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Favorite Scene
The movie's denouement is very unexpected. Makoto believes that she finally set things right when she sets up Kosuke with the girl who has a crush on him. As she is walking up the road and talking to Chiaki on the phone, she heaves a sigh of relief. Then, over the phone, Chiaki hesitantly says that he has a strange question for her. It is possible Makoto thought that he will talk about his feelings for her. However, his question is, unexpectedly, "Are you time-leaping?" This takes Makoto aback, and she begins to wonder just how much Chiaki knows. Instinctively, she time-leaps to avoid his question. Unbeknownst to her, though, she is using up valuable time-leap charges that should have gone to saving Kosuke later.

Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
Synopsis | Review

The title means "the girl who leapt through time," and it is about... um... a girl who leapt through time. Think about all those stories where the protagonist receives a magic reset button. Yup, this is one of them. It is a movie that was released in 2006.

Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo started as a novel written by Yasutaka Tsutsui. It was serialized from 1965 to 1966. It has been adapted into a TV series in 1972 and into a live action film in 1983.

The animated movie does not follow the original storyline. Rather, it is set as a continuation of the book in the same setting 20 years later.

Makoto Konno is having a bad day with pop quizzes, getting hit by flying objects, and causing a disaster in her cooking class. The icing on the cake is her fatal accident on her way home from school. She was riding her bike down a steep hill that has railroad tracks at the bottom. She discovered too late that her brakes are broken, and she could not stop in time to avoid the oncoming train.

But Makoto does not die. Instead she finds herself sprawled in the middle of the road, being yelled at by an indignant woman whose shopping bag she upset. The railroad tracks are a few feet away, and the train harmlessly zoomed by a few moments later.

Makoto discovers that she somehow obtained the ability to "time-leap," which saved her life. Through some painful experimentation, she discovers that she can time-leap again by taking a running leap to whatever time she concentrates on.

Gleefully, Makoto proceeds to re-do her day. She aces her quiz, avoids flying objects, and trades places with a classmate at cooking class. But then she discovers that re-doing things come with consequences. Misfortunes that were supposed to happen to her ended up happing to other people who appear less prepared to handle them.

Naturally, her newfound ability is so extraordinary that she does not dare tell anyone about it, even her friends. The only exception is her aunt, who works at a nearby museum. Her friends Kosuke and Chiaki are perplexed at her sudden accomplishments. As a result, Kosuke turns down a girl's confession so he can concentrate on studying to keep up with Makoto. Then Chiaki attempts to confess his feelings to Makoto. Unnerved, Makoto time-leaps several times to avoid his confession. Shortly afterwards, Chiaki begins dating Makoto's friend, who has a crush on him.

The turn of events saddened Makoto, and she set about trying to do things right. She discovers that no matter how she tries to re-do things, someone will inevitably get hurt...

If anything, this anime shows how futile it is to turn back time and re-do things.

Oh, alright, this movie is not as depressing as it seems. Most of the time, it's actually quite entertaining to watch Makoto re-do things over and over to finally get her desired results. And then to find that she needs to do things over again because what she wanted did not turn out to be what she really wants.

The story is not all fun and games, however. Makoto gets into a skirmish or two because other people ended up with the misfortunes that were meant for her. She ends up hurting herself and muddling up things when all she wants is to make them better. The audience, along with Makoto, does not realize until the end that she has been using her time-leap charges so foolishly that she is unable to use them at the time when she needs them the most. I suppose the moral of the lesson here is that cheaters never win (wait, isn't it that it is futile to turn back time and re-do things?). So in a way, Makoto is a likeable, flawed heroine that we can all imagine ourselves being.

And three cheers for gooshy romantic shoujo anime fans out there, for this movie does have some romantic elements. In the middle of Makoto's time-leaping adventures, she realizes that she also likes Chiaki. And Chiaki turns out to be more than the infatuated friend. For more information, go check out the Favorite Scene ^_~.

This anime is great for anyone who's looking for a romantic movie, a science fiction movie, a slice of life movie, or any combination of the three, to briefly dive into. And it makes you think. My brain itches now.

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