The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

Loosely based on the eponymous novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, this anime film follows a high school tomboy named Makoto Konno, who as the title suggests gains the power of time travel…by actually taking a leap. (Makoto is actually the niece of the original novel’s protagonist, whom she visits early on in the film in order to learn about her newfound ability.) Naturally, of course, she starts using this power to make her own life “better,” but soon realizes that her actions really do have consequences for others.

The film evokes thoughtful messages about seizing the day, not messing around with the past that’s already happened, and yes…literally looking before you leap, all supported by wonderful animation from Madhouse which is relatively simple yet effective. Its dramatic moments are balanced out with comedic, sometimes even slapstick, anecdotes which develop the characters and further the plot equally as much. Finally, Ocean Productions’ English dub, starring Emily Hirst who won a Young Artist Award for her performance as Makoto, adds to the overall depth and emotion of the story.

It’s no wonder, then, that this film received the 2007 Japan Academy Prize (that nation’s equivalent to the Academy Award®) for Animation of the Year, and I highly recommend it not only for anime fans but also for anyone who enjoys this type of science fiction-infused romantic dramedy.