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The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2016 Funimation BD Release) (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 10, 2016 by  



tgwl

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is a delightful film and is becoming an animation classic that will no doubt entertain audiences wanting something magical and endearing.  Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2006 TOKIKAKE Partners


TITLE: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o Kakeru Shojo)

DURATION: 99 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen), English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Kadokawa Pictures/FUNimation

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: June 7, 2016


Original Story by Yasutaka Tsutsui

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda

Screenplay by Satoko Okudera

Producers: Takashi Watanabe, Yuichiro Saito

Character Designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Art Direction by Nizo Yamamto

Music by Kiyoshi Yoshida

Anime Production: Madhouse Studios


Featuring the following voice talent:

Mitsutaka Itakura/Alex Zahara as Kousuke Tsuda

Riisa Naka/Emily Hirst as Makoto Konno

Takuya Ishida/Andrew Francis as Chiaki Mamiya

Ayami Kakiuchi/Kristie Marsden as Yuri Hayakawa

Mitsuki Tanimura/Natalie Walters as Kaho Fujitani

Sachie Hara/Saffron Henderson as Kazuko Yoshiyama

Yuki Sekido/Shannon Chan-Kent as Miyuki Konno


Hosoda’s breakout film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was the first film in history to win the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. While the film contains some supernatural elements, the story stays grounded in reality and focused on the relatable human traits of his heroine Makoto Konno. That focus on creating engaging characters has become a Hosoda signature that gives each of his films genuine heart and lasting appeal.

After discovering she can leap through time, high school student Makoto Konno does what any teenager would do. She re-takes tests, corrects embarrassing situations, and sleeps in as late as she wants, never thinking that her carefree time traveling could have a negative effect on the people she cares about. By the time she realizes the damage she’s done, she’ll have to race against time to set things right.

Dedicated to the works of Mamoru Hosoda, the Hosoda Collection is a premier line that celebrates Hosoda’s films and reveals how each one has affected the trajectory of his award-winning career. Featuring everything from stunning extras to exclusive interviews with the director himself, the Hosoda Collection brings fans of animation and film the rare opportunity to follow a director’s career as it unfolds before them.


The series “Toki o Kakeru Shojo” has been a popular novel series in Japan for over four decades.  Originally written back in 1965 by Yasutaka Tsutsui, the series has spawned several live action films and a Japanese drama series.  As well as a manga series and now an animated film.

The 2006 animated film version of “Toki o Kakeru Shojo”, known in the US as “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is not a direct adaption from the novel but a continuation of the original storyline.  This time taking place 20 years after the original storyline featured in the novel.

Originally released on DVD in the U.S. back in 2008, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” was released on Blu-ray in 2011 and has been re-released on Blu-ray in 2016 courtesy of Funimation.

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is directed by Mamoru Hosoda (“Alice SOS”, “Digimon Adventure”, “Summer Wars”), a screenplay by Satoko Okudera (“Angel”, “Summer Wars”, “Miyori no Mori”) and music by Koyoshi Yoshida (“Martian Successor Nadesico”, “Shigirui: Death Frenzy”).  Character design is by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (“FLCL”, “Evangelion” films, “.hack” series) and anime production by Madhouse Studios.

In this animated film, the main character is a teenager named Makoto Konno.  Makoto’s life was as a typical high school girl, somewhat of a tomboy and her best friends happen to be two guys: Chiaki Mamiya, a calm, cool guy who happens to like Makoto and Kosuke Tsuda, the level-headed jock who is dedicated to his schoolwork.

The three like to spend time together and one of their past times is to play baseball in the field.

The story picks up one day while Makoto is out delivering books to the lab at school.  While inside a lab and snooping around, after hearing a noise that scares her, Makoto falls and lands on some sort of walnut looking device that whisks her out to the unknown.  She sees herself flowing through time but was it a dream?

