They’re the best Anime that 2006 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Pokemon Movie 09: Pokemon Ranger to Umi no Ouji Manaphy, Giniro no Kami no Agito, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation III – Love Is the Pulse of the Stars, and more!
5: Pokemon Movie 09: Pokemon Ranger to Umi no Ouji Manaphy
English: Pokemon: Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
Japanese: ポケットモンスターアドバンスジェネレーション ポケモンレンジャーと蒼海の王子 マナフィ
MAL Score: 6.79
Satoshi and his friends get lost in an unknown wasteland. They eventually come across a “Water Pokemon Show” performed by the star of the Mariner Troupe, Hiromi. Hiromi is a descendant of the troupe of Water People able to communicate with water pokemon, and she tells our heroes the legend that’s been passed down by her people for generations. According to legend, a temple the Water People built called “The Water Temple Akuusha” rests somewhere in the ocean, and a treasure called “The Water Crown” is hidden there. It’s said that no one has ever seen this treasure, but that changes when a Pokemon Ranger named Jack Walker (aka Jackie) appears to chase aftert it.
Jackie is on a top secret mission that has him protecting the egg of the leader of the water pokemon, Manaphy. This pokemon, called the “Prince of the Sea,” needs to be taken to the Water Temple Akuusha, so Satoshi-tachi and Hiromi decide to help him. Along the way, a pirate named Phantom attacks our heroes from his great submarine. Phantom plans to use the Water Crown’s power to help him conquer the world, but he’ll have to solve the mystery of Manaphy’s egg first. When the Rocket-Dan get into the mix, Jackie uses his Capture Styler to borrow the power of a nearby pokemon to stand up to them. Satoshi and Pikachu enter the fray, but they still have to contend with the attacks of Phantom’s powerful high tech mecha! Suddenly, the egg starts to shine with a vivid light, and Manpahy is born!
What is the mystery of the legendary treasure? What mysterious powers does Manaphy have? Can Satoshi-tachi and Jackie complete their top secret mission? The journey to reach the Water Temple Akuusha has begun!
After it hatches, it sees May as its mother, thus making a strong and painful bond for them.
After evil comes to capture Manaphy, Ash is the hero once again. For the kids that don’t know this generation, this will show how Ash has come along. For those that have seen this, couldn’t hurt to watch it again!
There were many elements I thought were very computer game-ish; I could see that if they wanted to turn the movie straight into a game, there would be many scenes directly translated to that with all the jumping, fighting and moving around.
Our main character Ash, Brock, May and Max are joined by a Marina Group, who put on a beautiful show with water and psychic Pokémon. None of the new characters stay as strangers and they become part of the story very nicely.
Although the Pokémon Ranger Jack Walker is kind of annoying, he remains fairly professional and doesn’t ruin the whole thing. Pokémon Rangers as a whole are not explored all that much, when Ash – and especially May – end up being the big heroes.
The music in the film was kind of disappointing. You could listen to it for a bit, but then it just seemed to repeat itself instead of remaining entertaining. The art was top notch again, although I’m not a fan of computer animation being mixed into the usual animation style – they just don’t fit together that well.
The plot was short, making the movie feel slightly too long. It wasn’t boring, though, and remained quite well balanced. It also captured some good, strong emotions of taking care of someone and then having to let them go.
I wouldn’t resist watching this again, but the story was a bit weaker than in the best of Pokémon movies I’ve already seen.
While the slapstick antics of the titular ranger, Jack, did initially turn me off the film, they’re used sparingly. Phantom and his pirate crew border on the ridiculous as well, but just like Jack, they’re used in moderation and in mostly good taste. Mostly.
One of the major things that make this film stand out from most Pokemon sequels is the creation of interesting side characters. The family Ash and company come in contact with this time aren’t exceeding strange or special. They feel like normal people and as normal people, they have small quirks that flesh them out as unique – the way they dress, talk, walk and values they spout. The film succeeds at painting the relationships of supporting cast as real and fine dialogue makes them interesting enough to follow. Their distinct “house” is given its own visual identity, as well. Because of this, film successfuly indulges into 40 minutes of set up and casual character building.
Handled wrongly, Manaphy could have ended up as an annoying baby and a catalyst for many frustrating moments. This doesn’t happen. In the film, Manaphy bonds with May, and although May isn’t interesting here as she is in the fourth season of the regular Pokemon show, she can take the spotlight just fine.
While the film is plot driven, a large chunk of the middle half is spent on a journey. This time is spent focusing on the relationship between May and Manaphy and I’m happy to say – this relationship makes the movie shine in a few moments. Accompanied by some quite sophisticated dialogue for a Pokemon film – at least for a later Pokemon film. Anyway, these scenes are the best that this movie has to offer.
Some standout scenes are Manaphy’s search for May’s scarf and the exchange between Jack and Ash with May joining in later. On the less positive side, this migrant family of circus entertainers has enough money for top tier sea equipment, boats and submarines. In the movie they proceed to destroy these vehicles and you can’t stop and wonder – how rich do they have to be not to mention the loss?
The last third of this film, features a supernatural sea temple and while I’ve had my rants regarding vague magic in Pokemon before, this one’s not a thorn in my side. “A legendary did it” is not the best explanation, but considering how the temple was used in the film, it gets a pass. Especially because the whole creation is seen as fragile. It decays and sinks. The temple is subservient to cause and effect. It’s not just a cool magic thingy.
In the last act, the film serves us a nice meal – Ash acting heroic. There’s some neat action and Ash, who usually spouts exposition while his pokemon do all the work, plunges right into the action and saves the day. While the ending could certianly do with some more May, Ash makes it worthwile. Bravo Ash, this marks the first time since the Mewtwo movie that you displayed agency.
All in all, while the whole deal with nonsensical yellow powers at the end does lower the score, the vast majority of the film is nested in the fine to pretty good area. Manaphy and May were an enjoyable pair and the plot was solid, even if a bit barebones. I think that the movie could’ve benefited from the apearance of Phione, but that’s a very minor point. 6.5/10
4: Giniro no Kami no Agito
English: Origin: Spirits of the Past
MAL Score: 7.09
Three hundred years ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the mutation of all forests on Earth. Armed with consciousness, the vegetation sought to destroy all of humankind, and the war that ensued turned the planet into a hellish dystopia.
In the present day, Agito, a young boy, lives with his father in Neutral City—a village maintaining an uneasy truce with the neighboring forest. One day, Agito, on his way to collect water, becomes separated from his friend and stumbles upon a relic of the past: a girl sleeping in a mysterious machine.
Agito awakens the girl, Toola Cm Sacl, and introduces her to the village. But outside forces have ulterior motives for the girl, who holds the key to restore the Earth. Misguided by Shunack, a soldier from the old world hellbent on destroying the forest, Toola follows him despite Agito’s warning. Determined to save Toola and unify humankind with the forest, Agito borrows the power of the forest and pursues her.
STORY – Origin’s (I’m going with the English title because it’s easier) central theme is the age old man versus nature. What I found particularly interesting though, is the semi-lack of advanced technology and the steampunk-like environment of the movie’s present day, even if the conflict was initially caused by the usual advanced bio-experimentation we’re all used to. Further intriguing is the fact that the audience is not automatically expected to side with nature in this movie (as is usually the case); because the people of the post-apocalyptic world are essentially dependent on the mercy of the quasi-intelligent forest, it seems almost as if nature is oppressing humanity. The main idea might still be that humans and nature should strive to co-exist peacefully, but Origin certainly breaks out of mold for this one.
It’s also worth noting that technology gives way to something like fantasy in this movie, thus straying out of genre lines. The powers that are granted to Agito are fantastical, and yet remniscent of those given to Tetsuo in Akira (that’s so strange), except that they came from a "natural" source — it’s just that nature’s been mutated by technology. Makes for a strange roundabout, but interesting, yes?
CHARACTER – Admittedly, I wasn’t too ataken with any of the characters in Origin, but I’m more inclined to attribute that to my tendancy to be critical of characters in general rather than the idea that the characters were bad, because they really weren’t. They just weren’t phenomenal. Agito was an good character with steady development throughout the movie that allowed him to mature into a hero. He had questions, doubts, and uncertainties, but the dedication and ambition to overcome them all. My only real quip is the general goodness of his character and the spotlessness of his morality — it’s just way too easy to make characters like that. Toola was a more interesting character because of that; since she was from the past where technology reigned supreme, she had to struggle with deciding whether she wanted to preserve the status quo or return to what she was familiar with. Conflict is good.
It was also refreshing to see that there wasn’t just one character who happened to survive the major disaster. When Toola was first discovered, alone in suspended animation, I was groaning. Japan seems to really like putting girls in boxes, just waiting to be discovered. It was great then, to see that Shunack had been discovered in a similar manner. Of course, the fact that both of these survivors happened to have been important in the past (or at least, had a relation to someone important in the past) is conviniently coincidental, but some realistic sacrifices always have to be made for the sake of story, hm?
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – Origin was a really visually pleasing movie filled with superbly detailed backgrounds and smooth animated sequences. I was especially impressed with how the forest and forest creatures were handled — details in how water was rendered and how things moved was just awesome. The machinery and pieces of technology also looked great, contrasting well with the more modest environment. Once again, I find that the beauty of the artwork and animation of a movie is one of its strongest points.
MUSIC – Nothing amazing, but still good. You know, the average goodness.
VOICE ACTING – I saw this movie dubbed (because the person I saw it with didn’t feel like reading subtitles at the time). It was pretty good, as seems to have been the case for most movie dubs in the last few years. Toola’s voice was a bit annoying, but many young, female characters seem to be that way, whether in Japanese or English.
OVERALL – I enjoyed Origin. It surprised me in many ways, which is always a refreshing thing. The story explored a popular theme in an interesting new way, and though the characters could have been a bit more dynamic, they played their parts well enough. And the animation is just gorgeous. If you’re a fan of the technology/humanity versus nature stuff, I would definitely check this out.
The problem with Origin, however, is that it is NOT a good film. Ignoring my own frustration at the plot’s subservience to nature over man (I’ll leave this out of the review, but honestly, place a human figure in place of ‘the forest’ and you have a tyrannical regime that limits resources to retain obedience), the story is disjointed and poorly paced. Rather than the characters developing at all, they are mere mannequins forced into various situations, insanely scaled to advance the plot with no little hint of deus ex machina. Relationships blossom without so much as a word or meaningful conversation between characters, and the viewer is left wondering why, and did they miss something? In trying to pretend its artistic and intellectual value, Origin has missed out on coherence, instead feeling like a rushed project cobbled together from a collapsed series (indeed the story might be better served within such a setting).
This might all be partly forgiven had the film measured up on another count, but the visuals in Origin were nowhwere near as spectactular as I had been lead to believe. The CGI, which in films such as Innoncence fitted perfectly with the subject matter, clashed horribly with the organic design, and the characters were poorly designed, with expressions and shadow seemingly omitted. Most offensively, smoke stacks (of which there were undue amounts in the film) were represented as completely static for the most part, even in lingering shots. This I might expect from a series, but in a feature?
The only element which Origin managed to pin down was the music, which worked well in the admittedly brilliant opening sequence (one feels the critics watched this part of the film and nothing else when writing their reviews). Overall, however, I’m just glad I bought the film cheaply, because if this is the best modern anime has to offer, I’m not convinced. A coherent plot, less static art and adult character design are demanded, especially if a film is expected to live up to comparisons with Miyazaki and Oshii.
The similarities are in fact so intense it would be easy to confuse with the aforementioned movies. We have here a remarkably comprehensive reproduction of Miyazaki-specific clichés, from the brave and selfless protagonist down to a confrontation between natural and industrial civilization (with the usual “we should embrace the nature” undercurrent). Now this doesn’t make this movie bad or uninteresting per se, but you have to consider the glaring lack of originality and, perhaps more importantly, proper explanation for many events that didn’t quite made sense—up to the point where it leads me to believe the screenplay writer was so obsessed with some aspects of the story they decided to postpone explaining the rest until it was too late to explain anything. It’s mildly fun to watch, but not anything we haven’t seen before—more precisely, it contains just about zero original ideas, and its only saving grace in this respect is choosing good enough ideas to borrow.
To move on to the better aspects of the movie, let’s say the animation is brilliant—and it really is. I would love to see a little more detail in character design, but the rest was very good: lush landscapes, fluidly animated machinery, and everything in general being a treat for the eye (make sure to watch it in HD!). To put it shortly, everything visual was superb—no complaints here.
Sound work was alright, but nothing to write home about. It matched the visuals convincingly and did well to represent them, but wasn’t otherwise memorable.
Character development is by far the weakest point of the movie, being next to nonexistent, and the characters themselves are utterly bland and uninspired, as is par for the course in movies like this. After all, many Ghibli characters are easily interchangeable as well (and I’m not talking about their face design here). For that exact reason, and in order not avoid spoilers, I will abstain from any further comments on that part. Let’s just say I was completely disconnected with the characters, so there weren’t really any moments that touched me or evoked strong feelings towards them.
At the same time I would lie if I said it wasn’t an enjoyable watch, either. As a whole, I regard this movie, give-or-take, as worthy of your time if you want to see something reminiscent of the classic Ghibli output… On the other hand, you’d probably be better off watching the actual Ghibli movies instead. Yeah, go do that.
3: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation III – Love Is the Pulse of the Stars
English: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation III – Love Is the Pulse of the Stars
MAL Score: 7.11
Final of three remastered Zeta Gundam compilation movies.
The digital remastering was not done totally. There would be new scenes added in with wonderful new animation. Just as you’re happy and marvelling at the animation they cut to the scenes lifted 100% from the series, which while they might have been remastered look very dated. The switch between the "new" and "old" scenes is very jarring and affected my enjoyment of these movies.
That being said, some new scenes added in were very good and helped with character development. They also cut out a lot of fluff which made the movie much more enjoyable than the series, which tended to move along at a snail’s pace.
Overall the final movie is leaps and bounds more enjoyable than the series as the pacing, animation (spotty) and character development are much better. The final scene and closing songs are also very well done and look modern. Of the three movies I enjoyed this the most as it seemed like more effort was put into the digital remastering for this one, compared to the other 2.
Now like I said in my two previous reviews source material and keeping it authentic to the original version of the anime that I remember was key and it urked me back when I watched the first two parts of this movie trilogy because I felt certain important moments where left missing in both parts 1 and 2. When it came to this part though I felt everything that was important was present. There were certain scene I did not remember it was indeed been a while so I’m not sure it they were added or I just don’t remember them. Example the conclusion fight between Yazan and Kamille I don’t remember it playing out this way but if it didn’t play out this way I do feel this version is actually better than how ever it played out in the anime adaptation. There were also moves that the Zeta Gundam was using that I also do not remember it using like “Beam Confuse” as it is called in this movie, I felt little additions like that made the experience fresh and new to me. Also the pacing I felt was great.
Now as for the one thing that obviously still plagues these movies is the combination of new and old scenes and if you’ve stuck around to watch all three of them like i said in my review in the second one you should have gotten used to it by now. I felt it was 50-50 when it came to new and old scenes. Also the new scenes was outstanding for the time it came out. The triple treat fight between Scirocco, Haman and Char that scene was by far the best scene visually that impressed me, so I’ll commend them for it.
Overall like said before and once again I only recommend this to someone who is familiar to the Zeta Series new comers I recommend the anime as I still feel as an overall package is still the definitive version but this one out of the three is indeed the best of them.
If one has seen the original than this is a definite welcome addition to it, it adds better animation and sound whilst also making the ending far better. The ending of the original is, well, let’s say abrupt to put it charitably. This gives it a much better sense of closure, and for that (despite a few important cut scenes), it is the best of the three “New Translation” films.
