I recently finished reading the short novel The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (時をかける少女) by Yasutaka Tsutsui. It was published for the first time in 1967, but it’s now popular again thanks to a movie released in 2006 by the animation studio Madhouse based on the same story. Even though the story plot of the movie and the novel are quite different, the characters and the message of both are the same:
“Time waits for no one” – Written by someone in the lab of Kazuko’s high school
Kazuko, the main character of the novel and the movie, is a high school student with a monotonous lifestyle in a Tokyo neighbourhood that has two good friends who with she plays baseball after class. Suddenly she acquires the power to travel through time. At the beginning she uses her power for innocent purposes like going back in time two or three days to enjoy her favourite meal again, but gradually she starts abusing her powers (she tries to change her destiny and her friend’s) and paradoxes start to happen which put her and her friend’s existence in danger.
Front cover of the novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui.
Finally Kazuko realizes that even if she is able to travel in time she is not able to change some events once they have happened, she learns that what happens happens and that what she decides can have important consequences in her life but also in the life of others, that there are certain things that are out of our control and that time waits for no one.
Cover of the Japanese DVD.
Madhouse is possibly one of the best animation studios in Japan. The art of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time animation movie is impressive and very faithful to the real world, it makes you feel like you are wandering around Tokyo streets. As Studio Ghibli artists are inspired by places that are located near their offices; in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time many locations near the Madhouse offices in Ogikubo (Tokyo) can be appreciated. For example:
Photo of a laundry at the south exit of Ogikubo station, I used to live around there at the end of 2004!
The critical moment of the movie occurs in this crossroads, in which Kazuko goes back in time several times to try to decide which way to go: the left way or the right way. A decision that the first time seemed trivial, but later she realized was a turning point in her life.
The crossroads in the movie is inspired by this crossroads near Waseda University in Tokyo. If you want to take the same photo this is the place in Google Maps.
Other location in the movie that Kazuko travels back to is this slope:
An English version of the novel was released two years ago: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and the animation movie was distributed in United States by Bandai Entertainment. More photos of the locations in the movie