The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: Huge in Japan, Less So Here

Runs at Varsity, Fri., Aug. 29–Thurs., Sept. 4. Not rated. 98 minutes. The title will be unfamiliar to most Americans; not so in Japan. The source is a sci-fi novel that's been adapted every decade since its 1967 debut: as a film, a TV series, and now, retooled into a semi-sequel, as an animated feature. Makoto (voiced by Riisa Naka), an indifferent high-school student, one day discovers that she's inexplicably gained the ability to jump out of time—this involves literal jumping, and a litany of pratfalls. She uses the gift to mostly trivial ends (retaking a quiz, beating her little sister to a pudding cup), and also to escape the number of life-or-death situations that evidently imperil a normal teenager's schedule. The Western world can be divided between those who are predisposed to dig anime and those who split at the first sight of spiky orange hair. I am not among the former. That said, there's real craftsmanship in the way Girl sustains its sense of summer quietude and sun-soaked haziness through a few carefully reprised motifs: three-cornered games of catch, mountainous cloud formations, classroom still-lifes. It's basically the equivalent of a sensitively wrought read from the Young Adult shelf, and there's naught wrong with that.

 
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