Being a huge fan of Japanese anime movies I try to watch every new position that becomes available on the American market right away. I bought the DVD with English subtitles in a nearby store, and felt like a little child once again, being so absorbed by the fantastic animation that appeared on my TV screen.
Mamoru Hosoda, known mostly for work in the Digimon series, created a really beautiful picture, which would appeal to everyone, no matter what age. The story is based on a book of the same name. It shows the bizarre, and sometimes complicated, adventures of a girl named Makoto, who one day realizes that she is able to leap through time. Like every normal teenage girl would probably do, she starts to take advantage of that uncanny, and basically random, gift. Whether it’s a class test, or a boy-related problem, she can easily omit the difficult circumstances by leaping back in time and changing the whole situation to be just as she wanted. On one horrible occasion she even saved herself from a certain death. I believe that up to this moment anyone would want to have that kind of power.
However, not everything can go as smoothly as one can imagine. Makoto starts to understand that her frequent, and mostly unnecessary, time alterations cause harm to others, including her dearest friends, Chiaki and Kosuke. She is not only distancing herself from them, but also putting one of the boys in grave danger. Surprisingly enough, in one tragic moment, Chiaki confesses that he is the one responsible for her newborn ability. Then Makoto starts to regret her superfluous outbursts, which caused more pain than happiness actually. After all the events she even recognizes her true feelings and knows that she made a mistake by rejecting Chiaki’s offer for a date.
I must say that the story really caught me right from the start, as it presents an instructive take on the matters of time travels. It’s hard to find another anime, which shows this particular topic in such a convincing, and enjoyable way. While the detailed and colorful animation is on the highest level, with every character drawn to perfection, it sometimes feels as though one is watching a feature film. Great voice-over makes it that much easier to grasp the full potential of the characters’ personalities.
It’s only a shame that it wasn’t advertised on a bigger scale, as it might have been as big as Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle once were. I recommend it to every anime fan out there, as it’s one of the most splendid and pleasurable animations of 2006.