The August weather has been wonderful, in which the unrelenting sunlight and heat has been showing what exactly “summer” should feel like. There is a film that I am reminded of whenever I think of summer. That is “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” a 2006 animation directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The film, which is set in a typical city in Japan, perfectly captures the freshness, brightness, and the dreamy aspects of the season.
The animation is the first from the blog posts that is not produced by Studio Ghibli. I wanted to discover the breadth of Japanese animation by going beyond Miyazaki Hayao’s films, and after watching “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” I became certain that the variety and depth of animation films in Japan are unimaginable.
The director, Mamoru Hosoda, directed major projects in the past years, which were not only showcased in Japan, but also in its neighboring nation, South Korea. His most recent work, which was just released last month, is “The Boy and the Beast.”
An ordinary high school girl named Riisa gains the ability to control time, being able to go back to the past and change whatever she would want to be altered so that she could live in a better present. As she exploits the power of going back and forth time, she realizes that the deliberate change of events may result in some unexpected consequences, possibly leaving her loved ones in peril.
The film was as emotional as it was fantastical. The entire concept of controlling time fascinated me, as it is one of those scientific mysteries that apparently could be realized. But the film goes beyond experimenting with the concept. It unfolds the repercussions that the main protagonist needs to go through due to the continued disruption of time and nature. It focuses more on the heavy weight she must carry as she witnesses the unexpected results of the privilege she obtained. By setting the frame of the film as a coming-of-age story rather than a science fiction movie, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” succeeds in creating the emotional connection between the characters and the audience.
The characters are three-dimensional; they are never static, being impulsive and regretful. There is such emotional depth into these characters that the story, while it may be a little childlike to some, becomes an immensely dramatic ride.
Above all, the film is exhilarating. It is fast-paced, with lots of twists and sudden discoveries. The visual aspects of it are superb, too. The cool, blue tones of the film match well with the summer setting.
The film is a perfect summer watch. For anyone who is willing to experience an entertaining, time-twisting movie, this might be an ideal one to watch. For anyone who wants to shed some tears on a special love story, this might be the one as well. “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is a delightful blend of fantasy and reality, leaving the audience with the desire to relish under the sunlight and create their own trips to the past.