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Netflix Journal: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

  • This film has beautiful music. The baroque style pieces were particularly refreshing. Otherwise, the music fits the laid back, slice of life, mundane feel of the film.
  • In any piece of writing that deals with people I feel that it is important to include certain ordinary elements to greatly increase the relatability and believability of the narrative. Such scenes include hanging out at home, eating meals, getting ready or going to bed, and running errands. This film is filled with these kinds of scenes which help give it a distinct ordinary feel. Even those who aren't accustomed to common Japanese customs like students being assigned to clean up after school should be able to understand and relate. 
  • At the same time, the ordinary life design of the narrative that's forwarded greatly by dialog makes the film a bit long in places. Though I appreciate how much time the film takes to set up the world/characters before the time travel element is introduced, part of me thinks the film could have been cut better. After all, the style of scene composition is very similar to the techniques taken with serial anime shows that use long dialog scenes while focusing on objects in the environment to save money. Fortunately, the film is packed with details that become even more important once the timeline of the film becomes folded and compressed. 
  • The dialog is simple and wonderfully mundane matching the film as a whole. The voice work is really well done considering it had to audiences' attention in a very dialog heavy film. 
  • Likewise the animation and direction are high quality. Drawing ordinary people doing ordinary things can be a greater challenge than drawing imaginary elements. Every scene in the film is well composed opting for long, sustained shots over the more standard budget saving facial closeups. The flat colors and expressive animations reminded me of parts of the Animatrix and rightly so. Studio Madhouse did work on the Animatrix. 
  • The main action of time leaping is well developed in how it's woven into the main character and themes of the show. The themes include, growing up, moving on, decisions (after graduation), and taking action. These themes should be very familiar to people 18 and older. Trying figure out who we are and reach goals without regrets is the challenge of adolescence. For Makoto, despite having the power to leap through time, she goes through these same challenges making the film a coming of age story like so many Shonens, animes targeted at middle-high school aged kids. I love how the the magical anime factor/action of time leaping was used to lightheartedly and visually illustrate a very relatable story: ie. a young girl who learns and fights for what she wants after running away from her problems. 
  • The film has a lot of mysterious elements. The Aunt who's a "witch" knows about time leaping, yet she jokes about it. She guides Makoto through her high school years as a mothering figure. Did her old love time leap? After doing a little wiki research I found out that the aunt is the original girl from the original version of the story released in 1976.  And Makoto's final transformation/decision is fraught with mystery. We know Chiki will wait for Makoto in the future, but what does this mean? Will she leap to him? Grow old to him? Will he be older? Is he too far into the future for them to meet? All we know by the ending is that Makoto is transformed. She's come to a decision about herself and she won't tell Kosuke about it. This ending is only fitting. The story revolves around Makoto. And though love is a part of Makoto's journey, being in a relationship isn't key to her transformation. 

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