A charming story of a high school summer breathes fresh life into a familiar sci-fi trope.
What They Say
Something strange has happened to Makoto Konno. Time has suddenly stopped and moved her backwards. With her newly discovered ability to literally leap backwards in time Makoto finds that tests become a piece of cake, embarrassing situations are corrected and she can have her favorite food anytime she wants. Unfortunately her carefree time traveling has adverse effects on the people she cares for. With every successful leap Makoto somehow alters the fate of those around her. This wasn�t supposed to happen and as she races back in time to fix everything, she notices that her abilities are not limitless but with every successful jump she�s one step closer to discovering the most wonderful secret in her young adult life.
The Japanese 5.1 audio track was a rich experience, free from any noticeable defects or issues. While the film is dialogue driven, the front and rear soundstage provided plenty of ambient sound along with active directional effects. A quick spot check of the English 5.1 audio track shows equal care was given to providing a rich experience for the dub viewers.
Released in theaters in 2006, the transfer retains the original theatrical aspect ratio and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The transfer is gorgeous and contains no noticeable defects. Vivid colors fill the screen allowing rich, beautiful details show the care the director and staff put into the film.
Our protagonist Makoto boldly leaps through the blue sky of the front cover with the title of the film below her. It is a simple but striking image. The back cover contains the requisite synopsis, pictures, and details in a clean, readable layout.
A clever but simple main menu captures the plot of the film perfectly. A silhouette of Makoto leaps across the screen as the red time-line counts up. She reaches the edge of the screen, and the menu rewinds itself. There are no transition delays between menus allowing you to quickly setup and access the content.
A strong selection of extras has been included; first is a commentary track with the film's director and original Japanese voice cast. It is refreshing to simply have this track available, and the director and cast provide plenty of amusing and insightful anecdotes about the making of the film. Also included are a video of the film's Tokyo premier event, a music video by Hanako Oku for the theme song Garnet, the original theatrical trailer, and a promotional clip.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It was supposed to be a good summer day for Konno Makoto. However, her day was slowly turning into a comedy of errors. A pop quiz, a cooking disaster, and falling to the floor in a chemistry lab have taken the smile from her face. But the worst indignity of her day is flying head first into the path of a train. However, she opens her eyes and finds herself safe but five minutes in the path. Her "Aunt Witch"informs Makoto she has time leaped, a not so uncommon thing if you think about it.
Though she believes the concept initially implausible, Makoto decides to make a literal leap of faith and finds herself in the past, just in time to save her pudding from being eaten by her younger sister. Time travel stories often take a predictable turn -- "What would happen if you could alter the past in a significant way?" The Girl Who Leapt through Time provides a refreshing change by asking "What happens when you alter the past in a seemingly insignificant way?". Konno Makoto is a typical teenage girl; she would do what any teenager would do with such power. Use it for frivolous, selfish purposes.
That pop quiz is no longer another embarrassing failure. That cooking incident? Pawned off onto a classmate. Favorite meals can be eaten again; karaoke can be sung for hours at a time for the price of one session. What consequences could come from such trivial changes? Makoto soon learns that even the smallest interaction affects people in ways few of us realize.
That is the message the film conveys in a smart, charming, and often humorous story. Life is built upon the simple moments, and we should treasure each moment we have with our friends and family. This becomes more evident near the end, as the film brings out the more paradoxical elements of time travel to provide a few final twists to the story. This is just a gorgeous film, visually and thematically.
The Girl Who Leapt through Time provides a refreshing story focused on the people and their relationships rather than on temporal mechanics. Its beauty lies in exploring how the smallest things can affect us on large, personal levels. It is rare to find a simple but thoroughly charming film in any medium. This is a great slice of life title with just the right splash of sci-fi. Very highly recommended.
Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Audio Commentary with Mamoru Hosoda (Director), Riisa Naka (Makoto), Takuya Ishida (Chiaki) and Mitsutaka Itakura (Kousuke), Premiere Event in Tokyo, Hanako Oku "Garnet" Music Video, Theatrical Trailer, Promo Clip
Limited Edition Extras: Beautiful high quality artbox, Original Soundtrack, A second DVD which contains: Main Feature with Storyboards, Audio Commentary with Mamoru Hosoda (Director), Toshihiko Ito (Assistant Director) and Hiroyuki Aoyama (Animation Director), Direction File (A Talk with the Director Mamoru Hosoda), Behind the Scenes at Premiere Event
Sony Bravia KDL-46S4100, Panasonic RP-82 via component video cable, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers