Thursday, January 10, 2008
CAPSULE REVIEW 2: The Girl Who Jumped Through Time (aka. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo)
THE GIRL WHO LEPT THROUGH TIME (aka. Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo)
dir. HOSODA Mamorou
Format viewed: DVD
Hi Blog, Been a delay in writing and posting more capsule reviews here. While I've still been watching stuff there just seems to be less time to write about it.... Anyway, let's get on with it.
Hosoda Mamorou's Madhouse production and Kadokawa Herald Pictures distributed anime Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (aka. TokiKake) is another sci-fi time and logic bender from the fertile mind of author Tsutsui Yasutaka. Famous for writing the source material for that other anime that came out in 2006, Kon Satoshi's Paprika, Tsutsui's story is about firsts and how despite our best intentions we often squander what is most valuable in our lives only to find that we don't miss it until it's gone. I'm writing, of course, about 'time' more than 'love'-- but TokiKake's story as handled by director Hosoda makes little distinction between the two.
Makoto Konno is a regular high school girl who is best friends with two guys: Chiaki and Kosuke. Though just platonic friends, there's a hint of romantic tension between Chiaki and Makoto. When Makoto stumbles upon a totem item that enables her to literally 'jump through time', she uses it at first to satisfy all of her ingenuous fantasies. These consist mainly of eating her fill of her family's deserts and then jumping back in time to avoid detection, but when she starts using her power to avoid a declaration of love from Chiaki we get the sense that something bigger is about to happen. And it does. Right when Chiaki most needs her ability to jump through time to avert the death of Kosuke and his girlfriend she discovers that she has a finite number of jumps and has used up almost all of them. By using this last one to save her friend's life she soon learns that she has somehow sacrificed her friendship with Chiaki, who must now go away. Though I don't want to explain why, because it is a spoiler, suffice to say that we learn that mop-headed Chiaki is not who he appears to be...
An interesting fact that might not be known to most anime fans and certainly not to most non-Japanese anime fans is that there was an original live-action adaptation of TokiKake done in 1983 directed by Obayashi Nobuhiko (of HAUSU fame!). A hit at the time of its release and still remembered fondly by those who were teenagers back in the day, it has not been disregarded for this anime production. In a neat bit of connectivity, the Madhouse animated version of TokiKake includes the main character of that version, Yoshikawa Tomoko, as Makoto's aunt in this story. The aunt we learn in this film version is somehow key to the plot and she hints that she is aware of the abilities that Makoto has gained. Not to be cute here, but to see how, you'll need to watch the movie.
Madhouse's animation is very good for this production. One of the top animation houses in Japan -- and in the world (to my mind) -- Madhouse gives the animation in the film a clean and (somehow) optimistic air. The color palette tends towards the bright end of the crayon drawer with a unique, almost Evangelion inspired character design by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki. (It should, therefore, come as no surprise that he did character design on various Evangelion series.) Sound design and score are solid and all production values are really top-notch.
In addition, the storytelling is spry and well realized with a good economy. While I wasn't as floored by this anime-- because, quite frankly, I don't think it was aimed at someone like me -- I found it a sweet film that was well worth my time and most likely yours. Bandai Entertainment has licensed the film for US distro. Check this out to find out where you can get your copy. (Bottom right corner.)