The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

I wouldn't consider myself an Anime nut, though I undoubtedly watch more than the average person. I am very picky though - there's an awful lot of garbage out there, like anything I suppose.

One thing that definitely is not garbage is The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, which has turned out to be one of the very best Anime movies I've ever seen.

The bare bones of the plot are that a schoolgirl chances upon a strange device that grants her the power to literally jump through time. A power that she uses for various means - from simple pranks to living out perfect moments as much as possible, from matchmaking to determinedly avoiding matchmaking, and from minor selfish acts to the completely selfless.

Yep, there are lessons to be learned, but this is no bratty girl-come-good. Makoto is a thoroughly charming character from the off. Just a regular schoolkid with good friends (slightly offbeat in that her best friends are both boys), working not quite hard enough at school and doing her fair share of daydreaming.

The complete abandon with which Makoto leaps (and the resulting crash-landing) is a joy to behold every time. This film is full of great little comedy touches and perfect moments of subtle animation. Technically speaking it holds its own against the likes of Studio Ghibli's TV movies, with some of the paintings and colour choices easily matching anything I've seen.

It's pretty much everything I like about what the best Anime can be. A story for the most part grounded in some kind of reality, but with a supernatural or sci-fi twist. That dreamlike realm that's so effective in animation. Genuinely likeable characters that you can relate to in some way, and whose stories you do care about. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time follows a strong plot and wraps it up perfectly. So much Anime is wilfully obscure or baffling, meandering down vague paths or hiding behind a philosophical shield, masking its lack of focus. Here is a film that does everything right. There's no cultural barrier, and it appeals to all ages - you won't find any objectionable content here.

I'm rarely so charmed by a film, live action or animated, and I can't recommend it highly enough.