I’m sure that most of us have wanted to travel through time in some way or another. The idea of being able to go back and choose your own adventure appeals to many. I know for myself that currently I want to go back and re-experience the years of college that I’ve had now that it’s drawing to a close. And the wish to change things that didn’t go the way you wanted them to is always there. It’s surely annoying to wonder “what if?” because you can’t do anything about the time you’ve just lost.
Of course time travel has its complications, but that usually isn’t the thing we worry about when we fantasize about act, is it? The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo – Tokikake for short) seems to pick up on this point and run with it, and does a pretty good job in the process. Time travel – much of the complications = Yay.
We have our main character Makoto, who manages to acquire the ability to time leap after a near-tender loving event. Once she accepts her newfound abilities, she spam time-leaps to rectify the little mishaps that she thinks she has throughout the day. It’s amusing to see what she does with the ability (though many of us would probably be thinking of doing greater things at a far more global scale), and the movie becomes very interesting as it moves into the results of her actions, while showing her eventual learning and growth from them. No one ever escapes scot-free in these sort of situations, but I felt Director Mamoru Hosoda pulled off a clever set of events that made the movie have more of a good impact on me.
While the movie never really goes into how the sci-fi time travel works (it just seems to happen with a jump and
hot blood a strong will, and makes for nice plotholes), as well as the probable parodoxes that could result from such actions, we find it doesn’t really matter. Based on the likable, humorous characters and their interactions, the real focus is where it should be: how the travel affects those factors. It also did not bother me that the focus was narrow with the focus on the normal setting. That just made the world seem more realistic to me; I also feel it actually helped draw me more into the story, and that’s never a bad thing.
I can say some trite moral like “This film taught me about how changing time isn’t the best thing to do”, but I won’t. So I’ll give the movie overused complements. I totally got a little Miyazaki-Shinkai vibe from how the characters acted, and the general slice-o’-lifiness the movie gave me, and I really liked that. The visuals, character interactions, and music once again helped me appreciate the fun that a normal world can bring in anime, and the fun that can be had in a time leap.
Tokikake takes an old sci-fi idea, and puts a nice little spin on it which makes for an pleasurable ride. It is not a perfect movie by any standard, but its quirky charm pushed many of the right buttons for me, so it’s an anime movie I think of as one of my favorites, if not my favorite of all time. I really hope I can see more from this director sometime soon, and I won’t stop wishing to time leap anytime soon either. :3