At its core, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo is really just a standard shoujo slice-of-life show. There’s the plucky, cheerful protagonist, there’s the myriad of possible romances just waiting to bloom, and of course there’s the lazy summer afternoons spent loafing around in idyllic Japanese suburbia. The closest analogue is most likely Ghibli’s own Whisper of the Heart.
The only noticeable differentiation from its counterparts is a time-traveling plot device introduced early in the show. Handled carelessly, this fantasy gimmick could have easily been a sour point (see: Junkers Come Here). However, TwKS is surprisingly clever about how it implements the time-travel into the story. Throughout the series, the ways that protagonist uses her new-found power make for some of the most delightful comedy that I’ve seen all year.
The humor blends seamlessly into the drama, whose main theme revolves around the slogan, “Time waits for no one” – certainly not a unique message, by any means. Fortunately, the excellent characters and sharp writing lend the movie a compelling sense of urgency that sets itself apart from similar works before it. Every minute of this movie feels immediate and precious, and as a result, the movie’s familiar message is unexpectedly powerful.
In the end, I loved Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo's story for its near-perfect mixture of drama and comedy; the movie is one of the funniest anime I've seen this year, but also happens to be one of the most poignant. Even as I laughed at the brilliant humor, I mourned the loss of the protagonist's happy childhood - a childhood which slowly but inevitably slipped away, leaving nothing but bittersweet memories.
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo’s animation is, for the most part, extremely clean and fluid. The simple character designs resemble Ghibli’s (in a good way), and character movement is realistic and charming. There isn’t quite enough detail to the visuals to rival the upper echelon of anime movies, but for the most part the animation is more than serviceable. The only exception is the CGI used for the time-travel sequences. Although brief, the scenes are jarringly ugly; the protagonist’s character design looks completely out of place on the hideously colored background.
For the most part, the instrumental soundtrack does a good job of setting the mood of the show. For the most part, the songs are lazy and laidback, but there are a few nice dramatic tracks as well. Voice acting is competent all-around. In particular, the heroine's seiyuu deserves special mention – her upbeat, cheerful performance goes a long way toward making the character instantly likeable.
A common pitfall that many people (including myself) occasionally fall into is that anime characters must be well-developed for a show to work. If this was the case, then movies would almost never be good, because there is far less time to spend on character development in a two-hour production.
Unlike characters found in series (which for the most part are required to be multi-faceted and complex), movies call for a different kind of character. Essentially, they rely on characters that are likeable at face value. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo is a wonderful example of this.
Like in Ghibli films, it’s somewhat difficult to explicitly state what makes the characters so appealing. In the end, I think TwKS’s are excellent not for what we know about them, but for their immediate actions. The characters move and talk in ways that are both familiar and unexpected. Rather than jerking like puppets to the script, they act naturally, intelligently and occasionally unpredictably.
In other words, they feel alive.
Seriously, how could anybody possibly dislike this film?
For strange, off-kilter movies like Paprika, I can fully appreciate that the show will have its fans and its detractors. However, for Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, I can only gape in awe and disbelief at anyone who claims to dislike it. There is something so universally wonderful in Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo’s storyline that the very idea of not enjoying it is completely alien to me.
As a whole, this is a fantastic work, and is looking to be the crown jewel of a year that has already yielded several excellent anime. I’d recommend this not just to those who like slice-of-life, but to just about everyone who likes anime.
OMG this was so good the story was kinda confusing at the end T.T I'll read the manga later...anyways the music didn't really stand out to me...someone the characters made me mad...and this was so unpredictable it had me on my toes all the time thu the movie....I was like so what is gonna happen next...you think you know something but BAM it switch on you....I was like what the fuck so random @_@
"Time Waits For No One"
Wow, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. I recently heard of this movie when I was looking through top rated anime, when I passed by the movies. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is currently the #1 rated movie, and #12 anime altogether. My reaction to this- "WHAT?!?!? A MOVIE HIGHER RATED THAN SPIRITED AWAY!?! NU-UHH! After that, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time went to my plan to watch list INSTANTLY. I finally took the time to watch the movie recently, and I'm happy that I did. And on a note- I watched the movie DUBBED. That's right, the English version done by Bandai Entertainment. If you don't like it, too bad. And the dub was GOOD!
The story is basically about a young high-school girl named Makoto Konno, has been having a tough time lately with school. She has been hurt, low grade scores, cooking accidents, and tardiness. Her best friends, Chiake Mamiya and Kosuke Tsuda have noticed this throughout the day, and talk to her about this when they play baseball. After school heading home, Makoto gets involved with a train accident, ending her life. Bt somehow, she has somehow been given the power to travel through the past, which causes her to live. Shocked about this, she goes to her aunt to talk about this. Her aunt then tells her that she can now do whatever she can and change things that has happened in the past. Following this, Makoto decides to go back to the past to change all the bad occurrences that happened that day. But doing so, this causes problems for other characters, triggering sad events in life. But also, this also causes love confessions from other people. Not happy about how this is turning out, Makoto decides to travel through the past again until it ends up how she wants it. Now this is a definitely a sci-fi movie, if you can't tell with all the time travel. I have had my fair share with sci-fi, seeing how my dad is a Star Wars fan and a Star Trek fan, but have I never watched a movie with such a strong story with such great character development. Not only this, but it also has a Digimon vibe to this, but this is pretty much because the director of the movie directed the Digimon movies. Overall, the story is very strong and very unique.
