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DVD Review

DVD cover

Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time


Starring: Riisa Naka, Akinobu Nakao and Narumi Yasuda
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 12
Available 02 May 2011

Akari Yoshiyama is a quirky, self-assured young lady who lives with her mother, her father having disappeared years before. When her mother is run over by a car she makes Akari promise that she will travel back in time, via her mother’s potion, to deliver a message to a certain boy, Kazuo. The problems start when Akari forgets her mother’s instructions and ends up in 1974, two years too late...

Time Traveller: The Girls Who Leapt Through Time (2010 - 1 hr, 56 min, 45 sec) is another adaptation of Yasutaka Tsutsui novel, this time from a script by Tomoe Kanno, directed by Masaaki Taniguchi, his first time in the big seat.

The whole film relies on Riisa Naka, as Akari, to hold your attention for the film's length, which she does effortlessly. She had previously played the same character in the anime adaptation of the novel. Here the film is similar, but not so much that they cannot stand together as companion pieces.

The potion is just a McGuffin to get Akari into the past where she runs through the usual time traveller's set of experiences: meeting your parents, who obviously don’t remember meeting you - now there’s a metaphor for teenage angst - wearing kooky clothing, although, to be fair, this is the seventies and it was obviously as sh*t in Japan as it was in England. There is a reason it is remembered as the decade that taste forgot.

Having fallen through time, she literally falls on top of Ryota Mizorogi (Akinobu Nakao), which turns out to be a godsend. As a science fiction film maker he is up for weird and hardly questions her story. Things look like they are getting back on track when she locates her mother and shows her the picture her future mother had given her, the problem is that her young mother denies even knowing Kazuo (Kanji Ishimaru).

With all this time travelling stuff going on, it’s surprising to discover that the film is really a touching love story and given her displacement in time a love which is doomed to failure. This is both the film's strength and weakness. Its strength because it is easy to get caught up in the young lover plight, its weakness because the time travel aspects of the story are never really exploited. This could have just as easily been a film about two people from different social backgrounds.

The young cast are eminently watchable and the story chugs along, never letting you get bored. The central character of Akari is played with professional ease and as a character she inhabits and carries the film's narrative. The Addition of other time travellers adds a sense of tension to what would otherwise be little more than a love story.

The disc is very sharp with a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer although the only audio option is for a Japanese 2.0 track with subtitles, which seems strange for such a modern film.

Extras are a bit disappointing consisting of two trailers and a seventeen minute clip reel, which is just shots from the film, only useful if you want to see a seventeen minute version of the film you just watched.

The lack of any real extras aside, the touching story and especially the central performance of Riisa Naka make this film well worth watching.


Charles Packer

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