Every bone in my body is telling me “Jonathan, this is a romance, it’s a time traveling romance filled with plot holes, love triangles, and more teenee gooy romance then you can handle.” Yes, it’s true; I’ve made somewhat of a reputation for myself amongst my family and friends for my hatred of these kinds of movies. You know, close nit group of friends (two guys, one girl), boy likes girl but doesn’t have the guts to tell her for fear of ruining their friendship, girl likes guy but doesn’t want to admit it, other guy likes girl but doesn’t want relationship getting in the way of school, girl develops time traveling super powers, drama ensues. You know, your basic stuff. If this were ANY other movie, made by any other director, done any differently than it was, I’d probably have a field day ripping this film a new one. And why not? Didn’t I rip Myazaki’s “Whisper of the Heart” for the same elements this movie has? Yes, I seem to remember doing that, and having good reasons for it too. It wasn’t a fluke, I’m not in the habit of giving out bad reviews for Studio Ghibli’s amazing (and I do mean amazing) work, much less a film Myazaki himself, the MASTER of anime, produced. But I did, and I stand by that decision.
But how then can I sit here with a straight face and tell you that The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a magnificent film. Not just a good film, but one of my favorite anime movies of all time that managed to bring a smile to the face of even a sarcastic cynic like me. Even with all its mellow drama, its plot holes, the love triangles and teeny weeny ‘cry me a river’ romance I couldn’t help but find myself completely enthralled by the story and characters. I just can’t explain it, maybe I’ve changed, maybe this night I was just in the mood, as it were, for a heartwarming little story about a teenage girl and her love for the cute funny best friend. I pride myself for my consistency, in my taste in music, movies, my political beliefs, etc, I’m nothing if not consistent. Logic, therefore, would tell me to hate this film, but I don’t. In fact, I love it, so for the sake of the reading public (you guys) I will try to explain, to myself as well as to you, just why it is I loved this movie.
Makoto, Chiaki, and Kosuke are the best of friends. Just like any classic friend trio their personalities vary a lot, Makoto (the lead female) being mostly carefree and fun loving, Kosuke being the brains of the outfit, while Chiaki is laid back, lazy, but fun to be around. Together they make an inseparable team, playing a little catch, singing a little karioke, or just riding bikes their bikes. Like any good anime this films main strength lies with its characters. Rarely does an anime film capture so perfectly the character and personality of its characters, and even rarer are examples of anime that do this for teenage characters. At no point in time did I feel like I was watching a movie about fictional characters in a fictional world with fictional problems, instead I felt like I was simply watching three normal everyday people as they interact with each other and the world around them. I cannot overstate how amazing these characters are. So that helps explain why I love this film, as characters are the foundation upon which any story is built. That’s not what surprises me here.
No, the surprising part is that the love triangles and twist ending didn’t completely turn me off to this film. After all, those are just the kind of things that usually activate the ‘let’s trash a movie’ part of my brain. It’s my natural response. My BS flag goes up faster than it takes for an Elfen Lied character to take their clothes off. My fingers find their way to the C-R-A-P buttons on my keyboard, and I go on a funny rant that gets on the nerves of every fanboy on the internet. Overall a lot of fun, you all should try it sometime. Let this movie serve as an example to the Twilight fans of the world, to the writers who make their living writing crappy teen romances to sappy/shallow readers. Let this also serve as an example to all the snobby critics (myself included) who would normally never give a story like this a chance. The lesson being that ANY story can be done well provided the characters are strong enough to drive it. At its core this film is a teen age love story, and in the hands of an unskilled writer (Stephanie Meyers is but one example) this story would be complete and utter nonsense void of all artistic or entertainment value. But in the hands of a skilled writer, a visionary director, and talented actors, art is made. And that is what this movie is. Art.
Pictured: the devil.
I watched this movie years ago and never quite got around to finishing the review for it, but at the time I gave it a 4/5. Upon seeing it again I’ve realized that rating wasn’t enough, so I’ll bump this up to a 5/5. Yes, I am that impressed by it. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an amazing anime film reminiscent of the movies of the legendary Studio Ghibli. The art, the music, the cinematography, he visuals, all add to the story to create something of a modest masterpiece. Does it have its flaws? Yes, most notably the blatant plot holes that litter it especially near the end of the film, but compared to the overall quality of the movie such transgressions can easily be forgiven and forgotten.
Time travel movies can be a little challenging for filmmakers to execute. Most films usually spend a considerable amount of time trying to establish its groundwork, and by then, the whole time stream mumbo-jumbo becomes too much of a chore to follow that by the end of the movie, viewers don’t really care anymore. Some movies do succeed with such a premise but most of the time they do not. Japanese anime have always been successful in bringing forth depth in story … more
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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