Now about the art, and I'm not being over dramatic about this, but this is the best art in all the animes I've seen. And trust me, I didn't download this or buy/rent the DVD, I watched it on YouTube (in their new HD quality). Most of the animes on YouTube have crappy quality, but even so, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time had great quality (but probably because I used the HD format). The character quality is phenomenal, and the background to the movie is brilliant as well. Watching the times when Makoto is going through time is a breath of fresh air, and when you're watching The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, there is a part close to the end of the movie when time has stopped, and then the movie is showing shots of time being stopped. That was when I realized how outstanding the animation was.
The voice actors FROM THE DUB fit the characters very well. You get a tomboyish voice fitting great for Makoto, you get a comedic I'm-just-messing-around voice, and you get a deep voice that fits well for Kosuke. And as for the score, it was really well done. The part of the score that shined was when time had stopped. That part of the movie I wanted to download and put on my I-Pod, but no luck torrenting it.
Now here's why I can't give the movie a perfect score, the characters. Now, you have a really good main character, but even so, you can't give something a perfect score over just one character. Chiake in my opinion is also a great character, but I still wanted more story about him. And for Kosuke, I can't really give him an opinion since he isn't involved with the movie as much as Makoto and Chaike are. I still think the characters are good, in fact the movie has a great set of characters, but I wish that there was more story into them.
There are parts of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time that will leave you in shock, in tears, in a smile, and in anger. All of these emotions PROVE how good this movie is. I was left in all of these emotions, and I'm glad that I was left in these emotions, because if I didn't have these emotions during the movie, I would've been bored and not have enjoyed the movie. I'm even glad that I was left in tears and anger because it proves how in depth the dialogue is.
Overall, I think The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was a really good watch, and for people who haven't seen the movie, I am telling you to watch it NOW. Although a lot of people say that it's their favorite anime movie, I can't say it is, seeing how great Spirited Away. If there was a little more depth to the characters, I bet it would be a close race between the two.
Makoto and her best friends Chiaki and Kousuke have an inseparable and touching bond that has always kept them together, but what Makoto fails to notice is the things they have sacrificed to ensure that they always stay together and that she never feels alone. Both are great looking guys and receive a fair amount of attention from girls, but for some reason - perhaps due to her nativity - she never seems to realise why both turn each girl away. She fails to notice that things surely can't be this way forever. People change, move on and grow.
The opportunity to do so basically stumbles face forward in front of her in the shape of an object. Within it, is the ability to time travel. What starts off as fun soon completely spirals out of control as she begins to abuse its power. As she does so more and more, more mistakes are made, the more reckless and daring she is and the worse the regrets will be. Makoto is not an easy protagonist to like for the majority of the anime. She is very selfish, and naive during the worse of times as well as manipulating. But it's through time travelling that she learns the repercussions of her recklessness the hard way. You see her open her eyes and even start to notice the smaller things - like the kind of attention her two friends bring. She matures and there's a lot of character growth that goes into it - which was probably one of the most redeeming qualities of her character arc.
What caught me by surprise was the change of tone really. At the beginning we are taken through their daily life. The structure of their friendship, school, home life and so on. But as her life spirals out of control and the two people she holds close are caught in the middle of it, things take a much more heavier turn. And all at once, I was given moment after moment which gave one heavy blow after the other. You'll be pleased to know that it get's better as you watch on. Things get a whole lot more intense and Makoto really - for the first time it would seem - has the chance to reflect and try and figure out where it all went wrong. This sense of self discovery brought on specific moments which had me chocking up a little.
THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME may be a little slow at the start, which I know has been quite jarring for a few people who I recommended it to, but it really isn't as bad as it sounds. And personally it never bothered me. There is also the fact that I am guessing that Chiake is the more popular choice out of the two mates. And who can blame them? He was mine too, after all. And it is so easy to prefer him over Kousuke because Chiake is such a louder character in comparison (metaphorically.) He is charming, endearing, ridiculously cool and a bit of a bad boy (just how some girls love 'em) whilst Kousuke is much more relaxed, quiet and observant. And neither traits do him any favours in this situation, sadly. And although Chiake was definitely the one I preferred, there was a side of me (a small side) that wanted Kousuke to stand up and make more of an effort! I was practically waiting for him to take charge and be a bit stronger but he was just... him I guess.
The thing is that I can see it not being for everyone. But overall, with a great cast of characters, interesting premise , gorgeous animation, a steady pace and enough emotional and intense moments to keep readers satisfied, I genuinely hope that more do. It is definitely one worth giving a go.
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo is very impressive. I’d say that the story is exclusive – If this word fits the situation. The greatest plus of the movie is that love is not the main theme, but the most important. Animation is pretty interesting, a kind of better than usual. Sound scared me sometimes, but It also is perfect for those moments where It was used. And everything’s perfectly combined; I watched the whole movie with my month wide open. It’s such a masterpiece.