Monday, July 11, 2011

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The best part of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the 2006 Japanese animation film, is its complete lack of ambition to be a full-on science fiction fantasy; it is also its biggest shortcoming, as the science fiction-time travel fantasy forms the core of the film’s plot. Yet, the film delightfully saddles the contradiction to give us a peek into the teenage anguish of a young girl and the choices she makes.

Makoto is a highschool kid, who is lazy and laidback, who prefers to hangout with her two male friends, Chiaki and Kosuke, than her studies. One day, she finds a walnut-shaped object in the school’s science lab, and while returning home on her cycle without a brake, she saves herself from being hit by a train. Soon, she learns that she has the ability to ‘jump through time’. Excited, Makoto begins to use her new-found ability to petty uses, to sleep late, eat her favourite dish every day, spend more and more time in a karaoke parlour, and so on. Things becomes complicated when her friend Chiaki proposes to her, and she travels back in time again and again to stop Chiaki say what he wants to say.

You expect Makoto adventures to find a larger mission; it does not, it remains trapped in her mundane world, which is at once charming and boring. Then Makoto discovers a tattooed clock on her hand which tells her how many times she can really travel back in time; and surprise, one of her friends appear to be a visitor from the future looking for a certain painting. But the film bypasses these larger issues to concentrate on Makoto’s anguish, and her need to be loved.

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