Category Archives: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt through Time

You know, when Kanon 21 “hits” someone made a “Toki wo Tomare” joke–basically a Jojo character’s special attack that allows him to freeze time, complete with the lame color invert.

Makoto Konno, the teenage tomboy star in Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (Tokikake for short), or The Girl Who Leapt through Time, pulled a couple off.

I think I was doing that with my blog all last week.

At any rate, this film is making a minor run across North America. It showed itself sometime last year in Canada IIRC, and then just earlier this week/last week in Boston. Tonight it was NYC. Thanks to the New York International Children’s Film Fest… (I think it’s playing again next week, and then to San Fran next.)

So unlike the Boston screening or Waterloo or many of other limited or film fest screenings I’ve been to, this one is filled with parents and grade school kids. The viewing is subbed (yea, kids can read subs!), so when the line “Why are you here so early? Did you skip jerking off?” came on the screen, we LOLOLOLed especially hard. I guess it was also a surprise. But LOLOLOL.

Tokikake itself is full of laughs. It’s by no mean a comedy, but when it’s funny it’s quite funny. It’s definitely a romantic coming-of-age sort of thing, but at the same time the sci-fi twist just makes it hurt your head a little? I came away from the film generally positive, but at the same time I’m a little confused and it rubbed me not in the right way.

Starting with the very delicious Yoshiyuki Sadamoto character designs–it’s great, but given how the film sometimes bends backwards to be cartoony, it almost clashes. The strange pacing was great but the double-pop at the climax (referring to tension-and-release) was rough. The director definitely knows his stuff, and it shows, but at the end the plot is simple enough that sometimes it seems things in the movie are in the movie for no reason.

Perhaps the worst part of the movie for me was the main actress. She got on my nerves. She did a good job, I think, but I felt as if I was inside her brain the whole film, hearing every little sound she made. And she made a lot of sounds. Often alone. The sound effects in the movie was pretty good, but at those times it could get excessive.

But once I got over that, the film was very smooth. It went down clean, and it is fairly cohesive and engaging. All the characters came together very well–from the myseterious “witch” aunt, the Enma Ai-evoking imouto, the two boys, the confession trio, to even the rather minor but fairly significant girl-friend–it felt relevant and not contrived.
Animation was clean, as it suits Sadamoto’s design style. The animation was fairly organic, smooth, but at times broken into chunkiness as either Makoto breaks into a crying fit or tumbling fall. The background is delicious, too, but given how this is a film about going back and forward in time, it gets a little overused (I’m thinking we need more shots of the Kanno house). You can tell they went an extra mile to try to mitigate that, though, by reanimating most of the flashback scenes.

The film is obviously not age-rated by any official thing, but the filmfest gave it 10+. YMMV, but definitely a good film to take your girlfriend to. Kids…if they’re teenagers I guess.

As to the plot? Time waits for no one. Here’s a much more comprehensive description of what goes on in the film dated last year, and read that if you want. The original story is based on the sci-fi book of the same title by Tsutsui (same guy who wrote Paprika). Official home page is Makoto jumping over into the blue sky.

Makoto Kanno Leapt in NYC

Give it a watch. It’s worth your while just for the laughs. And maybe the simple, sweet romantic story will make up for the rest.