Afterschool, while on her bike and surprised of what has taken place, Makoto rides quickly downhill.  Unfortunately, Makoto forgot that her brakes on her bike are malfunctioning and while going downhill on a busy street, she tries to pull on the brakes of her bike and tries to stop her descent from the hill with her shoes but to no avail.  Meanwhile, an oncoming train is coming.

Makoto hits the train guard rail and both she and her bike start floating in the air onto the path of an oncoming train.  Sure enough, she should be killed but somehow, she is able to leap through time and avoid getting killed.  What has just happened?

While visiting her “Auntie Witch”, ala Kazuko Yoshiyama (who is actually the main character of the original anime/manga series “Toki o Kakeru Shojo), Kazuko believes Makoto’s story and talks about how Makoto has experienced a “Time Leap”.

Surprised at first, Makoto wants to see if she can re-enact her special ability.  May it be through running and tripping over things, Makoto discovers that she indeed has a new ability.  By running and leaping, she can go back in time.

Thus, Makoto starts having fun and figuring out the type of things she can do by going back in time.   Flunk a quiz, no problem, she can go back in time and make sure she gets a perfect grade.  What about her favorite pudding being eaten by her sister?  No problem, she can go back in time and eat it before her sister gets her hand on it.  So, eventually Makoto loves going back into time.  But each time she does, she notices a number on her arm.  What does the number represent?

Meanwhile, Makoto starts to notice a change with her friends.  Eventually, she and her friends are getting to an age where guys and girls start to view things differently with each other and Makoto is surprised when her best friend Chiaki asks her to be his girlfriend.

This freaks her out and Makoto not knowing how to respond to his question decides to go back in time (repeatedly) and make sure he is unable to ask the question and tries to change situations by having her friend fall for Makoto and also helping her friend Kosuke have a girlfriend.

But as Makoto’s aunt has warned her, that by changing time, does she realize that she can alter things for other people?   And Makoto comes to learn that things that she has done, for example, switching places with a guy in class during a cooking class in order to advert disaster will cause him to get bullied by the guys in school.  And other situations that she starts to notice.

Meanwhile, Makoto realizes that a number on her arm is constantly being shown and its changing each time she leaps through time.  What can the number be for?

But one day, she notices that the number on her arm may be a counter and that she may have used up the ability to leap through time and now she has one left.  At the same time, she realizes that the bike she rode (and nearly was killed on) was given to another friend and she may have inadvertently changed time and possibly resulting in the death of her good friend.

What will Makoto do?


VIDEO:

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is presented in 1080p High Definiton (16:9 anamorphic widescreen).  The animation features designs that are helped by the talented character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gunbuster 2, .Hack, etc.) and the beautiful, lush backgrounds courtesy of the art direction by Nizo Yamamoto (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Perfect Blue, etc.).   And with Madhouse Studios responsible for the animation production, you know this film is going to look fantastic!

Watching “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” again on Blu-ray, while the background art was what captured my attention when watching the original DVD, this time around, I was struck by how detailed the background art was.  How beautiful these painted backgrounds looked and how it complimented the characters.  Also, how vibrant colors were, from the blue skies, to the sun going down with the reddish purple haze over the horizon.  It’s one thing to watch this film on DVD but if you really want to experience this film and its beauty, I highly recommend watching the Blu-ray release version of this film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 for both Japanese and English lossless soundtracks.  When I first watched the DVD version, I spent most of the time watching it in Japanese because I enjoy the voice acting of Riisa Naka.  But this time around, I wanted to watch this film with its lossless English soundtrack and I was very pleased with the voice acting.  While, I do feel that Riisa Naka can capture the more emotional scenes of Makoto, I do feel that the English voice talent did a wonderful job with the acting.

As for the lossless audio, both Japanese and English soundtrack produced the same results when I was testing scenes, especially during the time travel scenes for the film’s utilization of the surround channels.  “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is able to capture Makoto’s class and the ambiance around the school but where you will notice the majority of the surround channels being utilized is during the time travel scenes.