The obvious failings are the clashing animation styles due to the odd choice to only overhaul the animation for half the film and leave the rest as it was previously.
The story is intense, fast paced, but lacks the emotional impact of the TV series.
Haman is morore decisive and threatening, until the conclusion.
The new ending is more unambiguous, which depending on your tastes will impact your enjoyment positively or negatively.
2: Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Maihitoyo
Japanese: 劇場版 遙かなる時空（とき）の中で 舞一夜（まいひとよ）
MAL Score: 7.17
One rainy day, Akane crosses path with a kind young man who tacitly offers to her his coat. On their second encounter, he confesses that he has no recollection of who he is, his name or his past, but feels contented by just being with her. Besotted, Akane sets out to find his name, and to unravel his enigmatic connection with a famous cursed dance rumoured to kill anyone who attempts to perform it.
However, I liked this movie much better than the series. In my opinion, the Hachiyou Shou TV series was rather average, there was some good moments but overall there was nothing special. Too cliche, too shoujo, not enough character depth, predictable plot devices etc.
The movie can be watched as a stand alone movie (would still make sense), but since it follows the TV series (is a sequal) it may make more sense to have a better understanding before watching the movie. The plot isn’t different from the series (can be seen as an episode of the tv series), but the character depth of Akane and her relationship with the other main character made the movie good in my opinion.
As mention above, it fits the general plot line of meet enemy, fight enemy, defeat enemy. However, it was the intricacies beyond the plot events that really captivates. A coincidental meeting brings two unlikely people together, a meaningful and fragile friendship forms, but in the end was never allowed to blossom. There is hope and heartbreak. What is really great about the story lies in the portrayal of the main character Akane, and in how cruel fate can be. I will talk more regarding this in character section. I should mention here that Akuram and the oni clan are not involved in this story and does not appear at all.
Beautifully rendered art. If you have seen the series, the movie has much better art. The background was given a lot of detail and textures.
I was especially drawn to the opening music (which is the music for the dance that the movie is about) which probably biased my opinion. The music within the movie (not much) was alright, but the song for the dance really got to me. I also find it beautiful to come in a full circle, and the movie ended in a foil of how it started.
The plot of the story isn’t anything special, but what the story is really about, is the characters in it. Specifically, it is about Akane. It is a story about a miko who was being suffocated by her overprotective hachiyou guardians and by the duties pushed on her, a miko who is losing herself and confused about who she is and what she should do, a miko who is putting on a fake front for everyone but secretly breaking inside. Mostly, it focuses on the miko’s inner struggle, her guardians being unable to understand her (and her trying to appear strong for them), and how a chance meeting with a new friend changes everything.
For the character depth and development, and beauty of fate/chance meetings, I really like this movie. I would say more but I don’t want to spoil anything about the story.
Enjoyment and Overall 9/10
Because of all the emotional depth that was portrayed for Akane (and to a lesser degree, the dancer) and the character development (they’re facing a personal crisis, they go through emotional turmoil, and eventually finds some sort of solution to regain peace and become a stronger character for it), and the fact that it’s not another “nothing serious happens, nothing really changes” episode of Hachiyou shou, I find it very enjoyable overall. I also like the bittersweet ending, which has a much bigger impact than a sparkly rainbow happy ending.
If you’re not interested in seeing some character development in Akane then the movie is probably not that great for you. The whole movie revolves around Akane and her inner turmoils, everyone else takes a very minor role.
The plot was plain and frankly there is nothing much to write about. And while it is uncomplicated and easy to understand, it doesn’t captivate the audience.
Probably the only salvageable part of this ova. Peppered with bishounens (pretty boys), there is a depth of research of the traditional japanese living ways seen in its art.
The soundtrack is pleasant to ears, however while it tries hard to capture the mood of the ova, it fails short in certain parts.
