In the past, I've reviewed some anime wherein the director tried his best to imitate the delectable Hayao Miyazaki's films's charms, only to fail miserably when he only tried to copy the famed Miyazaki's style (and character designs), and not the substance of his work. Well, I am happy to report that the people behind the movie The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, went for the Miyazaki substance, and they got it sooooo fucking right. If it weren't for the fact that none of the characters look like Nausicaa with a different wig on I would have sworn that this flick was a Miyazaki production. High praise indeed.
The title of this feature pretty much gives away the whole plot — there's this girl, and she finds that she can leap through time — but it's not the plot that really counts here, it's the characters. Well, most importantly it's the female lead, high schooler Makoto Konno. Makoto is just so adorable. She may not be drawn to be the cutest character of all time, but it's how she thinks and how she reacts to all the shit that continuously gets dumped on her that made me smile like a sappy doofus throughout the entirety of the flick's 98 minute runtime. Makoto is generally kindhearted, but a little dim (never once does she think to use her time traveling powers to win the lottery or kill Hitler or bin Laden or anything). But that's what makes her so sweet. If she jumped back and forth through time just to backstab enemies, use people's secrets against them, and manipulate her way into some guy's pants then... well, then she'd be a typical teenager, and quite frankly typical teenage girls are annoying (though only in person. They're hot when they're just in pictures).
Okay, so The Girl Who Leapt Through Time goes a little something like this: Makoto is a well-meaning slacker, who hasn't thought much about her future other than she simply wants to hang out with her two best friends for as long as she can. Her two best friends are Chiaki (the tall, rough-around-the-edges, red-haired guy) and Kousake (the shirt-tucked-in, straight arrow guy). Beyond that, she is pretty much oblivious to the world at large. This all changes though when she falls on a nut and bruises her butt (she doesn't sit on the thing, that just rhymed). Soon after the nut incident, Makoto almost dies. Well, she WOULD have died if she didn't impulsively hurl herself back in time the second before her skull got creamed like a watermelon by a steamroller. Then soon after that (and with some sagely advice from the ditzy Auntie Witch [no, she's not really a witch, but she is one batty broad]) Makoto figures out (sort of) how to freely leap back and forth through the fourth dimension (mostly by hurling her body up and down stairways and through doors).
Then things get goddamn hilarious. Yes, this is one funny fucking movie. No, it's not stupid comedy, or slapstick, but comedy based on and focused on the characters and their interactions. It's all really light humor, but I think I actually pissed my boxers a little bit from watching some of the really lame/silly/dumb/awesome uses of time leaping that Makoto came up with. For example: at one point Makoto jumps back and forth through a couple of minutes in the afternoon half a dozen times in order to try and hook up a guy and a girl whom she believes belong together... They obviously don't though, seeing as every goofy attempt to mix the two gets brushed off by one of the forced parties, and Makoto is then compelled to try some extreme measures (i.e. using the thrown body of a fellow student like a tossed dwarf right into them both). Oh, and there's Makoto's effort to avoid a confession directed at her that was going to happen one way or another, despite her kind of retarded struggle to change the subject before things got awkward. Oh, and Makoto's quest for pudding. Girl is fucking NUTS for pudding.
Wisdom and advice from Auntie Witch does eventually sink in Makoto's noggin, but really only after she's temporally fucked things up to such a degree that even if she did manage to have a perfect day or week herself, others around her got the shaft (like getting anally screwed by a power drill) as a result. "When you're enjoying yourself," Auntie Witch points out, "doesn't that mean that somebody else is suffering as a result?"
Well, that may not be true 100% of the time in reality (others getting shit upon if you have an enjoyable time). Take last night with the Silvstedt triplets, the hot tub, the stuffed buffalo and the sleeping bag filled with Jell-O... That didn't hurt anybody or anything. Though I guess that that buffalo maybe didn't have to give his life up. That would have made things more wild anyway... But anyway, that insight most certainly seems to be the case in Makoto's world. And she does eventually figure out how to put it all right without having a cop-out ending by going back to the beginning and making so that none of the movie ever happened. That would have sucked Ron Jeremy's hairy man-titties.
....Does the Rossman even take me seriously anymore? The idea that a walnut allows people to travel through time, well, it is simply absurd.
We use quantum reversed engineered bat guano mixed with radioactive charcoal in order to generate the 1.20 gigajoules (Doc Brown used .01 too many in his experiments, which is probably what caused all that trouble for Marty and himself in the first place) needed to rip a hole through the 4th dimension large enough for a human body, or a soulless automaton the size of a human body to pass through. Though the device needed to generate, maintain and contain this vast amount of power is about the size of one of your World Trade Center Twin Towers!... Oh, wait, has that thing already happened in your time yet?... Ummm, sorry, that was heartless of me. My point is that there is no possible way that something the size of a golfball could contain the key to temporal traveling. Though maybe.... Maybe that nut thing was just the call signal that allowed a larger apparatus to zero in on the time traveler once they were already in the past.... Like how they track me in the past due to the incredibly high levels of radiation pulsing through my body (I show up on the time charts like Las Vegas in the desert at night). Interesting.
Girl protagonist: good. Making girl protagonist a complete blockhead: bad. Giving girl protagonist the power to control time and those around her: good. Having her only use her power over time for really stupid and lame reasons: bad. Giving girl protagonist two strong male friends who like hanging out with her just because she's a good buddy: good. Having one (possibly both) male friend(s) turn out to have a crush on her and of course want to be more than friends: bad. Giving girl protagonist an older female confidant with whom she can discuss matters of the heart and her amazing predicament: good. Having the older female confidant turn out to be a crazy person named "Auntie Witch": bad.