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Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The

FUNimation // Unrated // June 7, 2016
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:


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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.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


Extras:


style="">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: style="">


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. style="">



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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