The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo

Title: Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo aka The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Kadokawa Shoten
Format: Movie; 100 minutes.
Date: 15 Jul 2006

Synopsis: Konno Makoto is a 17-year old average tomboy who hates studying and homework, and prefers playing catch with her two best male friends. One day, she gains the ability to travel through time by ‘leaping’, and she uses to score good grades and avoid imminent mishaps. Things then turn for the worse when her seemingly innocent changes have adverse consequences that will hurt everyone around her, including herself.

The Highlights
Story: Your typical shoujo slice-of-life made right.
Animation: Generally clean and fluid, except for some dizzying scenes.
Music: Simple music for a simple movie; absolutely apt.
Balance between comedy and drama: Deserves a standing ovation.

“Time waits for no one”. It is certainly mundane yet true, and this is the main slogan of the movie. The movie eventually does embody the slogan with perfection, but its winning factor is its overall end-product. Each attribute of TokiKake – the artwork, music and story – are not outstanding when analyzed individually, but when they are blended together they create a movie that invokes laughter, pity and sorrow.

The movie is truthfully just a standard shoujo slice-of-life high school drama. Our protagonist is a tomboyish high school student who loathes school and prefers wasting her time in karaoke lounges and playing with her two best buddies; in other words, your average joe. Things get interesting when she gains the ability of ‘leaping’ through time. She uses it to amend the little things in her life, and that is what make this movie special – ordinariness. The movie contains the scientific plot device of time-traveling and yet, the emphasis is more on how it affects Makoto and the people around her due to her amendments. The development of each character is down-to-earth, which in turns enhances the message of the above slogan inexplicably and powerfully.

The animation is akin to titles produced by Studio Ghibli (even though this one isn’t) – clean, crisp and fluid. It seems that there is nothing to complain about the artwork and animation, until the time-traveling scenes arrives. The scenes, to put it mildly, are jarringly bizarre and stuck out as a (very) minor sore thumb. Fortunately, these scenes are brief. Other than that, the background themes are beautiful and detailed. The movie is made better with music mostly made up of simple piano tunes and Yoshida Kiyoshi. Unlike some shows where the music overwhelms the ambience, the tracks in TokiKake are aptly timed and composed to suit each scene, whether the mood demands comedy, serenity or poignancy.

The balance between the comedy and drama in TokiKake is ineffably flawless. The laughable scenes of Makoto getting into various fixes and tumbles after every leap bodes excellently with the moments of suspense and sadness during her tribulations and attempts at fixing them. Furthermore, the supporting cast has their fair share of the limelight and they produce chemistry between each other that is both logical and emotional. Ultimately, it results in a list of characters that come to life in under 100 minutes.

TokiKake is a movie that is very hard to dislike. Simplicity does not come as elegantly and well-balanced as this and a movie that evokes different types of feelings does not come very often. Said to be “the anime movie of 2006”, I was pretty skeptical about the statement. After watching it, the skepticism has become nonexistent in the passage of time.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: AC

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