For the most part, you do get a little immersive audio throughout the film but dialogue and music is crystal clear and I do feel that I noticed the ambiance much more, while watching the Blu-ray this time around!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Girl Who Leap Through Time” contains the following special features:

  • Feature Commentary- The commentary features Mamoru Hosoda (Director), Riisa Naka (Makoto), Takuya Ishida (Chiaki) and Mitsutaka Itakura (Kousuke).  The director would talk about how the three main voice actors were somewhat similar to their animated counterparts.  Naka talked about the re-recording of parts on their fifth and final day of voice over and how she developed as the days went on.  It’s interesting because during the commentary, you would get some pauses and the staff would talk about how they were so drawn into the film while doing the commentary.  Especially towards the end.  Really interesting insight on the final quarter of the film.
  • Feature with Storyboard – While watching the film, you can see a picture-in-picture of the storyboard for the film.
  • Feature with Storyboard Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Mamor Hosoda (Director), Toshihiko Ito (Assistant Director) and Hiroyuki Aoyama (Animation Director).  While the feature commentary gives you the cast interaction for the film, this time around, you get more of a technical insight towards the making of “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”.
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:45) The original theatrical trailer for “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”.

EXTRAS:

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” comes with a slipcover and both the Blu-ray + DVD discs of the film.  The Blu-ray also comes with an UltraViolet code for those wanting to watch the film on their PC/Mac, tablet or cell phone via Digital HD.


A delightful film with a lot of heart and soul, Mamoru Hosoda’s “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is beautiful film that looks and sounds much better on Blu-ray!

What I enjoyed about “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” especially watching it on Blu-ray this time around is how vibrant and detailed the film looks.  I felt myself in awe when I watched the detailed paintings of the background art and how it complimented the characters.  And the fact that the film utilized many scenes to make the film’s pacing and its overall look different.

But part of the efficacy of “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” goes to Mamoru Hosoda’s experience and technique and his good eye to capturing those scenes and bringing life to the characters.  And just as important as having the look and feel of the series, finding voice talent was important and while the Japanese voice acting is excellent, I have to give credit to Bandai Entertainment for also casting the right people for the English dub soundtrack.

And as the Blu-ray release meant better picture quality and audio quality over its DVD counterpart, it is important to note that there are more special features on this Blu-ray release than the 2008 DVD.  But when compared to the 2011 Bandai Entertainment Blu-ray release, while the same film, same picture and lossless audio quality, the special features are different.  Actually, it’s more of “left out”.

On the 2011 Bandai Entertainment Blu-ray release, the special features also came with a”Behind the Scenes at Premiere Event”, “Premiere Event in Tokyo”, the Hanako Oku “Garnet” music video, “the Direction File” featuring a 34-minute interview with director Mamoru Hosoda” and the “promo clip” which are all not included on the 2016 Funimation Blu-ray release.

As for the rating of 13 and up, there are no profanity nor are there anything sex related in this film but it deals with time travel and also high school teenage relationships and emotions that probably will go over the head of children if they watched this film.  There is also one scene featuring Makoto running through the hill and falling and she does get a bit bruised and bloodied.  Nothing too graphic, but I can understand the rating given.

As for the lossless audio, the Blu-ray comes with both a Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Great use of the audio and crowd ambiance coming from the surround channels this time around.  The voice acting on both soundtracks are fantastic and for the most part, fans should be pleased.

But overall, I do feel that this Blu-ray release is a much more satisfying release than its 2008 DVD counterpart.  The visuals of the film are absolutely beautiful and once again, I found myself more enamored by the painted backgrounds and how it complimented the characters of the film.   But the missing special features that made the 2011 Blu-ray release so special are unfortunately missing in this 2016 Blu-ray release.  But this 2016 Blu-ray does include an UltraViolet code, which you can watch the film on your PC/Mac, Tablet or phone (as long as you can access Vudu).

Overall, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is a delightful film and is becoming an animation classic that will no doubt entertain audiences wanting something magical and endearing.  Highly recommended!

 






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