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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Blu-ray)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Blu-ray)
FUNimation // Unrated // June 7, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted July 18, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Blu-ray Review

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an exciting sci-fi drama from acclaimed anime director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars). The film focuses upon high school girl Makoto Konno, who can leap through time (and into the past). The story revolves around her experiences jumping through time and upon the effects of her time travel jumps on herself and others. The film is based upon the novel written by Yasutaka Tsutsui and is from executive producer Takeshi Yasuda.

The story is a delicate blend between science-fiction and drama. As the story starts to unfold, it's initially a sweet-natured slice of life anime production which just happens to have time travel thrown into the mix. As things begin to unfold more in the second half of the story, the events surrounding the time travel become more complex and the story begins to have a more frenetic and action-oriented tone. The second half of the film builds to a stirring climax and one which is filled with a number of surprise turns.

Makoto Konno (Riisa Naka) is the lead protagonist of the story. She is a free-spirited teenage girl who is in love with baseball. She spends plenty of time outside of school playing the sport with her friends. She's living a normal existence (one without much in the way of drama), and then... suddenly she finds herself able to make giant leaps into the past.

Makoto decides to start time jumping back in time for her own amusement: when dinner is not her favorite she can always time-hop back to a night with a nicer meal or she can avoid a close friend asking her out on a date by simply skipping back beforehand. She uses the time-travel for her own enjoyment regularly and even extends her baseball sessions. What she doesn't expect or count on is that her time-jumps might be changing things for others around her as well.

The film was animated by animation studio Madhouse (Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Metropolis). The animators and production team at Madhouse create some of the best anime films in the entire anime industry. This is another great example of their exemplary work as animators. The work deserves great accolades. The detail that is given to both the character designs and animation background art is exquisite and few other studios deliver such great quality work so consistently.

The music score was composed by Kiyoshi Yoshida (Big Fish & Begonia). It's a subtle but effective score which nicely compliments the filmmaking style. The first half of the film is certainly more lighthearted and the tone of the score reflects that. The score is delicate and serene sounding in the first half and it builds to a more dramatic tone for the conclusion.

The screenplay for the film was written by Satoko Okudera (Summer Wars, Wolf Children). The Girl Who Leapt Through Time certainly excels largely in part due to it having a great story that is extremely well told. The film manages to be both a wonderful slice-of-life anime production while blending fantasy and science-fiction into the mold in a unique and entertaining way. The characters are well-developed and explored and the twists and turns in the story help to keep it entertaining throughout.

Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children) worked at Studio Ghibli as an animator before leaving the studio to pursue a career as an anime director. Hosoda was one of the original directors for the original Digimon (and also the Digimon feature film), before directing a One Piece theatrical production.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was the first of Hosoda's recent acclaimed standalone feature-film productions. It's an impressive production which features his energetic style of filmmaking. The story feels emotionally heartfelt and exciting at the same time and the direction helps to convey this effectively with the emphasis on character moments throughout.

The filmmaking finds a beautiful balance between emphasizing the animation artistically (with quiet moments featuring the often serene animation) with the story. Hosoda certainly proved with this film that he is amongst the most talented anime filmmakers working in the industry. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an incredible accomplishment which stands as a great anime film that hits all the right notes. It's a must-see film for any anime fan.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is presented by Funimation Entertainment on Blu-ray with a impressive 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. The image is clean, clear, and generally impressive. While the PQ is not as pristine as some more modern productions, the image is still quite pleasing and has nice robust colors. There is occasional (slight) banding on the image (which might be inherent to the source) but for the most part this is a quality effort from Funimation. Fans should be pleased.

Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The film is available with both English and Japanese language presentations. English subtitles are provided for the Japanese language presentation. The subtitles on this release are quite impressive and don't have any issues with formatting or grammatical errors.

The release does have an issue with the audio tracks and some may experience difficulty playing the surround sound tracks on this release.


Extras:

Please note that this release is a Blu-ray + DVD + HD UV Combo Pack.

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

Feature Length Commentary featuring director Mamoru Hosoda and other staff members.

Feature Length Commentary with Storyboards is a separate commentary which includes storyboards presented alongside the film presentation.

Storyboards with Film Presentation features the film and storyboards alongside each other (without commentary).

DVD Bonus Disc:

Premiere Screening Event (14 min.) is a behind the scenes piece from the original premiere of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, featuring the cast of Japanese voice-actors along with the director and filmmakers as they previewed the film and discuss the production.

Director File - A Conversation with the Director (34 min.) features a interview with the director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time as he discusses his style and approach to making the film.

Behind the scenes at the Premiere Screening Event (10 min.) offers more behind the scenes footage from the premiere screening of the film. This extra includes another interview with director Mamoru Hosoda.

Hanako Oku - Garnet (5 min.) Music Video

Theatrical Trailer

Promo Clip

U.S. Trailer

Lastly, trailers for other Funimation entertainment releases are also provided.

Final Thoughts:

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an entertaining and ambitious anime production which holds up well. The film earned great acclaim for director Mamoru Hosoda at the time of its release ten years ago and it is now considered an anime-classic. Fans will certainly want to consider adding The Girl Who Leapt Through Time to their collection.

Recommended.

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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