Having enjoyed the set of characters in the anime series, I had looked forward to seeing them again. This ova, has tried to put in enough screen time for each of their characters, but because of this, it becomes messy. It tries too much and ends up making several characters to the point of annoyance.
In whole, while I enjoyed the appearance of more bishounens, I found the ova severely lacking to the point of annoyance. I do not recommend it to anyone except the die hard fans.
1: Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
English: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
MAL Score: 8.16
Makoto Konno is in her last year of high school, but is having a hard time deciding what to do with her future. In between enduring the pressure of her teachers and killing time with her best friends, Makoto’s life suddenly changes when she accidentally discovers that she is capable of literally leaping through time.
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo follows Makoto as she plays around with her newfound power. However, she soon learns the hard way that every choice has a consequence, and time is a lot more complicated than it may seem.
However, everything has a consequence.
Even the seemingly most insignificant and puerile of acts can have grave consequences, as such acts are often made out of ignorance or selfishness; both which are traits that rarely bring out a good result if actions are based on them. Our heroine has to learn this the hard way, as she sees how fateful her so-called insignificant acts are, and how wrong she is in her childish beliefs. What she want is merely to keep the fun times around; with her and her two beloved friends. She wants time to stop, to remain in the present. However, time is inexorable; the future is relentlessly closing in on us. And she has to learn this the hard way. But she learns. Through hardships, through death, and most important of all, through love, she learns that the future is not something to be avoided. Rather it is something to be cherished; something one should embrace.
And that is the basics of the plot and characters in this story; a girl who repeatedly travels back in time to keep the times as they are, and actually learns during this process that it is better to look forward and into the future rather than intransigently dwell on the present. Her two friends aren’t focused on that much, but both are portrayed beautifully when they are, both the though-shelled Chiaki and the obliging Kousuke. Accompanying the beautiful plot is a standard-fare movie animation; which means beautiful and detailed landscapes, cityscapes and backgrounds. And while character movements are fluid, the designs themselves are a bit lackluster, and should have been more detailed. The soundtrack which follows on top is equally beautiful, with serene piano tracks accompanying the at times laughter-provoking and at times melancholy story, and a somewhat expected, yet beautiful ending theme.
Toki wo Kakeru Shojo is a beautiful movie, which is good for many things, but especially its underlying hints about looking towards the future and accepting that the present will change as well as the simple message that every act has a consequence; especially childish and ignorant acts at that. And even if such themes does not interest you, I think this beautiful story is well worth spending one and a half hour of your life watching.
Although the character art is simple, I love it <i>because</i> it is simple and clean. The backgrounds, environment, and special effects are a different thing entirely. They are rendered in such gloriously realistic detail. The landscapes, the classrooms, the streets — I have never seen such detail in an animated film. It makes things like Beowulf and Final Fantasy: Advent Children look really silly.
The movie also has such beautiful sound. The effects are perfect and clear. This is topped off by one of the most beautiful soundtrack and score I’ve ever heard outside of…well, nothing! The music is so appropriately poignant at times that I almost cried from it, fifteen minutes into the movie. I actually knew, glowing reviews aside, fifteen minutes in, that it was going to be a wonderful film. I mean, if the music can make goosebumps rise on my arms, then it can probably save even a disaster of a film — which this is certainly not. The ending theme is the most appropriate song ever written for any anime. Ever. Just listening to it makes me go "awwwww" and I really want to find it. I’m making it my mission. It’s like a direct line to Makoto’s head at the end, and made me cry all over again. I’m really not normally a sap, but I’m very sensitive to music, and this movie’s music is just so awesome. Not in a grandiose and sweeping sense, but in a gentler, more subtle way. (In fact, subtle describes this whole movie: subtle but effective.)
The characters are also very well-written, complemented by good voice actors. Chiaki’s has a tendency to mumble so much, I can barely understand him sometimes, but it actually fits his character well. They’re quite convincing as high-schoolers, though, and I love how they were all created so realistically, without following any staple formulae or types. They’re all just…normal, even though two of them can do very abnormal things.
