Anime: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
In the past I’ve complained that most of the anime stuff that I’ve seen feels like it wants to be far too epic. All too often, in my experience, anime titles try to reach too far, they’re all about saving the world, hell some go even further and put existence itself in peril. Ok, so that kind of delusion of grandeur isn’t exclusively anime territory, but they certainly seem to use that kind of plot device pretty readily.
This is where THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME [TGWLTT] is extremely refreshing. While it does throw time travel into the mix, TGWLTT is just a story about a girl and the relationship that she maintains with her two best friends…. and how her sudden ability to literally leap through time effects… well, everything around her. A few soundtrack tweaks, lopping off the last few minutes and a slight adjustment to the overall tone of this film and I think that it would have hit a real sweet spot with fans of cult time travel movies (Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Donnie Darko fanboys), however as it stands, TGWLTT is — and I hate to use this term — a quaint movie.
The animation used in this film isn’t anything spectacular. Of course there are the beautifully rendered backgrounds that you see in many anime titles. And techniques like cell shaded 3D animation is used extremely sparingly. This isn’t such a bad thing though. Too often the animation and stylistic design of some titles pull you out of the story and all those bells and whistles end up being to the detriment of the overall piece. TGWLTT doesn’t suffer that fate, its animation and style is perfectly suited to the story being told and you’re able to settle in and enjoy the characters and story as they were intended.
One area that The Girl Who Leapt Through Time really deserves a tip of the hat, is the English dub. Without a doubt, this is one of the best dubs I’ve seen (and heard). I watched this movie both with the original Japanese cast (and subtitles) and the English dub and was extremely impressed (for a change) with the translated performances. Much of the success of the English dub lies in the script and original performances: Too often — for my liking — anime scripts / characters suffer from some kind of extreme mood-swing disorder… Or, as I usually describe it to friends, “They get a bit shouty!”. While there are a few ‘giant mouth’ moments in TGWLTT, thankfully the character animation style seems to be extremely forgiving of these moments and the English performers aren’t forced to perform ridiculous, emotional gymnastics.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time isn’t an anime epic, there are no giant robots fighting to decide the fate of the cosmos. There’s no chosen one who has to go on a journey to unlock the special powers with will allow them to protect all of mankind… and it’s all the better for it. My personal tastes left me wishing that the movie had been a little darker and that it had ended earlier in the story, but over all I did enjoy this film. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is the sort of movie that anyone can watch and, if you’re anything like myself and the GLB, you’ll be arguing about what the ending actually meant for ages to come. [source]