Makoto Konno is a typical teenage schoolgirl who happens to be having the worst day of her life; a day that we see more than once because just as she’s about to be hit by a train after her bike-without-breaks hits the barrier and forcibly thrusts her into the air, she discovers that she can time leap. Suddenly she’s lying on the ground just minutes before the accident she thought was imminent, and as the train that was supposed to hit her rolls by, she knows that something very strange happened.
The postmodern side of this film is the way in which it plays around with the typical timeline, turning it into a non-linear story with the events of days that we have already seen repeating themselves. This is quite unbalancing at first as we are thrown into Makoto’s confusion of this new ability and even more so when her aunt explains what a ‘time leap’ is but then only giving an example as a joke. Taking her own initiative, Makoto discovers that she can ‘time leap’ to any part of the day that had gone so wrong and change the events to her advantage.
Despite things going well for Makoto, things aren’t exactly rays of sunshine for her friends and even when she tries to put things right by using her accidental power, she ends up making things worse for everyone involved. This is where the films takes on intertextuality from The Butterfly Effect as each time leap into the past brings with it a change that affects the future in some way and it shows that even if something is made better for one person, the change will always bring a storm to another person.
Makoto not only faces the troubles that she’s caused, but also the possibility of losing a close friend who somehow knows her new secret; one that will put people’s lives in danger.
The time leaping element of the film means that the storyline literally jumps around a lot with a plethora of sub-plots unfolding simultaneously. This gives rise to editing and the pacing is just right and works very well with the accompanying soundtrack, although there were a couple of time leaping scenes that could have been cut shorter with a better editing technique.
One of the suggested themes of the film is the idea of a futuristic hyper reality where, although the future described here sounds somewhat dystopian, everyone there seems to have the ability to time leap and despite it never being mentioned, this time seems fast-approaching with the ending words from one of the characters telling Makoto that he’d be waiting for her in that place in the future.
Although this film feels a tad recycled considering the amount of time-travel films that have been produced, this one is made fresh and unique with the use of animation. One of the things that is so interesting about Japanese Anime’s is their inclusion of adult sensibilities within the writing that comes through as the plot-lines play out. This story contains large amounts of pathos that even younger audiences will understand and relate to. The beautiful ideas of the characters are so strong and despite them only being Anime; they feel so real and human.
This method of story-telling makes the film light-hearted but makes sure you are still aware of the underlying morals of making time count and seizing the days you have. Even facing up to awkward situations and gaining maturity is addressed. Most of all, it shows that people should be accepted for who they are and by being in their lives, you must also accept the possible consequences.