Though the plot itself is very simple, the way the characters develop throughout the seemingly minor conflicts (and that big, heart-pounding one toward the end) gives the story incredible depth. And when it reached the ending, I didn’t want it to end but, at the same time, I felt the ending was perfect. I’m a sucker for this type of ending: very, very hanging. Like most of the novels and movies and anime I like, the movie ends just when another story is about to start — the rest of Konno Makoto’s life. I mean, the movie is set within two or three days, I think, though with the time leaps it may feel like it takes place for a much longer period of time. Those days are when Makoto is merely poised at the threshhold: summer is drawing near, school is almost out, and they have to decide on their majors. Yet what happens in that short time is so profound that I’m sure it will affect the rest of her life.
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo also drives home a message. The line "time waits for no one" is mentioned several times during the course of the film, and by the end it makes sense why the writer chose that line. That there is no time like the present seems like such a cliche, but when we can’t leap through time and change events to suit us, the present is all the time we have. We have to cherish each day as it comes and each person as they are, for how do we know that by tomorrow they won’t be gone?
Our protagonist, Makoto, is having a bad day. She woke up late. She flunked a quiz. She got into an accident while trying to cook tempura, another student was tossed into her, sandwiching her between two other students for a while and she heard strange sounds when turning in some questionnaires only to find no one in the next room. Things take their worst turn when her bike’s brakes fail and she’s tossed in front of an oncoming train. That’s when she finds herself back in the past a couple minutes before the accident. Her aunt tells her that it was a time leap, but Makoto doesn’t believe such a thing is possible until, after some experimentation, she discovers how it works. She puts on a cricket uniform with celery in the lapel and leaps through time and space in search of adventure.
Actually, she uses her new found power to do better on tests, perform better at baseball, have fun and, most importantly, avoid slightly awkward situations. Yeah, our protagonist is neither smart nor creative. At first, she’s having a lot of fun but then she learns that her actions are having consequences, as actions are liable to have. Yeah, about half the film is made up of Makoto using her powers to mess around in relatively innocuous ways and the other half is comprised of her trying to fix things that go wrong. Honestly, it’s pretty boring. You keep expecting something interesting to happen with it, but it never does. There is one genuinely dramatic moment, but it doesn’t even last ten minutes. The main romance is kind of stupid and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given the circumstances presented.
Our cast is bland. Really, really bland. None of them are particularly interesting, but none of them are obnoxious or terrible characters either. There’s just nothing that makes them distinguishable from other characters we’ve seen thousands of times, if not more. Makoto is an idiot who gains a really amazing ability but can’t be bothered to think of anything to do with it aside from playing around. Her friends are the generic nice, reliable guy and the generic off-putting guy with a good heart. Then we have all the secondary characters like the supportive friend, the shy girl and so on.
The art is really good with nice detailed backgrounds and character designs that, though simple, look good. The time traveling effect is appropriately strange and is also well animated.
The voice acting is competent. None of the actors give really exceptional performances, but none of them do badly either. They all do decently. The music is also okay. It doesn’t really stand out in the slightest either positively or negatively.
There is no ho-yay in this. 1/10.
The Girl who Leapt through time is a hard film to discuss. Not because it’s complicated but because it’s tedious and generic. It’s a story about time travel where the time travel is never used in either an interesting or a creative way. It’s like a mystery story where the detective solves minor mysteries that don’t really have any impact. Sure, you can do it but you’re going to have to have really strong characters to pull it off. Not the rather generic cast you get in this. That being said, there’s nothing really wrong with the film. In the end my rating is going to be a 5/10. It’s average. If the concept of a girl traveling through time to make her everyday life better appeals to you, check it out. If you want something more compelling out of your time travel stories, stick to Steins;Gate, Back to the Future, The Time Machine, or any number of other stories. Tomorrow, film festival week ends with a look at a certain film involving cyborgs.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
2. Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Maihitoyo
3. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation III – Love Is the Pulse of the Stars
4. Giniro no Kami no Agito
5. Pokemon Movie 09: Pokemon Ranger to Umi no Ouji Manaphy