“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (2006) by Mamoru Hosoda

The girl who leapt

Simply put, this is one of those films you don’t want to miss out on. It’s a little tough to speak more of this film’s immense depth and superb execution. It’s charm alone is going to appeal if you’ve ever shared any kind of human bond and if such bonds have led to you to the thought of “What if I could do this/that differently?”.

My friends have been building up to it so much that I’ve put off watching it; making sure I give the film the attention others said it deserves. I walked into it knowing nothing about the film other than what the title hints at and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a great feeling when a film lives up to the hype others have built up for it, especially since that’s a growingly rare occasion.

Mamoru Hosoda uses the notorious plot device of time travel with great ease and grace. I enjoyed the fact that the film chose to concentrate on how important feelings are and how human emotions are time sensitive. Most movies that blindly attempt such plots tend to have the grace of a car wreck (stupid time-traveling experience: Butterfly Effect, T3 and T4). It’s of a comedic irony that movies attempting time travel on a misguidedly epic scale ends up, at best, a flavor of the week in my memory. This one excels by simply cherishing the little things that makes human relationships… well, human.

The use of time-travel as an exploration and simultaneous metaphor of how time can strengthen, mold or break things in our lives is, in this case, of a fresh but familiar breeze.

She looks like she could be Shinji's little sister.

The character designs are recognizably works of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, one of my favorite artists. The animation uses the best of each frame and complimented the characters so well, all their gestures made them individuals. Mamoru Hosoda was also involved with STUDIO4℃‘s first One Piece movie. Those with sharp eyes can spot the similarity in efficiency (fans of One Piece should definitely check it out, it was the best OP movie then). The visuals are very controlled and vibrant, it’s impressive how much atmospheric detail this style can communicate.

The characters are some of the most subtly lively bunch, they remind me of real people I’ve met and shared recess with. These characters feel like real individuals you’ve come to know instead of caricatures based off a general stereotype of an age group/race/religion/nationality. It’s a subtle, thin area that a 2nd-rate brand of animations and comics characters miss out on, the little quirks that enhances the stereotype instead of confining it within the stereotype.

The film slowly takes you out on a walk and without knowing it, you’re on full speed, throttling away. Rooting for the different characters, comfortably on the edge of your seat, definitely a pleasant ordeal to go through. It shows in its brilliant simplicity how complex life can be as an emotion-driven organism and how time plays its role as life’s currency. The test of time will denote or reveal the value of the things you hold dear in life. If these words seem like a riddle, watch the film and hopefully it’ll reveal to you what I’ve found in it.

I can safely say this is my favorite time-traveling films of all time; so far.
Good afternoon, people.

P.S. The following is an updated, extended excerpt from an older post involving a film I sincerely loved, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Posted Sunday, June 7th, 2009 under Film.

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