Teenager Makoto Konno, who enjoys playing baseball, lives with her parents and younger sister Miyuki in Tokyo, Japan. Her aunt Kazuko Yoshiyama, is an art restorer at the Tokyo National Museum.
One day, when Makoto discovers a message written on a blackboard at her high school, she inadvertently falls upon a walnut-shaped object. On her way home, Makoto is ejected into a railroad crossing when the brakes on her bicycle fail and is hit by an oncoming train. She finds herself transported back to the point in time when she was riding her bicycle right before the accident. Kazuko explains to Makoto that she has the power to "time-leap", to literally leap through time. At first, Makoto uses her powers to avoid being late, getting perfect grades, and even relive a single karaoke session for hours, but soon discovers that her actions can adversely affect others.
Consequently, Makoto uses most of her leaps frivolously, to prevent undesirable situations from happening, including an awkward love confession from her best friend Chiaki Mamiya. Makoto realizes that she has a numbered tattoo on her arm indicating the limited amount of times she can time leap. Using her remaining time leaps, Makoto attempts to make things right for everyone. When Chiaki calls Makoto to ask if she has been time-leaping, she uses her final time leap to prevent Chiaki's call. In the meantime, Makoto's friend Kōsuke Tsuda and his new girlfriend, Kaho Fujitani, borrow her faulty bike. Makoto attempts to stop them, but because she had just used her final leap, she arrives too late to the crossing only to watch them get hit by the train.
A moment later, Chiaki freezes time, telling Makoto that he is from the future. He explains that the walnut-shaped object is a time-traveling device, and he used it to leap through time hoping to see a special painting that is being restored by Kazuko, as it has been destroyed in the future. While walking with Makoto in the frozen city, Chiaki also explains that he stayed longer in her time frame than he originally planned. Consequently, he has used his final leap to ensure Kōsuke's existence and has stopped time only to explain to Makoto what the results will be. Having revealed his origins and the nature of the item that allowed Makoto to leap through time, and now unable to return to his own time period, Chiaki must leave. Makoto then realizes that she loves him.
True to his words, Chiaki disappears once time resumes. Initially distraught by Chiaki's disappearance, Makoto discovers that Chiaki's time-leap had inadvertently restored her time-leap: Chiaki had leaped back to the time before Makoto used her final leap. Makoto uses it to safely leap back to the moment right after she gained her powers, at which point Chiaki still has one remaining time-leap, and recovers the used up time-travel device. Makoto explains her knowledge of everything and shows the device to Chiaki. Makoto vows to ensure the painting's existence so Chiaki can see it in his era. Before Chiaki departs, he tells Makoto that he will be waiting for her in the future. When Kōsuke asks her where Chiaki went, she says that he went to study abroad, and that she made a decision about her own future.Makoto Konno (紺野真琴, Konno Makoto)
Voiced by: Riisa Naka (Japanese); Emily Hirst (English)
Chiaki Mamiya (間宮千昭, Mamiya Chiaki)
Voiced by: Takuya Ishida (Japanese); Andrew Francis (English)
Kousuke Tsuda (津田功介, Tsuda Kousuke)
Voiced by: Mitsutaka Itakura (Japanese); Alex Zahara (English)
Yuri Hayakawa (早川友梨, Hayakawa Yuri)
Voiced by: Ayami Kakiuchi (Japanese); Kristie Marsden (English)
Kaho Fujitani (藤谷果穂, Fujitani Kaho)
Voiced by: Mitsuki Tanimura (Japanese); Natalie Walters (English)
Kazuko Yoshiyama (芳山和子, Yoshiyama Kazuko)
Voiced by: Sachie Hara (Japanese); Saffron Henderson (English)
Miyuki Konno (紺野美雪, Konno Miyuki)
Voiced by: Yuki Sekido (Japanese); Shannon Chan-Kent (English)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was released to a small number of theaters in Japan, taking in approximately 300 million yen (US$~3 million). The film received limited advertising as opposed to other animation features, but word of mouth and positive reviews generated interest. At Theatre Shinjuku for days in a row, filmgoers filled the theater with some even standing to watch the film. Following this, distribution company Kadokawa Herald Pictures increased the number of theaters showing the film across Japan, and submitted the film for international festival consideration.
