Archive for May 11th, 2012

Akari Yoshiyama is a high schoolgirl who has to travel back into the past when her mother, Kazuko, a scientist has an accident and is hospitalised. Kazuko gives Akari the keys to her desk which contains a potion which can send her back in time. She wants Akari to go to 1972 to give a message to a boy she fell in love back then named Kazuo Fukamachi. The message being “the promise still stands”. Akari, however makes a mistake thinking her mother wanted her to go to 1974 so she arrives in the past 2 years out. She meets college student Ryota who’s a bit of a filmmaker. Even when she explains she’s from the future to him, Ryota doesn’t freak out and decides he wants to help her out. He starts to fall for her. Akari finds that nobody not even her mother who is a schoolgirl herself in 1974 doesn’t know of Kazuo Fukamachi who Akari is seeking. Both Akari and Ryota decide to buy a small advert in the Daily Yomuiri newspaper in the hope that Kazuo will see it. What she discovers is more than what she imagined.

This is the 4th movie adaptation of the 1967 novel The Girl Who Leapt Through Time with the recent one being the 2006 brilliant anime version which I really enjoyed a lot. The novel, TV series and movies over the years have all been fairly successful in Japan showing that the story is a popular one. If you’ve seen the 1983 version called The Little Girl Who Conquered Time (which is also extremely good by the way), this is a direct sequel to it but don’t worry if you haven’t because it’s not going to spoil this movie for you one bit. Akari’s mother Kazuko is the character from the 1983 version but now all grown up. Another nice link to the 2006 anime version is the seiyuu (voice actress) for the lead character Makoto Konno plays the main role in this movie – Riisa Naka. You’d think that with so many versions of the story having being made since the 80’s that this might be yet another rehash of the same story but thankfully this movie successfully distinguishes itself by introducing some clever time-travel twists and using references from the other versions in its story which makes the plot seem fresh and unique to viewers. This movie expands further on the TGWLTT universe by having Akari being the 3rd character to go back and forth through time. Much of the story once back in the past centres on the mystery of the character of Kazuo as there doesn’t seem to be any record of him and nobody knows of his name so it’s fun to see Akari trying to find things out and wondering how she can make contact with him.

Riisa Naka makes a suitably wonderful heroine who is very charming on screen and her Akari is such a delightfully sweet and fun character. She definitely brings the same kind of energy and spirit she had when she voiced Makoto in the anime movie. Nakao Akiyoshi is also pretty good as the geeky Ryota, and their relationship is all the more engaging for his not being a traditional romantic leading man type. There is certainly some chemistry between them but Akari knows that she cannot truly get involved with him as she has to go back to the future plus a tragic event happens that will bring tears to the eyes of some viewers. Director Taniguchi Masaaki keeps the plot moving at a suitable pace and the story never sags at all before bringing it to a satisfying conclusion. There’s some light heartedness for the first part of the movie which all but disappears during the second half as it turns dramatic with some tension and suspense coming to the fore.

Overall, another brilliant adaptation of the classic time-travel story. Is it the best adaptation yet? Possibly not as I still prefer the anime version but this one is very good and does come highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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