The Girl Who Leapt Through Time's Real Craftsmanship

Even if you hate anime!


The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
June 13 through 19, ImaginAsian

The title will be unfamiliar to most Americans; not so in Japan. The source is a sci-fi novel that's been adapted every decade since its 1967 debut: as a film, a TV series, and now, retooled into a semi-sequel, as an animated feature. Makoto (voiced by Riisa Naka), an indifferent high-school student, one day discovers that she's inexplicably gained the ability to jump out of time—this involves literal jumping, and a litany of pratfalls. She uses the gift to mostly trivial ends (retaking a quiz, beating her little sister to a pudding cup), and also to escape the number of life-or-death situations that evidently imperil a normal teenager's schedule. The Western world can be divided between those who are predisposed to dig anime and those who split at the first sight of spiky orange hair. I am not among the former. That said, there's real craftsmanship in how Girl sustains its sense of summer quietude and sun-soaked haziness through a few carefully reprised motifs: three-cornered games of catch, mountainous cloud formations, classroom still-lifes. It's basically the equivalent of a sensitively wrought read from the Young Adult shelf, and there's naught wrong with that.


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