The Girl Who Leaped Through Time

Year: 2006
Production Co: Mad House
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Cast: Riisa Naka
A charming and funny fairy story, very Japanese in both sentiment and execution, this film has a very distinctive anime style you've seen before (very Astroboy/Battle Of the Planets) and a real sense of sweetness and whimsy.

It's a tricky thing to make anime seem real, or connect you so much with the characters – especially in this stylised style, a world away from the physical realism of Appleseed Ex Machina.

But Makoto, as the titular heroine, is so alive and so sweet and klutzy you can't help but love her. The film portrays a still, hazy summer in contemporary Japan perfectly thanks to an almost constant drumbeat of cicadas in the background, billowing clouds drifting past baseball parks and the glistening sheen of sweaty classrooms.

When Makoto discovers she can travel through time by literally leaping through the air, she starts off by putting her newfound power to trivial ends. But things soon start to turn, and there seems more to her two best friends Chiaki and Kousuke than there seems, in both the boys feelings for her and in Chiaki's case, his ultimate purpose in her life.

It's a long movie and starts to feel overlong toward the end, covering a few days in Makoto's life when she discovers her power and cutting back and forth in the timeline several times, so you have to stay on your toes to keep up with the plot's mechanics.

But the cuteness and vulnerability give way to a genuinely sad and heartfelt ending where – if you've been invested this far – your heart will break a little for her.

It's dreamy, a little sci-fi, funny, sweet and very cleverly wrangled on screen.

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