

“I wonder how someone was able to paint such a thing when it felt like the world was ending”

“You’re the only one that hasn’t submitted an academic career track”

“Didn’t you just head off to the baseball field?” More strong visual comedy

Makoto is so, so bad at this. It’s wonderful

Ahahaha, using the tossed dude to instigate a Meet Cute

The balance of the music seems a little low

The movie’s narrative is weirdly episodic, but that kind of works – this is a story about a girl, and about key moments

Aw dang, and the bike braaaakes

“Do you have fun playing baseball with me?”

“Have you been time leaping?” hahaha

There it is. Again, with the strings and the build, the key moment

“Would you laugh at me if I said I came from the future?” As usual, the ending doesn’t really work. But it’d be hard for it to

Great shots of the frozen city

“I’m relieved it was charged to an idiot.” lol

“I came back because there was a painting I desperately wanted to see.”

“I was supposed to go home, but it turned into summer before I knew it. Being with you guys was just too much fun.” This works thematically, but man this is a sketchy narrative

“You don’t want to see me in a yukata, is that it?” “Sorry, I would’ve like to see that”

Making the premise into an actual scifi narrative was just a bad call. But eh

“It didn’t seem long. Time flew by quickly.”

Aw man, this insert song

“I really like Chiaki.” She finally tells Yuri

The girls hiding behind the tree, lol

Ah jeez, the scene of her running against the pan. So good

Yeah, the movie unfortunately peaks with Kousuke’s ride

“Okay, I’ll be right there. I’ll come running.” aw jeez

4 thoughts on “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Review

  1. “The scene of her running against the pan” is the sequence that made me aware of sakuga and the importance of individual artists in an animation production—that shot can be entirely chalked up to animator Ryo-timo’s hard work.

  2. Provided you have Bandai’s LE release, aside from the obvious HD upgrade, do you know if this release had anything else with it that wasn’t in the prior one?

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