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 I loosely call this movie Steampunk.  The ONLY thing Steampunk about this movie is the clockwork gears in the time travel sequences.  Nonetheless, here is the review:
Speaking as someone who is literally into time travel and alternate realities,
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an intriguing film. I discovered it on the
Steam Boy DVD previews last week and was intrigued. Could I actually enjoy
another anime? My lab assistant is an English major, and she usually sees every
cliched twist and turn any movie usually tries to pull off as original after the
first 20 minutes. I actually think that Hollywood would play an adaptation out
in the exact same way, we'll get into to all that in a moment. I am amused that
my little lab rat was wrong.
The premise of the film is that a 17 year old girl suddenly gains the power to
leap back and forth through time. Being 17 years old, she doesn't do something
as history altering as go back to 1941 and kill Hitler. She goes back to
earlier in her day to make it better - improve her pop quiz score, not be late
for school, etc - actually mundane thing that the average person would do if
they suddenly gained such powers. The movie then follows the trouble that is
caused be her altering the timeline. As I can attest to via personal experience
(and watching The Butterfly Effect) you do not want to mess with the littlest
thing in the past or you face dire consequences.
As always I will keep the review fairly spoiler free, but I wanted to get into
one plot twist I thought was neat. The girl has a sort of number tattoo appear
on her arm. In the film it counts down how many time she leaps. Now if this
were an American film the plot resolution would have made this countdown
culminate in the girl making an "ultimate sacrifice" to restore the timeline.
This is what makes this film refreshing for a Weterner, as we don't get such a
heart wretching thing thrown at our heroine. (And this is what my assistant
guessed wrong.). The second half of the film throws us a curve ball that opens
up the door to many other possibilities. The film does drag in places toward
the end of the film and the ending isn't what you expect. The love story aspect
is really good and does keep you interested. I suspect there may be a series, I
don't know. The only gripe I has as an afterthought is the character of Aunt
Witch. Does she really serve a purpose? And why doesn't the film get into why
she knows what she does about time travel. Kind of a plot hole, it didn't play
out, but it didn't make me not enjoy the film. I really want to give this film
5 stars, but the ending and the Aunt make me take one away and give it a 4.
Overall a really good, different film. The Japanese influences are present, but
do not get lost in translation. I can't help but wonder if an Americanised
version could work, maybe as a live action film, or dare I say, television
series ala Buffy? There is plenty of story here to mine through multiple parts
and a series could probably be sustained on the concept for several years.