This award winning Japanese animation film will debut with a one-week bi-coastal theatrical run from June 13th - 19th. In New York, an English-dubbed version will screen at the ImaginAsian theater. Across the country, a version with the Japanese language track will play at the ImaginAsian Center in Los Angeles. The screener DVD I watched was of the dubbed version that will be playing in New York. While I generally prefer an original language soundtrack with English subtitles, the voice acting here was first rate and totally appropriate for the characters' ages and speach. So New Yorkers, don't let the dubbed version keep you away.
The film is a sequel to The Little Girl Who Conquered Time, a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui that was made into a live action film directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi in 1983. Like that original story, The Little Girl Who Leapt Through Time centers on a high school girl and her two close male friends. Here the main character is Makoto Konno. She spends lots of time throwing a baseball around with Chiaki Mamiya, who tends to get to school just on time, same as Makoto, and Kousuke Tsuda, who’s a more conscientious student.
One day in an empty school room, Makoto investigates a mysterious noise, has a serious fall, and winds up gaining the ability to literally leap back in time at will! At first she uses this to her own advantage, for example going back so she can do well on a pop quiz she wasn’t prepared for. But she also discovers that her travels sometimes have dire consequences for others, particularly those she cares about. Eventually she is faced with a tragedy of her own making and uncertainty about whether or not she will be able to rectify the situation.
The film was named Best Animated Feature Film at the 30th Japanese Academy Awards. At the 6th Tokyo Anime Awards it won six awards:
- Animation of the Year
- Best Director (Mamoru Hosoda)
- Best Original Work (Yasutaka Tsutsui)
- Best Script (Satoko Okudera)
- Best Art Direction (Nizo Yamamoto)
- Best Character designs (Yoshiyuki Sadamoto)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has a really interesting story, and the animation is very good, quite up to the task at hand. Some of the backgrounds were absolutely stunning. And as I said before, the English dubbed version is spot on. I give it a 3.5 out of 4 star rating, highly recommended.
For more information about show times in New York, click here.
For information about Los Angeles screeenings, click here.
Update 06.11.08: Bandai Entertainment Inc. and Kadokawa Pictures USA have announced that the first 50 people at the 6:00 PM showing at the ImaginAsian Theater in New York and at the 7:00 PM sdhowing at the ImaginAsian Center in Los Angeles will each receive a free theatrical sized poster of the film! So get there early!