North American distributor Bandai Entertainment premiered the film in North America on November 19, 2006 at the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema and on March 3, 2007 at the 2007 New York International Children's Film Festival. The movie received a limited release in the United States, being shown subtitled in Los Angeles in June, and in Seattle in September. Also, an English dubbed version was shown in New York City in July. Its Boston area showings in August were subtitled. The film has also premiered in the UK as part of the Leeds Young People's Film Festival on April 2, 2008. The film was made available on Cable VOD on December 1, 2010 throughout the United States on numerous major cable systems, such as Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox, among others, by VOD distributor Asian Media Rights, under the Asian Crush label.
The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 87% approval rating based on 15 reviews with an average rating of 6.7/10, and the site's consensus: "An imaginative and thoughtfully engaging anime film with a highly effective visual design. This coming-of-age comedy drama has mad inventiveness to spare."
Justin Sevakis of Anime News Network praised the film for its "absolute magic." Sevakis felt that the film has "more in common with the best shoujo manga than [author Yasutaka] Tsutsui's other work Paprika". He said that the voice acting has "the right amount of realism [for the film]". Ty Burr of The Boston Globe praised the film's visuals and pace. He also compared the film to the works of Studio Ghibli. Nick Pinkerton of The Village Voice said, "there's real craftsmanship for how [the film] 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." Pinkerton also said that the film is the "equivalent of a sensitively wrought read from the Young Adult shelf, and there's naught wrong with that." Author Yasutaka Tsutsui praised the film as being "a true second-generation" of his book at the Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 24, 2006.
It won the Animation Grand Award, given to the year's most entertaining animated film, at the prestigious sixty-first Annual Mainichi Film Awards. It received the Grand Prize in the animation division at the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival. It won the Special Distinction for Feature Film at France's thirty-first Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 16, 2007. It played to full-house theatres during a screening in August 2007 at the ninth Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manila, Philippines.
All music by Kiyoshi Yoshida, except where noted. Piano played by Haruki Mino.
- "Natsuzora (Opening theme)"
- "Aria (Goldberg Hensoukyoku Yori)" (Goldberg Variations by Bach)
- "Karakuri Tokei (Time Leap)"
- "Shoujo no Fuan"
- "Sketch (Long Version)"
- "Daiichi Hensoukyoku (Goldberg Hensoukyoku Yori)" (Variation 1 of Goldberg Variations by Bach)
- "Mirai no Kioku"
- "Kawaranai Mono (Strings version)" (Hanako Oku)
- "Natsuzora (Ending theme)"
- "Time Leap (Long version)"
- "Natsuzora (Long version)"
- "Garnet (Yokokuhen short version)" (Oku)
The film's theme song is "Garnet" (ガーネット, Gānetto), and the insert song used in the film is "Kawaranai Mono" (変わらないもの, lit. Unchanging Thing(s)). Both songs were written, composed, and performed by singer-songwriter Hanako Oku. "Garnet" was arranged by Jun Satō and "Kawaranai Mono (Strings Version)" was arranged by Yoshida.
The film was adapted into a manga by Ranmaru Kotone and was serialized in Shōnen Ace a few months before the film's theatrical release. It received an 2009 English-language release for the Australian region with licensing by Bandai Entertainment and distribution by Madman Entertainment. The manga largely follows the same story as the film with some slight differences. Notably, the manga opens differently, with Makoto Konno dreaming about stumbling in on Kazuko Yoshiyama and Kazuo Fukamachi—the main characters of the original novel—parting ways, and ends with an epilogue of a young Kazuko waking up after Kazuo leaves in her proper time.